back to article Clive Sinclair unveils 'X-1' battery pedalo bubble-bike

Famous home-computing pioneer, unsuccessful electric kart promoter and balding sugar-daddy Clive Sinclair has announced his latest product: a sit-down electric-assisted bicycle fitted with an egg-shaped plastic enclosed body. The Sinclair X-1. Credit: Sinclair Research Yes! It's the battery-assisted bubble chopper! The …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    dodgy

    I would say JOKE ALERT ... but that would be pointing out the bleedin' obvious ...

    the X-1 isn't even clearly priced ... I sense failure ...

    http://www.sinclairzx.com/index2.html = 595

    http://www.sinclairzx.com/x-1.html = 999

    the man is clearly clueless ...

    1. Ascylto
      Big Brother

      Er...

      This looks like an Apple currency exchange ... $595 = £999.

      Well, it costs more to do business in the UK.

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Unhappy

    WHY ?!?!?

    There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I think I know which side Mr. Sinclair is on.

    Anyone remember the BBC Program "Micro Men" http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n5b92 ?

    1. MinionZero
      Unhappy

      @Anyone remember the BBC Program "Micro Men"

      I very much remember the BBC Program "Micro Men". I've been waiting for about 2 years for it to appear on DVD because I loved that trip down memory lane so much, but they don't seem interested in releasing it on DVD.

      (If they are not going to release it on DVD then they can at least let us legally download it, as we pay bloody good money for the BBC and the BBC funded Micro Men, then why the hell can't we access what we have already paid to have created for us!) ... same goes for the other shows broadcast along with "Micro Men" like "Synth Britannia"

      Yet they would seek to label and demonise us as pirates (and some would seek to punish us) if we try to download it, even though its already paid for by us!

      1. RichyS
        Thumb Up

        DVD?

        LaserDisc, surely.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge
          Coat

          Re: LaserDisc

          Oh, come on! How could you possibly overlook Video2000 tape?

          The mullet hairpiece of video storage technology.

        2. LeBeourfCurtaine
          Pint

          The Dream of LaserDisc

          LaserDisc was amazing at the time it came out. I was seriously considering buying one, but just as I could afford it DVD's came out and the rest is history...

          (Now I'm on Blu-Ray - the last of the hard copy formats, perhaps?)

      2. TeeCee Gold badge
        Happy

        @MinionZero

        Keep an eye on the BBC channels with the cobwebs on 'em. It was broadcast a few months ago and given their predeliction for stuffing these highly-important digital channels with endless repeats dragged out of the Ark, I'm sure it'll crop up again and if you keep your DVD recorder ready, a DVD copy shall be yours.

        Back in the day, a letter* to the Beeb asking about repeat times would produce a "no plans" form response. But it would also produce a follow-up letter some time later (often quite a long time later, when you'd forgotten all about it) saying: "due to demand.....<bollocks, bollocks, bollocks>.....is to be repeated, starting on <date> at <time>".

        I wonder if that trick still works? Not holding my breath here though, that seems waaaaaay too public service oriented for the Beeb to have kept it up.

        *An obsolete communications medium involving paper, crayons, little gummed pockets to put the paper in and small but extrinsically valuable labels to stick on them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Yes

      And it was a bloody brilliant bit of telly visual enterteainment.

      I remember the "computer program" on sunday morning, i remember the very first program i typed in and then saved on my zx81.

      Superb telly.....

      Sugar daddy or not, we love you uncle C. Thanks for the memories..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        No you don't

        You remember 'The Computer Programme'. Let's try to remember our (admittedly inconsistent) spelling, chaps. </pedantry>

        1. MrT

          What about...

          "Making the Most of your Micro"...? Confused the hell out of my mum when she thought it was about cooking with one of those new-fangled things in the kitchen about 1984.

  3. Flugal

    When will he learn?

    At least this will make the C5 look like a relative success.

  4. shearne

    But how do you balance?

    If you are sitting upright with your feet at the tip of the bubble, can you use your feet to keep it upright? Or at every stop do you have to jump out to hold it up...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: But how do you balance?

      There are plenty of recumbent bicycle riders that seem to manage OK with such a layout.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Put your feet down!

      The shadow in the render shows a big hole under your feet. You put a foot down when you stop, just like any other LWB recumbent, at least that seems to be the idea. As a recumbent rider I can see the shell getting in the way when you want to put your foot further to the side though.Also expect the shell to be somewhat noisy.

      On a separate note the pricing looks wildly optimistic to me unless they've been doing some serious corner cutting.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        "The shadow in the render shows a big hole under your feet."

        Hmmm, is it obligatory to shout: "Yabba-Dabba-Doo" when you set off?

      2. Naughtyhorse

        title; words numbers no names no packdrill

        Clive sinclair is known for leaving no corner uncut. no matter how much it undermines the functioanlity of the basic idea.

        Given this basic idea was/is/will always be a non starter thats some achievement.

        Who cares its an over priced, useless piece of dangerous crap.

        It's what sir clive wants us to have.

        The big question now is what will sir clives up coming celeb fragrace be called?

        the smell of failure

        ignominious (with reverse polish pheremones no doubt)

        this guy was an irrelevant twat in the 80's and time has done him no favours.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Badgers

      Balance

      A mate of mine used this:

      http://www.recumbents.com/wisil/whpsc2004/images/wednesday/PL.CoyoteBG.L.jpg

      the Rotator Coyote, as his daily ride, until it was murdered by an arsehole in a pickup. Owner Dean Pederson is the one on the right, with the bottle of BEER in his hand. He was the first rider aged over 50 to exceed 55 mph at the World Human-Powered Speed Championships in 2004.

      However, Sir Clive's previous forays into personal transportation do not fill me with confidence about this one.

  5. The Other Steve
    WTF?

    Am I mad, in a coma ..

    .. or back in time ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    Hold the phones...

    Married a lap dancer???

    Coffee on keyboard moment there...

    He's either a crafty old shark or seriously gullible...I can't decide.

  7. Miek
    Thumb Down

    a tit is required

    hhhmmmm, no windscreen wipers, no wing-mirrors or rear-view mirrors, no lights, no brake levers (that I could see) , small chunky wheels, impractical to take it anywhere, have to wait in traffic, look like a knob-head. I sense failure.

  8. NP
    Thumb Down

    What's the point?

    I am so sick of journalists (and others) making snide, personal remarks about people. Why write something like "unsuccessful electric kart promoter and balding sugar-daddy"? What is the point? And why mention "his longtime relationship with (and recent marriage to) a former lapdancer 36 years his junior"?

    Why?

    Does it make you feel superior and better about yourself?

    1. Piers
      Happy

      Why write something like "unsuccessful electric kart promoter and balding sugar-daddy"?

      'cause this is theRegister combined with the lewisPage.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the point?

      Nice try Clive

    3. Kevin Reader
      WTF?

      I fear that...

      I fear that like me the article writer is a bit jealous over the last bit.... she really does appear to be quite a special lady. :)

      This does seem a design created to make the C5 seem logical by comparison. Any crosswind and this X-1 is going to be all over the shop. And with no doors and a hole in the floor its not exactly weather tight is it... weird.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ NP

      You're a clichéd whiny humourless prude.

      Yes. Yes, I do feel superior and better about myself.

      1. NP

        @ Anonymous Coward

        Do you know me?

        1. Octopoid
          FAIL

          Ironic

          Your initials stand for "no problem".

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @NP

      The BBC News website is over here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

    6. thecakeis(not)alie

      Married to a chick 36 years his junior?

      That doesn't make me feel better about myself. It makes me respect this guy a great deal. Even makes me a little jealous. Good job, that guy!

      Maybe your false rage and upset would be less hurtful to you if you stopped being so damned judgemental. Just because you happen to see that amorous relationship as somehow negative doesn't mean others share your point of view. When you take it not as a snide attack but instead as something completely awesome the entire tone changes.

      I don’t read this article as “rich guy bangs young gold digger and fails at life.” I read this as “dude did cool things early on in his life. Made a mint. Parlayed that money into convincing a woman to look past his age and (hopefully) established a truly amorous and caring relationship with someone very much his junior. Dude still does crazy – but cool – things involving technology regardless of any ridicule other people may fling at him.”

      Or, TL;DR: This guy does what he wants, when he wants and doesn’t give a flip what you or anyone else thinks about him. He is far more awesome than either you or I will ever be. Commenter on El Reg got nerdrage over playful tone of article and called in the whaaaambulance.

      1. NP

        @ thecakeis(not)alie

        You obviously don't know what I mean.

    7. Tempest
      Pint

      Could it be because others have longer memories of this character?

      Maybe you don't remember Sinclair Radionics Ltd or Cambridge Consultants Ltd or his stint as editor of Practical Wireless where he would 'design' circuits, which were published but did not always work

      So comments you don't appreciate go more to the character behind the name and could be used as a determination to do business with him or not.

      I agree his choice in wives is personal, and comments in this regard are signs of jealously.

    8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      unsuccessful? I don't think so

      I would guess there is more than a bit of jealosy here.

      A cute girl lots younger (but still legal I assume), more money than sense... got it made if you ask me :)

      This vehicle looks odd, but frankly no worse than some of the more bizarre moped things around these days.

      Unlike the C5 this will be seen from a lorry or car as well - so at least some advance in safety (as long as the driver of the lorry isn't too busy laughing to avoid you).

      I can't see me queueing up for one at that price, but I can imagine that some will - after all a C5 doesn't fetch too bad a price these days :)

  9. Mike Richards

    'deliveries are expected next summer'

    If this is a Sinclair delivery time then it'll be closer to 2015 when it will ship alongside the ZX Microdrive.

    1. Stephen Usher

      ZX Microdrive

      Hmm.. You seem to have missed the ZX Microdrive and the ZX Interface 1 when they were on sale in Boots and W.H.Smiths in 1984 then... I hope that you weren't too disappointed. :-)

      As for the bike. Well, journos (and nay-sayers) always like to knock the different. As someone else said, it's basically a recumbent bike with some weather protection and a small electric motor. Just because it doesn't look like a "safety bicycle" doesn't mean that it is intrinsically bad. They said the same thing about the "safety bicycle" in the 1880s because it didn't look like a penny-farthing and that "it would never catch on."

      *Would have put an Uncle Clive icon on the post but the Reg doesn't have one yet, either saintly or devilish.*

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
        Unhappy

        ZX Microdrive...

        "Hmm.. You seem to have missed the ZX Microdrive and the ZX Interface 1 when they were on sale in Boots and W.H.Smiths in 1984 then... I hope that you weren't too disappointed. :-)"

        I was. Darn things never worked. Went through about 4 or 5 microdrives and several Interface 1s

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Pint

          MGT Disciple or +D

          That was the mass storage device interface of choice.

          Compared to microdrive cartridges, A 780K 3.5" floppy was mass storage you understand.

          1. MrT

            QL...

            Microdrives worked fine on my QL, but it was a step up when I finally went to twin 3.5" drives because they were big enough to not get eaten by the hoover...

  10. Number6

    Blast from the Past

    The shape reminds me of a C5 with less wheels and a plastic lid. And for those not used to recumbent bicycles, you need a leap of faith to get it moving.

    Have you ever wondered why people sitting in a C5 look like pillocks? Having sat in one many years ago, it's because sitting in one makes you feel like a pillock.

  11. graeme leggett

    Good and bad?

    Good:

    Large bubble shell means the recumbent cyclist is more visible to other road users (eg artics) without resorting to pennants on whip aerials.

    Room to stash your shopping in the dry?

    Bad:

    Those handlebars look very awkward

    Large bubble possibly less aerodynamic than uncovered cyclist

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I really, really hope

    that I'm banging a 33 year old lap-dancer and ex-Miss England when I turn 70.

  13. blackworx
    Dead Vulture

    Traffic Awareness

    "...much lower driver viewpoint and correspondingly reduced awareness of traffic"

    The reduced awareness of traffic comes from the cage, not the lower viewpoint. It's not as if this idea is new, just ask any recumbent cyclist.

  14. nichomach
    WTF?

    So, after years...

    ...of razor-sharp analysis, patient assessment of market demographics, technical feasibility studies and all that malarkey, his conclusion was, in summary "Nah, stick a roof on it and lop a wheel off - winner!" Wraparound coat for Mr. Sinclair, please, nurse!

    1. Richard IV
      Badgers

      Typical Sinclair

      I'm seriously impressed that Sir Clive's intrepid team has managed to produce a pug-ugly recumbent design, something I hitherto thought was impossible. But that's been his modus operandi as long as I can remember - good idea in principle, seriously bad aesthetics and flimsy, unreliable construction. That fact that "suede covered handlebars" are one of the 12 most important selling points pretty much says it all...

      Why couldn't they have stuck an electric drivetrain on something like http://bicycledesign.net/2009/01/we-have-a-winner/ ? As it is, they've got something that looks less cool than a golf buggy with pedals.

  15. DrXym Silver badge

    Dear god

    Of all the Sinclair inventions since the ZX Spectrum, about the only one I've thought "what a good idea" is the A-bike and even that has some pretty serious aesthetic and practical deficiencies such as the miniscule wheels.

    The C5 tanked when it came out for good reason and I see nothing about this glorified C5 which suggests its fate will be any different.

  16. Shingo Tamai
    WTF?

    Are we still in the sixties?

    No, seriously...

  17. David Simpson 1
    Thumb Down

    FAIL!

    Exactly the same problem as the C5, not something I would want to be in on a rainy day in heavy traffic, it's just missing a little red flag for the back.

  18. DI_Wyman
    Happy

    Splendid.....

    glad to know we British are still streets ahead in the inventing total crap game!

    Carry on Sir Clive you may get a Gold in the 2012 Olympics.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bent

    So it's a 'bent with a battery. Good so far. Then he goes and spoils it by fitting stupidly small wheels (bad for stability and for dealling with potholes) and the added weight of a bodyshell. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it doesn't look too well built either.

    Sir Clive always struck me as one of those inventors with no ideas. Yes he did some Pioneering work on the pocket calculator. His ZX 80, 81 and Spectrum were neat but flawed. Since then the neatness has receded and the flaws have mushroomed. He's always been one to build down to a price rather than up to a standard, which has probably contributed to the flaws. It also doesn't help when your products feel cheap and tacky no matter what the price.

  20. Z 1

    Couldn't be any worse than his black watch!

    Though I seem to remember old Clive did quite well making various devices such as calculators, voltmeters and other such stuff.

  21. Jim 59

    Go Sir Clive!

    The Spectrum his only success ? Phu-lease. The only one you remember off the top of your head with zero research, you mean. Off the top of my head, the ZX80, 81 were roaring successes in their time, as were many generations of the Spectrum, QL and peripheral products. Then there are the digital watches - some of the first in the world, the miniature TV, the pocket calculators, for which, I think, Sir Clive wrote some of the trigonometrical algorithms himself. And that's without googling a sausage.

    So he lives in a mansion, has a knighthood and is pleasured by a former Miss England. What do you do for a living ?

  22. Dave 64 Silver badge

    one success?

    "the ZX Spectrum - Clive Sinclair's one genuine runaway success in a lifetime of developing tech products"

    ...yeah...that pocket calculator thing never really amounted to much did it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Not a bad record

      So, he's had some daft ideas (like this bike). No dafter than some other alternative energy/transport schemes I've seen, and he did have some good 'uns.

      My Sinclair Scientific (built from a kit my Mum bought me) is still going strong, when I can remember how to write in RP, and somehow I doubt any of my inventions will entice a lapdancer half my age into my* bed.

      *In the interests of accuracy I should note that I mean /our/ bed, which reduces the chance of congress with a lapdancer of any age to somewhere around zero anyway. But you get the idea.

      1. Scorchio!!
        Coat

        Dancer

        That's no former lapdancer, that's an egg coddler!

        I think that's my jacket, the blue one.

        Ta.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Coffee/keyboard

        But...

        "In the interests of accuracy I should note that I mean /our/ bed"

        But the only other person you mentioned in your post was your Mum. Worrying.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: Go Sir Clive!

      "The Spectrum his only success ? Phu-lease. The only one you remember off the top of your head with zero research, you mean."

      Ever read to the end of any articles?

      "Off the top of my head, the ZX80, 81 were roaring successes in their time, as were many generations of the Spectrum, QL and peripheral products."

      The ZX80 and ZX81 sold well but were regarded as flawed products. These days, with higher expectations and better consumer laws, Sinclair would have been bankrupt within weeks for shipping products of such quality. And let us not get into the bizarre technical shortcuts such as the video output mechanism which were pretty much obsolete even at that time, yet let Sinclair shave a few quid off the price in order to sell to eager punters.

      As for the QL, while people may question the portrayal of its promotion and launch in "Micro Men", Sinclair overdelivered on the hype and underdelivered on the execution, again making shortsighted technical choices (68008 CPU instead of the 68000, Microdrives instead of floppies) that ended up as technical and strategic disasters.

      1. blackworx
        Go

        Erm

        "These days, with higher expectations and better consumer laws, Sinclair would have been bankrupt within weeks for shipping products of such quality."

        As would 99% of anyone selling anything via mail order through magazine ads in those days. Doesn't make them any less relevant or successful.

        You're right about the QL though. It was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish. Embarrassing. I seem to remember a PCB design flaw being discovered so late in the day that the only way to fix it was to hardwire in a resistor, which was dubbed a "Sinclair Mandatory Modification" and given a fancy factory label as if it was some sort of free upgrade.

      2. Scorchio!!

        Processors

        It wasn't just the processor that was a problem. The QL had an eight bit bottleneck. Silly man that he can be.

        1. Scorchio!!

          Microdrives

          One of my theses originally resided on a micro drive cartridge. As it was too long (there was no space for both the temporary file and the original file) I had to pull some funny stunts to rescue it. I had bought a QL trump card you see. So somehow I managed to extricate it by transferring to the floppies (720k no less, yowieeee!). When the floppies died I edited the boot file/s on a microdrive to boot up and make virtual discs in RAM, which I still think is pretty neat. The system gave me a "you're joking aren't you?" message. I can't remember exact phraseology. The floppies were replaced under guarantee.

          I bought the Taskmaster multitasking bolt on, and exchanged email with David Batty from Sector Software a few years back. He's still doing clever things.

          When Windows was able to address more than 540k I moved to an XT, and thought myself king, and the rest is history.

          Silly Clive though. He had a chance, but skimped on the ingredients.

      3. max allan

        Not like these modern IT companies then...

        "Sinclair overdelivered on the hype and underdelivered on the execution, again making shortsighted technical choices"

        So not like Windows Vista or OSX or pretty much any IT project that ever gets reported in the Reg?

        Comparing the hype in the 80s with the hype these days, Sinclair was way behind the curve for hype and way ahead of the curve in actually delivering computers/etc.. that were slightly ground breaking.

        OK, they may not have been 100% successful or reliable but they were generally more different than the rest than the difference between for example : OSX & Win7 or Vista & 7 etc...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plenty of success

      It's part of the British way, we love the 'crackpot inventor' or eccentrics who invent truly innovative stuff in their garden sheds but only because we can have a damn good laugh at them.

      Not that I'm condoning it, we've lost many thousands of opportunities from a lack of foresight and unwillingness to take risks on such people.

      Clive has invented some amazing things but after the Spectrum and before the calculator his main achievement was knowing how to market shoddy badly designed crap. If you've ever had the misfortune to have to repair any of his 'hi-fi' stuff then you'll know exactly what I mean.

      As for the missus, to paraphrase Mrs merton, 'So, what first attracted you to the multi-millionaire Clive Sinclair'

    4. Displacement Activity

      No fricking title

      > the pocket calculators, for which, I think, Sir Clive wrote some of the trigonometrical

      > algorithms himself.

      Whoa - didn't know that. My Sinclair Scientific took 14 seconds to work out the sine of 90 degrees. It's still down in the basement somewhere.

      I used to work with Clive, on King's Parade - nice guy, good luck to him. I suspect that I'd recognise some of the names here, if any of us actually had names...

    5. Bod

      Sugar

      "as were many generations of the Spectrum"

      All two of them effectively. Speccy 16 and 48 were the same generation just with different memory. Speccy+ was the same with a different case. Speccy 128 was the first next generation as it had sufficient hardware differences to distinguish it.

      After that the many models that followed with built in tape and disc drives were all Amstrad!

  23. envmod

    surely?

    this is just a C-5 version 2 and will do just as badly?

  24. RichyS
    WTF?

    It's taken HOW long to get THIS?

    Is it just me, or does this contraption look more like a precursor or prototype for the C5. Not something designed and built with 20-odd years hindsight and technological advances behind us.

    I suspect Sirclive's been spending too much time with his lap dancer.

  25. Dave Henderson 1
    Thumb Down

    I sense another

    heroic failure in the making.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Just hang on a minute there...

    The Sinclair Research website now redirects to "www.sinclairzx.com" Wait a minute... ZX? I thought Uncle Clive had stopped using that particular combination of letters back in 1986? A careful inspection of the new website reveals that it is in fact owned by an Iain Sinclair, brother of Sir Clive, and industrial designer, whose main claim to fame seems to be a line of dinky LED torches. Has Sir Clive finally joined forces with his lesser-known brother? Or has he decided to retire, and transfer what's left of Sinclair Research to his brother? More to this than meets the eye...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point

    In Germany there are plenty of bike nerds zooming around with "Liegeräder". And apart from looking silly and all that, they have one big advantage:

    They're FAST! The aerodynamics are by far superior to a normal bike. And as you have a large seat to use as a counterpart for your legs, ergonomics of power transmission are much better, too.

    1. Terry Barnes

      Power>

      Unless you're going uphill. Then a recumbent is where you start paying. With sweat.

  28. ted frater

    possible basisfor a petrol conversion

    When they come on the s/h market as duds, then its the time to get one and put in say, a 50cc twist and go 2 stroke , add lights and wing mirrors. could then be a lot of fun.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    I misread that as a paedo bike!

    It looks like a C5 with a roof.

    Perhaps poor old Clive saw Citroën successfully bring back the C5, updated for the 21st century, and though he'd give it a whirl himself, muttering "I can do that" at the TV in the style of Yosser Hughes?

    Most geriatrics spouting barmpot ideas like this end up being restrained to the bed by the staff nurse. I suppose in this case it's his wife who's likely to be wearing that uniform and toting the cuffs...

    I think David Cameron should appoint Clive as the technology Tzar in charge of East London's proposed Silicockney Valey. The chap could ride a C5 around the narrow Whitechapel backstreets at night whilst wearing a long black cloak with scarlet lining, and shout "I'm the Duke of New York!" at passers-by.

    Does that make sense?

  30. nelmar
    Heart

    I love you Clive Sinclair!

    That is all.

  31. Richard Tobin
    Thumb Down

    Remember the "Black Watch"?

    If it's up to the usual Sinclair standard you will have to assemble it yourself out of pieces that don't quite fit together, and the battery will stop working after a couple of weeks.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    battery life

    IIRC, Sir Clive's first major success was the LED pocket calculators & watches, specifically devising a way to cycle the power to the LEDS so that it extended battery life by 3 times, making them practical.

    World-wide royalties funded the ZXs.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two ways to go with this one

    1) Lose the tires, put it on tracks, and you have a personnel transporter unit for your evil underground lair.

    or:

    2) Lose the seat and the handlebars, replace each with a dildo, and you have a revolutionary mode of transport, the "it".

  34. Lee Taylor

    Delivery?

    Will delivery be in the same 28 days QL`s took to arrive?

  35. An ominous cow heard
    Headmaster

    Long before the digital stuff

    Long before the digital stuff (calculators, watch, MK14, etc) hit the market, Sinclair was selling a range of radio and hi-fi stuff. I still have a handy little IC12 amplifier in the cupboard (needs a new PSU).

    http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/audio/amps.htm

    I wonder how many people realise that the current well known electronics test equipment outfit Thurlby Thandar also had its origins in the Sinclair empire.

  36. tardigrade
    Thumb Up

    "...pesky kids are too young to remember..."

    I remember upgrading my absolutely wonderful 16K ZX Spectrum to a 48K model. The upgrade process involved trying to prise the damn thing apart without snapping the case in half and having to actually solder the additional RAM on to the bloody circuit board!

    Now that's what I call a proper PC upgrade. Not none of yer new fangled 72pin slot in nonsense.

    And to think that some moaning minnies complain that upgrading a Macbook is difficult just because you have to remove a few torpix screws. Tsk!

    The bike is crap by the way.

    1. The Other Steve
      Happy

      Without snapping the case in half

      And without causing any damage to the keyboard ribbon connectors, which were a lovely surprise once you got the case open and a complete bastard to get reconnected. Dammit Clive, if only they'd been an inch longer.

      Ah, them were the days, etc.

      1. Grease Monkey

        Odd

        My 16K to 48K upgrade went very smoothly. Not only did I have no problems opening the case or putting it back together, but the memory chips went into DIL sockets. And mine was one of the early ones.

  37. M Gale

    Electric bicycle with a roof

    And at 190 watts, falls within UK.gov's laws that treat anything less than 250W or 15MPH top speed as, legally, a bicycle.

    Which means no need for a license.

    Bloody handy idea, but I can bet the range will be crap. Also, yes, it's not exactly a fashion statement.

    1. Richard IV

      And interestingly enough

      Those rules were created for the C5

      1. M Gale

        What?

        That ruling was one of the few decent things the last lot of shysters did. Came out a couple of years ago, along with the rules that say it's now legal to use your iTrip FM transmitter.

  38. Apocalypse Later

    Mentoring

    "longtime relationship with (and recent marriage to) a former lapdancer 36 years his junior."

    Smartest thing he ever did.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    does it have parts...

    ...Which were dug out of another company's driveway, having been used as fill due to their failing QC checks?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Power output

    'most e-bikes are rated at 200-250 watts sustained and peak output - eg for hill climbing - over 500'

    If this is true then most e-bikes are illegal to ride without a license, insurance, road tax, helmet, etc.

    Motorised bikes are limited to 200W sustained (trikes upto 250W) to be classed as a bike and not a moped, and I think the author would find that most e-bikes are limited just below this level i.e. around 190W.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    A stupid, bizarre and possibly dangerous design.

    This thing looks like a sail, so will be major pain in strong wind and could easy get blown around or blown over, because it will likely be too light for it's profile! All the extra drag would require a lot more energy to move it than a normal bicycle or an unenclosed e-bike.

    Worse still, the open sides will mean that you still have to wear full wet gear when it is raining, unless they plan to supply optional sheet doors!

    As pointed out, where are the brake triggers?

    I'm not sure how helpful a roll cage will be without some form of seat belt, given you could easy fall out and hurt yourself.

    Lastly, where are the front, back and turning lights?

  42. ThomH Silver badge

    A high chance of theft?

    It looks like it'd be impossible to chain to anything or otherwise lock up. Draw your own conclusions as to the effect its looks may have on people wanting to steal it.

  43. Haku

    No thanks

    I'll keep my traditional design electric bike thanks, with that I can get on to cycle paths through those narrow entrances/exits designed to slow bicyclists down so they don't run straight into the road, this offering from Clive would never be able to get onto cycle paths, which incedentally are inherintly safer for cyclists than sharing roadspace with heavy vehicles that have blind spots and drivers that see cyclists as nothing more than annoyance in their way and on 'their' road.

  44. skeptical i

    Nice try, but ....

    On one hand, power to the guy if he's still tinkering in his shed at 70 ... far more constructive use of his time than holding down the couch in front of the teevee.

    On the other, one would think that with his background and resources (i.e., money), he could avail himself of better designs by researching what has already been done (and quite successfully) by others, and then figuring out how to improve on them.

    This article reminded me of a project done by a company in town, so I went online to see what became of it. This page -- http://versatile.web-log.nl/versatile/english_logs_old_logs/index.html -- includes it and also some really cool "bikemobiles" of more recent vintage (and better/ safer construction).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You'd think...

      "On the other, one would think that with his background and resources (i.e., money), he could avail himself of better designs by researching what has already been done (and quite successfully) by others, and then figuring out how to improve on them."

      Except that Sir Clive's approach is usually to try to do what's already been done, but cheaper. Consider the ZX80/81 and Spectrum. They didn't really feature anything new or innovative, they were just a lot cheaper than the competition. AFAIR the early Spectrum was £125 when most of the competition were more than twice as much.

      The problem with this however is that most people consider 'bents to be downright weird. It doesn't matter how good they are, most people avoid them because they consider them weird. Add an electric motor and an odd looking cowl to the mix and the weirdometer goes off the scale. The end result is a tiny potential market.

      The only way I think the market could be expanded is by making it appear "cool". You're going to need "cool" celebrities to use them in order for that to work and I suspect that the only way you could get that to work is actually by going against Sinclair's own credo and having a very high initial price. The type of celeb you need to attract for this to work is not the sort of person who would want to be seen on anything considered to be cheap.

  45. This post has been deleted by its author

  46. Scorchio!!
    Paris Hilton

    Life in the old boy yet?

    Or has perhaps the 'former lapdancer' has (cough) gone to his head? Paris because she'd understand, from start to finish.

  47. Refugee from Windows
    FAIL

    Designed by non-cyclist per chance?

    Rotten air resistance, will be blown over in a decent crosswind, a real pain in a headwind. No view to the back, no lights, no mirrors and has been pointed out, what do you do when you stop? How do you get your foot down. Seems also lack of storage for the usual stuff you cart to the office and when you get there it won't fit in the bike rack.

    Maybe the person who put this idea ought to be made to commute with it in <insert generic city name>

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Happy

      Not so rotten

      It's more or less a faired recumbent - the sort of bike that can break speed records (with someone a good deal fitter than me pedalling). The problems you suspect are easily solved by recumbent riders.

      The trouble is that it looks as though it was designed by someone who knew the general idea of a recumbent but not the detailed issues. Most, for example, have larger rear wheels and/or suspension.

  48. Sam Tana
    Stop

    Offroading

    Like the Segway or the C5, I can see this being of some use in - maybe - a huge warehouse, well away from traffic, weather, pointing-and-laughing schoolboys. But on the roads? In Britain? Nurse!

  49. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @"more to this than meets the eye"

    "The Sinclair Research website now redirects to "www.sinclairzx.com"

    It does indeed look like there's perhaps more to this than meets the eye. A bit of quick Googling reveals that the Sinclair Research site of a few days ago is still cached, but it now redirects to sinclairzx.com and there has been a (failed?) attempt to transfer the original site's contents to the sinclairzx.com domain.

    e.g. there are references to URLs of the form http://www.sinclairzx.comcontact-us.php/ - can you spot what they missed, and how much testing they must have (NOT) done before going live?

  50. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Kingston PC lock, innit.

    Maybe somebody should have a go on this thing before deciding that it's worthless and people who might use it are worthless.

    And, it's not a Segway HT.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Something like this in the trailer for Wallace & Gromit's World of Inventions (by real people)

      ...which I may have missed because BBC Scotland TV didn't show it.

      Or I just missed it.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        In fact it IS this

        but I still haven't seen it.

        I gathered that the first of this TV series was about machines built in imitation of animals mainly. This probably doesn't count except as a distant cousin of the Volkswagen Beetle, so maybe there's a Comedy Bicycles episode coming up.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sir Clive's just helping Natural Selection along

    Could this have anything to do with Micro Men rubbing salt in his wounds? "Let it go..."

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does it work?

    I mean, how can I ride one of these things and pull a lap dancer 36 years younger?

  53. max allan

    Has anyone watched the video???

    ROTFLMAO. The video looks like it was shot on a mobile phone and edited by someone with their eyes closed!

    Wobbly shooting and clips that only appear for a fraction of a second. I'm watching in the office so have no sound, I'm guessing it's just as bad.

    What a great advert...

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, he had to shift those covers somehow

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/3799a96

    (preview for your viewing safety and comfort)

  55. Alan Denman

    Plenty of resistance I see

    Seems more attitude than fact here.

    It looks a bit like those streamlined mpg competition vehicles that get 500+ mpg.

    Who knows but it could really improve the battery.

    The opening offer of £600 is the cheapest recumbent bike by far.

    A removable shell option would be useful for those a bit wet behind the ears.

  56. AndyG_IOM
    Grenade

    I sense another upgrade here....

    Why not combine this with one of the shopmobility scooters - possibly the one that does 70mph ( that bloke is a legend btw) and then it may be personal transport fun !!!!

    /mines the one on the C5 seat

  57. Eponymous Cowherd
    FAIL

    It can only fail.

    The idea isn't half bad, but, like a lot of Sinclair's brainwaves, the execution is awful.

    Its a recumbant bike. Nothing wrong with that idea, but the upright seating position means that the main advantages of a recumbant, streamlining and the ability to provide more effort to the pedals, are negated.

    Its got a roof. Nothing wrong with that, but its profile means it will have horrific windage. I wouldn't want to ride that in traffic where high sided vehicles sweeping past will blow the thing all over the road. Or in anything other than a light breeze. Also the open sides and closed back mean that trying to go against a head-wind will be like trying to ride through a brick wall.

    It has power assistance, but the power is severely lacking, particularly considering its high drag and weight (its over double the weight of my Dahon Espresso folder (13Kg).

    The small wheels will also provide poor stability.

    All in all, I would imagine this would be a frightful thing to ride around on (in?), with respect to comfort, performance and safety (you may have a roll cage, but it looks pretty flimsy and it will be blown all over the road. I also imagine that flying shards of that shell would be pretty nasty in any smash).

  58. Phil Hare 2

    To quote Blackadder...

    ...mad as a bicycle.

    No... hang on...

  59. Robert Hill
    Thumb Up

    Lewis...

    "Nowadays Sinclair is known as much for... or for his longtime relationship with (and recent marriage to) a former lapdancer 36 years his junior"....

    Lewis, you say that like it's a BAD THING?? Bloody hell, if having a couple of good ideas in your life and capitalizing on them get you the money to have a fantastic sex partner in your older age isn't a passable definition of success, I don't know what is...

    1. howard bowen 1
      Badgers

      This space left blank...er wait......

      Yeah 100% agree. Thats my definition of success right there.

  60. This post has been deleted by its author

  61. Minophis
    FAIL

    He used to be great.....

    There is no doubt that Sir Clive produced some very innovative products in his heyday. The digital watch, pocket calculator, ZX80, ZX81 and of course the ZX Spectrum (which I still remember fondly as my first computer). I certainly do not begrudge him his wealth or lap dancing life partner.

    However a low powered electric recumbent in a plastic cowl that looks like it was designed in the early 70's shows just how much his game has slipped. There are people making hpv and hybrid vehicles including recumbent bikes and trikes of far higher quality, innovativeness and visual appeal. This is not innovation and for the creator of one of the most popular series of home computer of the 80's to be pushing this is sad and just a little embarrassing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      I take it back

      Sir Clive's game has not slipped.

      It's just that his use use of design, technology and style don't seem to have progressed at all in the last 25 years.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't shop for it. Amazon it. Or something like that.

    "These days, with higher expectations and better consumer laws, Sinclair would have been bankrupt within weeks for shipping products of such quality."

    Really? You've never bought some own brand from a well known UK Stores Group then? Perhaps more than one such Retail Group?

  63. bugalugs
    WTF?

    WTF ?

    Tiny wheels = fail

    Seriously upright seat = fail

    Ape-hanger handlebars = fail

    Air-scoop retarding factor = fail

    High side profile = fail

    Open door policy = fail

    Open floor policy = fail

    Perspex-shard_pre- tensioning " rollover " frame = fail

    Open chain to rear wheeel = fail

    Disc brakes.

    But I am prejudiced. I spent three weeks of my paper-round

    earnings buying an IC10 round 1970 and never got it to actually work.

    Happy jiggling, Sir Clive, but not with this little bunny's money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Upgrade needed -URGENTLY!

      Needs to be a lot lower, the rider needs to be angled back more. Needs TWICE the power at least.. Needs larger wider wheels and yes a rear third one, not everyone will want (be able to use) a recumbant. Needs to come with removable pvc doors, just thick clear plastic zipped around should do. Wiper? Mirrors? Luggage? Optional funky colours/ graphics. FFS that thing as is will be a disaster.

      There that fixed it. Upgrade 2.0 whenever you like.

      Personally I'd stick to a motorbike, but thats just me.

      Kudos though to Sir Clive though for seeing to a lapdancer in his mansion on top of a large pile of money.

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