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Sinclair Research, 1994-2000

The Zeta, or Zero-Emission Transport Accessory, was a simple but ingenious way of providing a motorised boost to an ordinary pedal cycle. It was first launched in April 1994 at a price of £144.95 and subsequently underwent two significant design revisions.

The device is best described as a box with a roller on the bottom of it, which is clipped onto the bicycle frame with the roller resting on the wheel. The Zeta's electric motor, which is activated via a control attached to the bicycle handlebar, propels bicycle and rider along at up to 15 miles an hour. (Like the C5, it could probably go faster, but above 15 mph it would put the bicycle into the category of a motorised vehicle, compelling the rider to have a motorcycle licence.)

Some 15,000 units of the Zeta I (right) were sold between 1994 and its replacement in early 1997 by the smaller and lighter Zeta II. A third-generation Zeta III was launched in August 2000, again marking a significant reduction in the size and weight of the device.

Chris Owen 1994-2003