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Vote for the winner of the ISUDA bike share design competition

Commuter, Concept, Utility / Cargo Bike 30 2100

The ISUDA Bike Share Design Competition ended about a month ago, and I am long overdue in posting the entries to be judged and discussed by all of you who read this blog. We didn’t get as much participation as we hoped for (far fewer than the previous design competition held at Bicycle Design), but as a jury we have been discussing the pros and cons of the few entries that we did receive. I don’t want to influence you with our comments just yet though, so I am posting all of the entries and descriptions below in the order that they were received. Actually, we received 13 entries total, but two of them did not include the required boards and a written description, so you will be voting on the 11 concepts that met the basic entry criteria.

Please review each of the entries below and vote for your top choice by using the poll at the bottom of this post (keep in mind the original brief as you vote). The poll will remain open until February 28th at which time we will announce the reader’s choice winner who will receive the compact folding bike prize from ISUDA . Comments and criticism of the entries are welcome, but please try to be constructive and offer ideas to improve and build on the designs (or elements within them). We are looking forward to reading your comments and seeing the results of your votes soon!

1. BalloonBikes by Marcus Burnam

marcus-burnamBalloonBikes is designed to be fun and to draw attention. By having the bikes attached to a hot air balloon, it allows the bikes not only to be transported but also advertised to a portion of the city.

The bikes will be transported between locations by increasing the heat pumped into the balloon so that it may float into the sky with the rack of bikes connected. Once the balloon is at a suitable height a grappling rope can by discharged down to its next docking station using GPS tracking. A member of staff will then connect the grappling rope to the docks winch, so that the balloon can release some of its heat and be slowly drawn down to its next destination.

Once the balloon is docked, customers can come and collect a bike by placing their credit/debit card into the bike and entering their pin code, this will release the locking mechanism on the bike allowing the customer to take it away for a ride.

When the bike is returned, the customer must place the bike back in its rack, which will activate pressure pads and cause the locking mechanism to close. The customer’s card is then released.


2. Untitled by Abhimanyu Rajvanshi

abhimanyu-rajvanshiThe main constraint in folding of the bike is the wheel. The wheel size cannot be considerably reduced as it will lead slow pace and more stress on the rider .  Here I tried to introduce a new type of wheel which is only an arc length, less than half a circle. This would tremendously help in further folding of the bike.

Another unique feature of the tier is that in the calamity of a puncture only a that unit of the tier is replace which is punctured. Thus reducing the efforts of changing the whole tier.


3. Hubert by Matt Juhani Pekkanen

matt-juhani-pekkanenHubert is a compact bicycle, which hubless rearwheel design allows it to fold in to an easily transportable and stored piece. It has an easy-to-use locknut on a swivel, which when operated allows the front work to slide to the left, and turn backwards allowing frontwheel to slip inside the rearwheel. Rear frame is built from to equal pieces, and the tire is fastened with small bearings on the inner side. Gear is integrated inside the rearwheel, allowing very simple design with less elements.


4. Wabing by Marcelo Martinelli

marcelo-martinelliWalk is one of the most satisfactory activities for people … also bicycling

Can we fuse both activities in a single object?

WAlking + BIcycling = WABING solution

An efficient and light aluminum frame allows a

natural movement with a typical bicycle displacement

Also, their geometric configuration, is adaptive to different ages and uses

Their small size (100 x 115 x 55, and 25 cms wheels) allows to be used in the vehicular streets, in the pedestrians areas , in a park, tracks, etc…

WABING is the simple way of the city movement


5. Luna bike by Trixon Lab

trixon-labLuna is a bike designed for the urban environment. Italian design, made out of aluminium alloy tube with an integrated compartment for laptop/hand bag. Luna is light, nimble, ideal to move freely.


6. Foldable and easy transportable city bike design concept by  Zhang Ting Ting

zhang-ting-tingDesign use environment

My Bike is design for modern international city like Singapore. It suitable for public park such as garden by the bay or east cost, the tourists can rent from bike store for their short distance ride(3-5 km).

Design use group

20-40 young people who like out door exercise.

Design description

1). Rear wheel supposed to rotate 180 degree, handle bar can be rotate 90 and the foot step should be foldable, so the whole bike can fold like picture visualize, good point is save space.

2). Light system is consist of handle light, rear light and rim light, more safety consideration when night ride.

3). After fold the bike can deposit as a group with the support shelf like picture show. Its easy to maintain and transport.

4). Modern and simple styling is loveable to young people, color can be multiple change.


7. Isuda Concept Bike by Mathew Boobyer

mathew-boobyerThis bike sharing system is designed to be transported around the city to best fit the location requirements of its everyday users, the commuters. The trailer has a detachable tow bar and four drop down stabilising wheels so it can easily be moved into the desired location.  The station has a simplistic double-sided interface with easy to follow instructions to ensure ease of use. The interface includes a live map that is updated daily to show the locations of the portable stations around the city. The trailer has at each end a lighting system that allows travellers to see from a distance away wether the station has a free bike, or bike space depending on their needs.  All four sides of the trailer have drop down panels, with the end two sides having hidden panels that can be pulled out if the space is available.

The bike is a simplistic and sleek designed especially for short distance commutes. It includes a generous carry case at the back with umbrella holder, a simplistic one gear system, concealed brakes and integrated mudguards.  The handle bars include a map that shows the mobile locations for the day, an LED light and a bell.


8. Roda by Niall O’Loughlin, Robert McKenna, Mark McGuinness

steve-oneill Roda is a public bike share system designed specifically to fit the dense urban landscape of Singapore. The concept was created to compliment the city’s ultra-modern landscape and design culture. The concept is realistic and cost efficient.

The bicycle is designed to be used many times a day. It has been made to withstand harsh weather conditions and vandalism. The aesthetic is smooth, sleek and modern while the bike retains its properties of being robust, durable, light, efficient to cycle and a unisex design. It is also cost effective and designed for mass manufacture and assembly.

The mechanical components including the Shimano Nexus 3 internally geared hubs are enclosed by the polypropylene body on the bike frame which is all injection moulded. The steel frame is cost effective, easy to manufacture and is designed to accommodate all users.

The docking stations for the bikes are small, unobtrusive and match the theme of the Roda design. They can easily be removed/added to different parts of the city.

The user interface includes integration with EZ-Link card, Roda app and a unique key pad. The interaction station matches the “wavy”, flowing shape which gives the system a unique design identity to suit Singapore.


9. Foldable City Bike for Isuda by Asta Sad

asta-sadThis bike is a compact urban model, which is unisex, light and elegant.

The short characteristics:
16” wheels, bell drive, adaptable seat post, with the possibility to integrate the battery in the back of the bike’s solid frame. It is durable and weather resistant, easily transportable.

The bike is good for short distance journeys.


10. Merlion Bike by Vincent Pommel

vincent-pommelThe Merlion, a lion head with a fish tail, is a symbol of Singapore. It is the driver for the appearance and the concept of the “Merlion bike”. One bike can transport up to 6 bikes without adding any trailer. The basket refers to the lion and the transported bikes to the tail.

The “Merlion bike” system is self-organized, without external intervention. The bicycles are the trailers. The users have the possibility to take several bicycles from a full station to bring them to a station with a deficit of bicycles. By doing that, they recover gradually the price of their subscription.

A power-assist finds all its sense for the cyclist-citizen bringing 1+6 bicycles to an empty station. One or two removable motor drive units can be connected to the ends of the rear shaft. The electrical power is 250W with one unit and 500W with two.

Technical features of the bike are: a saddle mounted on a gas cylinder; robust frame, tires and wheels; shielded mechanical components (brakes, cables, transmission, lights…).

The unique vision of bicycles trailing bicycles in a self-organized system could become a next modern symbol of the city of Singapore!


11. Untitled folding bike by Marcel Pater

marcel-paterThis concept uses a simple cart design in combination with foldable bikes. The cart is designed to use minimal materials and be very open, it is essentially just a bike rack. The bicycle is designed to be folded in half, to reduce the space it needs during transportation. The bike’s seat and steering can be adjusted in height. The steer of the bike is outfitted with a hook, which is used to hang the bike on the cart. A simple bar is then closed, to keep the bike in place, and prevent theft.

The cart can be outfitted with a billboard for recognition or commercial use. The design inspiration for the cart comes from the classical bike racks, which use a simple design of bended steel pipes.


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  1. Impossibly Stupid February 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm -  Reply

    Seems like I’m not alone in liking the Isuda Concept Bike. But what I like has very little to do with the bike! Instead, I really like the idea that a whole station of bikes can be moved from location to location, and essentially dropped in any parking lot. You can see it being tweaked to work with just about all of the standard ride share bikes that already exist.

    One thing I would do is better work out the ability to fold it up for transport. There is a lot of wasted space when it is just hauled around as a flat platform. You could probably halve or even quarter the volume if you could squeeze together and/or stack the bikes during transport.

  2. mommus February 6, 2013 at 3:21 am -  Reply

    They’re all batshit crazy!

    At least there are no superconductors in this group of entries.

    I rather like the balloon idea, though I suspect a trailer pulled behind a van, as they do in London and Paris, is a potentially less lethal method of distributing transport.

  3. Grego February 6, 2013 at 4:18 am -  Reply

    I *love* the ideas of having the bike itself being able to transport another bike or two or six (!), and having the users of the system be credited for moving bikes to empty stations. That’s brilliant. Merlion bike #10.

  4. logan February 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm -  Reply

    Putting the bicycle from entry #8 on the trailer of #7 would be the best design.
    Most of the rest either fail to satisfy the requirements of the design brief and/or could not be made in to functional bicycles.
    #1: balloon is not large enough to take off
    #2: massive BB rise, unusably low gear ratio, no transport system
    #3: unusably low gear ratio, dysfunctional steering geometry, no transport system
    #4: high maintenance transmission, difficult to ride, no transport system
    #5: not unisex, no transport system, rear fender too small
    #6: not unisex, power transfer to rear wheel by magic
    #7: impractical BB rise, no means of charging map system
    #8: no transport system
    #9: no transport system, no visible means of making fold happen
    #10: motors attach and operate by magic, if frame is to scale with 16″ wheels it would be unusable by adults, turning radius and inability to back up with 6 connected
    #11: too little detail to evaluate, BB rise

  5. Marc Gibeault February 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm -  Reply

    Very poor entries, worthy of 15 years old students.
    None are approaching is functionality or style the currently available systems like those in London or Montreal.

  6. Wim February 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm -  Reply

    Poor entries, nothing really worth voting for.

  7. steven fleming February 7, 2013 at 3:45 am -  Reply

    as an ideas competition this exercise has identified a lot of ideas that can be ruled out: folding, for instance. On the bright side, a structurally conservative bike borrowing aspects of 1, 5 and 10 could be quite brilliant. Good luck progressing toward an iconic design!

  8. Andy February 7, 2013 at 8:56 am -  Reply

    1. Interesting concept, but I can’t imagine hot air balloons with grapling hooks is going to work in real life. The design of the bikes is severly lacking too (the front fork is a rectangle?). At least the handlebar locking looks neat, though you’d need something more secure than a standard faceplate stem if you don’t want the bike stolen.

    2. Wheel size is a constraint, but then again, a rotating tread can’t possibly improve rolling resistance. Not quite sure how they expect it to hold that shape either, without a hugely beefy wheel/frame system to design (which they didn’t yet design?).

    3. As much as hubless wheels are silly, they actually used the space to be useful on this one. Solid tires and “integrated gears” will make this a pretty lousy ride for anything more than the last mile solution though.

    4. I’m missing how power is transferred to the wheels. Such tiny wheels and a very high center of gravity above them would yield some pretty wacky handling though!

    5. I’ve seen this before (not sure if from the same designer). It’s functional, but the overlap of briefcase carrying people with BMX riders isn’t likely to be very large.

    6. Neat locking design. The bike seems extremely narrow and I’d be surprised if it could be produced like that. Bike share bikes usually aim for wide durable tires, where this looks like a 23mm tire at most.

    7. Nice Dutch style bike with storage capacity in back. The bike share trailer idea is solid too.

    8. Also not bad, though I’m not seeing anything stand out as different from currently offered bike share systems.

    9. Another simple folder. Something similar just had a recal on the super long seatposts and steering tubes though, so I’m skeptical about using bikes designed like that.

    10. Interesting way to transport bikes. 6 might be a stretch for handling, but it is a neat feature to improve on.

    11. Good compact storage design.The bike leaves a bit to be desired though.

    • logan February 7, 2013 at 10:59 am -  Reply

      Andy – re: #4
      It looks like a pull string type system, similar to how you start a chain saw engine. Instead of a loop of chain constantly pulling forward on one side of a hub you have a chain or string on each side that pulls on the forward pedal stroke, then the slack has to be pulled back into a spring loaded take-up reel with each back stroke.

      Mechanical complexity aside, anatomically it doesn’t look practical. You’d end up propelling yourself with your quads instead of your larger leg muscles. It would be the opposite effort of walking or riding, pushing forward with your legs.

      I don’t get the power transfer of #6. Either some magical hidden shaft drive within the frame or maybe they forgot to include it in the drawing?

  9. James Thomas February 7, 2013 at 9:11 am -  Reply

    Thanks for the comments…especially to Logan and Andy for taking the time to share thoughts on each entry. We are very interested in your opinions, so please keep the discussion going.

    To those of you who feel that these entries are not worth evaluating, I wish you had submitted a concept too. More participation in the competition would have been great. Maybe next time.

    • Marc Gibeault February 7, 2013 at 9:19 am -  Reply

      Hi James,
      I would have liked to participate but was not aware of it.
      Was the contest publicized in the industrial design circles like Core77?
      At what time it was announced?

      • James Thomas February 7, 2013 at 9:31 am -  Reply

        Hi Marc, I sent it to Core back in September and they posted it on their events calendar. I mentioned it on the forum there as well. A few other design sites mentioned the competition in the fall too, but I obviously need to figure out a better way to publicize and promote before staging another one. Perhaps the period between the initial announcement and the deadline was too long. Not sure…but I am open to ideas for the next competition.

        • Marc Gibeault February 7, 2013 at 9:50 am -  Reply

          Hi James,
          I missed it. I don’t think it’s the long deadline but a few reminders would have help keep it in the mind of the interested.
          It’s not that I would have submitted a better proposition, but with such a great subject and an international audience…

  10. Nick F February 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm -  Reply

    I voted for the BalloonBikes entry – even though it may never be practical, I think it’s one of the few entries that makes a novel and conceptually interesting attempt at solving one of bikesharing’s big problems.

    Regarding the lack of entries, I feel that to some extent, the design brief itself may have prevented people from entering, or led them in the wrong direction if they did enter. The “list of details to think about for a transit oriented share bike” was not only very specific (it nearly designed a bike on its own) but also very contradictory towards the stated purpose of the contest (bikesharing). Of the near half-million or so bikesharing bikes in the world, few or none have chosen to make the design decisions requested by that “list of details” (small wheels, solid tires, belt drive, etc…).

    The previous contest posed a huge question and accepted an equally huge range of answers… this contest asked an equally large question – but only wanted a very specific type of answer.

    I really like the Foldable City Bike by Asta Sad, btw. Maybe not right for a bikesharing system, but nice style for a folding bike.

    • James Thomas February 8, 2013 at 8:30 am -  Reply

      “The previous contest posed a huge question and accepted an equally huge range of answers… this contest asked an equally large question – but only wanted a very specific type of answer.”

      Good point, Nick. I have been think about that since the deadline passed, and I do agree that the brief probably should have been more general. The parameters listed were really meant to be guidelines, but in retrospect I believe that a more general brief stating the problem and asking for open-ended solutions might have been more effective. Oh well…as always, I’m learning as I go with the blog. Thanks for your input!

  11. pierre fabre February 8, 2013 at 5:53 am -  Reply

    # 8 (currently leading) is merely a re-styling exercise of existing shared bikes models. Nothing new in it! It certainly doesn’t deserve such interest.
    #5 is nothing new, #3 and #6 although appealing are definitely too fragile structuraly for shared use bikes and probably too costly to produce becaus of the special features and articulations they show.
    I love the idea, as in # 11, of towing the rack of bikes with another bike and not wirh any motorized véhicule. I have myselfl built trailers that can carry up to 12 bikes (regular sized ones making total weight close to 150 kg)… on flat grounds it is remains possible to pull that even without any electric asist.. A bike trailer could pull up to 30 lightweight folding bikes… such as #9

    To me the best concept is #9 because of it’s elegant simplicity, lightness and frame strurdyness. Even though the folding mechanism and it’s locking are not shown at this stage it seems perfectly feasible. This concept meets the requests of the competition.

    That # 9, adapted to the bike trailer idea of # 11 would be the best solution in my opinion!

    • Impossibly Stupid February 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm -  Reply

      “# 8 (currently leading) is merely a re-styling exercise of existing shared bikes models. Nothing new in it! It certainly doesn’t deserve such interest.”

      That’s the same kind of short sighted thinking that said the iPod would never succeed. The simple fact is that bike share programs don’t need BIG new things, just smarter new things. 90% of the reason I don’t use our local one (beside owning my own bikes) is because all of their stations are located far away from where I am, and far away from where I’m going. And they’re in those locations because those where the only places they could get to do the special installations.

      The simple idea to make the stations portable opens up a lot of possibilities to experiment with placement locations in order to determine which ones are most useful. It also allows for use in temporary events, such as sports/concerts, state fairs, and countless other locations. You shift the stations to where the traffic is, not where you merely hope it will be.

      “I love the idea, as in # 11, of towing the rack of bikes with another bike and not wirh any motorized véhicule.”

      Yeah, it’s a lovely idea, but the reality is that it just doesn’t scale up when you have to do a large redistribution. In fact, having to do any frequent redistribution is a good sign of a poorly planned system. Shuttling around bikes all day, every day is moronic regardless of the type of vehicle that is doing the job. At the very least you should have something that can survive the week without fuss, and which can then be reset, if necessary, over the weekend.

      • Androo February 11, 2013 at 11:32 pm -  Reply

        Not to interrupt your rant, but you’re referring to #7 which I agree is a great idea. #8 really is the exact same model as existing bikeshare systems, both in terms of the bicycle itself and the system that surrounds it…

        • Impossibly Stupid February 12, 2013 at 10:53 am -  Reply

          My mistake. #7 was in the lead when last I checked, so I got mixed up. Seems there was a huge influx in votes over a short period of time (or my browser just didn’t update the poll). Thanks for point it out. Sorry for the misplaced rant, pierre!

  12. Greg Walsh February 8, 2013 at 7:52 am -  Reply

    Team #8. great idea

  13. 10. Merlion Bike- Vincent Pommel February 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi James, let me give you my feedback on the design brief:
    If I summarize: some specifications are common: durable (one of the return of experience of current bike share programs), seat post: adaptable height, basket, element of the city of Singapore,…
    But extremely important is the vision of Isuda: they have identify a new function, they want to breakthrough, to go to the next generation of bike share programs: „the bikes need to be redistributed throughout the day. Bikes (…) should be lightweight and easily transportable (possibly by another bike)“. Tell me if I’m wrong, but they are the first to go so far. And a new function means a new design, so the question is actually great.

    Moreover, and as you said, „This is a chance to design a bike that is likely to actually be produced“

    For this two reasons I’m very enthousiastic: the design has to combine the respect of the design brief, innovation, and realism. (let me this time quote Jonny Moletta: „to innovate you need to be both visionary and practical „). The surprise for me is maybe that some entries didn’t make the choice to get the best of this vision from Isuda.

    One more word to Grego, steven fleming (I agree), and Andy (I agree): this is a nice feeling to see that we are on the same wavelength, thank you for that!

    Last word to the commentators which are disappointed: guys, you should have a look again to the design brief and the entries: the quality is good, the eleven entries have all some interesting elements, they really have!

  14. Philippe de Bersuder February 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm -  Reply

    … In France we have public bikes t that people can rent in several towns (price in Paris about 1$/hour), that are quite heavy and ugly (because they have to be strong) but it works.
    if you’re curious, or

    From what I’ve seen above and my experience in a bike rent shop, foldable bikes are not easily usable and they’ll be destroyed fast. Also you can be sure to get accidents with people if the lock system fails, and removable accessories will be lost fast also

    also forget the idea of a slanted platform, that can be sweepy and dangerous because of the proximity of the road and cars (and difficult to reach for old people). Safety first !
    so keep it simple , usable, strong (have to carry 2 people or heavy people, shocks, kids “free style” and so on, that means heavy tires) and light, and looks like a traditional bike if you want to reach other people than kids and geeks!
    Electric bykes are in expansion here, but still quite expensive and some progress has to be done on batteries duration… that’s mean to have fixed bike station with power to charge the batteries.

    but that, interesting challenge !

  15. Marta K. February 16, 2013 at 7:55 am -  Reply

    voting is not working.. –> failed to verify referrer..

  16. up up and away February 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm -  Reply

    These are all hilarious; you must have had some fun reviewing these ‘concepts’ eh James? The balloon concept must have been conceived under the influence of LSD and I think you’d need to be a circus performer to ride some of the other contraptions. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

  17. Vincent February 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm -  Reply

    James, I think that this would be extremely interesting for the participants to get a kind of feedback from the jury members Francis Chu, Mark Sanders, Yap Fook Fah, and (of course) yourself. What is your opinion? Maybe you have already planned something in this direction?

    • James Thomas February 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm -  Reply

      Hi Vincent, we discussed sharing the jury comments in a post…but only after the reader voting ended. It will be a little bit longer, but I can say that your concept was one that I personally liked a lot.

  18. Carl February 25, 2013 at 4:26 am -  Reply

    I vote for the #5 (Luna) because i find it beautiful, simple and functional.

  19. s.deiveegan February 26, 2013 at 11:53 am -  Reply

    I like the concept of new type of wheel ( which we understand only a circular object) with further scope of folding of the bike and replacement of the unit of the tier which got punctured which mitigate the labour.

  20. ducasse March 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm -  Reply


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