March 27, 2006 Imagine a motorcycle that it didn’t hurt to fall off. Or one that didn’t do costly damage to itself in an accident. The Aquajet Jetbike WX-1 1250(MAV) is just such a beastie - a new type of watercraft powered by a 165 horsepower three cylinder two-stroke engine via a jet drive to offer a wild 60mph experience that is uncannily like riding a real motorcycle – without the pain of a transgression. Every aspect of the Jetbike is designed to give a motorcycle-like riding experience, from almost identical riding ergonomics and controls to the steerable front ski which has suspension, steering and handling attributes akin to those of a wheeled motorcycle, meaning you can carve turns for hours on end. For motorcyclists it represents the chance to go silly in a familiar environment without paying the inevitable price of pushing the limits on a motorcycle – a hefty repair bill, bruising, missing bark and the occasional broken bone. Sixty miles per hour on water is VERY fast so the thrills are just as heart pounding as those offered by a grand prix motorcycle and muscling the machine at those speeds provides an extreme aerobic workout such that the fitter you are, the faster you’ll go. The Jetbike is also spectacular and delivers blitzkreig point-to-point times, so it is perfectly suited to some form of offshore racing once sufficient numbers are available. Finally, the Jetbike’s engine is seawater cooled and all mechanical components are underwater at speeds below seven miles per hour. Combine this low-signature-everything stealth with extreme speed, manoeuvrability, and carrying capacity and you have an ideal platform for the potent military weapons system which is under development. The design allows for packing massive firepower while still maintaining a healthy lead as the manned military vehicle with the highest power-to-weight ratio.
With such sensational attributes, the Jetbike WX-1 1250(MAV) will surely find application by the Navy, Marines and all forms of Special Forces - it’s fast, quiet and can cover a long distance very quickly while allowing complete access to land almost anywhere so it would be an economical and responsive platform for patrols, and harbor or river surveillance.
Aquajet partned with Vehicle Design Force (VDF) to develop the military version – an ultra-fast, long-range, highly-maneovrable, ultra-compact, quiet and stealthy Jetbike with an advanced tactical weapon system. They started with a machine that already had the highest power to weight ratio of any manned military ground vehicle system, then packed it with surveillance equipment and topped it off with firepower to spare.
The multi-mission capable platform can be fitted with lightweight small caliber machine guns, rocket launchers, GPS, radar, night vision and it’s clearly an ideal stealth platform for Special Forces into and out of a trouble zone fast with reliability, minimal detection and lots of firepower.
The Jetbikes engine and all mechanical components are under water, at speeds of less than seven miles per hour. Minimal surface area is visible on the Jetbike in profile or from front and rear view. At standstill, the Jetbike sits just one foot above the waterline, offering an ideal stealth surveillance platform and the military version can be packed with any surveillance system required for the job. The Jetbike can be deployed by ship, submarine, helicopter, hovercraft, blimp, para-wing, glider, and other forms of marine, sea and aircraft transportation systems, can be used both offensively and defensively and is a superior and cost effective alternative to other traditional transport solutions.
But it’s the fun aspects that really attract us to the Jetbike as it’s an extraordinary piece of engineering regardless of whether you think of it as a motorcycle substitute or a watercraft. It steers at both ends. The Jetbike’s patented “twin fin” steerable front ski linked to the movement of the rear jet propulsion steering nozzle makes the Jetbike the only PWC to handle and maneuver like a motorcycle allowing the rider to always maintain steering control, even in an “off-throttle” condition.
The Jetbike combines the ease of use of a sit down watercraft with the excitement, challenge, and performance of a motorcycle. As the rider’s skill level improves, the challenge for more difficult maneuvers increases. The Jetbike can be ridden in a relaxing, easy way like a motorcyclist cruising down a highway or it can be ridden in a very extreme, challenging style like a Grand Prix or motocross motorcycle racer in a competition.
With a skilled rider the Jetbike will fly off waves giving massive air with motocross-like mid-air corrections and can actually be ridden fully submerged for a short duration, then accelerated skyward to breach the surface like a dolphin. There are always new tricks to learn and skills to improve on so the rider’s interest is always maintained.
Consumer reaction to the Jetbike at tradeshows, public demonstrations, and the website are consistent, and show the Jetbike to be a product that a very high percentage of today’s athletically inclined motorsports and extremist oriented consumers are excited about and ready to embrace.
The jetbike effectively begins a new category of the water power sports industry – it’s not a Jetski, and it is entirely different to anything bigger. With such high appeal to other recreational vehicle users, in the testosterone and adrenalin segment, the Jetbike is perhaps the crossover equivalent for the watercraft industry and another serious player in a U.S. recreational vehicle market segment worth US$12 billion annually.
The Jetbike looks set to take a chunk of this market but at this stage mass production has not yet begun and the success in the marketplace will depend on how well the vehicle is supported in all ways, and fat marketing budgets will help kickstart the industry properly. Aware of this, Jetbike wants to take final step to market once suitable backers have been found. The company has gone from concept, through prototyping and pre-production, and completed a successful initial production run – the product delights its buyers, and has proven robust and reliable. It is now seeking to find suitable partners.
How much will it cost? When the first production run began, models started at US$10,000, but as the supplies ran down, some sold for US$20,000 towards the end of the run. Pricing next time around will depend on volumes.