Would You Have Driven One Of These 1960s Electric Bikes?

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By M@
Would You Have Driven One Of These 1960s Electric Bikes?
Is that Lyndon B Johnson? Illustrated London News, 23 July 1966. (c) Illustrated London News Group, courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive.

This is the Winn City Bike, an electric moped launched in London in 1966. As a proud owner, you might 'weave your way beneath the outraged noses of taxi drivers and skim skilfully along the gutter.'

With a top speed of 30mph, and a 20-mile range driven by a 12 volt battery, the plastic mopeds were billed as a 'small and deft' way to get about town.

From The Tatler, 23 July 1966. (c) Illustrated London News Group, courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive.

They were the brainchild of Mr Russell Winn, who played a part in designing ERNIE — the famous random number generator used by Premium Bonds.

The bikes cost £95 when first released, which one newspaper article compared to '285 average taxi rides'.

They never caught on. Like the Sinclair C5s of the 1980s, the bikes were too low to reliably show up in wing mirrors. Frankly, they also look silly.

'There will come a time,' prophesied Winn, 'when all combustion-driven vehicles will be banned from the centre of our city.' He's probably right, but that vision still seems at least a decade away, half a century after the Winn City Bike briefly hit the roads of London.

Last Updated 27 November 2017