The Sladda Bike Trailer from IKEA

IKEA carries this really cool bike trailer.  It’s called the Sladda and compliments their Sladda belt-driven bicycle.

This aluminum frame and wood deck trailer is large and lightweight. It weighs in at 24 lbs. and can carry a maximum load of 108 lbs.

The trailer’s tongue can be repositioned to create a hand cart (see above). The trailer also has plastic fenders to keep cargo from getting entangled in the spokes of the wheels.  #nicefeature

The trailer attaches to a bicycle using this coupler (pictured above).  The coupler easily attaches (bolts on) to the rear axle of the tow bike.

 

The trailer then hitches to the coupler and is secured by a clevis pin.

The trailer’s 20-inch wheels make towing a breeze, and allows for substantial carrying weight (108 lbs. max load).

The Sladda is a very well designed and attractive bike trailer. It lists for $179, but is available for $129 at the IKEA FAMILY member price.

I can’t wait to use this at the next festival I attend.

 

Vintage Schwinn Exerciser Bike

What a find! Picked up this vintage Schwinn Exerciser bike at Savers (one of our local thrift shops) for $14.99. It’s in awesome condition, and works just fine. Just needs to be cleaned and lubed.

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I initially picked this up for “TBD” project. I say “TBD” because my shop is full of found bikes, wheels, bed frames (for the metal), and assorted other items that will be chopped, hacked and utilized for future builds. …even if, at the time of acquisition, I have no idea what I intend to do with the specific item.

Because building mutant and custom bikes is simply a [self-funded] hobby, I strive to pick-up most items or materials at no [or negligible] cost. This means for free, or for few bucks at most. I rarely will pay over $10 for an item unless the parts total much more than that.

The other instance of when I might pay more than $10 for an items is if it is unique enough to warrant it. Such was the case when I spied this vintage Schwinn Exerciser bike

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What drew me initially to this beauty was the sheer size if the chain ring. At 65 teeth I have nothing that large in my parts chest.  Imagine the outrageous gear ratios that can be achieved with that monster.  [Indeed, later while researching this bike online I found that someone had actually built a grain mill by modding their Schwinn Exerciser bike. Check it out at Baking, Biking, and the Country Living Grain Mill. – Ed.]

In my attempt to determine the age of this vintage piece, here’s what I’ve found by going through the Schwinn Catalogs of past

1973_schwinn_deluxe_exerciser_2 source: 1973 Schwinn Catalog

1974_schwinn_deluxe_exercisersource: 1974 Schwinn Catalog

1977_schwinn_deluxe_exercisersource: 1977 Schwinn Catalog

  • 1978 Model XR6 …. $156.95  Same solid chainring; this could be it as well.
  • 1979 XR6-0 …. $169.95  The control panel is different on this one. Nope.

So, from the above catalogs I can say, with a high level of confidence, that the model I have is either a 1977 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser Model XR5 or a 1978 Model XR6.

Found this awesome build, on the Rat Rod Bikes forum, utilizing a Schwinn Exerciser frame: A New Twist On The Schwinn Excersiser..WOW!

The Mongoose Beast

In the spring of 2013 Walmart introduced the 26″ Mongoose Beast Men’s All-Terrain Fat Tire Mountain Bike to serve the “fat tire” bike wave that was sweeping the nation.

As with most of the bikes Walmart sells the Mongoose Beast was/is an inexpensive alternative to the top-of-the-line fat tire bikes sold by other manufacturers. In fact, at $199, the Beast was a fraction of the cost one would expect to pay for a name brand, full-featured fat tire bike.
2013 Walmart Beast
The Mongoose Beast was single-speed on “supersized beach cruiser 4-1/4″ knobby tires” and featured a “rigid steel, cruiser design frame”. [Personally, I think the frame is more of a BMX design rather and cruiser design.]

Of course the quality of the Beast was debatable. The Mongoose Beast was much maligned and ridiculed by passionate fat tire enthusiasts. See Gear Junkie’s Fat Bike trend Dead? Walmart sells ‘Beast’ bike for $199 or MTBR’s forum Walmart Mongoose Beast sucks!, or many others.

However the Beast also had it’s legions of fans — particularly amongst bicycle builders. With it’s 4.25″-wide wheel set and tires, and steel frame (good for welding) the Beast offered bike hackers and builders an inexpensive palette from which to design. Heck, one couldn’t even pick up a fat-tire wheel for the $199 price tag of the Beast.

As an example of what could be done with the Beast see Rat Rod Bikes’ forum Mongoose Beast Fat Bike build and ideas. [Last I checked there were 29 pages of comments on that thread.] Or, check out one of my own builds, the Playa Marauder, that used a Mongoose Beast as a central component.

I purchased my first Mongoose Beast (pictured above) in 2013 for use on the playa during Burning Man. It immediately became my go-to bike for traversing the playa — and remains so today. With its 4-1/4″ wide tires, the Beast floats effortlessly across the unpredictable dunes and ruts of the ever changing playa surface. Additionally it’s simple single-speed design lends itself well to the harsh dusty conditions of the playa.

My Beast [pictured below] features ape hanger handlebars and lay back seat post to give me more room in the cockpit. I also swapped out the pedals.

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As I mentioned above, for my needs, the Mongoose Beast can not be beat. Out of the box, stock, the Beast is hands down one of the best bikes for Burning Man, IMO. For chopping and hacking the Beast offers an inexpensive means to add some “fat tire” to one’s builds.

Though seldom seen on the floor of Walmart stores today, the Mongoose Beast can be ordered through Walmart’s website. And sometimes on sale for much less than the $199 list price. [I have seen it as low as $169 on sale.] Occasionally one can find a Beast on Craigslist. For example, I picked up this one for less than $100 on Craigslist in 2014.

craigslist beast

Which I later used for the Playa Marauder build.

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