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WRITER: DANIEL DASEY
Designed to replace cars on short trips – and to be fun to ride – the SLADDA bike is part of IKEA’s commitment to building a brighter, more sustainable future for the many.
Tables, chairs, bookshelves, kitchens – and one very special bike. When IKEA announced it was adding the SLADDA bicycle to its range in 2016, more than a few eyebrows were raised around the world. What was a furniture and homewares business doing dabbling with two-wheeled transport?
But designer Oskar Juhlin, who helped create SLADDA, together with IKEA deisgners Sarah Fager and Marcus Arvonen, says the bike is actually a natural extension of the IKEA commitment to making life better for the many. “IKEA has a focus on sustainable products in the home,” he says. “SLADDA is about doing something from a sustainability perspective outside the home, and replacing cars on some journeys.”
At first glance, it’s clear that SLADDA is far from your average bicycle. Chains and derailleurs have been replaced with a rust- and oil-free belt drive and automatic gears. An easy-click knob system makes it simple to add and remove accessories such as front and rear racks. SLADDA also has a multi-gender aluminium frame and clever handlebars that adjust for relaxed and streamlined postures.
"There’s room to do so much more and for people to even hack their own SLADDA accessories."
Juhlin, who created SLADDA in collaboration with colleagues from the Veryday design studio and the IKEA design team says the vision for SLADDA was to create a beautiful, affordable and well-made bike that was suitable for commuting, making trips to the shops, and taking kids to kindergarten. “We wanted to put functionality back on the map through things like a good basket system, a frame configuration that made it possible to carry loads, and a relatively low step-in height so that you can have a child seat there.”
Juhlin is particularly proud of SLADDA’s steel knob-attachment system, which allows the basket and other accessories to be removed and tidily stored when not in use. “And this is just the starting point,” he says. “There’s room to do so much more and for people to even hack their own SLADDA accessories.” Get ready for an interesting ride!