The store manager of bicycle shop Swiss Valley, Mr Alfred Goh, said that an entry-level bicycle by Taiwan brand Dahon costs only $900.

Said Mr Goh, 27: "Brompton is expensive because customers are paying for the brand, which is very established.

"But paying over $2,000 for a foldable bicycle which is meant for daily use is an overkill. A cheaper bicycle could have been just as efficient."

Mr Lynten Ong, 44, who co-owns bicycle shop TR Bikes, agreed.

He told TNP: "I'm pretty sure there are foldable bikes that probably cost half that price."

Some bicycle shop owners are also wondering if NParks could have found a better deal if it had looked harder.

But NParks said it adhered to government procurement requirements when buying the bicycles.

Its assistant chief executive, Mr Kong Yit San, told TNP that the bikes were bought mainly to enhance the productivity of its staff.

Said Mr Kong: "We did not specify the brand of bicycles in our quotation documents. Proposals from any supplier who met our quotation specifications would have been considered."

Only one proposal received

He confirmed that only one proposal was received in this case.

"Since the proposal met our specifications, and we found the quoted price to be reasonable after comparing with market prices at that time, we decided to proceed with the purchase.

"Nevertheless, we are mindful of the high level of accountability expected of government procurement.

"We will therefore continue to ensure that our processes are fair and transparent."

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