Those of a certain age — or prototypical millennials with a penchant for vintage tunes — will be familiar with Kraftwerk’s close relationship with cycling, most memorably typified by the band’s 1983 song Tour de France, which paid homage to the race through an epic thirteen minute electro-percussion ballad that was mixed with voices and mechanical sounds sampled from the event.
The band’s relationship with cycling is to soon be cast in cold hard carbon, with the release of 21 limited edition bikes produced in collaboration with fellow German cycling institution, Canyon.
Canyon says this is one of the most complex designs ever applied by the Canyon Design Team Canyon Bicycles/Tino Pohlmann
Canyon founder and CEO, Roman Arnold is said to have been moved to work with the band after reflection on “memories of partying in friends’ basements as a teenager [listening to] Kraftwerk’s groundbreaking sounds.”
The design was created by Ralf Hütter, Kraftwerk’s lead singer, and sees an intricate geometric design laid down in reflective tape across the whole bike — a process that is said to take over seven hours to complete per frame.
Each reflective strip is cut to measure and then hand laid Canyon Bicycles/Tino Pohlmann
The design has a decidedly brave-new-digital-future, late-80’s vibe that is entirely fitting for a band that has famously embraced technology.
21 limited edition Ultimate CF SLX Kraftwerk models will be built Canyon Bicycles/Tino Pohlmann
The timing of the release of this limited run of bikes is no coincidence, with Kraftwerk taking part in this year’s Grand Départ in Düsseldorf, the city where the band first made their name in the now legendary Kling Klang studios.
German time-trial specialist Tony Martin will also be riding a bike that shares the design throughout this year’s tour.
The design is said to be inspired by the band’s technical precision Canyon Bicycles/Tino Pohlmann
The bikes will be available to order from Canyon’s website from Monday the 3rd of July and will cost a heady €10,000 each.
Of course, Kraftwerk is not the only band to have turned its hand towards designing a bike.
In a completely unexpected move, American metal band Slayer designed a fixie, BMX and a balance bike of all things last year in collaboration with Subrosa.
While Slayer remains a favourite soundtrack for those that like to do scary things and generally thrash themselves on bikes, we can’t help but feel that this Kraftwerk collaboration feels more appropriate.
Are you breaking out your crates to find a copy of Tour de France in preparation of the Grand Depart? Or would you prefer to style-up your Ultimate CF SLX with your own reflective highlights? As always, leave your comments below.