IKEA Bike Giveaway

IKEA Bike

IKEA had a good year, so to say thanks, they gave all 12,400 of their employees in the U.S. a bicycle. From the press release:

“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,” commented Mike Ward, IKEA US President.

This is a cool program, and I hate to rain on the parade, but being a company committed to “great design and quality”, you’d think IKEA could have done a little better on the bike choice. Oh well…

29 Responses to “IKEA Bike Giveaway”

  • Janice in GA says:

    Anybody have any info on who makes the bike? I agree, saw the picture and went “huh. That’s… interesting.”

  • Alan says:

    @Janice

    It appears to be a generic big box import like you’d find in Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, etc.

  • Eddie says:

    I was expecting it would be something like a flat pack bike:
    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/01/flat-pack_bike_scooter.html

  • doug in seattle. says:

    Sorry, that bike is a piece of garbage. Even at rock-bottom price points there are better bikes out there.

  • Julian says:

    Lively discussion over at bikeportland.org on this:
    http://bikeportland.org/2010/12/07/see-the-bike-ikea-just-gave-all-12400-of-its-u-s-employees-44155

    I’m with the Grinches.

    And you have to love the backwards fork on this one:
    http://media.oregonlive.com/commuting/photo/ikea3jpg-40a855a672f00fe1.jpg

    Nothing like giving away a dangerous, craptacular sub-$60 imitation full-suspension bike to employees and asking them to assemble it themselves. Nice idea, terrible execution. Negotiate deals for discounted gift certificates with larger LBS’s next time? UK IKEA employees got Raleigh folders a few years ago.

  • Émile says:

    Actually it they got a case full of bike parts, a 6mm Hex key and a multilingual instructions manual!!!

  • Pete says:

    First, I think that putting 12000 bikes out there is a good thing no matter what. Second, I too think the bike is junk, and I agree with BSNY that it embodies pretty much everything that’s wrong with cycling in America. However, if you needed 12400 bikes all at once, and you wanted the freedom to re-brand them, what options do you really have?

  • samuel chilbolton says:

    if it gets more people riding bikes it has to be good, I mean we all started out on crummy first bikes didn’t we?

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    That is lovely of them, but… are you sure that’s a bicycle?

  • Wayne says:

    I hope that this biking falling apart after 3 rides wouldn’t put the owner off cycling. Of course, the perfect bike to give would have been a cargo bike that could carry flatpack furniture … a little more expensive than this soon-to-be-junk-metal-bike though …

  • bongobike says:

    I suspect 12,350 will end up at Goodwill and the other 50 gathering dust in garages. Of course, those 50 will eventually make it to Goodwill, they just need some time. From Goodwill, they will go to poor people barely making a living as gardeners, day laborers, etc. and you will see them cruising home from the store with a plastic bag dangling from the handlebars.

  • antbikemike says:

    I am not sure if I should laugh or cry?

  • david p. says:

    that thing is a monstrosity. much like other ikea products, it will likely fall apart in 6 months with frequent use.

    fantastic gesture though, no doubt about it.

  • Mowestusa says:

    My first thought was something like, “That thing is not even worth giving away.” However, I also have to admit that the bikes that I’m seeing in my city used for transportation and are keeping people out of cars are mostly Huffys and other Walmart brand/quality bikes. Recreational riders are a different story, but all of those bikes are tucked safely into garages now that the snow is here. Even I have to admit that with temperatures in the teens I have not made one errand on any of my bikes, but I still see some cheap mountain bikes out there on the streets getting from point A to point B. I have more respect for them right now than myself.

  • dweendaddy says:

    That is one screwy looking bike. Is it a full suspension? Heck no, it just wants to be. All the losses in looks with none of the gains (if you are into suspension) that comes with it.
    If I had 12,500 of those bikes, I would be giving them away, too.
    Now, for all of the discussion here and elsewhere about whether bad bikes are good for biking or not, I think that tons of daily commuters started on crappy bikes.
    This will be an interesting experiment to track!

  • dweendaddy says:

    I searched for “IKEA bike” on ebay and craigslist and saw none on ebay, and these on craigslist:
    http://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/bik/2101349159.html $135
    An enterprising mechanic in Portland who will put it together for $25
    http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/2101014217.html
    I would love it if they all had a tracker so you could see where they are ridden (and gotten rid of) over the next few years.

  • Nick W. says:

    I’m with Mowestusa on this. To me, some of the criticism smacks of, um, “Snobbery”. SF Gate’s bike blog also covered these, and one purported IKEA customer left a comment that they loved the bike. I’d like to see someone get their hands on one, and give it a full review.

    The bike that got me back into cycling was a gift bike. I don’t ride it anymore, but it gave a a lot of information about what I did and didn’t want in my next bike. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these turn up being re-gifted to younger relatives come Christmas. And getting young people out on bikes is a good thing.

    Nick W.

  • bongobike says:

    http://austinontwowheels.org/2010/12/08/ikea-giveway-bikes-already-on-craigs-list/

  • JeffS says:

    Deforesting the planet must be profitable. Nothing but a greenwashed PR stunt.

  • Stevep says:

    Seems like a poorly thought PR stunt. Another example of why cash reigns supreme as the currency of compensation and bonuses. I would be fairly annoyed if my employer started paying me in cut-rate sporting goods instead of money. Put simply, the mortgage can’t be paid in chainrings.

    Reminds me when my roommate came home with a company logo’d jean jacket as a bonus for his year of long hours and diligent work. I think we burned it.

  • Wayne says:

    One should google “Ikea FSC” before making such comments about deforestation.

  • Pete says:

    This makes me think – the bikes that populate all those places around the world that we consider “bike cultures” are pretty cheap too. Copenhagen is not exactly thronged with Serottas and carbon Treks. In fact, you could probably make a reasonable argument that the more people in a society who bike, the lower the average value of each bike will be. It’s almost as if the sum total value of all bikes in a society is always constant, and it is divided by the number of riders. In the US, the number of riders is very low so we all ride $1500+ bikes. In China, the number of riders is very high, and they all ride $1.50 bikes. Amsterdam seems about mid-way, and they all ride $100 bikes…
    Just a theory :)

  • Nick says:

    I’ve always been happy to get cash as a bonus even when I thought it should be more. I’ve always been happy to get a turkey or a ham or even a fruit cake. I’ve gotten restaurant certificates and movie coupons that I didn’t use and been happy about that too. I’ve gotten nothing and not been unhappy. A couple times I’ve gotten a certificate of appreciation or a commemorative paperweight and I’ve thrown those damn things in the trash on the way out. They’re not gifts or bonuses, they’re cheapo salves for the employer’s conscience. If I got one of those IKEA bikes I’d have taken it home, IF I could strap it on my rack OR I had driven (not likely either way) so that I could throw it in the trash after Christmas. Otherwise I’d have thrown it in the trash on the way out.

    I don’t think the poor people or the future of cycling has anything to do with it. If you did you could leave the box at the bus stop and see if there are any takers.

  • Billy says:

    I haven’t read all the comments but being a very costs conversative company as Ikea, I am not surprised at all that they bought a very ugly and cheap bike from China.
    But then again, it’s a good clause for a greener environment.

  • Loring says:

    I can only imagine how hard that bicycle will be for them to assemble. Have you ever put together an Ikea bookshelf? I hope they include that special IKEA only tool and leave out one nut.

  • Tim says:

    I honestly find this a waste of time and effort on IKEA’s part. A lazy idea and a poor reward.
    The bike you see pictured falls into the “most likely to be hung in a garage and forgotten” category. A tuned instrument is conducive to fun play- I remember riding the Murrays and Huffys of my youth in the late 80s and being tremendously frustrated with the lifespan of their components.

    And any “green” benefit will be easily offset by the energy and labor used to produce the bikes themselves.

    I really wanted to cheer this as a great gift but the more I looked at the pictured bike the more it felt like a slap in the face and a slap on the back that IKEA is trying to give itself.

    Corporate rewards should never equal crappy bonus merchandise.

  • Adrienne says:

    Wow. What a lot of sour folks we have here. Are they the best bikes ever? No. But for someone who isn’t getting paid much this could be the Christmas present for a child they couldn’t afford (and no, just using the $ spent on the bikes to give cash bonuses wouldn’t be better because we would criticize them for not giving more). Maybe it is the impetus to try riding again. It is so easy to rip things apart, but the fact is at least the company was thinking about their employees. All I got from my long time company was laid-off. i would have been much happier to receive one of those bicycles instead.

  • Alan says:

    @Adrienne

    I can’t speak for the others, but my disappointment was in the fact that for the same money IKEA could’ve supplied a simpler, more traditional diamond frame bicycle that would’ve served their employees far better. The pseudo mountain bike frame design shown above is meant to look modern and techy, but it’s an inefficient design that adds weight and complexity while diminishing the functionality of the bike. Coming from a scandinavian design company, the choice is puzzling. So while the sentiment was wonderful, the execution was disappointing.

    Alan

  • Nico says:

    I’m confused like to many other people are at Ikea’s choice here. Given that Ikea prides itself on design, it would have been great to see them do something along those lines. It could have reinforced their image as a budget design store. A wasted opportunity to not just do something endearing for their employees, but the company as well. At the very least they could have ordered a bunch of Public Bikes that have classic lines.
    http://publicbikes.com/p/PUBLIC-A7

 
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