Finally, your “I can’t swim!” excuse will no longer hold... well, water.
You think you can cycle on water? Absolutely. You can. The Manta 5 Hydrofoiler XE-1 is technically a mobile personal watercraft, but we like to call it super fun on the water. It has a frame made of aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminium, with a detachable rear foil and front tiller pivot system constructed with carbon-fibre composite. This helps keep it light at just 22 kg—including the motor and battery.
The 700-watt motor generates up to 75 Nm of torque, with a cruising speed between 11 and 14 kmph or six to nine knots. Housed in a waterproof, fully-submersible enclosure, it features a 360-degree double pedal torque sensor and special cooling fins, and is connected to a 42T chain ring sprocket and adjustable chain tensioner. Combined with the 36-volt battery that packs in 60 lithium-ion cells, the Hydrofoiler can run for more than 80 minutes. The motor also helps regulate the temperature via cooling fins. All this makes it a zero-emission mode of crossing the river or lake—or your swimming pool, you loon—although it is just as effective in the sea.
Of course, you’ll need to learn how to master it because you have to begin with a submerged launch—as in, you place the bike in the water and then rise above the surface once you start pedalling. It’ll probably be tough initially, but does away with the need for a boat or platform, thanks to the hydrodynamic buoyancy modules that streamline it; the Hoerner wingtip design of the carbon-fibre hydrofoils also helps minimise drag.
The Hydrofoiler XE-1 is quite customisable with an adjustable seat column and moveable steering shaft; it is quick to assemble—about two minutes, claims Manta 5—and can be loaded into cars with ease; and the three-mode variable pedal assist (with Training, Cruise and Performance) lets you monitor your ride and decide how much effort you want to put in to cross the water. Plus, it is based on a modular design sensibility, which means that you can upgrade it with new sports accessories and components as and when you need to.
More than a mode of transport, the Hydrofoiler is a handy recreation tool and, if you’re so inclined, an exercise aid. Just get on it and start pedalling to stay dry, or drier. If you’re spiritual, consider it walking on water. If not, consider it a bruise-free way of learning how to ride a bike.