New Zealand-based Manta5 released video of its Hydrofoiler e-water-bike in 2017 (it’s embedded at the bottom), and it sorta went viral. After eight years of development and a completely sold out pilot-production run, pre-sales are now open for the Manta5 Hydrofoiler, with deliveries beginning this June. Just be prepared to pay jet-ski money for this water-bike: It starts at $7,490.
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. The foils come off for easy transportation.
The XE-1 is driven by a forward-facing propeller mounted low on the upright that supports the seat. That propeller is turned by both the pedals and by a 460-watt electric motor and 22-Ah lithium-ion battery good for about one hour of maximum assist (depending on water conditions, weight of rider, etc. ). The battery can be quickly swapped out, and charges in five hours on household current. Naturally, the whole works is watertight.
Speaking of weight, Manta5 rates the Hydrofoiler XE-1 for use by confident swimmers weighing between 130 and 220 pounds (who are strongly recommended to wear a life jacket). When up on plane, the XE-1 needs a minimum of three feet of water depth, but riders (Manta5 wants you to call them “foilers”) can also push off a dock or boat deck to get going. If the water is seven feet deep or more, the rider can learn to swivel the XE-1 down from its horizontal floating position, straddle the saddle and simply start pedaling. Manta5 claims that it should get up on plane within 15 pedal strokes. Top speed is 13 mph, or about as fast as a traditional sailboat in normal conditions, but 7 to 8 mph is a comfortable cruising speed. A display indicates battery state of charge and speed.
Orders are being taken now at www.Manta5.com for manufacturer-direct deliveries in June 2020. A two-year warranty is included and a network of service locations is being developed to handle any difficulties with the foils or electrical system, but the pedal drivetrain uses typical bicycle parts.