Photos Courtesy of LexusLexus charted new territory when it launched the LFA model in 2010. It was the first Japanese car to reach the kind of exotic supercar usually reserved for Europe's finest, and took the luxury brand into a stratospheric new market. But getting there required significant investment on the brand's behalf. Even after the extensive development phase was complete, the industrial giant had to build a new factory and train an elite new team of technicians to put it together. Rather than source the components from outside, Lexus developed its own carbon-fiber composite and built the hugely expensive machinery to fabricate it.
Now that all 500 examples of the LFA have been built and sold, however, the LFA Works at the Motomachi complex within Toyota City, Japan, has laid largely dormant. Some of the technicians have carried on producing parts for the existing LFAs, but the rest of them have been left with little to do. So how are they keeping themselves busy? By designing a luxury bicycle, of course.
Not just any bicycle, mind you: this is the Lexus F Sport road bike, a highly advanced and remarkably expensive take on one of the most basic forms of wheeled transportation ever devised. The bike is made of the same carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic developed for the LFA, which helps keep the weight down to just 15 pounds.
Although the components — including the frame, forks, seat, seat post, handlebars, wheels and cranks — are manufactured off site in Taiwan, they were designed by Lexus engineers and are hand-lacquered and assembled at the LFA Works. It also has a 22-speed gear system operated by an electronic derailleur with F1-style paddle shifters.
Only 100 examples will be made, of which 35 have been sold-to-date. Most are expected to stay in Japan, with just one destined for Canada and two for the United States. Each bike costs approximately $10,000, which makes it one of the more expensive bicycles on the market, but still a far cry from the $375,000 that the last vehicle produced at that factory commanded.