Sinclair gives bikes a push
FINANCIAL TIMES, 29 April 1994
Sir Clive Sinclair, inventor of the ill-fated C5 car and the Zike electric bicycle, yesterday unveiled his latest brainwave - a battery-powered motor for push bikes to take the work out of going uphill.
The Zeta (Zero Emission Transport Accessory) attaches over the rear wheel and is activated by a switch on the handlebars. Sinclair Research says it can be strapped on almost any standard bike.
Sir Clive said the Zeta would be 'the next major breakthrough' in the bicycle market, and that it can supply half the power needed for a 12-stone person to go up a one-in-10 gradient at 10mph.
The Zeta, which weighs less than 10lb, transmits the drive by a pulley-mounted belt. This minimises friction to prevent tyre wear, unlike petrol-driven motors.
The rechargeable battery gives a range of one to three hours, or 10 to 30 miles. An overnight recharger comes as part of the package.
The Zeta costs £144.95 mail-order and will be advertised in national newspapers this weekend. It is expected to be in the shops by the autumn. In contrast, the Zike is a bike with a completely integrated electric motor and battery. It costs £499 and has sold 2,000 since its launch in 1992.
Olympic cycle designer Mr Mike Burrows was sure there was a market for Zeta. 'It's for little old ladies in Hampstead who are a bit worried about getting back up the hill,' he said.
'Serious cyclists wouldn't need it and kids will get bored with it and wreck it in no time. But there is a market.'