GIVEN his prestigious pedigree, the burden of expectation – commercial and familial – is certainly weighted against Grant Sinclair. Yet the upbeat 44-year-old inventor dismisses any suggestion of pressure in measuring up to the towering legacies of his father and uncle, UK tech entrepreneurs Iain and Clive. Sinclair’s confidence is perhaps borne of the enthusiastic initial response to his latest work – an eye-catching reimagining of the family firm’s commercially disastrous but culturally iconic C5 electric vehicle.

Billed as a true revolution in urban transport – a pitch which bravely draws ominous parallels with the marketing hype surrounding Sir Clive’s 1985 flop – there is certainly a sense of Sinclair attempting to right historical familial wrongs. Yet at first glance, the IRIS e-trike doesn’t look like a game-changer. In fact, its chassis invokes an impression of surrealist absurdity – essentially being, as Sinclair himself describes it, a “crash helmet with wheels”. It’s certainly not difficult to visualise Vic and Bob riding it around the Shooting Stars studio.

More than most, Sinclair is aware that trailblazing innovation doesn’t always meet with commercial success.

Sinclair insists the C5 was the right invention, but at the wrong time. “It definitely struggled,” he admits. “Part of that was that they didn’t have the infrastructure of cycle networks they do now. Uncle Clive really thought it would sell millions and change transport.

I think it was really ahead of its time.”

It’s evident entrepreneurial DNA flows abundantly through the bloodline – with many of the family’s unique, quirky business ideas based in Scotland.

His cousin Alex runs a successful independent music store in Edinburgh – not easy these days – and his wife recently opened a pioneering “Cafe and Yoga” facility in the city. His fatherin-law lives on Bute and runs a hybrid cafe and music venue.

The Caledonian family connections don’t end there – the Sinclair clan’s strong ancestral ties run deep. Great grandfather George was a Scots naval architect who invented an innovative mine sweeping device. The game-changing ZX81 and ZX Spectrum computers – both the best-selling machines in the world in the early eighties – were manufactured at the Timex factory in Dundee and Sinclair’s father pioneered a successful “white LED” torch and his credit card-sized knife was a best-seller in the USA at one point.

“One of my early experiences of knowing I was part of a very entrepreneurial family was the fact there were always things lying around, protypes and things like that,” Sinclair reflects.

“My dad and uncle are very proud, and really like the IRIS.”

The streamlined IRIS is not just a simple re-shelling of the eighties’ most infamous technological nonstarter. It’s an entirely new product, built from the ground up – an admirable feat of homegrown engineering prowess which Sinclair hopes carries enough wow factor to potentially change the way the world thinks about personal transport.

Despite such lofty aspirations, Sinclair is aware doubt will linger until the IRIS’ official release later this year. In rebuttal to his critics, he notes that the game-changing possibilities of the vehicle have already piqued the curiosity of the UK emergency services and also Amazon Germany – with both considering adopting the IRIS for use.

Bespoke designs will be offered by Grant’s London-based firm, but what’s underneath will remain unchanged for all early adopters – an indestructible, aerodynamic chassis inspired by the helmets used by velodrome racers.

The use of “next generation Quantum Foam” is a design innovation Sinclair insists makes the e-trike “extra safe and extremely well protected”.

Such consideration for the driver may have served his uncle well. When the C5 debuted in the bleak winter of 1985, excited early-adopters were left chittering in their brand new open-top wonder vehicles. Such incumberance wasn’t readily embraced by the great British public and the C5 stopped production soon after its launch, shifting only 17,000 units in total. This eighties curio has enjoyed a notable Indian summer however, with enthusiasts still racing hundreds of imaginatively modified, souped-up versions of the original C5 across the country. Sinclair has also learned from flaws in Sir Clive’s initial C5 design. “Apart from not protecting very well from the elements, the C5 sat very low on the ground and users felt vulnerable in traffic. I also wanted to avoid that awkward reclining position.

It’s really exciting – and fun to ride.”

The IRIS is legally classified as a bicycle – so no need for tax, licence or insurance.

It has a range of around 30 miles, a 250-watt “pedal assist” battery-powered electric motor, a rear-view camera that can stream to smartphonesand a sleek cockpit that is air-conditioned.

Unusually for such a powerful electric bike, the IRIS adheres to cycle-to-work criteria, so discounts on its £3,999 asking price are available.

With a plethora of concepts still in his back pocket, Sinclair’s future doesn’t depend on success of the IRIS.

“I’m working on a very innovative low-cost house that’ll come a kit. I want people to be able to order it online, for it to arrive and then they can live in it.

I’m also working on an affordable computer and an electric car too.”