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Meet Manta5: The World’s First Hydrofoil Bike for Water

By Paul Joseph

What do you get when you cross a boat, an airplane, and an e-bike? The answer comes in the shape of the Manta5, an innovative pedal-powered vehicle that lets you ride on water in a way that’s akin to cycling on land.

Going by the full name of the Manta5 Hydrofoiler XE-1, the contraption is the brainchild of a Waikato, New Zealand-based company and uses the same technology as America’s Cup sailboats to open up a whole new cycling frontier.

Suitable for a wide range of fitness levels, riders can explore ocean coastlines, train along waterways, or cruise lakeside with friends and family.

As for the technology itself, instead of wheels, Manta5 is equipped with a set of hydrofoils, which function like wings in the water. As you pedal and propel the bike forward, water passes over the wings and creates lift, much like airplane wings create lift as they travel through air.

This pushes the bike up out of the water, and once you hit a certain speed the only part of the craft touching the water is the hydrofoils themselves. Since only a small portion of the bike’s frame touches the water when you’re foiling, drag is drastically reduced, meaning it takes less energy to propel the bike forward through the water.

To help generate enough speed to make the hydrofoils work, Manta5 employs pedal assist – the same technology used in most modern ebikes – which can be dialled up or down to fit your needs. Motors built into the vehicle’s frame multiply the power produce by your legs, which allows for a leisurely riding experience similar to riding a bike.

The bike can hit top speeds of 12mph – similar to traditional sailboats – and it boasts a modular design that allows for in-car or roof rack transport, and quick assembly and transportation to and from the water. It can be launched from jetties, the beach or deep water.

The Manta5 is being produced in a limited run and will be available for global shipping from April 2020, priced at £5,790.

By Paul Joseph