Some one recently asked for advice on selecting a great buy in a good riding classic bike. Depends a lot on what size you are and how you like to ride, I'd say. For a 5'7" rider like myself, I'd say the Austro Daimler bikes in the 54 cm range that come on E-Bay and frequently sell in the $300-500 range are just about there.they ride very well and often do not command top dollar, for some reason. Like many smaller bikes they use a longish top tube which I love. Some smaller bikes that do not, may have an awful lot of toe overlap with that front wheel which can be tricky at low speeds. Larger bikes sometimes ride a bit better, is my own observation, until you get into very large ones, which I am not familiar with. I have owned larger and smaller Masi bikes and definitely feel the larger ones to be a superior ride.
My guess is that smaller ones have somewhat compromised geometry so you do not get the full advantage of the bike's design.
In other words, size matters, and this is an almost unheard of consideration in folks selecting a make of bike. I'm sure there will be some controversy over such a statement, but if you feel it is wrong, it might make an interesting thread. I've been wrong before.
Lansing, MI USA