Sinclair’s A-Bike returns with electric power

Folding micro-bike design resurrected

An electric version of Sir Clive Sinclair’s A-Bike is now part of a pledge that’s live on the Kickstarter crowdfunding website. Redesigned by the same team that distributed the original A-Bike, it’s another bold attempt to capture the commuter market.

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The original A-Bike was launched in 2006 as a portable commuting solution for riders travelling short distances. Pairing a telescopic frame to two 6in wheels meant that the 5.5kg (12lb) A-Bike could not only fold in seconds but would end up a convenient size that could be taken indoors or stowed away easily while on public transport. It was relatively cheap too, retailing at £199 upon its release.

The A-Bike was a genius concept in theory but, much like Sinclair’s infamous C5 vehicle, it was one that didn’t catch on. Reviews slated the bike’s handling and before long the A-Bike was all but forgotten (except among a cult following – once again, just like the C5.)

The A-Bike Electric takes off where the A-Bike left off but adds a 24v brushless motor and battery into the mix. The result is a bike that folds in the same way as the original but is good for up to 25km of electric assistance. If you’re out of juice then it shouldn’t be too much drama either, the A-Bike simply pedals like the original bike, albeit one that weighs twice what its predecessor did at 12kg (26lb).

That’s still an impressive weight for an e-bike – in fact it’s the lightest around, according to the people behind the A-Bike Electric – but we can’t help but feel its relative heft somewhat contradicts what this bike was originally about.

The price is up a good deal on the original too. Those electric bits and pieces don’t come cheap, meaning the electric A-Bike is expected to retail at £699 / US$1089. However, early investors will get a special introductory offer.

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The Kickstarter pledge aims to gain £40,000 worth of funding towards the A-Bike. We’d like to see this one go the way of the ZX Spectrum, but we fear it’s got more than a whiff of the C5 about it.