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Video: Californian inventor takes water bike out for a spin

N+1 for folks who live by lakes

Everyone knows that the correct number of bikes to own is n+1, where n is the number you already have. But how do you choose +1? If you live by a lake, maybe you need a water bike like this, the Schiller X1.

Pedal-powered watercraft are nothing new, of course, but with a cruising speed of about 9mph, this Schiller X1 is rather faster than the pedalos on your local lake.

Schiller claims it's the most advanced water bike ever made, and while a few human-power wizards (see below) might dispute that, it certainly has a bunch of clever features.

The Schiller X1 uses twin oscillating propellors so there's no need for a rudder, and has a Gates Carbon drive belt to avoid the obvious problems of running a chain in wet conditions. It can even go in reverse.

Company founder Judah Schiller says the X1 can be assembled and dismantled in ten minutes and packs down small enough to fit in the boot of a car, though being he's from Marin County, California, he may be thinking of the trunk of a Lincoln Continental and not the boot of a VW Golf.

Here it is in action:

Before you decide this is n+1, you better check with the bank manager. The base model costs $6,495, or about £4,000 and the limited-edition Founder's model, which comes with a guarantee that Schiller will retro-fit any performance-improving technology developed in the next two years, is $8,775 (about £5,400).

Full details from Schiller Bikes.

Hydrofoil waterbikes

Impressive as the Schiller X1 is, if you genuinely want to go fast, you don't want hulls in the water dragging you down: you want hydrofoils.

The fastest human-powered watercraft ever built is the MIT Decavitator, which used a propellor in the air for thrust and hydrofoils to lift it out of the water as much as possible, Ridden by Mark Drella, Decavitator reached a speed of 21.28 mph in 1991, despite sounding like a particularly cheesy Dr Who baddie.

Here's the Decavitator in action:

And here's Olympic gold medallist Steve Hegg aboard the first incarnation of Decavitator's great rival, Flying Fish, which used a propellor in the water and therefore ended up a bit slower, at 19.21 mph.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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dodgy | 9 years ago

Would've thought recumbent would be a better position for such a contraption, wind is going to push you all over the place.

wrevilo | 9 years ago

So its a Pedalo then.

paulrbarnard | 9 years ago

Sign me up for the Dover Calais Sportive

mingmong | 9 years ago

Aero Pedalo for 5k or something shiny from Neil Pryde?  39

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