Author Topic: memories of a sinclair C5  (Read 3917 times)

richard

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memories of a sinclair C5
« on: March 20, 2011, 04:24:38 PM »
just found some old photo's of the family trying the then new Sinclair C5. dad had one "on approval " for 10 days. apart from being a flawed concept i believe Sir Clives biggest failing was to let prospective buyers have the vehicle for days free trial before purchase . in my dads case 10 days was enough to show us all that despite being great fun they were of limited use - it went back ! unbought, unpaid for and of course showing signs of wear.

i do apologise to those who cannot reconcile images of myself in 1985 and myself now - its a mystery to me also !  ;D
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marcus

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 05:39:22 PM »
Nice pictures!
I remember hearing that it would soon be marketed, but when I first saw it on TV news I was shocked. It offered nothing that a push bike cannot do better, and if you cannot ride a bike or feel unsafe, then it still does not really seem to be a sensible choice for normal road use... holiday resorts and leisure areas yes, roads no. I still hoped it was better than I thought and wanted it to be a success, but a few weeks later I saw one driving up North End Road, Fulham, West Londonshire and the (partial) sight of it between a car and a van gave me a pretty good idea that it would not be a big success.
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Big Al

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011, 07:50:02 AM »
This personal transport niche has still not really got the answer that the mass wish to buy into. Perhaps it is a market that does not exist as the bicycle does offer a very practical cheap option. Then again would the situation change if even just the urban areas become more like Holland with a system of 'cycle paths'. Our transport infrastructure seems to lurch from one mode of transport to another rather than being a long term answer to a developing situation, much caused by the same people who are responsible for planning where new urban and business concentrations are to be yet failing conspicuously to resolve the transport problems. So we get a decade of motorway building, a decade of high speed rail links etc etc. Yet the place is ever more jammed during the day with traffic even with an economic downturn and high fuel prices. Come the night and the roads round here are deserted as no one can afford to go out. Yet they still have to commute and take kids to school. Most folk have not got the right transport answer but it is difficult to alter it when the infrastructure is not there and the tax system is! Given forethought then the Sinclair and other things we play with from time to time really ought to be transmogrified into a modern transport option for at least part of the population centres. So Sir Clive got a miss but how near a hit could it have been.
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marcus

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 08:20:56 AM »
Good points Alan, and I agree that the C5 could have been a hit with a few mechanical improvements and a major change to infrastructure.
Personal transport is a wonderful ideal, and cycles, mopeds and motorcycles provide a lot of this for many people but without weather protection which is what commuters and school run Mum tends to want. Enclose a device and people immediately think CAR. And as soon as they are thinking CAR they want safety, comfort, stereo, Sat Nav, laptop charger, ABS, SIPS, heated seats, mini-bar, jacuzzi etc. About 3 years ago the Government did 2 huge reports, one about all our transport infrastructure and how to maximise its use. The 2nd investigated future requirements of this all. They looked at pavements, roads, waterways, railways, airports, pavements and footpaths, and they did a detailed study of road use, estimating motorcycle, car, van, taxi, bus and truck use of the network. The idea was to plan our road use for now and into the future, but there was not a single reference to bicycles. With that sort of blinkered thinking from our bureaucrats I can see no chance of any new initiative for "Personal Transport" .
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P50

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 07:31:16 PM »
Err this is out in a month ot two...

http://www.sinclairzx.com/spec-x-1.html
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marcus

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 08:15:09 PM »
Yes, I have seen this Sinclair publicity already. Regardless of how good or not-so-good it might be, I feel that nowadays if people are enclosed they want to feel that the enclosure will survive a fairly big impact.
Those who use 2 wheels tend to just accept the risk. Therefore I think the only real market for this new creation is moped riders and potential new moped riders, and perhaps a few others who like its novelty or its green credibility. Will customers choose this, or continue with fuel mopeds? Time will tell, but despite liking the idea of batteries I would wonder about when they will run out and how much the replacements will be, and for how long they keep performing to acceptable range levels.

Today I saw posters for the new Peugeot Ion electric car, nice looking. Is a new age of more popular electric vehicles dawning on us? I hope so, but still feel that they have a lot of resistance to overcome. Just like modern airships filled with inert helium which cannot burn, but even people who were born 60 years after the Hindenburg disaster still think "airships burn".
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Big Al

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 09:57:24 AM »
Now that reminds me of the huge blimp that was designed with parts - nose, wings and tail - of a Boeing 747 type airliner fitted. It was to be used for air freight haulage. Nothing heard further. The joke is that the 'airships burn' means Hydrogen is a viable fuel if not a floatation resource. Unfortunately the flammability puts folk off as does the fact that it is not such a densely packed energy source as say, Methane. However a Hydrogen explosion burns upwards and is thus less dangerous than heavy vapours. Indeed some number of deaths of hydrogen explosions are from lack of oxygen as much as burns, see Hindenburg. Trouble is petrol/diesel is like sugar. A very convenient and economical way to package and convert energy using a small space. They might not be good for us or have other problems but it is hard to find anything better. I take the view that as we live on an island with ample winds, waves, tides and sea water we should be using this intelligently for power in a unified strategy combined with fisheries and alga farming. In addition power station outfalls can be utilised as well. We are uniquely placed to do this and could lead the world on the technology. Get it right and with a few nuclear reactors and a return to coal used efficiently, as we are sat on the stuff, we would not need the oil companies for our energy plus have a sustainable fisheries industry better than Iceland's.
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marcus

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 10:18:52 AM »
Most Hindenburg casualties were from falling and crushing by collapsing structure, yup the heat goes up away from people. Here's another wrong airship:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7jENWKgMPY

Interesting new tidal project just starting in the Scottish Isles, world's biggest, way to go!
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burford57

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 07:00:24 PM »
I saw the press release for this a while ago and offered myself as a guinea pig in Deal (nice flat roads, superb cycle path along the sea front for miles, cycle track at Fowlmead Country park etc etc).  Heard nothing.  Perhaps they remember the write-up I gave the Zeta cyclemotor accessories all those years ago and don't want a repeat.

Tidal project - is that the one where the turbines are secured to the sea bed?
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marcus

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 07:27:41 PM »
Yup, I think they are on posts protruding from the sea floor, but well below ship's depth. Interesting timing, with Fukushima causing international concern. Not everywhere is suitable for tidal power generating, but 20 miles from the world's biggest hot-spot of earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and volcanoes seems an odd choice as a place for a nuclear power station!

I always thought it was a shame that Sinclair aimed its publicity at road use. If they had clearly sold it as an off-road vehicle (Deal being a great example, so too is Brighton) it would have sold at least as many.  Then some of those owners would have started taking it onto roads for fun, like quad bikes and agricultural vehicles nowadays.
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Big Al

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Re: memories of a sinclair C5
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 08:16:58 AM »
Indeed it is an apparently odd place for nuclear reactors. However the nuclear engineering bit did what it was supposed too. It turned itself off and required three to five days water cooling before being re set and any damaged rods removed to reprocessing and reuse. What failed was the civil engineering and the fact that the staff on site had to deal with all the problems without additional help from the full compliment of staff employed and normally available due to transport a tsunami probs. Sadly they got several things wrong in the panic. Blocked intakes for cooling water, drowned generators and water in the diesel. Fire engines bypassing the system would have probably done it. Thus the fresh sealed permanent cooling system overheated and broke as it made steam. Once this had happened they were in trouble as they had poor access to enough fresh water to replace that being lost. Using sea water in a reactor makes steam but also as it is an electrolyte it splits into oxygen and hydrogen faster then fresh. There was no way to bleed off the hydrogen hence explosions and from there it is catch up time. This doers not make nuclear reactors more dangerous than they were a month ago. It points up that the civil engineering has to be of the same quality as the nuclear engineering and that who ever works out emergency drill scenarios was not up to the mark. It will be interesting to see how the piles have faired inside the containment chambers. It seems three might have melted, one badly. No Chernobyl though, though that was an accident waiting to happen as it had a graphite pile which is flammable.

The generator project is welcome but I am still concerned it is not part of a joined up bit of thinking in what else can be included in the infrastructure while we are at it. It is not a cheap way to power 5000 homes. However we need this technology to be tried. It would be interesting to know if this budget was put into providing energy efficient infrastructure, thus suiting the type of vehicle in topic, into, say, East London how much energy would be saved. Would it be more that of 5000 homes?
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