The nephew of Sir Clive Sinclair, famous for inventing the C5 in the 1980s, has created a state-of-the-art electric trike that could revolutionise commuting and urban courier deliveries.
Grant Sinclair’s three-wheel Iris eTrike has an eco-friendly electric motor that provides power to assist with pedalling, making uphill journeys much easier and faster – up to a top speed of 30mph.
Unlike the C5, it is fully enclosed to protect its pilot from the elements – and other road traffic – while charcoal filters help block out air pollution and exhaust fumes.
It’s like travelling inside a giant crash helmet, according to Sinclair, who has been testing his prototype around his home in South Wales.
The family, who can claim to have invented the pocket calculator, some of the first personal computers and the flat-screen television, has Scottish ancestry and links with Dundee – the iconic ZX81 computer was produced at the city’s Timex factory.
The 44-year-old worked in his uncle’s company as a youngster and, like princes William and Harry, had his own C5 at home.
He was inspired to create the new vehicle to take advantage of 21st-century innovations in materials and batteries.
“I didn’t set out to do another C5,” he said.
“Technology has moved forward a lot since then and cycle networks are getting better every day. I think the time is right for a bike like this.
“Most people cycle for generally trying to keep fit. This keeps you fit but it’s not quite so much effort – you don’t need to arrive in the office all hot and bothered.
“The motor kicks in when you start pedalling, and takes the strain off. I think that’s why it appeals to more than the normal bike market.
” He says it is aimed at cyclists but also people who are put off cycling by bad weather and safety concerns.
“It makes you feel very safe riding it,” he said.
“I was bombing about yesterday and it’s like sitting inside a massive crash helmet.
” The lightweight aerodynamic body is made from next generation expanded polypropylene foam, which is recyclable and has no climate-warming propellants.
Three wheels give stability in dicey weather, while LED lights aid visibility.
He has been inundated with requests to try the Iris and has received interest from firms around the world, including India –home to the world’s largest fleet of cargo bikes.
To own an Iris will set you back £3,999, but discounts are available through cycle-to-work schemes.
The first models will take to the roads later this year.