A century ago, a young entrepreneur may have started on the road to fortune by getting on a bicycle and ended it in a luxury car. Today, with the rise of designer bikes, the opposite could be true. British millionaire and TV personality Alan Sugar set the trend several years ago when he bought a £7,000 “Prince of Spain” racing bicycle, named after Spanish champion Alejandro Valverde, from Italy’s Pinarello (

Be it to stay fit or dodge Big City traffic jams, for commuting or weekends, people are increasingly hitting the road on two-wheelers. And with this new generation of cyclists has come a more sophisticated taste, creating a market for bikes that are more luxurious, faster, safer or just more ergonomic.

Elegance is no longer the preserve of the slender Dutch stadsfiets. With automotive sales falling, high-end cars makers such as BMW are diversifying their portfolios and fostering their own brands of haute-couture bicycles. Upstarts such as Canada’s Cervélo ( or Denmark’s Biomega (, in particular, have carved a niche in this segment.

Some are more eccentric than practical—such as the Harley Davidson-style Lowrider bikes from the U.K.’s Ridelow ( Prices start at £389.95 for the Chrome Ape Bar Lowrider. Others seem to come straight out of the wardrobe of a Russian oligarch’s wife. That’s the case with Montante’s ( Luxury Golden Collection model, which was inspired by 1930s Italian bikes, but adds a python-skin seat and a silver front steering covered in Swarovski crystals—and the price to match, at €36,000.