The rivalry between roadies and mountain bikers may see a new class of cyclists asserting their rights; namely those who view water as cycling’s next frontier.
Indeed, terra firma notwithstanding, after years of prototyping, the New Zealand-based company Manta5 unveiled its latest Hydrofoiler XE-1 electric assisted bike during this month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), bringing the aquatic life to adventurous cyclists seeking to traverse waterways as though they were tackling their favorite hill or dell.
Constructed of carbon fiber and aluminum, the 64-pound bike is both easy to carry and buoyant enough for a 220-pound rider to remain afloat when stopped in deep water. The main rear hydrofoil wing measures 6.5 feet wide, while the steerable front one is 4.0 feet wide and the foils easily come off for transportation.
The Hydrofoiler XE-1 is driven by a forward-facing propeller mounted low on the upright that supports the seat. The propeller is turned by both pedaling action and a robust 460-watt electric motor and 22-Ah lithium-ion battery that’s good for about one hour of maximum assist (depending on water conditions, weight of rider, etc. ). Furthermore, the battery can be quickly swapped out, and charges in five hours on household current. Of course, the whole system is watertight.
According to Manta5, when up on plane, the Hydrofoiler XE-1 needs a minimum of three feet of water depth, but riders can also push off a dock or boat deck to get going. Also, if the water is seven feet deep or more, the rider can learn to swivel the watercraft from its horizontal floating position, straddle the saddle and simply start pedaling. Moreover, Manta5 claims that it should get up on plane within 15 pedal strokes, providing a top speed of 13 mph, while a display informs the rider of the battery’s state of charge and speed.
The Hydrofoiler XE-1 costs £5,790, which can be pre-ordered on Manta5’s website with a 50% deposit for summer delivery.
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