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“Commuter bike for the masses” design competition

Commuter, Concept 54 975

–enter for a chance to win a Cannondale Bad Boy bicycle-
Those of us who are already cyclists know that riding a bicycle is one of the best ways to get around town. Infrastructure, enforcement, and general traffic safety issues may be the biggest obstacles to convincing people with no real interest in cycling to try riding a bike to work, but the design of the bicycle itself is also an important part of the equation. Some great discussion has taken place on the blog recently about the design of a bike for the many “potential cyclists” out there who do not currently ride. What kind of bicycle, or pedal powered machine, would it take to get those people out of their cars for trips to the store or to work? Building on those discussions, the idea of a transportation-oriented bicycle for the vast “blue ocean” of non-cyclist is the theme of this design competition.

I started thinking about holding a competition like this as soon as I started reading your responses to the aforementioned commuter bike post. The good folks at Cannondale were generous enough to provide a Bad Boy bike (like the one pictured here) for the winner, so the competition is a go. Read on for the details and start thinking about your entry.

Design Brief

Do you have an idea for a bicycle that might persuade the average person, with no prior interest in cycling, to park the car and pedal to work? That is the main idea behind this competition. The scope is up to you- choose to come up with a whole new form factor for a pedal powered machine, or focus on specific details that you consider key to accomplishing the goal of getting the average non-cyclist to consider riding a bike for transportation. Don’t be constrained by products that are currently on the market, but do make sure that your concepts are based in reality (don’t break the laws of physics, etc) and that they are manufacturable using existing technology. All concepts submitted will be considered, so be creative and have fun.

A jury of 6 industrial designers and 1 journalist will review and discuss the submissions to choose a winner. The jury will be looking for creative and sound concepts that are clearly defined, original, and innovative. Presentation counts too, so do your best to sell us on your concept.

Entry Requirements

Create and submit two jpeg presentation layouts, horizontal format at a size of 800 x 600 pixels (at 72 dpi). Higher resolution files may be requested if you are chosen as a finalist.

  • The first image board should show development sketches, drawings, support images etc.
  • The second image board should primarily show a final rendering or prototype photo.
  • Write a short description of your concept in English- 200 words max (save as a .doc file or include in the body of your email)

In addition to the 200-word explanation, you may also include text/ notes in the composition of your images to clarify the details of your design. Keep in mind that the images will be sized for the web if posted; so make sure any text on the images is large enough to be legible.

Send the 2 jpegs and description in an email to with “Commuter bike competition entry” in the subject line.

The deadline for entries will be Friday, December 5th, 2008 at 11:59pm Eastern Standard time.


1 Grand Prize, a Cannondale Bad Boy bicycle valued at around 1,000 U.S. dollars, will be shipped directly to the winner from Cannondale.

Note: If the winner is in the U.S., the prize will be the Cannondale Bad Boy Disc model. For the rest of the world, it will be the Cannondale Bad Boy 700 (European version)


The winning design will be chosen from all submitted entries by a jury that will include:


Intellectual property rights will remain with the designer, but by participating in the competition, you agree to allow your design to possibly be posted at Bicycle Design, and therefore made public. The jury will review all entries received and the winner will be announced on the blog after the contest closes. After the contest closes, the decision of the jury will be final.

Eligibility and requirements

This competition is open to anyone18 years of age and up, worldwide. Needless to say, I am not eligible to enter and neither are the other jurors or employees of Cannondale.

All submissions must be original work by the designer, created for this competition, and not currently in production. Do not submit any images that contain reproduced or copyrighted work. No brand names should be visible in your images. Submissions with logos or copyrighted artwork will be disqualified.

Remember, the competition closes on December 5th, so get to work and have fun with it. Good luck to all of you; I can’t wait to see the ideas that you come up with.

Updated 1/26/09: The competition winner has now been announced. Read about it here.

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  1. steve October 24, 2008 at 11:25 am -  Reply

    A commuter bike competition is a great idea. I”m not a designer, but I do talk to non-bikers quite a bit on the subject and am familiar with issues around biking in central NJ and Copenhagen (hell and heaven?).

    Some of these desires conflict with others. not in any particularly order

    – the rider shouldn’t look foolish. the design can’t look outlandish (for the same reason that most people don’t drive riceburners)
    – there should not be a derailleur … people want a simple to maintain drive train (rear hub)
    – it needs gears, but not too many and selection should be simple
    – there is a strong dislike for chains – use a chain guard or a belt
    – people worry about flat tires
    – it should be easy to bring inside to keep out of the weather
    – it should be very easy to clean
    – theft is an issue, so is dealing with locks and chains
    – any bike used for shopping needs to be able to carry at least two large grocery bags. It must be stable with the load.
    – the bike should be stable in rains and not throw water on the rider
    – riding position should be upright (strong feelings here – particularly as they get older, people don’t like to bend)
    – the seat needs to be comfortable
    – the bike should be adjustable (or in different sizes) to fit well.
    – there need to be clever finance programs and easy ways of trading in/disposing of old bikes
    – stability is a big issue in some groups (see below)

    More than one person said “what if Apple designed a bicycle”?


    My wife has a slight handicap that makes balancing difficult. She bought a Trek trike last Spring and was worried that people would consider it lame. It turns out Trek doesn’t know how to market the trike — 30, 40 and 50 something women consider it *very* cool. It has a well designed area for carrying groceries with a built in cover for rain and several nice little touches. Three neighbors have purchased them and others have stopped her on the street for information. This startled both of us — the biggest connection we’ve been able to make turning non-bikers into bikers has been getting middle aged women interested in a “sensible” trike for short commutes (a few miles in this case).

    A commuter bike and a shopping bike may be quite different and there is room for a variety of designs. If I was to do a shopping bike it would look something like a Kona Ute with a belt drive and rear hub. Lots of attention to clever baskets.

  2. steve October 24, 2008 at 11:29 am -  Reply

    While maybe not a direct piece of a commuter bike design, here is another thing to think about – how good is the “fit”

    A young friend has a difficult problem finding a bike that fits. She is extraordinarily tall – 6’7″ with a 40″ barefoot inseam – and has problems getting anything to fit, and bikes are no exception. She also happens to be very athletic (pro beach volleyball player) and lives in an area where most of her commuting and shopping are very easy bike distances (5 miles or so). What she currently has causes a lot of back pain and most “tall” bikes assume a proportionally longer torso and shorter legs than she has. Bike shops sort of laugh and tell her she needs a custom frame, but this is someone of limited financial resources.

    I’m much shorter (6’0″), but am long waisted and it was difficult finding a bike with a good fit. It was possible, but took some care.

    The point is there are many people, even those of normal height, who would benefit from a bit more customization. Most people won’t notice this, but their ride just won’t be as comfortable. Much of this may be education of sales people in bike shops, but most people are probably getting their bikes at Wal-Mart or Target these days.

    And for my friend it would be wonderful if someone sold midrange bikes (still a stretch for her, but more likely) with non-exotic frames and components but a custom fit. Her best shot may be to find a bike builder who needs a tall billboard:-)

  3. Biker Bob October 24, 2008 at 1:11 pm -  Reply

    You will probably receive designs from people who currently bike. What you (designers and judges) should keep in mind is that if you do design a bike that gets non-bikers started, it will probably not be the bike they ride once they have some experience.

  4. Anonymous October 24, 2008 at 6:05 pm -  Reply

    The design should depend on the distance of the commute. Uprights are fine for two or three gentle miles. My touring bike is better for my 14 mile commute. Consider a bike that can be set up for the appropriate distance.

  5. Kyle October 24, 2008 at 9:18 pm -  Reply

    I’m really looking forward to this competition. It will be interesting to see what people come up with.

  6. Human_Amplifier October 25, 2008 at 2:55 am -  Reply

    Good comments !
    I would add (based on Phil’s comments in an earlier post).

    That the word ‘bicycle’ is maybe too descriptive (immediately bringing pictures of diamond frames to the mind) .. he suggested ‘human powered vehicles’ would be a better description. I agree. This description is more open.

    Its the same as using the description ‘light source’ when designing a touch, to avoid limiting thoughts (even subconciously) to ‘me too’, ‘torch like’ redesigns.

  7. James October 25, 2008 at 6:11 am -  Reply

    Thanks for all the comments, both here and over at my other commuter bike post.

    Steve, thanks for that list of desires based on your experiences.

    Biker Bob, I think you are right that I will get a lot of entries from people who bike. Most of the readers of my blog are really into bicycles just like me. I do however want to promote the contest on general design sites to reach designers who don’t really have an interest in cycling. That is what the contest is all about, so I really hope some “non cyclists” will enter.

    Mark (Human Amp), I agree about Phil’s comment. The word bicycle has a strong connotation. On top of that, it is a limiting descriptor that rules out machines with 3 or 4 wheels. I said pedal powered machine once in the post and I probably should have been more consistent with that description. So yeah, it can be a bike or something else that is human powered as long as it is true to the intent of the competition.

    On the subject of semantics though, even the term “human powered vehicles” is not without its visual associations. When I hear someone say HPV, I immediately picture a streamlined full fairing recumbent like this one.

    Personally I am back and forth on what I think a “blue ocean” solution might be. But I won’t discuss that any further. I don’t want my ideas to influence the entries. I am anxious to see what you all come up with.

  8. Anonymous October 25, 2008 at 7:58 am -  Reply

    “what if Apple designed a bicycle”?

    SO true – a wonderful target to aim for.

  9. Brian Park October 26, 2008 at 1:50 pm -  Reply

    Well, if Apple designed a bike you KNOW it wouldn’t be as ass-ugly as that iXi.

  10. Anonymous October 26, 2008 at 6:13 pm -  Reply

    I think the premise behind the competition is stupid. Designing the perfect commuter bicycle has already been done many times over. All you have to do is go and look at places where commuter cycling is mainstream and popular, like Japan, Denmark, Holland etc. What bikes do people ride there?

    Problem solved.

  11. Mark October 26, 2008 at 11:42 pm -  Reply

    Okay, I’ll bite.

    If the perfect comuter bike has been invented over and over again, why isn’t it exactly the same each time?

    Due to differences in culture, infrastructure, environment, terrain and other factors, the perfect bike (erm- “human powered vehicle”) in one place isn’t as perfect as something else twenty miles away, much less in a different country.

    The design brief also makes the presumption that bicycling isn’t mainstream, so a bike for a newbie is probably much different from one for a grizzled bike commuter veteran, duh.

    Okay, never mind- I can’t coherently refute the troll since there are so many ways to.

  12. Anonymous October 27, 2008 at 5:19 am -  Reply

    “If the perfect comuter bike has been invented over and over again, why isn’t it exactly the same each time?”

    Marketing? Cost?

    People don’t ride bikes because of fear and fitness generally

  13. thebrandbuilder October 27, 2008 at 1:47 pm -  Reply

    I might have to get in on this.

  14. Peter October 27, 2008 at 2:35 pm -  Reply

    I agree that the “perfect” commuter bike has already been built, but that it is the unideal market and/or environment that prevents its uptake.

    A good design is going to have to be lightweight and/or collapsible (really easily collapsible) if it will work for city folk living in apartments and taking the bike into work. Maybe a folding trike?

    When I was traveling in Japan I thought of an idea for a folding bike that could be arranged, when folded, to act as a luggage carrier like a dolly. Convenient for international traveling by cycle. Don’t know how the mechanics would work out, but it would be awesome.

  15. James October 27, 2008 at 5:24 pm -  Reply

    Anon 7:13, I don’t think the competition is pointless, I just think you are missing the point. I am not trying to take anything away from the many good bicycles that are popular in parts of the world where infrastructure is better suited to bike commuting. In fact, I made a point to mention safety issues as the primary obstacle to overcome in my post. Still, even in a place like Holland that has a very high percentage of trips taken by bicycle (up to 38 percent), there is room for improvement. There are some really great designs on the market, but that doesn’t mean the question of what else can be done should not be asked. I love typical Dutch bikes like the ones that Jorg and Olif are now selling in the US market, and I think those bikes do serve a segment of the market. I could say the same thing about Townies and other foot forward designs. I could say the same about many other popular designs that are already available. The idea behind this competition is not to create a replacement for any of those existing designs. The idea is to think about ways to provide even more choices for pedal powered transportation solutions for the people who still are not riding.

    I think we should look at design in the auto industry as an example. Not only are there different types of products (sports cars, minivans, pickup trucks, etc) that appeal to drivers with different needs, there are different styles within those categories. For the most part, once people decide on the type of automobile that they think they need, they are drawn to a specific model because they like the styling and the image that they think the vehicle portrays. Automakers know that they are better off making an emotional connection with a potential customer than they are just listing a bunch of dry specs and product features. Yeah, automobile manufacturers need to focus on important design issues like ergonomics as well engineering and quality, but that initial attraction to the total package is really what sells certain cars- people picture themselves in a vehicle that they think fits there lifestyle and says something about them as an individual. It really is more of an emotional decision than a rational one. Since someone brought up Apple, I will mention that they basically do same thing. It is more about design and user experience than anything else. If the cycling industry wants to grow (in the US market at least) beyond the core of cycling enthusiasts who currently buy their products, I think they need to start thinking that way too. It is better to give people what they want than to tell them what you think they need.

    That is one way to look at it least, but the point of the competition is really just to get people thinking. There is no one right answer, but I do believe the question is worth asking. Certainly not a pointless exercise in my humble opinion.

  16. Todd October 27, 2008 at 7:15 pm -  Reply

    I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the entries look like. I’d love to see the ones that are too absurd to win.

    My thought (probably better suited to a different blog) is that safety and comfort are two big issues with many people. Infrastructure of the roadway might be a way to help this. Bike boulevards that are covered for rain/snow/etc and not available to cars or motor vehicles just might help folks overcome those two big obstacles.

  17. Robnelp October 28, 2008 at 1:26 pm -  Reply

    I think its an excellent contest and thanks to Cannondale for supporting it with a very generous prize. I am a long time cyclist and have been designing concept bikes and other HPV’s for nearly 3 decades now..(that made me feel old all of a sudden, lol)
    I was glad to see the clarification that the contest is open to multi-wheeled vehicles as this has tended to be my area of interest, however I have several traditional bicycle concepts as well.
    Looking forward to seeing everyones entries, always a positive thing to encourage creativity.
    BTW I came across this site from a post on a non-bike related design blog posting about the contest, glad I found you, looks like an interesting site I will visit regularly.
    Good luck to all the contestants!

  18. Jonathan October 28, 2008 at 10:51 pm -  Reply

    This thought is not exactly in regard to the design of the bike… but Steve planted the seed in his earlier post with.. “- there need to be clever finance programs and easy ways of trading in/disposing of old bikes.” The US federal government allows up to $115 a month in Tax Free fringe benefits for employees to commute via “Mass Transit”, yet only $20 a month for those who commute via bicycle. Perhaps the bicycle manufactures should setup bicycle leasing/service plans and lobby the government to allow a larger benefit to those employees who choose to commute via bicycle. So, for $115 a month, I am able to lease bicycle equipment (bike, rack, bags, lights, lock, clothing, etc.) At the end of the lease period, I would be able to buy my equipment for the residual value and/or trade in all/some of my equipment and sign up for another lease for more equipment. James… talk to your friends over at Cannondale and tell them how much merchandise they could sell if every current bike commuter was spending $1,380 a year on equipment… and just think how many more commuters would sign up if there was a more of a financial benefit for riding their bike into work. (BTW… I’ll take my Bad Boy in a Large if they want to send one my way for the idea)

  19. Boring Camry October 29, 2008 at 6:29 pm -  Reply

    We need a bike for wet/cold weather capability. This is a chance for this design competition to really shine.
    Now I will get on my soap box (thanks internet):
    There is no Toyota Camry of bikes.This is a huge issue. One bike that Consumer Reports can name it’s best pick, year after year and then they can sell 300,000/year. Are you listening Cannondale? When people want something for commuting they go with trustworthy and reliable and they don’t want to think too much about it. If our options for commuter cars were Ferrari and Ford F350, we wouldn’t be selling very many “commuter” cars.
    I know there are many “commuter” bikes, but the problem is that there are TOO MANY options out there, most in limited numbers, and they change names and the look every year and confuse us simple commuters. As soon as Consumer Reports named a bike a best buy, it was sold out everywhere.
    Also I know it’s possible for this mass produced bike to cost less than $500. get on with it Cannondale.

  20. Nik the Stik October 31, 2008 at 8:40 am -  Reply

    Wow! This is certainly an intriguing idea . . .and lots of creative folks have commented so far.

    I just hope that, as Anonymous posting about Apple stated, that Bill Gates doesn’t dedicate a billion dollars to creating a design . . . it would probably be good enough to win and bad enough to always be broken, thereby not doing anyone any good.

    Seriously, a couple of ideas come to mind. Can a lightweight canopy be easily installed (a heavily used bike will eventually need to be used in some inclement weather)?

    Will the vast differences in world wide cycling infrastructure be considered? I would think an European contestant (or any such person whose immediate environment has a great network of roads) will offer a different entry than someone from rural America (whose roads are a far cry from being cycling friendly). In that case, if there is one winner, whose criteria succeeds?

    More than anything I hope this creativity will be channeled into the continued growth of the cycling movement.

  21. Shoes4Industry November 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm -  Reply

    I have a concept, if someone wants to render it. We win, you get the prize.

    shoes4indstry (at) aol (dot) com

  22. CJ November 3, 2008 at 3:46 pm -  Reply

    I’m not a bicycle commuter, but I would love to be. I live less than 5 miles from work, but it costs me $3.50 a day to ride the bus. Driving my car is actually cheaper (27mpg, $4/gal)! But I don’t want a carbon-fueled vehicle. But I can’t afford some spiffy electric or hybrid. So a bicycle makes total sense for me.

    The problem is that I hate bicycles.

    1. Bicycle seats suck. (Yes, ALL of them.) They require you to get used to them, and go through some pain until you “get used to it”. This has never been a problem with my motorcycles, so this clearly a “fixable” problem.

    2. I can’t carry stuff on a bike. Baskets tend to look silly and expose my stuff to the elements. Enclosed cargo space is generally hard-sided (heavy) and therefore requires more power to the pedals.

    3. Bikes get me dirty. Even if you have fenders, a single puddle will drench me from the knees down. (I live in Seattle… mild wet weather is a real factor.)

    4. Any well-designed bike is gonna run a cool grand, at least. (BEFORE a helmet, light, fenders, etc.) An electric scooter is about $2-$3k… so why not just get a scooter?

    However, this contest is VERY interesting to me, and I am going to come up with a design that *I* would ride to work.

    As someone else stated, I don’t think a bicyclist will come up with a good commuter bicycle design. You guys come at the problem from the wrong direction, I think. Here’s a bit of a brainstorm on my design:

    – Imagine a Vespa scooter…

    – …with a sewing machine treadle (or two – one per foot), instead of pedals.

    – It has an upright seating position, with your legs in front of you and knees together.

    – There is a soft-sided storage space under the soft comfy seat.

    – The front fairing protects you from the front wheel spray and splashes. (And women can ride it while wearing a skirt.)

    – The treadle is connected to one of those constantly variable transmissions (CVT), so I don’t choose a gear… I choose how hard I want to pedal.

    – There is a small, battery-powered electrical assist motor which can be used for pulling up that one nasty hill on the way to work.

    I know this sounds like a heavy pig, and nobody will be able to ride it, but I think with the proper materials choice it could be a very workable solution. And it would be attractive to the people who most need it!

    Time to fire up Illustrator and do some drawings…

    Thanks for giving us such a chewy contest to work on!!
    – CJ

  23. Steven Noble November 3, 2008 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

    Here are my suggestions for whoever wants to enter the competition:

    # The tyres should be virtually puncture proof and much easier for an amateur to replace

    # The chain should be virtually grimeproof and much easier for an amateur to clean

    # The absolutely minimal equipment you need to deal with these common repairs should be built into the frame

    # Anything that can be stolen — lights, mirrors, etc — should be built into the frame

    # Anything quick release — wheels, seat, etc — should auto lock to the frame when you lock the bike

    # A helmet that provides excellent sun, rain and crash protection should auto lock to the bike

    # The bike should be weatherproof, as commuters are often city dwellers without the benefit of a shed or garage for bike storage

    # Suitcases, backpacks, shopping carts etc should auto lock to the bike

  24. James November 3, 2008 at 8:58 pm -  Reply

    There are some good ideas and points in the comments. I hope you all continue along these lines with the entries.

    Nik the Stik asked; “Will the vast differences in world wide cycling infrastructure be considered? I would think an European contestant (or any such person whose immediate environment has a great network of roads) will offer a different entry than someone from rural America (whose roads are a far cry from being cycling friendly). In that case, if there is one winner, whose criteria succeeds?”

    The short answer to the last question is the best solution to get more people riding is what we will be looking for. Here in the US we have a lower percentage of transportational cyclists than many European countries, so their may be more “potential cyclists” to convert, but I don’t think that fact gives U.S. based designers an advantage. Yeah, I agree that people’s entries will be influenced by their cycling experience and the infrastructure in their location. I have written several posts about commuting and commuting bikes from the perspective of someone who has been commuting in the US for nearly 20 years. Mark, who wrote the blue ocean post, lives in the UK and has a slightly different perspective. Still, we both agree that many more people in both countries (and others) could be riding and that the bike itself can play a part in making that happen

    The Jury consists of people from the US, the UK, Germany, and Switzerland (three of us live in the US and 4 are in Europe). I think the different backgrounds will lead to interesting discussions about the entries and I also think that the diversity of the jury means that everyone will get a fair shake.

    I do think that seeing the differences between entries from different parts of the world is a big part of what will make this interesting.

  25. Anonymous November 4, 2008 at 1:39 pm -  Reply

    I commute 15 miles a day on bike to work each day when not taking the bus.

    The Bike E I ride is very easy on my butt, back and fore arms. It has a big seat (no nerve damage to posterior) and a full seat back for back support. I was out of shape when I started – the Bike E (recumbent) made it easy on my body to get started and stick with it. It is easy to steer and comfortable to ride.

    I have a back pack attached to the seat back to carry clothes and lunch and bike accessories
    so I don’t carry stuff on my back and have everything I need for work. Back packs on 100F sunny days are no fun.

    I put a solid rubber tire on the front so the front never gets flats. I tried it on the rear
    but it was too soft (the rear wheel gets most of the weight) so I have thorn resistant heavy duty inner tube, with kevlar outer wheel and never get flats. Flats kill new rider desire to bicycle.

    Make it easy on folks to do the right thing and they may just stick with it.

  26. Anonymous November 4, 2008 at 7:24 pm -  Reply

    to bike manufacturer’s: please take the time to read the comments posted here. many of them are what you need to hear:

    -put flat protection on all your bikes. why do we have to buy this stuff aftermarket?

    -put chain guards on the bikes. this is lame I can’t get one for my old cannondale m500.

    -sell or build a mainstream heavy duty front rack(porteur style). these are extremely useful, but hard to get at a reasonable price.

    -if you sell a commuter bike…put the fenders and racks on the bike. just saw the specialized catalog and they have this commuter section but only some of the bikes have the minimum features a commuter would look for.

    -in closing, i hope that you guys will also post ALL the entries with details, not just the winners. alot of folks are interested in seeing them. I may enter myself…still working the ideas out.

  27. James November 4, 2008 at 7:56 pm -  Reply

    Anon 7:24, I am not sure how many entries I will get, so I don’t know if I will be able to post them all. I do know that I will post more than just the winner though. It make take some time, but the point of the contest is to throw some new ideas out there.

    Actually, that is the main reason I write this blog, so you can definitely plan on seeing more than just the one concept that is chosen as the winner.

  28. SiouxGeonz November 5, 2008 at 10:00 am -  Reply

    Dropping in from your comment on my blog… I do apologize for waxing cynical.

    Operative word: “seems.”
    I apologize for not being able to read between the lines.
    (Not sarcasm here.)
    I thought this would be a bicycle that might actually happen (based on the attention to detail of the contest) and perhaps be produced and marketed. That would be something “professional.” I only occasionally drop by your blog so I was interpreting the information as it stood alone.
    I’ve been consistently disappointed in design ventures by individuals (in just about anything, not just bicycles), so it woudl be awesome of people could work together . I think this is one of the best things about the Xtracycle – all kinds of wrinkles have already been worked out … which IMO could be the kind of creature to get the non-rider going, because it’s more like a car than most bicycles.

  29. James November 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm -  Reply

    SiouxGeonz, as an industrial designer who happens to design products individually all the time, I can’t say that I feel the same way about design ventures by individuals. Design by committee is rarely a good thing because no one wants to take a risk with ideas or features that don’t already have a proven sales record. Usually the result is a “me too” product that looks a lot like whatever the competition is offering. That is not to say that other designers can’t build on someone’s idea and make it better. I do think that design collaboration is a great thing and I wish that I had more opportunities to collaborate with other designers on projects. Everyone does not have to agree on each detail or idea, but a spark might be there in a concept that someone else can build into something really great. Your Xtracycle example is probably a good one in that regard- I doubt than any big company’s marketing group would have released a product like that had it not been developed by a small group of individuals, who just knew it was a good idea, first.

    The point of this blog is really just to get new ideas out there. Not everyone (myself included) has to like them all, but the idea is to get people thinking a bit differently. Maybe in the process some good ideas can come out of it that will find their way into real products. I also don’t think that the premise of this contest takes anything away from the many nice bikes already on the market (remember I am someone who prefers to commute on a standard Ultegra equipped road bike), it just means that the questions are worth asking.

  30. SiouxGeonz November 5, 2008 at 11:22 pm -  Reply

    people in groups won’t risk an idea and create “me too” products…like the Xttracycle.
    But, I’m not in your red group or your blue ocean (or the ones with the bikes in the closet). There are other oceans 🙂

  31. James November 6, 2008 at 5:38 pm -  Reply

    “people in groups won’t risk an idea and create “me too” products…like the Xttracycle.”

    What??? Am I missing something?

  32. Bdan November 16, 2008 at 7:24 am -  Reply

    The perfect commuter bike depends on locale. For Amsterdam we know the answer. Americans live in vastly different places(geography, density). Americans are not homogeneous and emphasize individualism. One bike to rule them all will not work. Some like fixed gear, others 21 speeds, and others 3 speed internal hubs. Fact is a commuter bike is very specific to the individual, their route, and their style. I actually propose a Dell computer type of bike, one that allows for customization, but interchangeable parts and easy pricing/financing.

  33. Anonymous November 23, 2008 at 6:05 am -  Reply

    recumbents cause “knie-problems”
    for most people

    upright bicycles (body 10-15°)cause to much pressure on the saddle /
    therefore only suited for very short rides

    both should be “excluded”


  34. Dan Chisholm November 29, 2008 at 10:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi everyone,

    I’m a third year Product Design student at Leeds University in the UK. For my final year project I’m striving to design a sort of ultimate “City Bike” for short distance urban travel. Loads of interesting points have been discussed so far- makes for fascinating reading for someone in my position.

    Although i may have missed the boat in terms of entering this competition I’m currently involved in collecting user research about city travel habits and cycling- if anyone has a free minutes to answer a questionnaire It’d be really useful for my design work.

    Here’s the link- thanks!


  35. James December 1, 2008 at 11:40 am -  Reply

    Hey Dan, good luck with your City Bike project. Here is a clickable link to your survey to make it easier on everyone.

    You still have almost a week before the deadline Friday night, so it is not too late to enter if you work fast.

  36. Anonymous December 3, 2008 at 8:59 pm -  Reply

    I didn’t seen anything about when the winner will be announced. Does anyone know?

  37. James December 3, 2008 at 9:59 pm -  Reply

    I will announce the winner as soon as I can, but I can’t give a firm date. I will depend on how long it takes for the jury to evalute and dicuss all of the entries. Hopefully it will be in the next week or two.

  38. Ana Gómez García January 22, 2009 at 7:13 am -  Reply

    One of the worst things that tends to discourage keen cyclists and put off potential ones is bike theft and hostility to bikes in parking areas, so the future is in improving the super light,foldable bike you can tuck into your rucksack.

  39. AvgasStew February 5, 2009 at 11:21 pm -  Reply

    is there somewhere we can sign up and get an email warning for the next bike design competition?

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