Fact: Single, city-dwelling young adults will, at some time or another, dump their disposable income on expensive stuff that’s just out there. These people seek specialty and craftsmanship over mass marketing and “Made in China,” even if it flabbergasts others who can’t fathom why an office chair should be custom-built and cost $600 (blame this author). They won’t own property or a car, they have no kids, yet they’re the kind of people who might drop more than seven grand on an old-looking bike designed by Italians.
That is the essence behind the Pininfarina Fuoriserie, a limited run of 30 bikes designed by the famed Pininfarina studio of Ferrari and Cadillac Allante fame and hand-built by a small Italian bike shop called 43 Milano. By all accounts, the name and simplicity count for a lot. The chromed steel frame is ice cold and leaves little trace of welds, the top tube is wrapped in walnut veneer, and the handlebars and seat have what have to be the softest leather hides on this earth, because they’re made and woven by Italians. That cannot be argued. The tires are reinforced with Kevlar, there are some built-in LED lights and there is an optional electric motor assist that drives the price past $11,000. Other than that, it’s a gorgeous single-speed bike.
But while there will only be 30 bikes to wear the “f” gift-box logo, it’s not likely a pleasant bike to ride. For this class of bike, steel shouldn’t be on board. Aluminum should be a minimum, if not some bits of carbon fiber for the wheel spokes. It’s also a single speed which pretty much makes it useful for no one but tight-jean hipsters in Brooklyn, where it will promptly be stolen. It’s one thing to bring the classic cruising bicycle back into fashion, especially with top-shelf materials, but it’s another thing to charge this kind of money for a bicycle that underneath, isn’t at all what modern, top-shelf two-wheelers deliver.
Instead, were I in this situation of biking in the city, I’d grab a high-spec Cannondale, an Italian leather jacket and a cheap backpack to haul six-packs of beer to my apartment. Craft beer, for God’s sake.