Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

01 February 2017

This Winter, You Could Ride A Sladda

Back in April, I wrote about the Sladda, Ikea's foray into the bicycle market.



Well, perhaps not into the bicycle market, per se. The company recognizes that the majority of its customers are young or youngish urban dwellers, many of whom are living in very small spaces.  And, although they might ride to work or the farmer's market--or even, on occasion, for pleasure--they don't necessarily identify as cyclists.  Certainly, most don't know how to do even the most cursory sorts of bike maintenance and, even if they knew how, they probably wouldn't do it.




So how does this bike fit its intended demographic?  Well, for starters, it's made to pack flat, so that it fits as a layer in one of the Swedish retailer's shipping containers.  So it fits alongside or behind their Burrow sofas.  


Another way in which the Sladda would appeal to such customers is that its accessories--which, for the moment, include a front basket, a rear rack and a cart--are all easily attachable to the bike's "click system" ports.  The bike's designers say that more accessories are in the works and liken them to "tablet apps".


Finally, as for the maintenance issue:  The Sladda has an internally-geared hub that is driven by a belt rather than a chain, much like the drivetrains of the Trek District and Soho.  They do not require oiling and, according to Ikea's literature, are good for about 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles).  The company is offering a ten-year warranty on it (and 25 years on the rest of the bike), which tells me that the bike is not designed with a high-mileage rider in mind.


The Sladda has been available in Europe for about a year.  When I wrote about it in April, IKEA planned to release it in North America in August.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, the company announced that the date has been rolled back to February--i.e., this month.




I don't think I'll buy one:  I already have a few bikes and ride each of them more in a year than most of Sladda's intended customers will ever ride it.  Plus, my apartment doesn't have the Millenial Urban aesthetic, so the bike wouldn't fit.  (Then again, my apartment could be described as "chaotic" or "eclectic, depending on your point of view.  So anything--or nothing--might fit!)   But if I am near an IKEA store, as I occasionally am, I might just stop in to take a look at it.   


3 comments:

  1. "chaotic" or "eclectic", That is me too though I dream of being ultra organised and minimal.

    Strange how difficult it is to get handlebar setup which turns for parking and would be ideal in the smaller spaces people can afford now. I nearly bought a Dutch version last year for shopping but sadly it failed to come up to expectations but the butterfly folding pedals and turning bars were genius.

    An interesting reversal on the Ikea flat pack...

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  2. Coline--So your living space is like mine? Hmm...

    I think you're right about the handlebar setup. My experience with folding bikes would support what you say:If they can really fold compactly, they're not comfortable to ride.

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