IKEA bikes are here! , there has been a lot of rumours about them for quite some time, some from advocates and some from grumpy elitist haters! In the time tradition manner of IKEA they will be high value and will appeal to some people, but probably not all. My perspective on cycling in general is that more bike options = more people on bikes = better communities.
IKEA developed this bike as a “A multi-functional bike that is affordable for the many and helping solve urban transportation problems” It looks like they are offering a thought out high-value bike with accessories. Some basic ideas with some reasonable warranties. It will be interesting to see how they service these warranties and also if anything blooms into some type of maintenance program. These bike options are very US or UK centric as far as a town bike is concerned. no swept back handlebars and Amsterdam style bikes.
$399 bike $129 trailer
The bike, it’s an alloy frame and comes in two sizes – 26″ and 28″ – Two sizes to fit many sized people! which means they have been designed to adjust the handlebars and saddle height to fit smaller and larger riders, a great idea with a height and adjustable angle handlebar. In general smaller riders / larger kids will want to start with a 26″ version and the 28″ will be great for anyone say 5ft 5 and larger. The wheels are standard size so they will use normal tyres and tubes. The other features are quite a well thought out combination of features for a city bike:
- 2-speed internal gears,
- a belt drive instead of a chain (no messy oil)
- a front disc brake (efficient and effective)
- multiple points where you can simply add a front basket or a rear rack which they will sell also.
- Front and rear lights included!
- Integrated bell
The emphasis here has been put on a low maintenance complete solution, Belt drives don’t need cleaning as much or replacing like a traditional chain, they also don’t leave oil on your trousers and they don’t wear out. Some great benefits there for a general purpose or in city use. I also really like the fact that they come with front and rear lights included. It removes the mental barriers of yet purchasing another thing for a bike and enhances safety, even in daylight hours.
The base model bikes come without racks but Front and rear racks are available and attach simply and quickly due to good design.
The IKEA bikes have a few nice “designy” features that stand out, like the easy way to add a rack, specifically the front rack that seems to be very on / off able. (it does have an security allen screw hidden to stop it from being stolen if you need) The little touch of an integrated bicycle bell into the brake lever! pretty cool.
I love the utility of trailers for an everyday life but for most of us the IKEA trailer might be just as useful for our infrequent or special needs, say you have to transport a large package or move some boxes to storage. For most of us with bikes even though trailers are attractive, the price of them takes them out of consideration unless they are definitely going to get a lot of use.
Most current market trailers are $250 or more, this IKEA trailer is a great lower cost option and may be very attractive to a person like myself that might use the trailer only a handful of times per year.
The construction looks basic and simple, it measures 50″ x 30″ and weighs 24lbs and has a capacity to pull 108lbs (49kg) The wheels simply pop on which might be a little concerning since a lot of these mechanisms are not very durable. But I have not tested this, the plus side is that the wheels could also pop off for storage.
As far as I can see the attachment arm from the trailer to the bicycle does have some type of spring in it for a little flex, the mechanism looks simple. The instructions show using the attachment to the bicycle on a “bolt on” style rear wheel, so at this time I am unsure it’s complete compatibility with a QR type skewer. I am sure there are some solutions out there that make a 9mm axle more of a bolt on type interface, a company called AxelRods used to do this.
The trailer has a nice feature that allows the link to the bike to be flipped vertically allowing it to be a handcart and pulled along comfortably by a person without bike.
Well I’m hoping they will have these in my local IKEA soon so that I can go check them out. For other interest in trailers check out these guys… Wike Bicycle Trailers
Oh yeah and, don’t do this: 🙂 (much too fun)