If you thought there was no overlap between cycling and German electronica music, think again. After all, there’s the famous Kraftwerk song “Tour de France,” which actually samples bicycle chain and bike sounds along with the labored breathing of a competitive cyclist in a 13-minute ballad. And now, electronica and and cycling are meeting once again, and it’s all thanks to a new bike from Canyon.
The famous German bike manufacturer was founded by Roman Arnold, who actually grew up listening to Kraftwerk’s music. “Kraftwerk and cycling have a special and unique connection,” Arnold told Gear Patrol. “Their music, and all that they do, has inspired our work at Canyon in so many ways across the years.’
So now, the company is paying homage to that. Meet the Ultimate CF SLX Kraftwerk, a new bike constructed atop a Grand Tour-winning frameset, featuring a unique geometric reflective finish whose design is inspired by Kraftwerk founder Ralf Hutter. Every single strip of this reflective finish is cut and placed by hand, ultimately requiring seven hours to complete. And that time and labor-intensive process may explain why there are only 21 of these bikes available.
One of those bikes will be ridden by German cyclist Tony Martin, the four-time world time-trial champion. During the opening stage of the Tour de France on Saturday afternoon (the first time the grand départ has taken place in Germany since 1987), he’ll be showing just what this machine is capable of doing. The course will span 14 kilometers around Dusseldorf, which just so happens to be the hometown of Kraftwerk. Of course, Kraftwerk will be playing the entire Tour de France Soundtracks album in front of a sold-out audience in honor of this event. The whole thing will be, in a word, fitting.
Canyon’s founder and CEO, Roman Arnold, noted that he was inspired to finally make such a bike after reliving “memories of partying in friends’ basements as a teenager [listening to] Kraftwerk’s groundbreaking sounds.” And now, we’ll be able to relive (or create) those memories ourselves by watching this year’s Tour de France, and seeing the techno-inspired bikes that whiz around the course.