It's a fate I wouldn't wish upon anyone. Okay, that's a lie. It's a fate I would only wish upon just a few people who have crossed me.
The Ikea Sladda—the $500 aluminum bike the company debuted in February in the U.S. market—is a low-maintenance cargo bike built for city dwellers, and it can be bundled with helmets, bags, and all other sorts of goods. But building it comes with all the frustrations you're familiar with if you've ever bought Ikea furniture.
The wordless instruction manual is somehow specific and vague at the same time. You'll scratch your head wondering how to accomplish step four, only to see it's explained in step five. You'll swear, a lot. And you'll walk away with the imprint of a hex key temporarily branded into your hand.
But frankly, it's almost hard to complain, because most of the Sladda comes preassembled. In fact, given that the rear wheel, gears, brakes, and belt drive were already done, having to assemble the few remaining pieces of the bike felt like a spiteful adherence to Ikea tradition. Why not add a few inches to the hefty flat pack box and just stick the handle bars on there for me? (Truthfully, the answer is probably penny-pinching—and just how many of these Sladdas Ikea can load into a single shipping container.)
It took me just under an hour to finish the rest—the seat, handlebars, and attaching the front wheel and fender—which does not seem like it should have taken an hour, now that I see the pittance of my accomplishments listed out.
However, the longest single step was opening the box, which seems to have been glued shut with an industrial-level fixative. And it left me realizing: The bike is fine, but that glue! They should really sell the stuff.