In Brief

Ikea to launch its first flat-pack bicycle

The Sladda is specially designed to appeal to cyclists who don't want to get their hands dirty

ikea_sladda_bike_aug161.jpg

If piecing together your chest of drawers and dining room table aren't enough, soon Ikea customers will be able to build their own flat-pack bike.

The Swedish furniture giant is to take on the transport market by launching a self-assembly bicycle.

In grand Ikea tradition, the new product will receive a guttural Scandinavian moniker – the Sladda, Swedish for "to skid" or "to slip sideways". Not the most promising name for a machine designed to keep you upright as you get from A to B, but the aluminium bicycle is being billed as a lightweight, low-maintenance bike perfect for urban living.

The unisex machine has been developed in partnership with design studio Veryday, whose director of industrial design described it as uniquely customisable.

"Sladda is like a tablet with apps in the sense that you can customise it with several different accessories adapted to make everyday life easier for the user," Oskar Juhlin told the Daily Telegraph. Customers can add extra features, including bike bags and even a two-wheel trailer.

The Sladda's design means it can be put together without any technical expertise, with a rust-free belt drive in place of a chain and back-pedalling brakes rather than cables.

It is not Ikea's first foray into the transport sector, Dezeen magazine points out. In 2014, the company began selling an electric bike, the Folkvanlig, at two of its Austrian stores, but phased it out after a few months.

While the company did not explain the decision, cycling blogs suggested electric bikes were currently still too expensive to be profitable for the mass-manufacture, low-cost retail chain.

However, Ikea seems more optimistic about the Sladda's chance for success. Developing a build-your-own bike is "a perfect fit" for the brand, according to spokesperson Annique van der Valk, who says it will offer customers "healthy and environmentally-sound solutions".

The Sladda will go on sale worldwide from August 2016, with an international price tag of €699 and a UK cost of £450, the Telegraph reports.

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