Anna Schwinn is the great, great granddaughter of Schwinn Bicycle Company founder Ignaz Schwinn, plus she's a fan of both Prince and Minneapolis-based Peacock Groove Bicycles. When Prince passed away last year, Anna asked Peacock Groove's Erik Noren if he could build her a custom steel-framed folding bike in tribute to the legendary musician. Noren accepted the challenge, and the result is definitely a work of art.
"I was like, 'If we're gonna do it, we have to go all out, we have to be audacious with class,' which is what Prince was," Erik told us at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, where the bike is currently on display. "How do you take an artist's career, and put that on a limited canvas like a bike?".
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Noren started with a Princely-purple paint job, accented by polished stainless steel cut-outs of the Prince symbol, that are used as reinforcements for the water bottle bosses and seat tube slot. That symbol also appears on the light mounts, head tube and bespoke saddle.
All of the components come from big names such as Campagnolo, Chris King and Paul Components, the latter of which supplied a custom-purple-anodized seat post and brake callipers, along with a handlebar stem into which Erik embedded a guitar pick that was used by Prince. Other stand-out custom details include brake levers with laser-etched crying doves (from the song When Doves Cry) and disc brake rotors with the words "Baby you're much too fast" cut out of the metal (from the song Little Red Corvette).
Last, but certainly not least, the color-matched HED wheels rims have the complete lyrics to the song Purple Rain painted on both of them.
Although Noren isn't saying exactly how much Schwinn paid for the one-of-a-kind creation, he told us that he'd value it at no less than US$10,000. That said, Anna still does actually ride the thing, and it does have a few paint chips – which is good, according to Erik.
"It is like a guitar," he told us. "You get it and it's new and you care for it, and then it starts to get scratched – and those scratches, those rubs, those dents, they all tell a story of where it's been … if you want something to hang on your wall, I'll make you a painting."
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