Meet the world’s first electric water bike! Developed and designed in the Waikato, New Zealand.
A lifelong passion for cycling led Manta5's founder to think about...biking on water.
In 2011, Guy Howard-Willis, inventor, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Torpedo7, joined forces with bike designer Roland Alonzo to realise his dream. At first, tests were done secretly in a Tauranga swimming pool. After eight major prototypes, hundreds of designs, and thousands of tests, the water bike launched in 2019.
INSPIRATION During his TEDxRuakura talk, Howard-Willis describes his inspiration for this new form of biking:
BIGGEST DESIGN CHALLENGE How does the rider get the bike moving in deep water? The bike’s hydrofoils and electric motor enable the rider to climb out of the water with 15 pedal strokes. This "submerged launch" is more than unique; it's a world-first:
IS IT EASY TO RIDE? If you swim and cycle, you can ride a hydrofoil bike with practice. The first prototype hydrofoil bike was manual and physically demanding. When an e-bike motor was added, it made it accessible to more people.
THE FUTURE Howard-Willis sees the Manta5 as cycling’s new frontier and aims to create a fleet of different hydrofoil bikes:
Story by Rachel Bush, Senior Exhibitions Curator, and Cliff Hahn, Content Producer, MOTAT
Images and video courtesy of Manta5.
Cite this article: Bush, Rachel and Hahn, Cliff. 2022. Cycling’s New Frontier. New Zealand: The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). First published: 16 March 2022. URL: www.motat.nz/interactive/cyclings-new-frontier