What is this “sea bike” that should revolutionize aquatic leisure?

“Hey, it’s weird, there are bikes sailing off the Croisette…” No need to rub your eyes to believe it, the Hydrofoiler XE-1 by Manta5 is a reality. And the New Zealand firm that developed it chose the Cannes yachting festival this week to start marketing this “first sea bike” in France.

A handlebars, a saddle, a crankset and an electric assistance… until then one almost imagines being able to roll on the firm ground. But to change the element, this machine has dropped the wheels to adopt “foils” in carbon fiber, profiled wings that transmit a lift force once in the water. Clearly, with the movement, the whole remains in levitation and can even advance up to 21 km / h thanks to the on-board battery. And if the bike stops, the structure plunges back into the water, but does not sink thanks to a float.

And hydrocycling was born

A bit of a puzzle at the start, and very sporty, if only to start, the device requires a few learning sessions. “You must not go to sea like that, without trying. But once you get the hang of it, it almost works on its own, smiles Rowan Gyde, European Business Development Manager at Manta5. There are several levels of assistance that allow you to start from a beach, a pontoon or even directly into the water. »Video tutorials are available to help you learn and a dedicated application accompanies the machine connected via Bluetooth. The manufacturer announces a range of up to 4 hours and 11 km at maximum speed.

Imagined by Guy Howard-Willis, a 60-year-old entrepreneur, this invention was born in 2018 after four years of research and almost as many prototypes. The Oceanian believes in any case hard as iron that “this brand new category of product in water sports”, which “surfs the wave of the well-being trend”, will create “a new sporting discipline: hydrocycling” . He even dreamed that she would find herself in a few years in competitions and even at the Olympic Games.

“We really want to address the general public”

But for the time being, the Hydrofoiler XE-1 may well interest only a few fortunate happy few eager for new hobbies. Because its price is still far from approaching that of electric bikes designed to circulate on earth.

Count in fact 7,990 euros, excluding taxes and delivery costs which further raise the bill to 10,176.10 euros for a shipment from the European warehouse in the Netherlands to France. “We are all well aware that it is still expensive, concedes Rowan Gyde. And for the moment, it is rather yacht owners who are going to be our customers. But we really want to address the general public. This is a first version. The following ones and a larger production will gradually lower the price. “

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