The Vektar, the worlds first computer bike, was launched in 1985 long before we had health and safety laws. Equipped with ‘micro chip technology’ the rider could see how fast they were going, how far they had gone and how long they had been riding for at the touch of a button. The head’s down display ensured that you would ride into the back of your mate or a kerb as you fiddled with the control panel.
If that wasn’t enough you could listen to the radio on one of the three AM preset stations either while riding the bike or parked up hanging out with their pals. Later models came with a MW tuner giving even less crappy sound quality.
The main feature though was the advanced warning and alarm system. Once you had chosen one of the eight sounds from the ‘revolutionary sound generator’ on the top tube mounted control panel, you could use the handlebar mounted controller to terrorise old ladies as you rallied around the housing estate.
The bike came in two models. One without the electronics which was priced at £200 which would ensure you hated your parents forever for not getting you the full blown version with all the gadgets which cost a whopping £300 (around £750 in todays money)
Aside from the gadgets the bike came with mag wheels built from I.C.I.AMX9 plastic which at the time was one of the strongest plastics known to science or mankind. The wheels boasted the toughness of steel with the lightness of plastic and unlike standard AMX9 mag wheels the Vektar had an integrated 3 speed hub ‘for fast getaways and high speed cruising’.
Before the release to market the bike was tested and developed for four long years at a cost of £500,000. According to an RTE news report about the release of the bike in September 1985 “The bike was subjected to ‘sever vibration impact and fatigue tests’ by children from the east end of London. It was tested in 100% humidity, temperatures of up to 40 degrees centigrade and the electronics were frozen solid and thawed out again.” In the same report the Managing Director of Raleigh Ireland John Beatty was asked why the bike didn’t come with lights to which he responded by saying “the target audience for the bike is the 7-12 age-group. These children would only be cycling during daylight hours.” Watch the 2 minute RTE Television news clip here
Here is a Vektar in action out on the open road
I had one! It weighed about 20kg but I loved it more than anything! Wish I still had it.
had this as a kid, with this before it https://t.co/yKLE4RpDFl
I would have loved to have had one.
Na, I just souped my burner up by sticking an old casio watch to the handlebars.
“long before we had health and safety laws” – common misconception. We most certainly had them then, in fact we have the same H&S laws we’ve had since 1974 (that was the last time H&S law changed).
What *has* changed is people’s attitude to using the law to seek financial redress, in no small part motivated by the arrival of “no win, no fee” litigators in the 90s.
My best mate won one in a paper competition when we were both 10. Being his best mate ment nothing when it came to riding it. I never got a go and he didn’t ride it loads incase he scratched it. I can just remember thinking it was like something out of the space age because it had a radio on it.
Yep I was one of the lucky ones whom got the full version bike, and my father probably spent his whole months wage just to get this special bike for me.
Thank you dad. Sadly passed away now. Special childhood memories.
I loved it and thought I was on top of the world every time I could got on to it.
Wish I still had it or could still buy another one.
I still have mine, the full one, it doesn’t have the key but I’m willing to sell if anyone is interested??
Hi Angela, I would be interested if your selling!
I owned a black one and my brother owned a red one I think. Rememeber my mud guard breaking and being gutted ha next door had a street hawk but it wasn’t a patch on ours lol