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1980s Volvo...the Itera Plastic bicycle


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#61 OFFLINE   gm

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 09:48 PM

What a strange looking thing, for some reason reminds me of the weird plastic gun that John Malcovic makes in the film "in the line of fire"
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#62 OFFLINE   gm

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 09:50 PM

hmm, mebbes not

image.jpeg

he does do a very good line in mental, does mr malcovic
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#63 OFFLINE   chrisjvm

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 09:58 PM

attachicon.gifIMG_7044.JPGI like a bit of cycling and I've got a thing for unusual/shite bikes. I grew up with a Chopper, then got another one when I was at college and a bit too old really to be riding one. Anything a bit unusual is of interest. I got my first folding bike by dragging it out of a skip... it was a cheapo badly made rusty heap, which I named the 'Skipton' (like Brompton, Bickerton... get it?)
I sold that for £5, making a clear £5 profit. My next folder was a Strida, that weird triangular bike from the 80s with plastic wheels, drum brakes and a kevlar belt for a chain. They still make it, but the latest version is much more sensible.
I then got a Brompton, which I've had for about 12 years, and is used almost daily. I've got a couple of other sensible bikes too.

At the 2013 NEC classic car show on the Volvo club stand I came across, in the biblical sense, these Itera Bikes. I'd never heard of them before, despite having a few books 'encyclopeadias' on odd bikes and subscribing to Velovision mag for a few years.

attachicon.gifIMG_7044 copy.JPG

attachicon.gifIMG_7045.JPG

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They were the most exciting thing at the show for me. I started to research them to try to find out a bit more. And just, you know, casually look around to see if they ever came up for sale, and for how much...

Worked in Steve Thornhill Cycles in Selly Oak Birmingham late 70s early 80s...
We used to call him 'Stocker Steve' because he always had to have the latest fad in stock...
Anyways we had a couple of 'Iteras' .... I had to put them together, I rode one ... a weird experience as I was used to the latest in road bikes... Anyway we sold one to a University lecturer at the local Birmingham Uni campus... The other one was sent back to the distributor eventually ... Massive C5 Sinclairesque floppingtons!
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#64 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:01 PM

Here's some screengrabs of mine from the listing:

 

Screen shot 2016-04-27 at 22.52.28.png

 

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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#65 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:08 PM

There's surprisingly little info on the interwebs about the Itera. This is what Wikipedia Sweden says, after being bunged through Google translate:

 

Itera was a plastic bicycle which was launched in 1982. The bike was manufactured by Heva AB and Wilhelmina Plast AB, which is also injection molded and assembled, while the company Itera AB accounted for concept and product development. There were several different varieties and the most common model was a three-speed. Frame, fork, wheels and cranks made of composite plastics - a combination of thermoplastic and glass fiber.

 

The gear, pedals and brakes came from foreign manufacturers, while most other components were supplied by Swedish company. Despite an extensive marketing campaign cycle was a flop because it had folded frame was heavy (about 16 kg), and a high price. The company had originally intended to sell it for about 300 SEK (compared to a normal cycle in 1980 cost about 1200), but instead launched it as a trend product and cost 1600 SEK. It was also claimed in a report in the News that the traffic lights do not beat about the new plastic bike because it was not made of metal. An improved version with steel rule was drawn up, but it did not help. 15000-20000 bikes could be manufactured in Vilhelmina before the closure. It did not mean that then US President Jimmy Carter sample cycled Itera at a visit to Sweden in the early 1980s.

 

0201_itera_06.jpg

 

Google translate says EVIGHTSMASKINEN = Perpetual Motion Machine

 

2909_itera.jpg


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#66 OFFLINE   RobT

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:31 PM

I can see the attraction of being into such oddities, take up less space than cars too. Yours looks mintola Richard, can't have been used much.
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#67 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:39 PM

I assume the derailleur-looking thing is just a chain tensioner then?  I only see one sprocket, and that gear change setup looks very Sturmey Archer.


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#68 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:43 PM

After a couple of years of looking I realised they don't come up all that often, and when they do they're often in poor condition or broken (with replacement parts almost impossible to get, I would imagine) so I'd hovered the 'buy it now' button a couple of times but wimped out because of location, price or condition.

 

I spotted this one which looked in amazing condition but was quite expensive. It didn't sell at the expensive prices so I contacted the seller and a deal was done. It's in really nice condition, especially considering it's over 30 years old. I don't think it's had much use.

 

So after picking it up I ride around the corner and found the Olympic Park, perfect for cycling around.

 

IMG_8784.JPG

 

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Initial impressions... it rides really nicely. I was expecting it to be a bit of a joke, like my Strida which I'd struggle to ride more than a mile or so on. But it feels like a proper, real, solid bike. It's only got 3 gears, but the spacing makes for good progress at least on the flat. it rolls nicely, keeps momentum well, and the brakes are pretty good too, pulling up sharply enough.

 

I found my way out of the park and headed towards London Bridge, about a 25 minute ride. I found one of those newfangled blue Cycle Superhighways, and rode along that. A lot of it was separate from the road and sort of part of the pavement so neither people or drivers really knew what to do. Probably good for more timid cyclists but I'd rather be in with the traffic and out of the way of pedestrians and having to watch for cars turning across in front of me down side roads, which happened a few times. That's how I know the brakes are good.

 

IMG_8791.JPG

 

I think it would have been a bit weird doing a petrol station shot, so I did a Tower Bridge shot before I rode over it. One of my favourite things about cycling in London. 

 

IMG_8793.JPG

 

Found the switch for the built in front light, and the rear ones came on too! Nice feature. Also built in stand.

 

IMG_8795.JPG

 

Finally made it to London Bridge, where I made excellent use of the built in Pasty rack. 

 

IMG_8796.JPG

 

Getting the bike on and off the train was easy because it's got a built in handle as part of the frame just above the pedals. It's not low geared enough for hills, but on the flat it can go at a reasonable rate I felt about the same speed as on my Brompton. I found myself mostly in 2nd on the flat, which kept my legs spinning at a good rate. Downhill, 3rd was good, but it's not much use on the flat. I'm really pleased with it, as it's a very usable bike.

 

That's all. Thanks for letting me have a bit of fun. I hope it wasn't too disappointing!


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#69 OFFLINE   forddeliveryboy

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:58 PM

Ha! Thought it may have had a belt instead of a chain, being non-metal and that. I'd forgotten all about them and didn't know they were Volvos. Thanks.


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#70 OFFLINE   rml2345

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 11:28 PM

Certainly didn't expect that! It looks good though, definitely in better order than most 80s Volvo plastics.
Go buy a 740 now.
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#71 OFFLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 05:19 AM

That's ace that. Did the vendor have two of them, one with a cracked frame? I known one was advertised for a very long time because they wanted a daft price for it, in fact I was trying to 'ambulance chase' it in the hope they'd get pissed off and let it go cheap.

 

Fab looking thing that anyhow, well bought!


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#72 OFFLINE   Bucketeer

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 05:21 AM

That's a proper work of art.

Glad to hear it's a sturdy ride because it looks like after riding over your first pothole you'd be returning home with a 500 piece Lego bicycle kit.


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#73 OFFLINE   brownnova

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 05:34 AM

Well that was a good plot twist!!

A fascinating looking thing tho!
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#74 OFFLINE   garethj

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 05:35 AM

That's excellent - obscure, unsuccessful and pointless always finds a home in my heart.  And it's made entirely of beige.


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#75 OFFLINE   Asimo

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 06:44 AM

Fascinating bit of engineering history you have there. Good to know that it rides properly too.
Interested in your comments re the Strida: I got all excited about them when they were new and in all of the design magazines, not surprised to read that they are a poor ride however.
Would still like a bike with belt drive however (if I was fit enough to ride that is)
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#76 OFFLINE   billyboy406v6

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 07:52 AM

And to think Sweden gave us ABBA and this ? Wow !


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#77 OFFLINE   shumarialto

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 08:14 AM

Thats ace, reminds me a bit of the old magnesium bikes, Kirk i think they were called. Really like this well bought.


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#78 OFFLINE   tooSavvy

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 12:57 PM

I am feeling a bit deflated now!


..... spoken like a true Cyclist M8

TS
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Wallsend?.....it's not the End of the Walled ;<)

35942490325_3f0da8b633_m.jpgSUCKS


#79 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 01:39 PM

Pure Autoshite in bicycle form. Top purchase there


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Yer can't beat a bit o' Autoshite

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#80 OFFLINE   barefoot

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 02:16 PM

I seem to remember seeing a plastic bike in Coventry Transport museum. 

Similar beige thing, but wouldn't swear to it being the same.


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94110.png94111.png94112.png439963.png


#81 OFFLINE   dugong

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 02:29 PM

I want an Itera. Can you find me one?

If your 1997 Fiesta is "Powered By Fairy Dust", why the fuck are you panic buying 60 litres of Diesel?


#82 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 08:57 AM

I assume the derailleur-looking thing is just a chain tensioner then?  I only see one sprocket, and that gear change setup looks very Sturmey Archer.

 

I'll have a closer look at it today but yes, I think it's just a tensioner. It's a proper old school Sturmey Archer 3 speed, none of your new fangled Shimano nonsense here. It needs a bit of adjusting as 2nd gear is a bit hit and miss. 


924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#83 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 09:02 AM

That's ace that. Did the vendor have two of them, one with a cracked frame? I known one was advertised for a very long time because they wanted a daft price for it, in fact I was trying to 'ambulance chase' it in the hope they'd get pissed off and let it go cheap.

 

Fab looking thing that anyhow, well bought!

 

I don't think so. No sign of another one on his ebay history, only this one not selling a few times. He was getting rid of it because his wife (who was very pleasant) though he had too many bikes. He had 5 bikes, which seems a very reasonable number of bikes to me. I'm not going to check my wife's opinion on the matter as this is my 5th bike.


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#84 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 09:11 AM

I want an Itera. 

 

 

I'm not surprised, you have impeccable taste

 

Can you find me one?

 

I'll do my best for you.


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#85 OFFLINE   For Fiats Sake

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 09:27 AM

Was it on Tomorrows World?  I remember gel filled tyres been on, whatever happened to them?

Kieran Prendeville took a drill to the tyre and Judith Hann still managed to ride it around the studio!*

 

*I may have got the presenters wrong

 

But it deffo wasn't Michael Rod, or Raymundo Baxter!

 

Does it squeak when ridden?



#86 OFFLINE   tooSavvy

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 12:52 PM

Does it squeak when ridden?

.... If she doesn't, then you're not doing it rite M8

TS
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Wallsend?.....it's not the End of the Walled ;<)

35942490325_3f0da8b633_m.jpgSUCKS


#87 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 03:52 PM

That's ace that. Did the vendor have two of them, one with a cracked frame? I known one was advertised for a very long time because they wanted a daft price for it, in fact I was trying to 'ambulance chase' it in the hope they'd get pissed off and let it go cheap.

 

Fab looking thing that anyhow, well bought!

 

This one?

 

http://www.ebay.co.u...0YAAOSwAYtWKRY0

 

 

I'd like to know how much he wants for the other 'perfect new condition' one. 


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#88 OFFLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 05:25 PM

Ha, that's the one, was about to post a link to it. Not far from here and tempting, but the hairline crack in the frame really puts me off. 


"As for actually admitting to liking Corsas on a public forum: you're a bollock-brained, biscuit-eating, faux-northern, bastardy, bollocky, wank-brain"

#89 OFFLINE   DSdriver

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 06:23 PM

Can you print these yourself with a 3D plastic printer? :)


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#90 OFFLINE   purplebargeken

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 06:29 PM

That is actually a very, very cool thing.


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