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Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Kraftwerk: A bike built for man-machines

Joseph Delves
29 Jun 2017

German bike brand channels electro music pioneers to produce unique Tour de France bike for Tony Martin

Canyon has produced a special edition Kraftwerk-inspired Canyon Ultimate CF SLX bike to mark the Tour de France starting from the band’s home city of Dusseldorf this weekend.

The pioneering synth music legends have a unique connection to pro cycling thanks to their 1983 hit Tour de France, and with the 2017 Tour starting in Germany this year, Canyon decided to honour the occasion with a limited run of 21 bikes sporting a hand-finished paint scheme based on band frontman Ralf Hütter's own design.

The Ultimate CF SLX Kraftwerk will be ridden in Saturday's opening time-trial by German world TT champion Tony Martin, who rides for the Canyon-sponsored Katusha-Alpecin team and is among the favourites to win the stage and claim the Tour's first yellow jersey.

First issued in June 1983, German band Kraftwerk’s clanking electronic homage to the Tour de France is as weird as it is brilliant. For the band the record was the result of more than a passing interest in bike racing.

Man-machines

Obsessed with the idea of blurring the delineation between human and robot, when the musicians found themselves flagging from extended time touring, Hütter decided that cycling was the most appropriate form of exercise for his band of man-machines.  

Featuring the sound of shifting gear mechanisms, freewheeling ratchets, and the heavy breathing of the rider, Kraftwerk’s resulting Tour-inspired soundtrack was a statement of the band’s belief that cycling provided perhaps the perfect union of human and machine.

Like many Germans, and electronic music fans of a certain age around the world, Kraftwerk occupy a special place in the heart of Canyon founder and CEO, Roman Arnold.

‘My memories of partying in friends’ basements as a teenager are dominated by hearing Kraftwerk’s groundbreaking sounds. Kraftwerk and cycling have a special and unique connection, their music, and all that they do, has inspired our work at Canyon in so many ways across the years,’ Arnold said.

Only 21 of the distinctively designed bikes will be produced, featuring a high-end Sram wireless eTap groupset, along with Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels, plus of course the eye-catching paint job.

Canyon says it's one of the most complex designs it's ever applied, and ‘each reflective strip is cut-to-measure and then hand-laid with care and precision, a process that takes over seven hours per frameset’.

Kraftwerk’s famous Kling Klang Studios are located in Düsseldorf, and with both Hütter and fellow band member Fritz Hilpert of the band still avid cyclists, they’ll be roadside to see man-machine Tony Martin compete.

The band will also be playing a concert in town that evening. And who knows – maybe Tony Martin will join them on stage, dressed in a fetching shade of yellow.

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