The Swedish flatpackers at IKEA are getting into cycling, announcing that their first mass-produced bicycle, a low-maintence beltless commuter bike, the Sladda, will be released in Australia in September.
Sladda means “skid sideways” in Swedish, and yes, it comes in a flatpack, in just one colour, off white, with two sizes – 26-inch and 28-inch frames – making its suitable for anyone over 12. The rear wheel is connected to the frame, so you’ll need about 30 minutes to add the front wheel, handlebars and pedals.
It’s designed by Veryday, the Stockholm industrial design studio that also gave the world the Baby Bjorn and the Koenigsegg supercar.
The big innovation is that it swaps the bike chain for a rust-resistance and maintenance-free belt drive and it’s guaranteed for 15000km, which is about 7 return trips between Sydney and Melbourne. It also uses a back-pedal break on the rear wheel, so there are no brake cables. The bike frame is guaranteed for 25 years.
But the most amazing part is an automatic gear-change system inside the rear wheel, technology that only emerged last year.
And if you’re thinking of riding the bike to an IKEA store, there’s a range of accessories using a modular click system, including front and rear racks ($50/$40), rear pannier bags ($79) and even a tow cart.
The other impressive part is the price. At $799 ($649 for IKEA Family members) in Australia, it looks set to be a bargain, with the European price being touted at €700 and £450 ($900) in the UK when it hits the market a month earlier in August.