Marine

Manta5 pedal-electric hydrofoil takes to the lake – or sea

Manta5 pedal-electric hydrofoi...
The Manta5 reportedly has a bit of a learning curve, but can easily be mastered
The Manta5 reportedly has a bit of a learning curve, but can easily be mastered
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The Manta5 reportedly has a bit of a learning curve, but can easily be mastered
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The Manta5 reportedly has a bit of a learning curve, but can easily be mastered
As with land-going e-bikes, Manta5 riders can adjust the amount of electrical assistance provided, depending on how hard they want to work
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As with land-going e-bikes, Manta5 riders can adjust the amount of electrical assistance provided, depending on how hard they want to work
A rendering of the Manta5 Hydrofoiler XE-1
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A rendering of the Manta5 Hydrofoiler XE-1

You could say that the the aquatic equivalent of the car is the motorboat, and the aquatic equivalent of the motorcycle is the Jet Ski – but what about the equivalent of the e-bike? That's what New Zealand outdoors entrepreneur Guy Howard-Willis wondered back in 2010, when he conceived of the Manta5. In the years since, bicycle designer Roland Alonzo brought the concept to life, in the form of an electric-assist pedal-powered hydrofoil bike. Now, it's just about ready to enter the market.

The Manta5 has an aluminum frame, two carbon fiber hydrofoils that provide lift, and a 400-watt motor that augments the rider's pedalling power to turn the propeller. Although it has no actual hull, it does have buoyancy modules that keep it afloat when stopped. Additionally, unlike the case with some hobbyist hydrofoil bikes, it's possible to get back on and get it planing again, if you should dismount while out on the water.

As with land-going e-bikes, Manta5 riders can adjust the amount of electrical assistance provided, depending on how hard they want to work
As with land-going e-bikes, Manta5 riders can adjust the amount of electrical assistance provided, depending on how hard they want to work

The whole thing weighs around 20 kg (44 lb), and can be partially disassembled for transport in the back of a car. It's designed for riders weighing between 70 and 100 kg (154 and 220 lb), and can be used in both fresh and salt water.

As with land-going e-bikes, riders can adjust the amount of electrical assistance provided, depending on how hard they want to work. The current prototype version can run for an average of about one hour per charge of its removable battery, and reach a top speed of 15 to 20 km/h (9 to 12 mph). Plans call for the first limited-edition production model – the Hydrofoiler XE-1, pictured below – to be faster.

A rendering of the Manta5 Hydrofoiler XE-1
A rendering of the Manta5 Hydrofoiler XE-1

So, when can you buy one? Well, the XE-1 should make its public debut in mid-November, then be available for pre-sale within New Zealand starting late this year or early next – delivery is estimated for late 2018. Pricing has yet to be established, although it will reportedly be "similar to that of other quality water sports products." An international roll-out will follow.

"I want these bikes to go well beyond just being a leisure product – I want it to be a sports product so it's competitive," says Howard-Willis. "If it's competitive it's a whole different market it fits into, and who knows, one day it might be in the Olympic games. I can see that, it may take a while to get there, maybe I'm too ambitious, but like I say, I've always been a dreamer."

A couple of the prototypes can be seen in action, in the video below.

Source: Manta5

Prototype Demo Reel | Manta5 Hydrofoil Bikes

6 comments
riczero-b
That really is Lake Placid that they're on. It doesn't look as if the high C of G would cope with waves.
ljaques
These look like fun...for about half an hour. Probable pricing is $3-5k and they'll be available for 1/5 that in three months, after the "new fitness toy" endorphins burn out. A sleek electric bike in that config might sell a whole lot better than the old Wet Bikes did.
jd_dunerider
3-5k? I would be willing to bet it's around 10-12k.
Penguin
The video is skillfully made so you can't really tell how fast they are going. And as someone has pointed out, they seem like calm-water craft only.
Mayakovski
Yawn; Took you long enough to catch up. I was part of a team at the University of Victoria back in 1991 that built and tested pedal powered hydrofoils. Our final model the FlyingFish3 did 12KM/Hr under pedal power alone. And no, that was not with an Olympic cyclist at the controls. Just a regular cyclist in good shape. Ciao
LeslieEkker
OLYMPICS? Umm... it has a MOTOR! Can anyone name for me a single Olympic sport where motors are part of the sport? I’ll wait... go ahead... And yes, the fabulously brilliant Flying Fish was a landmark in watercraft design. The only drawback was water starts were impossible, except for the version equipped with pontoon floats. The water-start capability of this design is compelling, though. For me, in Santa Barbara, the big obstacle to enjoyment with this toy is Kelp! It can play havoc with foils. We do often see a few kite-surfers on foils here, but they are offshore, and launch in small clear areas. You’d have to carefully avoid the kelp beds with this one, as a water-start would be impossible in a kelp bed! This is a nice execution of the idea, but it’s not for everyone. I with the team the best of luck! I’d like to try one, for sure!