The Hydrofoiler XE-1 was envisioned by two New Zealanders almost 7 years ago. The pedal-electric bike is equipped with underwater wings that allow you to skim across the water as if you were on land.
For the two years its designers, Guy Howard-Willis and Roland Alonzo, kept it a secret between them and their wives. This way if it didn’t work, they didn’t have to explain it to friends and extended family.
They built the early prototypes in Alonzo’s garage, which would often involve them taking over the family dining table. The arrangement lasted until Alonzo’s wife called Howard-Willis and told him the bike had to go.
They then moved the operations to a warehouse in Tauranga, New Zealand, with all pool testing done privately (after hours) at the University of Waikato.
In September 2015, the duo moved their workshop to Cambridge, New Zealand. It was an ideal location - right next to Lake Karapiro, which provided a prime test location.
The XE-1 comes standard with a waterproof 400W rechargeable battery. When the bike is operating at peak efficiency (calm waters with optimum weight rider) its expected battery life is between 80-90 minutes and it can travel at speeds of up to 14km/h.
While the bike requires a submerged launch, most riders can balance and manoeuvre the bike within a few launches.
The key to its success is hydrofoiling, which allows to the bike to act like airplane wings underwater. They are specifically designed to provide optimal lift at low speed and maximise top speed by decreasing drag and keeping you up and out of the water while riding.
The bike weighs 22kg, including the battery and motor, and can easily ride over ocean, river or lake. As yet there is no international pricing.
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