Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Luxury Car-Bike Collabos

How much is too much to spend on a bike?

Is that a stupid question? Do people in the top 1% of the top 1% ask questions like that?

When car companies collaborate with bicycle companies, you just know that the answers are going to get ridiculous. In recent months, there has been a spate of car-bike "collabos" -- some with questionable taste, and all with price tags that make me a believer in Socialism.

Take a look at several of the latest entries to the "more-is-more" school of bicycle design:

The Audi Sport Racing Bike. At $19,500, the cheerleaders are calling it a "bargain." BikeRumor says "Sure, the Audi Sport Racing Bike is expensive, but considering the top tier build on the Lightweight wheels and frame, it's not that surprising."

Surprising? I guess not. I mean, remember the $20,000 Specialized McLaren S-Works Tarmac? Okay, so, not "surprising." But no less ridiculous.

BikeRumor goes on: "Obviously, you could pick up a DuraAce Di2 group, custom R8 nappa leather covered Selle Italia Saddle (WHY?) and the rest of the components for less than $9,500, but with that difference you're paying for one of just 50 bikes with sweet custom Audi paint and a build that tips the scales at 13 lbs."

What are we saying here? A "sweet custom Audi paint" job is worth an extra $10,000? That must be some paint job.

But as stupid-expensive as the Audi Sport is, it is only the beginning. It's still about $12,000 cheaper than the Lamborghini Aventador BMC Impec. That's a helluva name, by the way. It just rolls off the tongue -- with about $8000 per word.

Like the Audi Sport, the BMC Lamborghini is limited to just 50 bicycles, and I think they require a stock-portfolio evaluation before they allow prospective buyers to apply for purchase rights. Okay -- I might have just made that last part up. Or did I?

What's really laughable is that cheerleaders try to imply that even $32,500 is somehow a bargain. By comparing the bike to Lamborghini's $3.9 million Venenos automobile (the fastest, most powerful, most expensive Lamborghini car ever made, apparently), the implication is that "normal" people might be able to afford a taste of that Lamborghini "magic."

And yet, even $32,000 is somehow not too much to charge for a bicycle, as evidenced by the Aston Martin One-77. Made by Factor Bikes in the U.K., the bike is meant to recall the Aston Martin One-77 Coupe, which was limited to 77 cars that sold for $1.5 million. The bike is built with an exotic twin-downtube, twin-seattube carbon fiber frame, crazy 8-spoke carbon fiber wheels, and disc brakes. The One-77 bike also has a feature-laden integrated dashboard-like computer built into the carbon fiber handlebar setup. Also like the car, it is limited to 77 units. Price? They won't say. Unlisted. Talk about exclusive. I think they charge a fee just to ask the price.

What's kind of disgusting is that the companies that are making these things will have no trouble selling them. There are plenty of people, apparently, for whom price equals prestige. Twenty or thirty thousand dollars for a frivolous "luxury" toy is nothing. Just an average American's yearly salary.

Like I said -- nothing.


  1. Here's one to add to your list of Car/Bike Collabos: the GMC Denali bike I saw recently. A true POS.

    1. OOHHH! $179 from Walmart! And somehow, even that is probably overpriced. Thanks!

  2. All of a sudden a $5,000 custom hand-made lugged-steel bike with a generator hub, lights and fenders seems like a bargain!

    1. Not only a "bargain" (at least relatively), but probably a better investment. Much more useful, that's a cinch.

  3. Austro-Daimler "Ultima" bicycles (circa 1976) were not the results of direct collaboration with Mercedes Benz or any other high-end automaker, I think AD tried to "piggyback" off the prestige of the luxury car maker.

    And they were definitely appealing to the 1 percent of the 1 percent of that time. The "Ultima" was blingy and used to come in a velvet-lined foam case: http://www.company7.com/bosendorfer/austro-daimler_packing.html

    1. I hadn't seen that model -- wow -- thanks for the link!

  4. I hate to say it, but I honestly can't tell the difference between these bikes and the $400 Chinese crabon fiber "junk". They all look identical, aside from accent colors (matte black is always the main color, naturally).
    The forks always disappoint me the most, though. How can a lover of bikes not appreciate a beautiful curve on a classic steel fork? These modern forks always look so lame in comparison. Like somebody took a paper towel tube and squashed it flat. No curve, no flair, no love.

    I've seen pictures of that Aston Martin before. It's about the ugliest bike I've ever seen: the disc brakes look clunky as hell on there, the wheels look like they belong on a child's bmx bike, the derailleurs are big chunky pigs (not to mention the accompanying battery pack), the color is abysmal, the "head tube" and fork connection is weird looking, and don't even start on that cockpit. Honestly, if you painted it some garish (well, more garish) color and sold it on Amazon, Bike Snob would be snarking on that thing like nobody's business.

    This has transcended the "steel vs. CF" argument and is just downright ugly design, regardless of the material.

    What's next, I wonder?