The perfect UK mountain bike?

If your local trails have begun their annual metamorphosis into streams, we have the bike for you. The Manta5 can probably even clear Cut Gate.

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A chap called Guy Howard-Willis, who hails from New Zealand, has come up with the Manta5. The Manta5 is essentially a pedal powered hydrofoil.

“Why?” you may ask. Which is a fair enough question. Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Mr Howard-Willis says “I’ve cycled all my life. I love road cycling and mountain biking, I love water sports, love swimming. So putting these two things together wasn’t particularly hard to do.”

You may have seen water-based ‘bike’ contraptions before but let’s be honest, they’ve been rubbish. Loads of thrashing about and input effort with not much speed or control output. The Manta5 arguably more closely resembles an aeroplane in its design (wings versus wheels) but the pedal power ‘engine’, handlebars and saddle all give it a very bicycle shaped form.

The Manta5, although clearly rather eccentric and niche, does at least appear to actually resemble cycling on water. And the top speed of approximately 20 kilometres per hour isn’t bad. Especially for a first generation production effort.

This is not to say that the Manta5 is a recent invention or prototype. It’s taken the design team seven years to get to this point. Although the Manta5 is not technically a production item, there are apparently 1,700 pre-orders for one. The Manta5 makes its ‘show debut’ later this week at the Big Boys Toys Convention in Auckland.

And they’re not finished yet. They have a stated aim to make the Mantra5 much lighter than it is now; “Eventually we will do a very lightweight race bike. Then it becomes competitive, then it becomes a very interesting sport – an Olympic sport maybe.”