Ah, the supreme freedom of sailing down a hill on an incredible bicycle is a feeling most cyclists crave. Lance Armstrong may have been responsible for making adult bicycling trendy, and the industry gained such momentum, it never looked back.
Going green has been a huge factor in the amplified bicycle sales. In fact, the U.S. government has spent more than $850 million in recent years to increase the space required to accommodate the growing demand by creating bicycle lanes and paths for people to enjoy their rides.
Bicycle purchases are now outpacing new car sales in many European countries, such as Spain and Italy. With the U.S. not far behind, younger wealthy executives are also looking toward reducing their carbon footprint while staying fit at the same time. The world's most expensive bicycles are not only aerodynamically engineered, they are also replete with fixtures and features so pricey, they are in their own class.
All of the sleekest, most expensive bikes are amazingly light and now some of them offer an alternative to pedaling in the form of motors. A competitive cyclist might find motorized bicycles a waste of sports equipment and would only consider using pedals. However, for others who wish to simply make a quick trip to work, a motorized bicycle may be the way to go.
Some people also want to take bicycling to the point of luxury where they use a bicycle with diamond-studded pedals. When it comes to the world's most expensive bicycles, anything goes. They are functional and adorned in the manner in which the owner is most accustomed. Priced from nearly $41,000 to around $500,000, these bikes give their owners a ride they won't forget.
10 Phanuel Krencker's 'Bicyclettes de Luxe': $34,425
This luxury bicycle was built for the 7th edition of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). It is at this show that young French builder, Phanuel Krencker, showcased his "Bicyclettes de Luxe" luxury bicycle. Custom parts, chrome, carbon fiber and a frame built by Cyfac make up this original design. Mirror-polished parts and a chrome paint give this a shiny, reflective appearance that will surely stand out. Tr!ckstuff supplied the front and rear disc brakes, making this beautifully styled bike a collaboration of outstanding parts and creative design.
9 9. Litespeed Blade: $40,790
With a frame constructed of titanium and carbon fiber, the Litespeed Blade is known for its incredibly fast ride and overall riding experience. This bicycle comes in different sizes and offers features such as the company's proprietary WRAP technology at the head and top tubes, advanced technology chains, spokes and handlebars. Its futuristic design and appearance are so unique that the less expensive models are being spotted more frequently on the triathlon scene. This particular model is more expensive than many cars, however, so it's not likely to be spotted on an average day.
8 eRocket's Electric Assist Bicycle: $44,000
Made in Berlin by inventor Stefan Gulas, the eRockit is almost like a streamlined electric motorcycle. However, it's a bicycle, and one of the most expensive in the world. The faster it's pedaled, the faster it goes and while it's being pedaled it is being charged.
This electric bike has a maximum speed of 81 mph, uses lithium, ion nano-phosphate batteries and takes a little over three hours to charge. The battery can last up to ten years and when fully charged runs for 37 to almost 50 miles. It's being touted as the human hybrid machine and only ten or so are made each year.
7 Montante Luxury Gold Collection: $46,000
Manufactured by Italian bikemaker, Montante, this women's bike is coated with 24-carat gold leaf, adorned with 11,000 Swarovski stones and has a leather bike seat designed for supreme comfort. Also, it can be ordered in various shapes that are made to order, but it's more than just a pretty face, since Montante is a master bicycle manufacturer, the Gold Bike provides the same outstanding performance as the other Montante models. Some call this "the celebrity model" as its flashy appearance attracts enough attention to require a security guard when not in use.
6 Chrome Hearts & Cervelo: $60,000
This limited edition series was manufactured in 2010 by Chrome Hearts in collaboration with Cervelo, the renowned bicycle maker. This is a racing bicycle and also used in triathlons, as that is one of the specialties of Cervelo. The luxurious details include custom graphics, a choice of leathers and metals and rhinestones, making this a flashy, but sturdy bicycle. For $60,000, coming up with a custom theme and design is an important element, especially if planning to enter any races or triathlons. Your bicycle's appearance will help brand the user with consistent recognition.
5 5: Trek Madone 7 - Diamond: $75,000
A former Lance Armstrong bicycle, it was used in the tour de France when he won for the seventh time. It was sold at a 2005 auction for $75,000; the purchaser's name is unknown. Seven man-made diamonds and 300 white diamonds add to this bicycle's sparkling value. Nike, Trek Bikes, Alan Friedman and Lenny Futura were the collaborators on this project. Friedman is a first-class jeweler and Mr. Futura is a designer, so between their specialties and the financial backing of the large companies, the Trek Madone 7 - Diamond was made to win.
4 Auramania Crystal Edition Gold Bike: $114,000
The finest leather seat is merely one of this amazing bicycle's features. It's limited edition is manufactured by Auramania who has built only ten of its kind. The 24-carat gold-plated body is bejeweled with 600 sparkling Swarovski crystals at the crossbar. The seat is covered with the finest, yet sturdiest, leather available. The style is quintessentially elegant with clean lines and overall, it has a dazzling appearance. The owner of one of these bicycles might need a team of body guards, as it attracts attention in any environment or setting.
3 Kaws - Trek Madone: $160,000
Another Lance Armstrong bicycle, the Trek Madone was used by Lance during the Vuelta Leon y Castilla Race in 2009. It was auctioned at Sotheby's for the Global Fight Against Cancer; it was one of seven of Lance's bicycles auctioned that evening. Brian Donnelly, aka Kaws, designed this bicycle after working with some of the largest world brands. The Kaws - Trek Madone was designed to appear to be Lance's "daily driver" bicycle with the classic yellow, black and white theme and Kaws signature recurring teeth pattern on the frame and wheels.
2 Trek Yoshimoto Nara: $200,000
Nara is an artist from Japan who is known for his simple images of children who have dark expression on their faces. Notice the tire cover on this model. He has a punk rock spirit with a strong rock and roll bent. His enthusiasm for music is infused into all of his designs. Equally important, this bicycle was designed for racing performance; it has a carbon fiber frame and its light weight is ready for speed. The bicycle was presented at a cancer awareness event to honor Armstrong's cancer survival and the renewal of his career after his accident in 2009.
1 Trek Butterfly Madone: $500,000
Designer, Damien Hirst, used real butterflies to decorate this bicycle when it was created for Lance Armstrong for his winning tour de France run in 2009. The butterflies completely cover the bicycle's frame from handles to rim. This was another bicycle that was made to honor Lance Armstrong's return to the sport after his accident earlier in the year. Most think it looks highly stylized and glamorous while others are not as appreciative due to the hundreds of butterflies that were used. It is considered a piece of modern art as well as a top-of-the-line bicycle.