Ikea has released its first flat-packed bicycle, but is it any good?

By Matthew Dunn

Ikea has entered the world of flatpack bicycles, but does it live up to the hype? Photo / Supplied / News.com.au
Ikea has entered the world of flatpack bicycles, but does it live up to the hype? Photo / Supplied / News.com.au

A multi-gender urban transport solution created to support a sustainable lifestyle.
Try and tell me that sentence didn't strike a chord with every bearded hipster in the city. And so it should.

Imagine an aluminium bicycle without an oily old chain; instead complete with a rust-resistant, maintenance-free driving belt.

No, this isn't a dream from the backroom of a trendy inner-city cycle store; rather it's from a well-known Swedish furniture retailer.

That's right. Ikea has entered the market of flat-packed bicycles with the SLADDA.

"Designed to provide Aussies with a cheaper, faster, low maintenance and more sustainable alternative to the high traffic, urban congestion of existing transport systems, SLADDA is a new and innovative product from Ikea," the company said.

As an avid cyclist and advocate for sustainable living, I felt compelled to test out this product.

The box includes the following:

• 26-inch or 28-inch aluminium frame with rear mudguard, back tyre
• Pedals
• Front wheel, with disc brake
• Front mud guard
• Stand
• Seat
• Handlebars - already attached by front brake cable, but not set up on frame.
• All of the tools needed to put this bad boy together

THE BUILD

Ikea claim the bike can be built in half an hour.

This wasn't the case for me, although I will keep my time frame withdrawn for fear of ridicule on Twitter.

While Ikea might only offer instructions in the form of ambiguous pictures, a bicycle with minimal parts is relatively easy to figure out - or so I thought.

Despite my best efforts to get the pieces to fit snug, I was left with some dubious workmanship not seen since I tried to build a flatpack cupboard in 2015.

While my bike might have felt like an accident waiting to happen, I do strongly feel like those more mechanically minded would have better results.

Sketchy build aside, I must admit to having overwhelming feeling of accomplishment when I looked at my finished project.

I just had to ignore the bleak grey colour of the frame, although it would admittedly make a pretty fresh canvas.

NOTE: I left off the front mudguard because I felt it made the bike look more masculine. It works with or without. The back can also be removed.

THE RIDE

As mentioned earlier, the bike is propelled with a belt-drive, which is much cleaner and less work than traditional chains.

Ikea claim it will last for 15,000km of riding and has backed it with a 10-year warranty - the frame itself is covered for 25 years.

Interestingly, the SLADDA has opted for coaster brakes at the rear of the bike.

If you aren't familiar with the name, they are the brakes that work by pushing back on your pedals.

While allowing for some pretty wild skids, the functionality might take a little to get used to -

Given the bike's appearance and the fact Ikea is a furniture store, the bike might be marketed at those who aren't going to ride very often.

I found myself braking by accident from time to time.

The bike also has high and low settings for the automatic gears, which are changed depending on your rhythm.

Two gears might be a nice feature, but not being able to change them yourself makes the experience a little redundant.

While the bike is very comfortable to sit on, its size and weight make it a little tedious to ride on longer commutes when compared to my carbon fibre racing bike.

Not that a challenge isn't welcome, but if you are riding to work every day it's probably not the most efficient method.

If you were just looking to use your bike to tear down the corner store for some milk and bread, this is likely to be less of an issue.

The bike also has attachment ports for baskets or a trailer, which would be suited for the purpose I mentioned above.

THE VERDICT

The SLADDA is not cheap and will run you $799 or $649 for Ikea family members.

For someone who is riding everyday, I would be far more inclined to suggest you go to your local bike shop as you could get better value for money.

In terms of those who only want to ride occasionally, I am conflicted with my opinion.

The 10-year warranty on the belt means you're pretty much guaranteed a bike for a minimum of a decade, which equates to around $80 per year.

Saying that, if you are not frequently riding the bike, you could get a Kmart bike for half the price and chances are it would last for a while.

However, there is one very important fact I had overlooked when analysing the bike.

Given the bike's appearance and the fact Ikea is a furniture store, the bike might be marketed at those who aren't going to ride very often, but want something to show off in their house.

It just depends if you think $799 is justifiable for an accessory.

- news.com.au

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