back to article Bendy bike inventor scores design prize win

Now this is a great idea: a bike with a bendy frame that allows it to be literally wrapped around a lamppost and locked up. The flexible frame was developed by DeMontfort University, Leicester final-year BSc Product Design student Kevin Scott and won him a runner's up prize in the recent Business Design Centre (BDC) New …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    a similar affect can be achieved by a car i believe

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. some vaguely opinionated bloke

      Not so good

      ... if you're wrapping a car round a lamp post.

  2. Adam Foxton


    I'd buy one!

    Someone get this guy a congratulatory pint for making a more practical urban bike without making it look ridiculous.

  3. Kevin Fairhurst

    Solution looking for a problem?

    Most official cycle parking areas provide a cycle rack thus negating the need for any bendy technology. The majority of cycles fastened to lamp posts are probably done so without permission - and a single bendy bike per lamppost that would normally hold 2-3 bikes is a poor use of limited resources!

    1. Marvin the Martian

      "official" bike parking spaces?

      I've seen them, but used maybe 1 time in 20? 1 in 50? If they're there, great, keep your bike normal...

      There's enough places where you have to separately lock the front and back wheels, as they get stolen leaving the rest behind. This locking takes time and gets grease everywhere --- with this system you just need one short chain to lock front & back wheels and presto... If it solves a problem you don't have then good for you.

      [In one disastrous address in E9 I've had everything stolen of a bike over the course of a year, from the axles to the little screws that keep your brake linings in place on the handlebars: this problem wouldn't be solved.]

    2. Kubla Cant

      Permission to lock a bike to a lamp post?

      "The majority of cycles fastened to lamp posts are probably done so without permission".

      In all the years I've been riding a bike, this is the first time I've seen a suggestion that you need permission to lock your bike to a lamp post.

      Where should I apply for permission? Is there a lamp post quango? Do I get some kind of permit, and if so does it apply to all lamp posts or just one?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Less room?

    No instead of attaching two bikes to the lampost you can fit 1!

    And for the ones who think it's a breat way to lock up, just buy a bigger lock, it'll be a lot cheaper.

    However hats off to him for an original design.

    Apple / MS take note, this is what an original, unique design looks like.

  5. Havin_it

    WTF with the photo?

    Is your priority to show us the fracking bike, or its stout-chested creator? Terrible pic - if that's all they gave you, they need to sack their PR wonks.

    "You can lock a regular bike to lamppost of course, by Scott's design takes up considerably less room."

    Debatable; the length may be reduced, but the girth will be doubled, which is probably more of an issue for pedestrians. Also a bit inconsiderate to other bikers, as you can get two regular bikes round a lamppost - not so with this.

    On the other hand, being able to secure more of the nickable parts of the bike with a single D-lock is appealing.

    1. handle

      "Stout-chested creator"

      Compare with innumerable "EEE and friend" pictures. He doesn't look very stout-chested though.

      PS was going to make your comment about it being easier to lock up your bike properly - frame and both wheels.

    2. handle

      easier to get it in a car

      I forgot to say that.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    WTF Daily Mail?

    Just found the original Mail article. Their stats are whack:

    So, "more than 52 bikes are stolen in London every day". What's that then? 53? 54? Oh no, wait, just after that we have "A total of 23,748 bikes were reported stolen in London in 2009-10". Well, by my calcs that makes slightly over 65 per day.

    At least they're factually right- 65 is more than 52.

  7. Yesnomaybe

    What if...

    The LAMP-POST was made of the bender-tube. Then you would wrap the lamp-post around any object you need to secure, thus.... What the!?!? Hey!!... OK, OK I'm LEAVING, take your hands OFF me, I'm leaving, OK?

  8. Samuel Williams

    Safety first

    A very interesting idea, but I'm more concerned about the apparent lack of brakes.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    seems like a fail

    Bike Friday also use a cable in tube for bendy frame approach for folding their fastest folder, the tikit:

    This seems like a less well developed folding action than the tikit and is solely designed for wrapping around lamp-posts.. why?

    I agree with @Kevin Fairhurst

  10. Shakje

    Good news for

    David Cameron at the very least.

  11. Lottie


    Interesting idea for sure and when you think about it, a really simple one.

    I wonder how soon it'd take for poor maintainance to let the ratchet slip and the rider of the suddenly bendy machine sueing?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Good, but not new.

    My Montague Paratrooper MTB is designed to bend and could be locked around a pole. As a bonus the design was funded by DARPA.

    No EMP is going to stop me getting to work........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oooh - any good?

      I've got a Swissbike on order - the paratrooper was out of stock so I have to get it in namby pamby black.

  13. Subliteratus
    Paris Hilton

    It's a nice idea but...

    If it didn't bend, you could get 2 bikes on a lamppost, one either side, but this way you can only get 1 bike per lamppost so it's actually worse. And, it doesn't really do anything to enhance a bike's security. A pair of boltcutters are going to have most chains off in seconds even if threaded through both tyres. And, if a thief needs more time with a sturdier chain, all they're going to do is what they do now - thread their chain through your frame to keep your bike where it is til they can get at it at night.

    But as a foldable bike for taking on the train it may well be a winner. Cos, let's face facts, those foldable bikes with the tiny wheels are for gimps.

    Paris, for promiscuity/bicycle semantic conflation.

  14. Alastair Dodd 1


    in real use that frame will last about 2 months. There is ALOT of stress on the frame of a bike in normal use and I'd hate to be on that when the cable snaps, if you were on a major road that you under a lorry's wheels and dead. At least normal folding bikes don't completely collapse when one part fails..

    Nice idea just no way practical I'd say as a cyclist.

    1. handle

      Cable != snapping

      Why have you got such a downer on cables? They do things like hold up suspension bridges and there's no reason why they can't be extremely strong. Easy to get one with more cross-sectional area than your average frame tube inside that tube, and the tubular form is not needed because it is a tension element, rather than one which mustn't bend.

      A Brompton would also completely collapse if its folding mechanism failed, by the way - there is only one tube (with hinge) connecting the front and back wheels together.

      Dunno why I'm posting so many comments defending this bike - I've no connection with it. There just seem to be so many silly objections to it though.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Other benefits

    The lampost benefit is dubious. However, it's easier to put into a car, to carry onto a train (unless you have the benefit of a guards' carriage). Good idea, creative. Is it patented ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other benefits

      >Is it patented?

      I doubt if it can be as a similar system is (or at least has been) used for spring loaded tent poles and also a few magic tricks.

  16. Waderider


    Who is this going to appeal to?

    The prize has been given for innovative thinking, but the new thinking here is patently because its a thought not worth having.

    People buying bike-shaped objects (i.e. supermarket bike purchasers) won't be interested as they want something that looks like a full suspension mountain bike for £90 (i.e. a boat anchor). They won't pay a penny extra for this technology.

    Enthusiast cyclists will have more than one bike and a lock to service them all. Plus frame material and performance is everything, not to mention bike weight.

    I suggest the inventor finds another application.

  17. Sampler

    Not sure about locking it to a lampost

    But will certainly make it easier to fit in the boot, might not need to fold the rear seats down..

  18. Brutus
    Thumb Up

    Possibly a good idea, if ...

    the design prevents the bike from falling to the ground, causing a trip hazard and normally resulting in bent wheels.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...Another use.... that it makes it easier to transport in the boot of a car.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    What you've all missed of course is that the folded bike is now small enough to also fit in the boot of a car, and doesn't look like some sort of "special" bike!

  21. Tony Green

    I don't think I'll bother

    I can just see it. Hurtling downhill at high speed when the cable that holds it rigid snaps.

    And as any regular cyclist can attest, every cable on a bike will probably snap at one time or another.

    ...and I can't say I've ever had any difficulty locking my bike to street furniture that this would make a difference with.

  22. T-Unit


    The bigger advantage here is things like loading it into a car or taking it on a train etc and there is literally no mention of that!

  23. nsld
    Paris Hilton

    If I recall

    Back in my youth a US company called Slingshot made bikes that folded up with a cable that also provided suspension as well.

    Not quite the same, but certainly more versatile than a bike that turns into a doughnut, plus by folding flat they can be attached with a single d lock to a lamp post on only one side.

    Paris, looks good on first site but due dilligence is needed before you jump into bed !

  24. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Bendy means it will bend when you don't want it to!

    Having spent many a year cycle-commuting (OK, mainly summer days only now!), the truth with all folding bike designs is they eventually break around the folding mechanism. In truth, this bendy tube design offers no advance over traditionally hinged frames, and could possibly wear worse over time. With a hinged frame, you actually have to put quite a lot of wear before the frame fails (OK, I admit the first Hercules folding bike I broke failed because I had a habit of making jumps down flights of steps, but then I could do that on an ordianry mountain bike). With a cable-based locking tube, the problem will be if the cable stretches over time, loosening the join and leading to a failure. Just stick to an ordinary, non-folding mountain bike.

    1. handle

      Cable-stretch is catered for

      Clue: the article talks about a ratchet mechanism. Therefore the cable will always be tight, even if it has stretched.

      I haven't heard of many proper folders such as Bromptons breaking in the way you describe.

  25. si 4
    Thumb Down

    Already done

    Moulton bikes have been doing this for decades (splitting at the frame into two). I fail to see any ingenuity with this bike, it would also be interesting to see how the ride characteristics change with this frame, it seems like it may flex quite a bit,

    1. handle

      NOT already done

      A Moulton takes comparatively ages to split into two - it is not the same at all! That's why it's not classed or marketed as a folding bike. I'm afraid you've completely missed the point.

  26. Andy 17

    One problem

    If you fold the bike and lock the 2 wheels together..

    You can steal both wheels by unbolting them, which as a bonus now leaves the rest of the bike free and unchained (the chain is still linking the 2 wheels together)

    1. frank ly

      @Andy 17 re. One problem

      That would be true if a D-lock was used. If you used a big chain then you could wrap it round the lamp post before looping it through the wheels - problem solved.

      (This also has the advantage of giving you a good workout as you cycle around with a heavy chain draped over your shoulders.)

  27. David Blair 1

    Design issue

    I assume a version with cables, for the gears and brakes, which nearly fold out of the way, will be along later.

  28. richard 69

    the new MINI Bolan

    will wrap itself around any lamp-post i hear...

  29. Gerrit Hoekstra


    Where is the "it improves our lives" bit?

    I would love to know what "clever and useful ideas" the other students came up with for their final design project at DeMontfort University's if this is the one that got the top prize: a non-returning boomerang, a one-sticked chopstick, an 11-hour watch, an edible chocolate teapot? (The old ones are still the best!)

  30. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Compact and avoids the g factor

    "But as a foldable bike for taking on the train it may well be a winner. Cos, let's face facts, those foldable bikes with the tiny wheels are for gimps."

    As Sublitaratus put it

    What impressed me is that the idea could have been had by *anyone* within at least the last 60 years, but wasn't

    Thumbs up to the inventor for ingenuity. Naturally how well it actually works will depend on material quality and production engineering, both to fairly stiff cost limits.

    That combination of requirements is what usually finishes UK products.

  31. Aidan Samuel


    Just to reiterate what Andy 17 said:

    If you unbolt the front tyre, you can now take the entire bike.

    I wonder what the winner was (as this was only a runner up).

  32. Brian Miller
    Thumb Down

    Limited, isn't it?

    I've been riding a Dahon folder, and I've ridden an A-Bike. The A-Bike didn't work so well because the freewheel mechanism went out, twice. The Dahon has been just fine, with 16-inch wheels, folds up and I stow it under a bus seat. I've never had to put it on the front bus rack.

    But where does this stow? Sure, you can wrap it around a post. But you'd have to put it on the front bus rack, and it isn't a conversation starter unless it is bent around a pole, and then you aren't in the area to chat about it. The Dahon, and especially the A-Bike, are fantastic conversation starters.

  33. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    No gears

    My first impression is.. Where the hell are the gears and brakes?

    Better Pic...

  34. GrantB


    ingenuity? innovation?

    Maybe, but the yikebike is a bit more clever than that:

    The Yike bike takes folding a little further.. and adds electrics, which has to be better for The Reg reading crowd

  35. Adrian Tritschler
    Thumb Down

    Yet another award winner

    Every few years, and it seems now, every few months, yet another designer comes out with yet-another designer bike. Everyone goes Ooh and Aah and the designer gets lots of credit.

    Ever seen any of these bikes make it into production? Ever tried to ride any of them?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    A sporty little model that wraps itself around a pole. Where do I slip the fivers, under the saddle?

  37. Adrian Esdaile

    Physics? FAIL!

    Those bendy tubes tightened-by-cable are the equivalent of post-tensioned concrete.

    Just look at how good post-tensioned concrete is at withstanding off-axis loading: ie, NOT VERY GOOD. In fact, almost explosive: once the load axis departs from the cable axis, the cable actual helps the structure disintegrate.

    So, looks good on paper, won't work so good going around corners or over speed humps, eh?

    I wouldn't want to test ride it either.... can I have $500?

  38. Blue Pumpkin

    We like encouragement ...

    No wonder innovation, engineering and general creativeness are on the decline in this country with most of you lot around ... I can sympathise with Mr Dyson.

    (except for general creativeness in the legailsed stealing sector AKA Financial Services)

  39. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Good luck to him. Really.

    But, yes, every year some design student wins a prize for a new bicycle design that isn't actually rideable and is never seen again.

    "Student Phil Bridge from Stockport is about to complete a three-year degree course in Product Design at Sheffield Hallam University..."

    Having said that, I own and am broadly happy with a Strida 3 as a second bike. Even before I put an adapted, double height bin bag over it, having first folded up the handlebars and pedals, I can carry it onto the buses around here, which usually don't allow bikes of any kind, because they can't tell. It looks a lot like a baby buggy.. Shh, don't tell them!

    I suppose you can fold up the cardboard bike too - and maybe wrap it round a lamp post... or assemble the Strida around a lamp post and baffle the less intelligent thief.

    There aren't crowds of bicycles where I am, and generally you have the lamp post to yourself, as long as the chain fits around. You may need to lift the bike up. It's been suggested that you should spend one-sixth the price of the bike on the chain or lock. I park in public locations, usually in daylight, maybe next to a road junction, and I haven't had a wheel stolen, although I once lost a pump, and once the convex rear view mirror (which I always recommend). Someone working on a chained-up bicycle looks pretty suspicious, I think.

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