It’s an unlikely marriage, cycling and German electronica. But it works. Ralf Hütter, the techno pioneer who founded Kraftwerk in 1969 in Düsseldorf, made sure of it. Hütter discovered cycling after a demanding tour in the early ’80s and quickly encouraged hisbandmates to embrace the sport in the band’s image. His obsession leaked into Kraftwerk’s music in the single “Tour de France,” which featured samples of bicycle chain and gear sounds and a cyclist’s heavy breathing.
Hütter’s bandmates may not have fallen as hard for the sport — they nixed an idea for an entire album based on the theme of cycling — but Roman Arnold, founder of Canyon, is all for integrating the two. The Koblenz-based bike maker is just down the autobahn from Kraftwerk’s home base, and Arnold grew up partying in grimy basements to the band’s electronic sounds. “Kraftwerk and cycling have a special and unique connection,” says Arnold. “Their music, and all that they do, has inspired our work at Canyon in so many ways across the years.
The Ultimate CF SLX Kraftwerk pays homage to that history. The bike is built on a Grand Tour–winning frameset and features a distinctive geometric reflective finish that draws directly from Hütter’s own patterns. Each strip is cut and placed by hand in a process that takes seven hours per frame. The end result is a beautiful techno pop design reminiscent of the Tron arena, which you might as well have to compete in to get your hands on one; there are only 21 available.
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