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ISUDA Bike Share Design Competition

Commuter, Concept, Utility / Cargo Bike 21 1985

Enter to win a compact folding bike like this one

It has been quite a while since I brought up the idea of staging another design competition here at Bicycle Design. That post late last year generated many great comments, and I hope to be able to use a few of your competition ideas in the future. One common thread in many of the comments seemed to be the desire for a practical and producible winning design that could have a real impact on transportational cycling. For that reason, I am happy to announce that  is collaborating with ISUDA Bike Share to search for a new design that is optimized for bike share purposes. This is your chance to design a bike that is likely to actually be produced, and could transform the way people get around on a daily basis in the bustling metropolis of Singapore.

Before I get into the design brief and competition rules though, I want to give you a bit of background on ISUDA. Unlike most other bike share programs, the system uses a novel redistribution method which is centered around mobile bike stations. Instead of locating the bikes at fixed stations around town to be checked out and returned, ISUDA places the bikes where the most potential users are at different times throughout the day. The system is designed to work with public transit, and you can read more about the idea behind it in this blog post on the ISUDA site.  I also encourage you to explore the ISUDA site and blog to learn more about the system, and get a feel for the type of bike that might work best for this system.


Design Brief

Because the bikes need to be redistributed throughout the day, they should be lightweight and easily transportable (possibly by another bike as seen in the illustration shown below). The ideal concept will also be:

  • Efficient, but not super high performance (most used for short distances within 3 km)
  • Durable and weather resistant
  • Easy to maintain
  • Unisex design (dress friendly)
  • And again, easily transportable!

Potential specifications

These are not required elements, but a list of details to think about for a transit oriented share bike:

  • Wheel size: 10″-16″ (solid tire, puncture free)
  • Bell drive (no grease)
  • Single speed, (possible to add motor drive as a module)
  • Seat post: adaptable height for user of various body height.
  • Brakes: “cable free” if possible
  • Wheel base: as short as practically possible (extreme example)
  • Integrated mud-guard
  • RFID lock (example)
  • Carrier/Basket, (for laptop bag, hand bag)
  • Umbrella holder

A jury of 4 designers will review all the submissions and choose 10 finalists. 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, and any other visual information that helps to explain your concept.
  • The second image board should primarily show a final rendering or prototype photo, with notes 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 is large enough to be legible).
  • Write a short description of your concept in English- 200 words max (save as a Word .doc file or include in the body of your email)

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

The deadline for entries will be Friday, January 11th, 2013 at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard time.



The jury of designers  will review all the entries and narrow down to 10 finalists, and then readers will vote for the grand prize winner. The jury will include:


The one Grand Prize for the reader’s choice winner will be the compact folding bike shown above (see photos of the bike folded at the end of this post).

In addition, if the final ISUDA production bike uses any major design ideas from the competition entries, Francis will give a production bike(s) to the designer (or designers) responsible. This is a great opportunity to possibly have your design produced, and to see the fruits of your labor as a prize.


By participating in the competition, you agree to allow your design to be posted at and , and therefore made public.  You also give permission to ISUDA to produce your design, or elements of your design, for the bike share program in Singapore. The jury will review all entries received and the 10 finalists will be announced here at Bicycle Design after the close of the contest. The entry with the most votes after that time will announced as the “reader’s choice” winner, and all decisions of the jury will be final. Any designers who may be chosen to receive a production ISUDA bike will be notified by Francis Chu after the bikes have been manufactured. Bicycle Design and ISUDA are not responsible for entries not received or undeliverable email addresses.


Eligibility and requirements
This competition is open to anyone 18 years or older anywhere in the world.

All submissions must be original work by the designer, created for this competition, and not currently in production. Do not submit any images that contains 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 Friday, January 11th, 2013, so get to work and have fun with it. Good luck to all of you. We can’t wait to see the ideas that you come up with!

Update: The competition is now closed, but you can vote for the winner here though February 28, 2013.

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  1. Távora September 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm -  Reply

    Couldn’t you guys post some pics of the bike from a different point of view so we can also see the width of it folded and unfolded ?
    Thanks and congratulations to the winner!

    • francis September 5, 2012 at 6:27 am -  Reply

      The bike becomes a cube shape after it is completely folded.

  2. Ted Lewandowski September 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm -  Reply

    Can you tell us who produces the folding bike that you have featured in this article?

  3. Bubba Nicholson September 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm -  Reply

    You mean like pedal generator stations (near bus stops and stations) where civic-minded individuals could instantly work for pay and benefits, linked to solar/wind charging stations for Segways, pedelecs, and ultralight moving vans via the grid?

  4. Josh September 5, 2012 at 7:43 am -  Reply

    We are a bike share consulting firm and are getting ready to launch website – industry site for bike share. We would love to co-sponsor this competition.

  5. WenHua Zhang September 11, 2012 at 1:59 am -  Reply

    Hi there! Is team work acceptable in this competition? i mean like 2 people? Thx! 🙂

    • James Thomas September 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm -  Reply

      A two person team is OK. If you win, of course, you would have to figure out how to split the prize.

  6. jonathan b September 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi. The prize seems massively unfair considering the cost of a design studio for such a project. Also considering the amount of free proposals you will get. And it is not clear whether you own the rights for all the submissions or only the winners. If all submissions then the prize is truely laughable. Sorry to be critical . I do love the brief, but i’m also vry weary of how some companies abuse the design competition “format” to pay less for more.

    • James Thomas September 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm -  Reply

      Jonathan, I understand your point, but keep in mind that this is not a corporate sponsored design competition. It is a simply partnership between a personal blog and a small start-up bike share company. We are not looking for fully developed products, so the “the cost of a design studio” should not be a concern. All you need to enter is an idea and a way to express it (rendering software, Photoshop, or even just pencil & paper). Our hope is to find a good design solution that truly can improve the lives of multi-modal commuters in Singapore, but I don’t see that as “abusing the design competition “format” to pay less for more.” Personally, I write this blog in my free time because I love bikes and cycling and I really do want to promote innovative ideas that have potential to get people to use bikes in place of cars for certain trips. I know that Francis, and the others on the jury, feel the same way about bike transportation.

      Instead of partnering with a large bike company like I did for the last competition, I wanted to be involved with a competition that I felt really could make a difference. That is the goal here, and I truly hope that the outcome will be a success. I really do wish that we could afford to provide a huge cash prize, but it is just not economically feasible. That said, I believe the mini folding bike is a pretty nice reader’s choice prize, and I think Francis is generous in offering to give away production ISUDA bikes to entrants whose major design elements are used.

      If you really do love the design brief, I hope that you will consider submitting an entry. In addition to possible winning a prize, your idea could serve to get more people on bikes. Yeah…I know that sounds cheesy, but I honestly believe it is a very worthwhile goal. Bike transportation is something that I am passionate about… and that is why I spend my time on this.

  7. jonathan b September 19, 2012 at 3:01 am -  Reply

    James, thanks for taking the time to reply so nicely. I have no doubt that your intention is good and you are passionate about this topic. But however passionate is this “small startup” is, the fact remains that at best they will make good money from council contracts, and it is not necessary to offer “huge cash prize” , but a first prize of royalties on future earnings from the design might be more appropiate and fair to all parties involved in my humble opinion, so if no money is made then no money is paid. Again many thanks for you feedback on this, i appreciate it

    • francis September 26, 2012 at 9:25 am -  Reply

      Hi Jonathan, thanks for bringing this up. As co-founder of ISUDA bike share, I am really excited to work with James, Mark and Prof Yap. I am even more excited as we are all passionate and believe in the cause of promoting cycling.
      ISUDA is not waiting for the winning design from the competition. What you see in the design brief is our work-in-progress. We will proceed with our development of the share bike, with or without the design competition. Some people may consider we are taking a huge risk in terms of exposing our intellectual properties so early. However my focus is not in the protection, but promotion. I see James blog as the perfect platform to reach out to those passionate in the bicycle and design field. Depends on the entries, I hope our development process will be able to benefit from some of the ideas. Even If it is not, I’m sure all the ideas will benefit the share bicycle field as a whole and all our effort will not be wasted.

  8. rahmat December 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm -  Reply

    may i could join these competition too?

    • James Thomas December 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm -  Reply

      Absolutely…it is open to everyone. Just follow the instructions in the post and send in your concept by the January 11th deadline.

  9. abner dizon February 4, 2013 at 5:24 am -  Reply

    hi francis,
    may i ask if the q-bike model already have in any shop here in Singapore? if yes how much?

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