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Oct 10th 2013, 22:06, by Style.com

Hermes' new bike

These are not the first bicycles ever to bear the Hermès name: The luxury house has clad many others in leather before. But that was just dressing, and generally by special order. In Paris this morning, Hermès quietly unveiled a bicycle called Le Flâneur, a name that evokes the image of strolling. It is the first mode of transport the house has ever developed, designed, and produced itself. “The idea was to create a real bicycle that people would use for pleasure’s sake, not as a decorative object,” explained François Doré, general director of Hermès Horizons. “It had to be light, comfortable, slightly retro, but with modern technology.” Le Flâneur’s frame is made entirely of carbon fiber (twenty-five molds were developed for building the frame alone), with judiciously placed taurillon leather details on the handles, grip, seat, and luggage rack. The deliberately unisex 8-speed checks in at 11 kilos, or 24 pounds, half the weight of Paris’ popular Vélib city bike. Weight considerations aside, other design and technology features convey a thoroughbred mindset, from integrated gearshift and hydraulic disk breaks to a sleek belt in lieu of a chain (hence no slippage and no grease). That spirit ratchets up a notch on the 12-speed “urban racing bike,” Le Flâneur Sportif, in white or black and possibly another color or two, due out in early January. So does Hermès plan to sell the kind of lock Le Flâneur will certainly require? “We’re looking closely at accessories for next year,” said Doré. Starting at 8,100 euros, Le Flâneur will glide into Hermès stores worldwide in November.

—Tina Isaac-Goizé

Photo: Courtesy of Herm├Ęs

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