Back to the future with Sir Clive Sinclair

Paul Raven @ 05-11-2010

If you’d asked me what the twenty-tens would look like back in 1985, I don’t think I’d have said “1985”. But that’s the oroboros of culture for you, I guess; not only are the streets of big cities packed with preening hipsters dressed exactly like the alpaca-esque post-punks I used to be somewhat intimidated (yet subliminally inspired) by as they lurked moodily around the local war memorials, but Sir Clive Sinclair – the chap who gave his name to the ZX Spectrum computers that lurked in the corner of every second British kid’s bedroom around that time – is once again making a bid to populate the urban streets of Britain with what is in essence an electric-assisted bicycle in a plastic shell.

You’ve got to admire Sinclair’s classic British pluck, really; the C-5 remains an iconic example of duff eighties futurism, a gloriously eccentric failure and testament to well-meaning but ultimately misguided innovative engineering. The C-5 was ugly, fragile, and more than a little silly. So, has Sir Clive learned from the mistakes of the past?

The Sinclair C5, circa 1985:

Sinclair C5

The Sinclair X1, circa 2010:

Sinclair X1

I’m going to go with “no”. Once more unto the breach, wot? Ours is not to reason why…

OK, I’m being a little over-snarky here, perhaps; I’m a big supporter of urban cycling and alternative transport, and I’d love to see the take-up on affordable and predominantly human-powered urban vehicles increase dramatically. But – and please forgive my cynicism – I don’t think that thing’s gonna do it. [images ganked from Gizmag]