First contender, the IKEA SLADDA
Did you even know IKEA made a bike? It's a little known product offering that the company announced in April 2016. I was actually the first person to purchase the bicycle in my local store.
IKEA's messaging around the SLADDA is sustainable commuting. It's a step in the right direction to have the world's largest furniture retailer be involved in alleviating traffic problems and reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
Next up, Priority Classic 2.0
Priority Bicycles started out originally as a Kickstarter campaign in July 2014. The mission was to create a maintenance-free bicycle at an affordable price that was direct-to-consumer. The campaign was an extreme success raising over $550,000 in initial pledges. Fast forward to today, Priority has a full-fledged product lineup of bikes for kids, recreational bikers, to more advanced cyclists.
We built and tested both maintenance-free, belt driven bicycles and compared them below...
Assembly: IKEA SLADDA
Most of us are familiar with IKEA's furniture building practices and there is nothing new here with the SLADDA. The assembly guide uses the stick images you'll find in their furniture guides and comes with Allen wrench tools to put it together.
The bike arrived flat packed, zip tied and was bound very securely. When I started putting things together I ran into a few issues. The directions aren't explicit on which way certain pieces need to go. I quickly realized that the front wheel brake was on the wrong side and fork was backwards and had to disassemble to fix.
Total Build Time: 2.5 hours, blood, sweat and a tear or two.
Assembly: Priority Classic 2.0
The documentation, assembly videos and subtle design hints made the Classic 2.0 a much easier build. The founder, Dave Weiner, walks you through assembly via online videos in a concise yet easy to understand manner. I didn't experience any issues but their support team is readily available and responsive should any questions come up.
The bike comes standard with a bike floor pump. Beyond a safety check and helmet you're ready to take this on the road after assembly.
Total Build Time: 25 minutes start to finish.
The Ride: IKEA SLADDA
The SLADDA features a modern take on the bicycle with a unique frame and distinct color. It feels ripe to be customized with paint of your choosing but I'm sure this would void out your warranty.
The SLADDA features a 2-speed automatic SRAM gear hub. This means no gear changing on the handlebars, it's all handled internally. At first glance I thought it was a single-speed but after riding above 5-7 mph you feel the gear kick-in. When you begin climbing a hill, the gear drops making pedaling easier. It took time to get used to it but I can imagine for quick trips that this would be a non-issue. For people on regular commutes, more inclined routes, and looking for more control this may be more problematic.
The weight of the SLADDA also surprised me, the 28 inch wheel model comes in at 35 pounds. While this is a testament to the sturdiness of the aluminum frame I couldn't imagine carrying this up a New York City walk-up.
The Ride: Priority Classic 2.0
The Classic 2.0 prioritizes comfort without cutting corners. The Classic features curved handlebars keeping you upright and a simple yet stylish body that is available in a variety of color options.
The bike uses a 3 Speed Internal Shimano Nexus Hub which allows for a bit more flexibility on your ride and control when going up and down hills. This is my first experience using belt driven bicycles and the difference versus chain makes me question why this isn't the standard already. The Gates Carbon Belt Drive on the Classic is extremely quiet, no grease / broken chains and a very smooth ride.
You understand the care that went into the design of the original Priority Classic 1.0 and the improvements made with the Classic 2.0. Amenities like a well padded saddle, handlebar accents and easy gear switching were the biggest features that stand out.
The Classic 2.0 comes in at 25 lbs. and doesn't feel cumbersome when picking it up and moving it around.
Maintenance: IKEA SLADDA
After about 12 miles of testing I began to notice that the right pedal was warping, something that couldn't be fixed by tightening screws. After further examination the inside of the pedal crank was showing signs of deterioration, certainly wasn't expecting this to happen this early.
I called the IKEA Customer Support line and explained the issue, they first offered to send a replacement pedal. After further explaining that the pedal was not the issue they said it would be best to bring the whole bike back to a retail store.
The customer service team was understanding and empathetic of the issue and more than happy to rectify the situation. My concern is, how often does this happen? Would I be bringing my bike back to IKEA after every 10-20 miles to have parts fixed? How long would they continue replacing the whole unit? The warranty shows a commitment to the customer, but what good is a maintenance free bike that constantly needs to be maintained?
The saying you get what you pay for comes to mind, but at $399 this should not be the case.
Maintenance: Priority Classic 2.0
I've been riding the Classic 2.0 over 3 weeks now and crossing the 100 mile mark. The only maintaining I've had to do is check tire pressure and top off the tires with air. As it stands, it seems Priority has succeeded in creating a no-fuss, no maintenance bike that's easy on the eyes and wallet.
You might expect a company like IKEA to achieve efficiency at scale and undercut competitors, that's not necessarily the case this time. Few factors, if you have the cargo space and pickup at IKEA you just pay for the bike + taxes. If you do ship the SLADDA you will pay a hefty $99 shipping fee in most cases and $139 in cities like New York. It's an extra cost that isn't connected to the sticker price but definitely adds to the overall investment.
The Priority Classic 2.0 has a $449 price tag and $30 Ground Shipping in the continental US. Additionally you don't have to worry about sales taxes unless you reside in NY state. This brings the final price of the Classic 2.0 to $479 whereas the SLADDA with the same setup will end up costing $498 + tax.
Base Price: $499 + Tax
IKEA Member Price: $399 + Tax
Shipping: $99 (Free if you pickup in store)
Total: $498 + Tax
Priority Classic 2.0
Base Price: $449 (Tax collected for NY Residents)
Shipping / Delivery: $30 Flat Rate Ground Shipping
Overall I was impressed by both IKEA and Priority but ultimately the assembly and build issues I faced with the SLADDA make this a no-brainer for recommending the Priority Classic 2.0. If you're in the market for a new bicycle, check them out!
- Discounted for IKEA Family Members ($399)
- Comes with Front, Rear Light, Built-In Bell
- Accessory system for racks / trailers are easy and modular
- 25 year warranty on frame, 10 year on gear and 1 year return policy
- Uniform light-gray style, no alternate colors
- Expensive Shipping at $99
- Heavy, the 28 inch bike weighs 35 lbs.
- No bike pump, accessories sold separately
- Build time took 2.5+ hours
- Included air pump + water bottle cage, ready to ride same-day
- Quality build, leather accents, comfortable seat
- Lightweight frame, easy to carry up and down stairs if needed
- Easy instruction / assembly video
- Frame Colors available: Gloss Blue, Matte Black, Gloss White
- 5 Year Warranty on frame and fork
- No built in bell
- Lights sold separately