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When bicycles become art

When bicycles become art

Even more than usual at least...

Okay, we need to make that clear at the beginning: We think that all bikes are art. Because the vast majority of them look really great, because so much effort, technical know-how and creative skill goes into their design and they also allow us to enjoy our favorite sport. sport sport in the first place. However, there are a few models that have particularly benefited from the creative genius of some influential talents from the worlds of art, culture and fashion. Because when real artists approach the design bike, something truly special can be created. Today, we present our seven favorites from the overlap between bicycles and art:

1. Paul Smith x Factor.

Fashion designer Paul Smith has proven many times that he can do more than just clothes. In 1997, he created the first limited edition version of the Mini Cooper car in his distinctive signature look, there are Evian bottles in Paul Smith design, a Burton surfboard collection and even a Leica X2 edition by him. In 2023, he designed a completely new interior concept for the Picasso Museum, which gave the great Pablo's sketches a colorful and bold new look - the Brit is a true design jack-of-all-trades. And a big bicycle fan to boot. Which is why it comes as no great surprise that, after several collaborations with Rapha, Kask and bicycle manufacturers such as Merian and Hummingbird, a real professional-racing bike bears his mark: The OSTRO VAM from Factor.

The Paul Smith X Factor bike pretty much combines the best of cycling tech and high-end fashion. After all, the OSTRO VAM Factors Do-It-All road bikeit is aerodynamic, light, fast and a true ace in the peloton. peloton - whether on asphalt, cobblestones or steep climbs. It is therefore not uncommon to see the bike in professional races such as the Paris-Roubaix. Paul Smith has now given this iconic model his very own touch: including his famous color blocks in blue, green and yellow, which adorn the carbon frame. carbon frame adorn the carbon frame. The logo shines in Paul Smith pink and his curved signature can also be found several times on the bike. A bit of real design art on real engineering art.

2. Stella McCartney x Cannondale.

Another fashion designer, another Brit and another big bike fan who has lent her creative power to a major bike brand: Stella McCartney's collection for Cannondale turns 18 bicycles into real eye-catchers. The manufacturer has never shied away from unexpected creative collaborations (we'll get to another one in a moment), but Stella McCartney is a better fit for the brand than you might expect. Both brands have long prioritized sustainability and environmentally friendly production and McCartney, a regular cyclist since childhood, felt it was important to incorporate this shared vision into the design of the bikes.

Ed Curtis's StellaMcCartney x Cannondale bike

The limited SystemSix, SuperSix EVO and SuperSixEvo CX bikes could be admired in four StellaMcCartney stores around the world in 2021, in London, New York, Tokyo and Shanghai, proving once again that bold performance doesn't have to look boring. Quite the opposite. Because even if the bikes were never sold (or really ridden), the three models are still incredibly capable racing bikes and true fan and professional favorites. And StellaMcCartney gave them bold, exciting and, above all, eye-catching looks with the three up-and-coming artists Ed Curtis, Myfawnwy and Tom Tosseyn. Incidentally, they were all painted on by hand. It's just a shame that these works of art never made it onto a Peloton.

Cannondale x Stella McCartney

3rd Motokio Yoshio x Colnago.

The Japanese Motokio Yoshio is one of the most popular and talented designers in the bicycle industry. He has designed for Kask and Fiz:ik and now finally also for the Italian manufacturer Colnago. And no less a model than one of the company's most expensive and most capable: the C68 racing bike, the brand's icon and Grande Bellezza. The normal design of the C68 is already quite elegant, but Yoshio turns the model into true art.

Motokio Yoshio's Colnago C68

His design is dedicated to the brand's two values: respect and harmony - respect for the technical and structural features of the C series and harmony in the combination of its components. Yoshio combines this by highlighting the geometry of the bike with striking color blocks, but maintaining a soft, high-quality and above all fresh look by nuancing these blocks. The glossy version of this C68 was added to the range by Colnago, a single frame was produced in a matt finish. This was actually intended for one of the Colnago board members. However, it ended up as a one-off at Sotheby's auction house and was auctioned off in Dubai for more than 25,000 US dollars. This means that Moskito Yoshio has achieved two things at once: he has reissued and refined an icon of cycling. And he goes down as the designer of one of the twenty most expensive bicycles ever in history.

4th Yoshitomo Nara x Trek.

À propos expensive bikes: Yoshitomo Nara's racing bike for Trek also plays at the very top. When Lance Armstrong celebrated his grand return to cycling after his cancer, he asked six artists to create very special bikes for his Tour de France 2009. One of them was the bright yellow STAGES bike, which fetched 200,000 at auction, which was donated to Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation.

Yoshitomo Nara x Trek detail

The design of the time trial racing bike remained true to the playful style of Nara, who had become particularly famous for his cartoon-like paintings of young children. Hand-painted cartoons can be found on both the bright yellow carbon frameas well as on the turquoise wheels of the model. What do we particularly love about it? Nara has left a small message on the top tube, where only Armstrong himself can see it during the race could read: "Never forget your beginner's spirit", it says.

a trek speed concept bicycle, decorated by japanese modern art artist yoshitomo nara for champion cyclist lance armstrong, is on display at "its' about the bike" exhibition and auction preview at sotheby's in new york, october 27, 2009 "it's about the bike" is an exhibition which features the seven bikes ridden by armstrong in his 2009 comeback season the bikes, decorated by world renowned artists, will be sold at a private auction on november 01, 2009, with all proceeds going to "livestrong", lance armstrong's cancer foundation afp photoemmanuel dunand photo credit should read emmanuel dunandafp via getty images
Yoshitomo Nara x Trek

5. Damien Hirst x Trek.

From the same series for Lance Armstrong comes the famous Butterfly bike by London artist Damien Hirstwho became internationally renowned for his installations of stuffed animals in formaldehyde containers. The Butterfly bike is based on an earlier exhibition by the visionary artist: for In and Out of Love , Hirst attached thousands of butterfly cocoons to a wall of his gallery. Over the course of the exhibition, the animals hatched, fluttered around and eventually fell to the floor dead. Neither this exhibition nor the Trek Madonewhose white lacquered frame Hirst decorated with hundreds of real butterfly wings. As courageous as Armstrong is, but also as provocative as only art can be.

Damien Hirst Butterfly bike Trek Madone

6. Virgil Abloh's Custom Cannondale.

Ok, admittedly we're cheating a little with this second-to-last bike on our list. It wasn't designed by an artist, butfor one . As Cannondale designed a series of bikes with Rapha and the skateboard brand Palace in 2020, they were actually only intended for the professionals of the EF Education Team. "Normal" customers had to hope for their luck to win one of the colorful, street-style-inspired models in a raffle.

Cannondale x Rapha x Palace Skateboards - Virgil Abloh's version

Unless one of these customers is fashion icon, Off-White founder and artistic extraordinaire Virgil Abloh. He also gets one of the limited edition bikes. Even in a custom design. Abloh's SystemSix has specially designed handlebar strapsa 1 instead of 2 groupset and even a dedication on the down tube. And an already pretty cool bike becomes a unique collector's item.

7th Keith Haring x Cinelli

Keith Haring was probably one of the most famous and talented contemporary artists of the 20th century. The New Yorker's graffiti men brought him international recognition and quickly became his emblematic trademark. A trademark that was also celebrated outside the art scene, including by Antonio Colombo, the cane manufacturer at Cinelli. He met Haring at an art fair in Milan in the 1980s and the two became friends. And as soon as Haring found out that Colombo was working in the bicycle industry the decision was made: The two wanted to create a very special bike together. And they did.

The result of this friendship and interdisciplinary collaboration? A futuristic track bike with an ice-blue frame and disk wheels covered in Haring's graffiti men in motion. A real eye-catcher and bicycle art of the finest kind.

Ok, on buycycle you won't find any of these models. But we agreed that all bikes are art - and we have more than 17,000 other pieces of art on our marketplace just waiting for you. From mountain to gravel bikes to road bikes or triathlon bikes. At buycycle you will find the used bike that suits you best. In top condition, at lower prices and ready to ride. Take a look at buycycle.com or our app never hurts, even if you don't want to buy a bike but want to sellone. You can find more information about art and the perfect bike on the blog and also our team is always there for you. For now, we wish you, as always: Happy browsing, happy cycling!