As you might have already heard, global furniture retailer IKEA gave out a free bike as a thank you gift to all 12,400 of their U.S. employees today (including 350 of them at the Portland location).
In a statement about the gifts, IKEA US President Mike Ward said:
“It’s been a good year for IKEA, so what better way to celebrate our success than to thank our IKEA co-workers who made this happen. Our big reveal today will be a fun day as we unload 12,400 new bikes at IKEA US locations. This is our way of saying ‘thanks IKEA co-workers for being strongly committed to working together.’ We hope this bike will be taken in the spirit of the season while supporting a healthy lifestyle and everyday sustainable transport.”
Given IKEA’s European roots, I was very curious what type of bike they’d hand out. From the photo below (supplied by their PR firm), it looks like they went with something more typical of the American market. The bike has a mountain-bike inspired frame, an upright stem and bars, and a triple-chainring up front. I can’t tell the make or model because the frame has been customized with IKEA colors on the downtube.
It’s great to see a large company like IKEA make such big statement about the benefits of bicycling. Hopefully other companies will follow suit. The savings in employee health claims alone will likely make this a very smart investment.
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wild frame, solid bike-car candidate.
Are these Made in the USA or another import from China? Just wondering if IKEA considered USA Made. “Buy Local” according to the bumpersticker on that Volvo I saw today…..
Other than custom builders, who is making bikes in the USA? Most of the major manufacturers aren’t.
…AND the elployees have to put their own bike together using a 5mm allen key.
I actually have to enter the Ikea property once a month as part of my job.
They’ve got plenty of bike racks out front, and they are almost always empty. Occasionally I see one or two bikes, but that’s about it.
To be fair, many of the things that can be purchased at Ikea would be impossible to get home on a bike without an attached trailer. I can’t blame customers for not riding there.
However, that doesn’t mean than more employees couldn’t ride to work. My office is up airport way a few miles, and on the days I ride to work I “cheat” by riding the Max to Cascade Station then bike the rest of the way. It works out quite well.
For the record, I’ve biked there a few times with my trailer. I live right off the I-205 bike path, so it’s no big deal to bike there and back. I get a kick out of it, to be honest. Although the ironing board last time was pushing it–it was hard to tie down that plus all the other stuff without it rubbing my wheel or dragging on the ground.
This is nice, but…Ikea worked actively to try to block bike lanes near their New York store (see Gothamist article), their products are fragile illusions of real furniture, meant to be pitched and replaced after a season or two, and, following as they do the big-box retail model, they are totally dependent on publicly-funded sprawl development for their existence in the US market.
Until they start selling durable products out of smaller, locally-oriented stores, this free bike is just greenwash.
Uh, Rick? In case you haven’t noticed, IKEA specifically builds its locations OUTSIDE of major metropolitan areas. That’s part of why they feel it’s essential to offer a (super-cheap) restaurant and (free) childcare, since many people drive a long distance to visit IKEA.
Over-heard: “Thanks Boss! What’s the website for craigslist?”
am i alone in thinking that’s an atrociously ugly frame? what possible engineering, production, or aesthetic value is there in joining the tubes that way, interrupting the seat tube? the only thing i can think of is theft-proofing: too ugly to steal, and if nevertheless stolen, instantly recognizable as an ikea bike.
Looks like it is supposed to look like a full suspension bike.
It’s really hard to come up with a constructive comment about this.
What a total piece of crap.
$69 Walmart special?
Yeah, but Ikea only paid $35 per bike!
While I share all of the above gripes about Ikea (AKA Swedish WalMart) and this bike, none of those gripes overshadows the awesomeness of a company giving bikes to adults for a year-end bonus. 350 more bikes in the world is a good thing. Way to go, Ikea!
And it does provide a bike for a number of people. If 10% of them use it or are swayed by the bike usefulness that we take for granted….
Yes, it is not a full “win” but possibly a step in direction?
350? I thought the story said 12,400.
Right. 350 in Portland alone.
This bike cannot be ridden often/safely/efficiently for long.
It is made of shoddy bottom-of-the-barrel Chinese components.
This “benefit” is a slap in the face to their workers and was poorly advised by their PR/HR departments.
Maybe you should ask the employees how they feel about it before becming their spokesperson.
I had one and gave it away to a needy boy who will use it up or outgrow it in a year or two. It is a near bottom end quality bike, about what you would get at Target for $75 or so. The whole bike giveaway was a successful publicity stunt. I doubt there will be many of these bikes in the IKEA racks. Most Portland IKEA people drive to work and will continue to do so in spite of the free bike.
Nice sentiment but, if the bike is like anything else you buy at IKEA, it looks great sitting there but don’t ever try to move it or fix it. The screws and bolts will strip, the laminate will separate and parts will be impossible to find.
How did they make a bicycle out of wood chips and glue?
I agree with Carl, this is an awesome move for such a large employer.
To wonder aloud about the bike design: The frame looks like a modified rear suspension frame, without the suspension components and some extra framing welded in. Perhaps they got a deal on overstock or slighty mishapen frames that weren’t suitable for retail sale, then they went about making them stronger with the extra welds. I would find it hard to believe that this bike design was created from the ground up, it really looks like some sort of conversion.
My nephew has a bike like this- or at least that looks like it. It was a Mal-Wart cheapo- like $119.95 or something like that- that was specifically designed to mimic the appearance of full-sus rigs, only without the full-(or any) sus. So it wasn’t a conversion, it actually was built to look that way.
That frame is bizarro! It’s built like a pivoting mountain frame, but apparently without the pivot.
It plants the seed ppl… great to see this happening this day and age.
several years ago IKEA gave folding raleighs to their employees in the UK. many of them ended up on e-Bay. this does look like something pacific bikes might have come up with. extremely low end componentry, and the employee is expected to hire out the build. can i have the canned ham instead?
What the person does is up to them. The sentiment from organization could be good. It may be like Portland putting in bike lanes as a sentiment to the people, but not having enough people use them, then blame Portland. For anything like this to work, people have to make it work and build on what us there. ( agreed…it is an ugly bike)
I’d take a raleigh folder over that thing any day
you can get a pretty good look at the bike at
looks like a single piece crank, very basic rear derailleur, maybe five or six speeds.
on the other, other, other hand. it is a bike, and it probably does function. certainly it functions better than no bike at all. and if you are going to give away twelve thousand of these, you pretty much have to go cheap. if it gets someone into commuting and they make the move up to a better bike, then the world is a slightly better place.
my first bike was what amounts to a roadmaster, and i have never bought into the eleven-speed carbon with the ceramic bearings or whatever.
still, the canned ham . . .
It has rack and fender eyelets and a triple. After the junk rear derailler and shifter break install a decent 7 or 8 speed rear wheel, derailler and shifter and you have a decently operating but not flashy bicycle that can be made all-weather. If the front shifter and derailler break you could put it in the middle ring, swap out the triple for a 34 tooth chainwheel, or just get decent components for up front. The major downsides I can see are no fender eyelets on the fork and the need to install a claw derailler hanger on the rear for a decent rear derailler.
You forgot to mention replacing the wheels after the hubs disintegrate and the cranks and bottom bracket when they crap out in 6 months too. But I think the frame has a LOT of potential!
I see blue and yellow freakbikes in the future.
My bedroom set is from Ikea and it’s actually pretty nice. I shopped all around and for the price it is constructed very well and seems to be built to last. Now, I went for the top of the line Ikea stuff, the cheaper stuff is all junk!
It sounds like greenwashing to me. It makes for great publicity in the USA though, where apparently all you have to do to appear to be trying to save the world is ride a bicycle or promote bicycling. This is probably way cheaper for Ikea than giving everyone a $90 bonus, plus it makes for way better PR.
Thank god for re-gifting is all I can say.
Speaking of re-gifting, I’m guessing there are organizations that help kids earn free bikes in Portland. Tacoma has a group and then there is BikeWorks in Seattle. Would these be reasonable for that purpose?
In a economy where companies are eliminating all benefits, vacations and people in pursuit of GREED, this is at least a gesture. To me it looks like a huffy mountain bike, built for children who will never go off road and are stuck in the inner city. Left outside for theives and rust a pitiful existance. Yet should ONE of the three hundred and fifty continue riding, or buy up to a serviceable bicycle, we should thank IKEA. It did not cost us one penny and may save several gallons of gas.
as an ikea worker, let me tell ya, very disappointing. We go above and beyond every year and generally our compensation is way better. I would have rather had the money they spent on these ugly bikes than the bike itself.
The fact that you posted this, makes you very ungrateful for the win-win bonus IKEA coworkers got this year and this generous gift, which was a lot better than last years gift, with this being said, I highly doubt you are an IKEA co-worker, or else you wouldn’t have posted this.
How great! Agree with the above poster that, although Ikea are yukky multinational, it’s good to see 350 more bikes in the world.
I do second others’ thoughts that, the bike shown in the photo does look like a total piece of imported Taiwanese crap.
I recently rented a bike in Boston while on vacation there. What a miserable experience on that rental bike! The seat hurt my ass, the handlebars hurt my back, the gears would not shift too well… ie. things that come as standard on a cheap-ass bike.
I know SO many friends who tried bicycling, said they found it awful and uncomfortable, and vowed never to do it again. Then I let them ride my nicer Cannondale bike, and it was like a religious conversion for them! Suddenly, they were riding a bike with a comfortable seat, and gears that shifted like butter, and….
I just wonder how much harm all of the Huffys and Magma bicycles do to bicycling. People ride them, and it’s so uncomfortable, they just give up!
You should see the reaction when I let them ride my Seven…..but nobody throws a leg over my Vanilla but me.
As nice as a good stock bike is, hain’t nuttin like a custom.
Let me first explain to you that Taiwan and China are two very different places. CHINA bikes are the junk (like the IKEA bike) and are far inferior to products made in Taiwan.
Most of your high end bikes are actually made in Taiwan. There are very very few brand name bikes made in the USA. Specialized, Giant,Trek, Surly and a few others are all made in TAIWAN. Please do not confuse cheap CHINA bikes and quality TAIWAN bikes.
If you own a HONDA, there is a good chance it was made (at least the engine) by a company called SYM.
SYM builds cars, motorcycles and scooters that are n par and sometimes even sold as Japanese or European brands. I know they make Hondas for sure, including the motorcycle that made Honda a household name, the CUB (You meet the nicest people on a Honda campaign) that was sold in the US and built in TAIWAN for over 30 years, establishing HONDA as reliable and bullet proof transportation. SYM also builds cars for both Honda and Hyundai as well as Puegot in Europe.
This is just one example. Do not lump all ASIAN manufacturers together with chinese JUNK.
Well… the stripes are pretty.
Good to see the PDX bike community smugness is still alive and well.
Heheh. Spot on. I’ll admit I’ve been racking my brain for a good allen wrench joke.
Or lingonberries, or meatballs.
my thoughts exactly. What’s the opint of living here if it isn’t to find something to comlain about?
if you didnt wait in line and support an artisan… can it even be called a bicycle?
My question is:
If 100 Ikea employees all start bicycling to work, how will they know which bike is theirs when they get off their shift?
Too bad BikeCraft just finished; this sounds like the perfect opportunity to sell a bunch of custom-knit U-lock cozies.
Here’s a revelation: you don’t need a $2000 “commuter” bike to ride to work or the grocery store. Many people rely on crappier bikes than these– every day. The snobbery here is deafening.
It’s a bonus, and it’s not even *your* bonus. Would you rather they all got frozen turkeys?
But you do need bike routes…the Portland IKEA is off the 205 freeway and not close to where most employees live. Nice concept, not practical. PR win and onto the next…
if any ikea employees want to re-gift, they should bring theirs to the dropout bike club white elephant ride on december 17th. well, as long as it’s steel…
Not snobbery to call out a “bicycle shaped object” that will likely turn more people off practical cycling than it inspires. I’d rather they got a, you know, *bonus*. Or gift certificates to LBS’s, if they must greenwash.
Someone beat me to the allen wrench jokes. My family wishes someone would rate IKEA furniture based on how many moves it can survive. Much of it 1-2, at best.
That bike is truly awful. What a shame. I think we shouldn’t underestimate the risk, noted above, of turning people off to the whole enterprise by introducing them to such dreadful crap masquerading as a bicycle. This isn’t about snobbery. It is about recognizing a POS bike for what it is, not something that is going to perform well for any reasonable amount of time.
Crappy bikes come in a lot of flavors. Shoddy plastic components, though, are probably near the top of the list of fatal mistakes the marketers came up with to sell down-market bikes. To what end? Do they really think folks are going to trade up after this one ‘wears out’ in a matter of weeks or months?
Jonathan, maybe you could arrange for a test ride with some of the IKEA employees, or an interview with them about how it has changed their commutes/attitudes about biking (if they needed changing–big assumption). I’d love to be wrong.
Should’ve given their employees IKEA-colored Bullitt cargo bikes instead (see story below this one).
The company gifted its employees with an alternate mode of transportation that has a low theft appeal. Very practical.
The commenters who frame this cheap bike as a possible gateway to a life of cycling are right on. Furthermore, these bikes will have to be serviced somewhere, right? Like a bike shop? Could that mean more money for local shops via bike tune ups and repairs? Possibly even sales opportunities for new, “better” bikes!
the bike needs to be assembled, at a cost of $x, probably more than some people would pay to buy a beater at a yard sale. the single piece crank will not hold up to much use by an adult, and the bottom bracket probably will not accept anything else. the componentry cannot be replaced directly with comparable crap at most bike shops. and to extend the allen wrench theme, it would not surprise me if the bolts on this are non-metric.
so no, i do not see this as an opportunity for local bike shops. on the other hand, we might be able to help someone out at bikefarm.
i really do not think it is smug to point this stuff out. IKEA made a gesture that was supposed to have some p.r. content. to the extent the p.r. content is b*llsh*t, someone needs to call it out.
Maybe the bike shop can convince the poor guy that they should buy a better bike, but I don’t know of any real bike shops that will work on it, they do have a dumpster out back that you are more than welcome to toss it into though.
I can agree with the others who say it actually hurts bicycling as alternative transpo. I have purchased Wally word bikes in the past. I think the top of the line Wally world Mongoose bike lasted me the longest. With daily wrenching and replacement parts like peddles etc I managed to get it to last 4 months.
My entry level-mid range GIANT bike is 300x better than a Wally world bike and it wouldn’t be considered an “AWESOME” bike by any means by those into bikes. But it is respected as a ‘decent” bike and has never let me down.
If I were not determined to keep on bicycling after a bad financial situation left me no other choice years back, I wouldn’t know how nice it is to ride a REAL bike.
Many times my short commute turned to nothing but frustration on cheap wally world roadmasters and mongooses. It was also painful at times. When that paddle just falls off when your cranking up a hill it hurts ALOT.
I have left more than one bike in a ditch and walked the rest of the way home! That is not beneficial to the sport or the environment.
Ha! I just got down with some gorilla glue and a screw trying to fix an Ikea chair for the 3rd time. Hope the bike holds together better than their products. Hope some people will ride them.
Man, you people are hard to please. You know what millions of other Americans are getting as bonuses this year?
It’s too bad that IKEA didn’t contract with Vanilla Bicycles to appease all the ‘purists’ on this board.
If this is the gateway to work commuting for just 5% of IKEA’s staff then I say good on them.
It’s the holidays people. Try to have a little cheer 🙂
Why not buy better bikes for the ones which will commute?
A month of transit
A car freshener
…at least it won’t ever be put on a car bike rack with a frame like that.
Yup, lots of snobbery around here. My first MTB was heavy steel, plastic brake levers, and the BB/hubs needed rebuilding every 200 miles. But it was a START. I eventually got sick of rebuilding it and purchased a better bike. Should I have stuck with rebuilding the hubs/BB and saved all the carbon used to build my second, third, … nth bike?
This is not about snobbery, its about safety. in a world where things are designed to fail and be thrown away after little use like many IKEA items, I guess it makes sense that they went with this bike. This bike is not questionably cheap, they are VERY cheap and it provided IKEA with a great PR opportunity seeing as how many people even on this site dont see the danger and impracticality of riding this bike. This is a dept store bike and they provide little to encourage people to get hooked on cycling and are a danger to the rider if not for the shoddy manufacturing, then for the initial assembly. someone mentioned something about upgrades, but quite often dept store bikes dont use standardized parts, so its not an option on many of the most fundamental items of the bike. unfortunately there were many raw materials used here that will just end up in the landfill very soon.
when my cousin was young he face-planted riding down his driveway on a dept store bike and ended up with serious injuries. the fork failed. my aunt never made the mistake of going cheap on something that could potentially cause that much damage again.
just say no to bike hating!
cheap. heavy. Chinese.
“Garcia noted that a similar bike would probably run in the range of $200, and although he would not reveal the cost to the company for 12,400 bikes, he did say IKEA received a significant discount for buying the bikes in bulk.”
It looks a lot like some of the Roadmaster, Mongoose, Magna, and Huffy $69 bikes, minus the suspension components. But I have a feeling this was in fact an IKEA special, not a bike you might actually find in a store.
My guess is that it was a purchasing manager’s mistake for which he is trying to redeem himself. Oops, bought a big pile of bikes we don’t want to sell.. let’s just give them to employees for Christmas this year!
I think everything they sell at ikea is made in china. I hope this holds together better than the furnature they sell. Look on craigs list in a week and see these for sale. I would have taken the frozen turkey
China cheap (necessarily) – it’s very possible that most products are made in China now, they’re the world’s 2nd largest economy thanks in no small part to the US, and a lot of products coming from them are pretty high quality – a lot like Japan in the early 80s.
Side note – now that China’s quality in increasing as did Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, where is the “cheap” manufacturing moving to?
That should say “China does not equal cheap” – apparently WordPress hates mathematical symbols.
or whatever bikeportland is using for the back-end. WordPress? MT? Custom?
Well…this is a fascinating idea. Despite whatever good intentions were behind this idea, lots of criticism about how the idea has been brought about seem valid. Giving people a low quality bike that hasn’t been assembled, and may not be able to be easily adjusted to fit them, if at all, isn’t probably going to be a very effective way to get people to actually ride the bikes much.
After hearing about the IKEA’s bonus bike to employees, I wondered if the company might somehow have coupled the bikes with a commute to work incentive. The mission statement doesn’t seem to allude to any. It would be something if the company could have got their employees to use the bikes to commute to work. Maybe additional bonuses for bike to work mileage using the bike, or percentage of working days over the course of a year riding the bike to work.
IKEA Portland does have a commute to work compensation. Anyone who carpools or rides into work receive extra compensation that day. They also get reduced price max tickets. Also if co-workers do not want the bike they were given the opportunity to donate it to the KGW toy drive. Haters gonna Hate. One of the only things I dislike about people who live in Portland. Those who bitch simply bitch. Thanks for the Bike IKEA
A check of the Bike Commute Challenge website shows that IKEA does have a team there, but I couldn’t find them in the 2010 results to get an idea of how many riders are participating.
Perhaps a seed has been planted…
NOT even close to a $200 retail bike……
You know what? It’s a great gesture towards riding to work instead of driving. [You can’t expect IKEA to give custom, Portland-built frames to every employee. These are ride-able bikes. They’re great] If 10% ride them to work *sometimes*, it helps in many ways – people who wouldn’t otherwise ride get to know how bike commuters perceive things, one bike/one day of fewer emissions, and however much towards nicer asses in the aisles of IKEA. This is a thoughtful gift.
With their purchasing power in china it might only cost them $25 a pop
Nobody is saying they needed to give Portland built custom bikes or anything even remotely that expensive! how about just low-end, good quality bikes like a bottom-of-the-barrel bike shop quality bike? something that would hold up and wouldve showed they really cared to give their employees something decent with safety in mind. The lowest priced bike shop bike probably would be about $250 such as they suggest the price was of these. They could’ve bought a bike such as this overseas and not paid the $250 price tag, especially with a 12,500 bike order. Of course, it wouldve cost them more than the $25-50 they did pay for these.
Its one thing to buy something cheap and give it away. Its another thing to buy something cheap and talk it up as if you are giving something a whole lot more in value so you can state how important your employees are to you.
The bikes are cheesy. But it’s a nice gesture.
For those employees who think, “yuck!”… What about maybe a reclaim project offering IKEA employees who DON’T want their bikes a little cash or trade, then donating them to the CCC or even painting them yellow and releasing them wild on the streets?!
uh-oh …the curse of ‘the yellow free bike program’ … . Even these bikes deserve a better fate than that.
I support this move by IKEA. Sure there could be a bigger bonus, aka a nicer bike but if this starts a handful of commuters then it might be OK. Complaining about everything makes me weary.
I work at IKEA, I got one of the bikes and this is our Holiday present. We did receive a mighty big bonus. Mine was over a grand. But a lot of people did donate their bikes to the Toy Drive.
I know have known one more person that rides a “crappy” department store bike and get around well on it. But, then again this is Portland. Unless you have an 80’s vintage steel frame single speed or full carbon road bike, you may as well kiss your chances of getting a date good-bye and just drive your car!
Sure they’re cheap crap BSO, but if the frame is sound and the owner repairs the inevitable component failures with decent parts as they fail it can be made into a decent but not flashy bike. One Piece cranks lasted on my first bikes for years and thousands of miles, the worst thing you can say is they’re heavy and ugly, the rest of the components are chap and will fail sooner or later to be replaced with decent stuff. As I wrote before the only specialty part owners will have to buy is the derailler hanger ( http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/derailers-rear.html#hanger ) to convert to a modern rear derailler.
There is no BB or headset that will fit these as an “upgrade”. You can’t even change the peddles without an adapter as the thread size is not the size quality peddles and cranks use if your luck enough to not strip the crank when the peddle bends/breaks.
It wasn’t hard to predict that the commenters here would bring out the venom and hate for Ikea. Thanks for once again being so predictable.