Today, that record no longer stands, as the title went to the Beverly Hills Edition 24K Gold Extreme Mountain Bike, aka the Gold Fat Bike, a creation unveiled by jeweler Hugh Power and his House of Solid Gold in 2013. Today, all traces of the Gold Fat Bike have gone cold, as have those of its equally bold and equally unnecessary predecessor.
Said predecessor is the Aurumania Gold Bike Crystal Edition, which was unveiled in 2008 and gloriously rode several newscycles well into 2012. Aurumania, the company that designed and built it under CEO Bo Franc, no longer seems to exist: the official website, which was still taking orders for the bike in 2012, is now offline, and Franc stepped down from his position that same year. But the bike they built lives on – in glory or infamy, depending on how you look at it.
Aurumania was one of those. The Gold Bike Crystal Edition was actually the first product from their luxury product lineup, and was entirely designed, developed, and built in-house. Every surface on the bike was covered with 24K gold, and what wasn’t gold was fine leather and Swarovski elements. In total, the bike had 600 such crystals, including in the Aurumania logo on the crossbar, which was perhaps the less obvious detail about the bike.
The first unit of the bike, which Aurumania planned to produce in just 10 units, went on display at the Normann Copenhagen Showroom in Copenhagen in April 2009. By word of mouth, the bike was already a celebrity, so it attracted a lot of attention. The gold finish aside, it also stood out for the attention to detail and the level of craftsmanship involved: this fixed-gear track bike was built entirely by hand, with a molded Brooks leather saddle adding a very retro touch to an otherwise sleek and minimalist (you know, save for the crystals and the gold) two-wheeler.
Hand-sewn chocolate-brown leather handles matched the saddle. A leather badge on the bike front proudly displayed a gold leaf that bore the limited-edition number. For customers who didn’t appreciate the sparkly Swarovski crystals but were still discerning and rich enough, Aurumania offered, or planned to offer, a crystal-less version of the bike, limited to 50 units.
Either model could be accompanied by a gold bike rack that allowed to display it on a wall, much like a piece of art. Aurumania boasted of being the company that brought a certain sparkle back into regular products, into the “insipidly ordinary,” to create “the very best for the very few” by means of creative uses of gold. But even they weren’t deluded as to who might buy such a bike: as much as they stressed the fact that this bike was still functional, they knew the buyers would be people who wouldn’t even consider getting on one and would buy it solely for bragging – and display – rights.
No word if Aurumania was ever able to build, much less sell, the other planned nine units of the Gold Bike Crystal Edition. In 2012, reports claimed that the first unit was almost immediately snapped up by a gentleman in London, who bought it with the express view of having it put up on display inside his home.
At the end of the day, whether more such bikes exist or not isn’t even all that important. The Aurumania Gold Bike Crystal Edition stands to show that, when it comes to artsy bikes, less is always more.