Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

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fastpedaller
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Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby fastpedaller » 27 Sep 2018, 10:48pm

Just a thought I had today.......... Was Sir Clive over 30 years in front? The much maligned C5 was a cheaply produced product of its age, but I wonder if the premium price E-recumbent is around the corner? was he that far ahead of everyone else? and if the product had taken the 'premium price' route it may have succeeded?

Brucey
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby Brucey » 28 Sep 2018, 12:53am

IMHO there were very many reasons why the C5 didn't sell. However one of the things that (in my eyes) took it from being considered a serious vehicle and condemned it to 'novelty' status was the fact that

it was a very poor recumbent tricycle.

Most folk don't mind helping the thing along (which you needed to do with the C5) too much but if your means of helping it along is to flail away at a set of floppy plastic cranks, then the whole business is liable to leave you somewhat cold. (Well, hot and sweaty in fact, but you see what I mean....)

A good recumbent tricycle ought to manage nearly 20mph average on the flat with about the same effort as it takes to walk briskly or pedal a bicycle at about 12mph. The C5 didn't do that, almost as if the pedal transmission was an afterthought. In so doing it made anything even remotely similar look like a bit of a joke too.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Cunobelin
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby Cunobelin » 28 Sep 2018, 6:51am

The Sinclair Family are still at it:







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pjclinch
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby pjclinch » 28 Sep 2018, 8:08am

Brucey wrote:IMHO there were very many reasons why the C5 didn't sell. However one of the things that (in my eyes) took it from being considered a serious vehicle and condemned it to 'novelty' status was the fact that

it was a very poor recumbent tricycle.


This is the nub of it, and it wasn't as if the technology/engineering to do it better wasn't there. Unfortunately it seemed that building down to a price made it a second-rate thing. I don't know, but I suspect a bit too much self-belief from Sinclair may have been a factor too, thinking he knew better than people who knew about how to build a good trike. He's come up with various others over the years like the Zike and the A-Bike that just aren't good bits of cycle design/engineering and have died a death as a result.

And it looks like there's still this sense of massive self belief that it's Sinclair so it must be genius and never mind what's already out there if you can just be bothered to look. If I want a powered velomobile I'll talk to Flevobike, not Sinclair...

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

kwackers
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby kwackers » 28 Sep 2018, 8:26am

pjclinch wrote:And it looks like there's still this sense of massive self belief that it's Sinclair so it must be genius and never mind what's already out there if you can just be bothered to look.

Pete.

Bit like Dyson imo.
Mind you he did give us the ball wheelbarrow and everyone has one of those...
Marketing is Dysons genuis, convince people he's solved the bag problem whilst replacing it with a £30 set of filters.

Having said that my main hope is that battery powered vehicles turn into small city things, bicycles, covered trikes etc. The Renault Twizy is to my mind what a small electric car should be so perhaps we're approaching the time of the electric trike? I hope so.

pwa
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby pwa » 28 Sep 2018, 9:25am

fastpedaller wrote:Just a thought I had today.......... Was Sir Clive over 30 years in front? The much maligned C5 was a cheaply produced product of its age, but I wonder if the premium price E-recumbent is around the corner? was he that far ahead of everyone else? and if the product had taken the 'premium price' route it may have succeeded?

The C5 was crap. But the notion of a single person electric vehicle with a fraction of the weight of a car seems very attractive and I think there is inevitably going to be a successful mass produced expression of that concept in the not-too-distant future. But it won't have your bum two inches off the road.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby Tangled Metal » 28 Sep 2018, 9:44am

Isn't there a two seater covered motorcycle like vehicle but with 3 or 4 wheels instead that tilts round bends like motorbikes?
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/amp.timeinc.net/thedrive/accelerator/579/the-11-most-ambitious-leaning-cars%3fsource=dam

atlas_shrugged
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby atlas_shrugged » 28 Sep 2018, 10:36am

The other thing that did for the C5 was lack of infra-structure. If you wanted to get from A to B with a C5 then you had to share the road with massive motor-vehicles weighing over 2 tonnes and travelling at 60-70mph.

IMHO if we built highways for sustainable-only vehicles weighing <100kg and width < 1m then this market would take off.

Edited to add: That of course would not be good for UK fuel tax revenues which is why this is never promoted.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 28 Sep 2018, 10:43am

The premium-priced e-recumbent is here, from ICE, Hase and possibly others. I know two people who have them, but they're not going to become common due to the premium price.

pwa
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby pwa » 28 Sep 2018, 11:16am

Bmblbzzz wrote:The premium-priced e-recumbent is here, from ICE, Hase and possibly others. I know two people who have them, but they're not going to become common due to the premium price.

Most people who are otherwise non-cyclists will shy away from anything that has your bum near the ground, sharing roads with cars and lorries. That is partly what killed the C5. They are much more likely to go for standard upright e-bikes that make them feel less vulnerable. We can debate the real safety / danger implications of rider height, but regardless of that there is a psychological barrier to sitting low down in traffic. And that means that sales would be very small. If you want to sell a lot you have to get the user higher up, simply to get the sales.

kwackers
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby kwackers » 28 Sep 2018, 11:40am

pwa wrote:Most people who are otherwise non-cyclists will shy away from anything that has your bum near the ground, sharing roads with cars and lorries. That is partly what killed the C5. They are much more likely to go for standard upright e-bikes that make them feel less vulnerable. We can debate the real safety / danger implications of rider height, but regardless of that there is a psychological barrier to sitting low down in traffic. And that means that sales would be very small. If you want to sell a lot you have to get the user higher up, simply to get the sales.

Funny, I was thinking about recumbents with regards to a video I posted a link to.

A guy in a 4x4 went the wrong way around an island in order to overtake me a little later. The thing was he was in a 4x4 and his view was cut off by a row of stacked packs of bricks.
Due to his height he would have presumably assumed he could see anything coming over the bricks - but he wouldn't have been able to see a recumbent.
Obviously the odds are vanishingly small that there would have been one but it made me think.

tatanab
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby tatanab » 28 Sep 2018, 11:56am

kwackers wrote:Due to his height he would have presumably assumed he could see anything coming over the bricks - but he wouldn't have been able to see a recumbent.
Or a Lotus 7.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 28 Sep 2018, 11:56am

pwa wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:The premium-priced e-recumbent is here, from ICE, Hase and possibly others. I know two people who have them, but they're not going to become common due to the premium price.

Most people who are otherwise non-cyclists will shy away from anything that has your bum near the ground, sharing roads with cars and lorries. That is partly what killed the C5. They are much more likely to go for standard upright e-bikes that make them feel less vulnerable. We can debate the real safety / danger implications of rider height, but regardless of that there is a psychological barrier to sitting low down in traffic. And that means that sales would be very small. If you want to sell a lot you have to get the user higher up, simply to get the sales.

Yes, good point. One which, I must admit, I haven't even considered -- I was only thinking in terms of appealing to current cyclists. Which touches on another reason the C5 failed -- it was, as far as I remember, marketed as a vehicle for all. Cyclists scorned it because it wasn't a "proper" cycle (and it was badly done), motorists or would-be motorists were scared of it for the low height reason and scorned it for being slow and small.

However, the velomobile retains a small but loyal following. And some are electric.

One way in which it was thirty too years early was battery technology. I don't know how many electric velomobiles (if any) there were thirty years ago, but they would have faced the same problems of heavy, low-capacity lead-acid batteries.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby al_yrpal » 28 Sep 2018, 12:21pm

Its a bit like the tilting train, lots of good ideas badly executed by the wrong sort of design engineers who lacked experience in the industry. I got the job of cleaning up some of the mess they left and the mistakes they made were crass.
Sinclair and Dyson were good at producing novel ideas and applications. I was working for a company making cyclones for cleaning the air in factories and workshops back in 1967, it took Dyson many years later to apply the cyclone to the vacuum cleaner.
Without putting in cycle tracks on every road in the land I cannot envision a population all cycling around on Sinclair type recumbents.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

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Si
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Re: Sinclair 30 years ahead of everyone?

Postby Si » 28 Sep 2018, 6:23pm

It was a good idea ahead of it's time and technology and culture.

You can knock out cheap, corner cutting home computers and people will put up with the dead flesh keyboards....but they won't go for the real dead flesh on the roads. We all know that recumbent e-trikes can be great to ride if well built but most people wouldn't want to commute through heavy traffic on fast multilane roundabouts on one!