autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 
Hermes Disrupts Your Brain Signals With a $23,600 Wooden Bike: All in the Name of Fashion
For over a century, the name Hermès has been synonymous with the highest-class fashion to come out of Paris. Now, this luxury design house has decided to take another crack at an industry that doesn't have much to do with articles of clothing, the cycling industry.

Hermes Disrupts Your Brain Signals With a $23,600 Wooden Bike: All in the Name of Fashion

Odyssee Terre CarrierOdyssee Terre HandlebarsOdyssee Terre With CarrierOdyssee Terre With CarrierOdyssee Terre FrameOdyssee Terre SaddleOdyssee TerreOdyssee Terre
Yup, the trinket we'll be looking at today is nothing more than Hermès' take on the ultimate mobility machine, the age-old bicycle. However, when crews like this one take a crack at bringing their ideas to life, rarely will you see an object that can be owned by everyone. With that, please note that Hermès is selecting their customers through price; for the Odyssee Terre, a measly $23,600 (€22,500 at current exchange rates). Clearly, I'm being ironic using the word measly; that's a price I've never seen placed even on machines meant to bring home the gold on a daily basis. Maybe some rare one-offs.

So why are you being asked to pay this much for a pedal bike? Well, part of the story is all the heritage that's behind the company. Since this design house was founded in 1837, they've risen to design and fabricate everything from clothing to furniture, perfumes, jewelry, and even bicycles. This reminds me, back in 2013, they released two carbon machines priced at no less than $10,000 (€9,500 at current exchange rates).

As for the Odyssee Terre, Hermès is calling it a "compact carrier bike." But how compact can a bike be, and how much can it carry to justify a near-$24K price tag (without cargo carriers)? Actually, you're not paying for size or carrying capacity; you're paying for how this bike is designed and built. One of the main features of this trinket is its frame. Believe it or not, Hermès decided to explore a very difficult material to craft into a bicycle, wood, using nothing more than ash to yield the frame you behold.

Now, I get it, it's a bike made of wood by one of the world's most recognized luxury brands, and frankly, half the price you pay is due to that hot-stamped "Hermès Paris" on that leather seat; you're paying for the brand itself. Why do I say this? Well, I've covered wooden bikes before and from crews specialized in working with nothing but wood, and those puppies come out at around $10K.

Ok, so maybe I've been too harsh on this show bike. After all, if you're to judge the Odyssee based on nothing but the balance between metal, woods, and leather, it really does come across as a clean and dazzling bicycle. Then you've got that orange tone highlighting the handlebars, wheels, and the crankset. The way aluminum sits against the natural tone of ash wood is absolutely stunning.

As I dove deeper to try and understand why this bugger is being sold for its price, I discovered that Hermès is up to date with trends and aim to offer the most luxurious ride around. Aside from the cushy saddle and vibration-dampening tires, part of your cash goes to the Gates Carbon drivetrain that Hermès chose to add to the Odyssee. Very stylish, very clean, and a joy to use, I'd know; I'm testing it out as we speak.

Other than that, there are no further details on the manufacturer's website except that it weighs just 24.2 pounds (11 kilograms). However, additional gear in the form of cargo carriers can be added to this baby, helping yield some utility for that cash. With this option, the Odyssee weighs 30.8 pounds (14 kilograms).

At the end of the day, the Odyssee isn't just a bicycle; it's a fashion statement, you know, a flex, and to be seen flexing the name Hermès on any product is something to behold. But I've got to point out that inflation seems to be going through the roof. Otherwise, I see no explanation for such a price. Maybe I'm missing something, something that isn't mentioned on the manufacturer's website. No matter the reasons, this seems to be the price for mobile fashion these days.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.
Images in the gallery showcase the Terre with cargo carriers too.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories