something of a wobbly start for Sir Clive
Sinclair and his latest invention, the Zike
As the slimline two-wheeler purred down the
carpeted gallery at Olympia, in London, yesterday
with the inventor atop, onlookers could not help
comparing it to Sir Clive's C5 electric car and
its fabulous failure. The 51-year-old father of
the pocket calculator would have none of it. He
admitted the car - which lost his company £8.5
million and had fewer than 20,000 sales - scared
people off because it was too close to the
ground. But the Zike, he promised, would be
''Everyone who rides it gets off smiling,'' he
That might be because the tiny wheels and
silver frame make it look more like a toy than a
practical form of transport.
Sir Clive is seeking an audience outside the
nursery. His goal is to sell to anyone over 14
years old and under 17 stone who needs a little
help peddling up hill or wants to get to work or
school with no sweat.
A fist-sized motor perched behind the cycle
chain, can propel the Zike at a maximum of 15
miles per hour. If it went faster it would be
classified as a motorbike and riders would need a
licence and a helmet.
Put through its paces yesterday, the Zike
managed to keep everyone aboard. However, serious
bikers questioned whether it would cope with the
pot-holes and ruts of city streets.
Sir Clive's inventiveness is neatly packed
into the 23 pound frame that houses the motor
with rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries. These
are lighter than normal batteries and have a life
from between 30 minutes and three hours depending
on which of the three running speeds are used.
They either recharge themselves as the bike
coasts downhill or can be plugged into the mains
for an hour.
The Zike will sell for £499 and the first
models are expected in May.