The reality is the A-Bike, and it has been co-developed in Hong Kong by Daka Development, a product design and product marketing agency. The first A-Bikes were unveiled in Singapore yesterday.
Sir Clive Sinclair was on hand to do the PR bit and be billed around the world as the "zany British inventor of the pocket calculator" but it is Alexander Kalogroulis, Daka’s head of strategic product planning, who was credited with the finished design at the Singapore press conference.
Daka Development is linked with Sinclair Research Ltd, Sir Clive’s mail-order business, which retails interesting inventions, and Sir Clive’s ‘button’ radio. Daka is a shareholder in Sinclair Research Ltd. Sir Clive is a non-executive director of Daka.
The Sinclair Research mail-order website sells Daka products such as the Sea-Doo underwater propulsion unit.
"My original thought was that if you could have a bicycle that was dramatically lighter and more compact then ones that exist today, you would change the way in which bicycles could be used," Sinclair told reporters.
Smaller? The Handy Bike, see link below, looks an awful lot like the A-Bike and pre-dates it. Like the Handy Bike, the A-Bike looks as though it would work fine on flat. clean, dry, bump-less, traffic-free asphalt. Avoiding hills, cars, rain, grit, obstacles is a tall order in most urban population centres in the world but as a short-distance, good-weather, hop-on, hop-off mobility device the A-Bike could attract users who want a cross between a micro-scooter and a scaled-down Strida from the 1980s.
The Strida link could come from the fact an earlier Sinclair Research project – which never went into production – was the X-Bike, designed by Mark Saunders of MAS Design, the creator of the Strida.
The A-Bike – part-plastic, part-aluminium, and weighing 5.5kg (12lbs) – will be commercially available next year, said Sir Clive. Daka’s existing products often get sold through ‘gadget’-type retailers such as The Gadget Shop in the UK.
In a Zike-like flourish, Sinclair said he believes A-Bikes could also be sold ready-fitted with electric motors, a speciality of Sir Clive’s.
Daka and Sinclair Research already produce electric drives for wheelchairs.
The Sinclair Zeta series of lead-acid battery bicycle drives (known as ZAP Zeta in the US) used friction belts held against the tyres and were never entirely successful at propelling the bicycles they were attached to, unless the bicycle tyres were dry and remained free of grit.
Daka Development wheeled out the A-Bike to publicise its Initial Public Offering in Singapore.