- Another outstanding beacon of hope, technical excellence and … real-world relevance from the excellent Gibbs yard
- An amphibious bike from Gibbs is much more than just an indulgent curio
Weird but Wonderful: Gibbs Biski
Alex Smith explores the latest amphibian from one of the world’s greatest masters of the art …
Regular readers of PBR will know I’m a huge fan of Gibbs Amphibious Sports. While the rest of the world messes about with ugly, expensive, impractical, ‘garden-shed’ amphibians that appeal only to novelty addicts, Gibbs make stuff the real-world boater could conceivably buy and use.
While their first (and most famous) craft, the Lotus-inspired Aquada, was a rather outlandish and experimental platform, more recent models, like the Amphitruck and the Quadski, have shown how accessible, useful and entertaining the company’s modern offerings can be. Given the natural overlap in riding style and operating interface between a motorbike and a personal watercraft (PW), it was only a matter of time before the company turned its attention to the two-wheeled amphibian – and with the arrival of the Biski, that time has now come.
The Best of Both?
Gibbs have taken an aluminium monocoque hull as the starting point for this new craft – and as you would expect of a bike designed to plane on the water, the lower portions of its ‘faring’ look uncommonly flared and weighty. But stylistically, it’s by no means the ugliest amphibian around. On the contrary, while some might accuse it of being designed by a child with a blunt crayon, I happen to think its broad, bluff surfaces and bulky ‘skirts’ lend this colourful pod-style vessel the potential to attract a serious cult following.
However, leaving subjective squabbles aside for a moment, the technical realities of this craft make every bit as much sense as you would expect. Motive power is provided by a two-cylinder 55hp petrol engine, which operates through the rear wheel for land speeds of up to 80mph – and through Gibbs’s proprietary dual-jet system for 32-knot performance on the water. It will also hit the plane in less than 3 seconds and make the transition between land and sea in less than 5.
Now, given the ferocious performance of modern superpowered sports bikes and PWs, it is plain that these figures fall a long way short on both land and water. But I don’t reckon it matters a great deal. On the contrary – in view of the subversive refocusing of industry imperatives brought about by the modestly powered and idiot-proof SeaDoo Spark, it’s very probable that the Biski’s dynamic deficiencies will prove wholly irrelevant in the face of its ability to encompass the simple pleasures of both PW and bike.
Of course, if you really hanker after a bit more performance, you could always up the ante with the Gibbs Triski, which uses two wheels at the front alongside a 135hp engine for nearly 40 knots as a PW and 85mph as a road trike. But either way, an amphibious bike from Gibbs is much more than just an indulgent curio.
- LOA: 2.35m
- Width: 0.95m plus mirrors
- Wheelbase: 1.79m
- Weight: 228kg
- Ground clearance: 150mm
- Carrying capacity: 348kg
- Fuel capacity: 20 litres
- Land speed: 80mph
- Water speed: 32 knots
- Time to plane: Up to 3 seconds
- Transition time: Up to 5 seconds
- Engine: 2-cylinder 55hp petrol
- Drive: Rear-wheel drive
- Marine propulsion: Gibbs custom dual jet
Summary & Pricing
The prices for the Biski have not yet emerged. But given the fact that the bigger, heavier, more powerful, one-man Quadski can be yours for around US$45,000, you would have to surmise that the Biski ought to be very affordable indeed. In stark contrast to the bulk of speculative amphibians that litter the in trays of boating journalists and the annals of modern design, this has to be considered another outstanding beacon of hope, technical excellence and (yes, I’m gonna stick my neck out and say it) real-world relevance from the excellent Gibbs yard.