On 21 April 2016, the world lost a musician and performer of huge talent. Prince, whose music touched billions of people, passed away at his home in Minnesota. As his multitude of fans mourn his passing and rejoice in his amazing art, we’d do well to remember another aspect of his legacy: perhaps one of the most recognisable and iconic motorbikes in the world.
The motorbike in question is of course the one featured on the cover of the classic 1984 album Purple Rain and appears in the film of the same name. Like other aspects of Prince’s image, the bike appears weird and wonderful, beautiful but alien. So how was it actually created?
Perhaps surprisingly, the stock motorcycle which was modified to create the wondrous machine the world has come to know was a Honda 1981 CB400A Hondamatic. It was painted purple and customised with an unusual fairing (with Prince’s famous symbol upon it), semi ape bars and a passenger backrest. It’s possible that Prince chose the stock model due to its comfortable seat height of 30 inches. Whilst a musical giant, the genius performer was not very tall physically and with that seat height he would have had no problem getting both feet on the ground, especially if he was wearing his awesome high heeled boots. And of course the motorbike’s beautiful appearance was complemented by who was riding it!
Rest in rock, purple man, let’s hope there is some awesome riding to be had wherever you’ve gone!