Grant Sinclair, nephew of the inventor Sir Clive Sinclair, has released images of an updated version of his Iris eTrike. We’ve been waiting a while for this one, but Sinclair says it will soon be mass produced.
The Sinclair C5 was famously a little too ahead of its time, but remains perhaps the most famous electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC) of all.
Things are a little different these days. Getting on for 40 years later, its spiritual successor, the Iris eTrike, will enter a world where light electric vehicles are increasingly commonplace – e-bikes are mainstream vehicles and there are all manner of electric three-wheelers too, from higher speed covered vehicles like the Nimbus One to the e-cargo trikes trialled by Royal Mail.
What makes the Iris stand out then? Well apparently it’s, “the first enclosed e-bike to have been test ridden by an astronaut on primetime television.” (You’d think everyone would be jumping on that bandwagon.)
This was when Tim Peake gave a prototype a whirl on the BBC’s The One Show. “Straight away, that’s a nice pick-up, a lot of acceleration,” he observed. “Surprisingly fast.”
The Iris can reach speeds of up to 30mph, which we suppose makes it a speed pedelec. However, a lot of the website blurb emphasises that it can be ridden as an EAPC by 14-year-olds, which presumably means that 15.5mph (25km/h) speed restriction is an option – and indeed there are 250W, 500W, 750W and 1kW motor options available.
It’s billed as being suitable for cycle lanes, but the Iris is also higher off the ground than the C5 was so that the rider/driver doesn’t feel so intimidated in traffic.
It’s covered too, which keeps the rain off, improves aerodynamics and also offers protection to the rider. The EPP foam body construction is lightweight but robust and the vehicle is said to be, “designed to be safe like riding inside a large crash helmet.”
Sinclair certainly believes there’s a market for such a vehicle in the modern world.
“Due to the climate crisis, fossil fuels are being phased out and major cities are imposing low speed limits or banning cars altogether,” he said. “The average car has one occupant and people are put off riding bikes in extreme weather. I believe Iris is part of the urgent solution.”
We first reported that Iris eTrike orders were being taken in 2017. Sinclair says he now has a manufacturing offer from Sony and interest from distributors with plans for a 150 square metre showroom for one in Norway where all four-wheel road vehicles are due to be heavily taxed.