Spacelander was the Bicycle of the Future, 1946-1960

The Spacelander bicycle was designed by Benjamin Bowden for the 1946 exhibition Britain Can Make It. Originally known as the Classic, the streamlined design was said to represent what the bicycle of the future was supposed to look like.

h/t: rarehistoricalphotos

The frame was made from two steel clamshell halves pressed together into a monocoque and the front fork and mudguard were all one piece. The prototype featured a driveshaft and a hub dynamo that stored energy when riding downhill and gave a boost when riding uphill. The batteries inside the frame powered lights, a horn, and a built-in radio.

The bicycle was priced at $89.50, which made it one of the more expensive bicycles on the market. In addition, the fiberglass frame was relatively fragile, and its unusual nature made it difficult to market to established bicycle distributors. Only 522 Spacelander bicycles were shipped before production was halted, although more complete sets of parts were manufactured.

Beginning in the 1980s, there was a resurgence of interest in the Spacelander as a collectors’ item. The Bicycle Museum in Pennsylvania owns 17 of the proposed 38 left Spacelanders in the world.

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