The hassle-free modular commuter.


As cities continue to grow in population, transportation starts to become a major issue. City dwellers don't necessarily need cars, but typically aren't inclined to commute by walk.

Where are we headed?

Based on trend research and analytics, cities are becoming more bike accessible as demand for city-jobs and alternate fuel sources increase.

Through surveying around 75 cyclists and non-cyclists locally and around the world, we discovered that the main driving factors for choosing to commute by bicycle are distance, storage limitations, and well-being.

Seasoned cyclists will commute by bike, rain or shine. But new commuters are more geared towards the e-bike realm to tackle the issue of distance.

However, current electric bike offerings are either very limited in flexibility or lack appeal.

In an attempt to build a viable solution to hardcore cyclists and newbies alike, we have an opportunity that lies in a hybrid solution that keeps the appeal of a tradition bicycle while offering electric-assist for long commutes.

Snapshot of a few frame studies exploring both very conceptual and traditional builds.

Derived from initial concepts, we arrived at a solution that yielded a platform and systems design approach that offers the flexibility our target users need.

Our system started with a removable storage rack that doubles as a battery pack, giving the user power and storage only when needed.

An early foam prototype of Shibusa's frame design as well as a functional model of the accessory plug.

To bring in a higher level of flexible customization, we began to parse out the accessory in order to facilitate a few more configurations based on other use cases.

After defining what the components in the system were, we were able to refine the concept further in 3D to prep for a higher fidelity prototype.

Shibusa offers the benefit of a capable electric-assist bicycle while maintaining the spirit of a human-powered bike when the necessary components are swapped out. Modular componentry that is both upgradeable and interchangeable means that personal appeal and possibilities far surpass that of current bicycles on the market.

Shibusa was the result of a nine-week study with good friends Joshua Dycus and Courtney Gruber. Many thanks to Professor Kevin Shankwiler for being an all-around awesome mentor as well as SRAM for graciously sponsoring the project.

Shibusa was a finalist for the 2015 IDEA and was also featured on designboom, Core77, Journal Du Design, and a few other design and cycling blogs!

Fall 2014, Georgia Institute of Technology