Ikea might be famous for its self-assembly furniture and Scandinavian style, but bicycles? In a surprise announcement, the Swedish furniture company has revealed the Sladda, a straightforward machine for the urban rider.
Delve a little deeper and it makes perfect sense. Ikea is, it claims, keen to encourage a sustainable lifestyle and environmentally friendly transport options, but is aware that many people are put off by the maintenance required to look after a bike – chain cleaning, black messy grease, and so on.
So the company has created 'Sladda', a bicycle that's designed to make life as easy as possible for the owner. "The focus has been to develop a bike that needs little maintenance, and is a viable transportation option for the urban environment," the company commented in a press release.
No chain here, but a belt drive instead – good for 15,000km of maintenance-free riding
Sladda, which translates as 'skid', is a unisex bike and hosts a raft of features that Ikea feels are ideal for the rider who wants a reliable, functional steed. A belt drive does away with the need for a dirty, oily chain, and is good for 15,000km, according to the company. The integrated full mudguards are a good idea for year-round use, as is pannier rack and front basket, and there's a matching trailer available too, to take bigger loads.
The bike features a click system that allows the easy attachment of racks, and a pannier bag that doubles as a rucksack. Ikea also states that the bike is designed with an eye on future compatibility with third-party products.
Other features, as reported by the Core77 website, include sealed hub gears, an alloy frame designed to be light enough to lift up stairs, and a two-layer paint job that Ikea says will be robust enough to resist scratches. The handlebars are height-adjustable and, interestingly, the bike will be available with either 26in or 28in wheels.
There's a click-in system for connecting pannier racks and trailers
The Sladda has already won a coveted Red Dot Design Award, an international competition that sees 41 design experts choose winners from approximately 5,200 contributions.
"At Ikea, we do not just make things; we use design to make things better," said Marcus Engman, design manager at Ikea. "We work with what we call democratic design, where we make sure that our products have good function, are beautifully designed and can be used every day, while being environmentally sustainable – and available thanks to low prices. Awards like this show that we are on the right path. We are delighted that our colleagues in the design community appreciate our hard work to create products with great value."
Ikea says the bike will be available from August 2016, though how widely available Sladda will be is yet to be confirmed. The projected price is €699 (International pricing TBC) which roughly equates to $797 or £557, or €499 for Ikea family members.