Festka – Franz Kafka Themed Bicycle

Festka is a boutique manufacturer of carbon bicycle frames based in Prague, Czech Republic. The company is renowned for its unique production technology and original designs, It offers a top-level package of design and customer service called You By Festka. The company can produce only twelve frames per year due to the highly demanding nature of individual projects, but each one is truly unique.

When a New York-based client approached Festka with a request for a bike in the style of Franz Kafka, Tom Hnida, the company’s art director, was enthusiastic about the idea. “For a company so intrinsically linked with Prague as was Kafka, it made perfect sense.

When Festka learned that Lyndon, the client, was passionate about Kafka’s work and was interested in a new bike, the company began to get excited. In addition to scenes from The Hunger Artist and The Emperor’s Message, Lyndon had selected quotes from Kafka’s notebooks for inclusion on the bike frame. For inspiration, Festka also looked at how Kafka depicted hunger and emperors in his other works.

After considering several options, Festka’s art director Tom Hnida approached illustrator Michal Bačák—who had worked with Festka since 2019 and 2020 on two successful projects – the Porcelain Bike and the Samurai. Mr. Bačák loved Lyndon’s ideas and accepted the commission immediately. As a person who does not do things halfway, he read all of Kafka’s works and proposed three additional scenes from the author’s short stories. He put together a proposal that convinced Lyndon straight away that he, Mr. Bačák, was the right man for the job. The fact that Mr. Bačák’s unmistakable style is pleasing to the eye is an added bonus.

Everything flows and no man ever enters the same river twice. This bike, the third one I have illustrated for Festka, was the biggest challenge of them all. From the moment Tom came to my studio and told me what the customer wanted, the river swelled to a flood of biblical proportions. It wasn’t so much the technique or colour scheme but the content. Me transferring bits from Kafka’s unique universe onto a bicycle! I don’t think I could say I came to understand fully this literary genius, but I believe I got closer to him through reinterpreting, in my own way, several truly Kafkaesque scenes from his work.” says Michal Bačák.

For this amazing project, Lyndon chose the Festka Scalatore model with a special geometry created with the Wireless Sram Red eTap groupset, the Enve cockpit, and the Enve SES wheels.

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