Mods, punks, rude boys, skinheads, casuals, b-boys, skaters and bike messengers have something in common: they are part of structured subcultures that originated from the street, then became visible and ostracised by society, and eventually ended up on the catwalk, to be finally absorbed into the mainstream culture.
This street style / luxury remix kind of dynamic is not new; Vivienne Westwood made punk fashionable – and profitable – and now Lamborghini, Ralph Lauren et al. are trying to do the same with the fixed gear culture.
In a few lines, here is the story: Italian and Japanese track bikes, made for the velodrome, became the trademark means of transport of NYC messengers, modern pirates that cut through Manhattan in fast & furious raids, love tattoos and hate the “suits”.
Then hipsters brought the bike to a more fashionable, and even spiritual level – see Kyle Fay, a designer for Urban Outfitters, who said, in an interview with The New York Times: “It’s self-reliance, being responsible for yourself. It might sound kind of corny, but it’s a Zen thing, being one with the bike.”
Then came the forward-looking, ground-breaking brand, and made it more popular.
Then finally came the luxury brand, who made it incredibly expensive.
Cycling has never been considered a sport for cool kids. The suffering faces of working-class idols such as Coppi and Bartali were made for the mountains, not for the front cover of the hip magazines. As the years went by, though, things changed a lot, and cyclists became stars: look at Lance Armstrong, the first ciclista ever to date a global Popstar (Sheryl Crow).
Nowadays, cycling is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to cool cats such as Chris Hoy, Mark Cavendish and Bradley “Wiggo the Mod” Wiggins.
Consequently, bikes are becoming more fashionable; plus, they fit perfectly in the latest parameters of coolness, as more and more consumers embrace an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, driven by maturialism and a quasi-Shintoist attention to body, mind, and environment.
Brands are quickly turning green, in order to follow the latest trends; less Qatar-registered Bentleys left polluting outside Harrods, more recycling, penguin-friendly ultra-expensive bikes, then.
Here’s a collection of some of the best – and craziest, and more expensive – two-wheeled luxury creations.
A piece of moving art – Damiene Hirst “Butterfly” Trek Madone.
Price: $500k. Hirst went over the top. As usual. Buy a good lock, as well.
Fashion and the wheels.
John Smedley + Feather = WIN
The only Ferrari we can (maybe) afford. Luxury car makers gone engineless.
Aston Martin One-77(£25k)
New markets, old tricks.
The trend is spreading to new and expanding markets, as well, as reported by Euronews: ‘Luxury bicycles are the new darlings of the fashionable and wealthy in China, reported the Wall Street Journal China Chinese-language website’.Celebrity endorsements have proven very successful in China, and brands did not fail to jump on the bandwagon.
Here’s Becks, Orlando and Ewan, cruising around without a care in the world.
What do you think?