New egg-shaped bike coming to a street near you

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The Independent Travel

Your rainy, hilly bike ride just got a boost from famed British entrepreneur and inventor Sir Clive Sinclair. The inventor of the revolutionary ZX Spectrum computer is back at it again - this time with an electric bike called the Sinclair X-1, due out in July 2011.

Sinclair introduced an electric vehicle in 1985, the highly ridiculed and problematic C5 tricycle (a commercial disaster, the C5 only sold 12,000 units). Today's revised version, announced on November 4, is an egg-shaped bubble that works a lot like a recumbent bike, with a wide seat, forward-mounted pedals, and high handlebars.

The X-1 includes a 24v lithium-polymer battery that drives a 190-Watt motor via a fixed-gear drive train. Front and back disk-brakes provide "full stopping power," cites the company's website. The X-1 electric vehicle can drive 10 kilometers for around £0.10p (seven euro cents), depending on how much the rider uses the pedals to assist. Also since it's not technically a motorized vehicle, the X-1 requires no driver's license, insurance, or road tax, according to the company's website.

The whole vehicle weighs a heavy 30 kilos. The X-1 cost £595 (690 euros). Preorders are available via the company's website.

Another new bike technology on the market is the Copenhagen Wheel, introduced last year and designed by MIT's Senseable City Lab. The wheel transforms ordinary bikes into hybrid e-bikes that can provide the rider with an extra power boost in the tough parts of their ride. Energy from braking is stored inside the purposely designed batteries housed inside the wheel, ready to be expended on the next uphill climb. Combined with a specially designed iPhone application, the Copenhagen Wheel also uses its inbuilt sensors and Bluetooth connection to track your ride from A to B.

To learn more and watch a video of the Sinclair X-1 in action: