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Vale Prince, funk god and motorcycle fan

Prince Purple Rain rebel Hondamatic
Prince on his Rebel Hondamatic

The sad news that Prince has died at the age of 57 reminds us that the talented songwriter, performer and musician was also a motorcyclist.

His biggest selling album featured Prince astride a chopped and modified 1981 Honda CB400A “Hondamatic”.

Prince Purple Rain
A 1981 Honda CB400A “Hondamatic”

He was often seen riding the bike around the streets of Minneapolis. It was a two-speed automatic, so he didn’t need to exercise his finger-fretting hand with a clutch.

The bike was one of three featured in the 1984 Purple Rain movie in which Prince did most of the riding.

It was customised with a large Windjammer fairing, mini-ape handlebars and a pink velour seat.

Don’t laugh at the size of the bike, as Prince may have been big on talent, but he was short in stature at 5 feet, 2 inches (157.4cm).

Even the low 30-inch (762mm) seat would have been a stretch for the rock/funk god, except for the fact that he usually wore high-heeled shoes.Prince Purple Rain

Prince was obsessed by his motorcycle, but the only reference we can find to bikes in his lyrics is in Raspberry Beret: ”I put her on the back of my bike and we went riding down to old man Johnson’s farm.”

The original Purple Rain bike is no longer painted purple, but black and gold for the sequel Graffiti Bridge, and is still on display at Prince’s Paisley Park Studios, Minneapolis.