Cycling at sea conjures up images of holiday pedalos, but Team New Zealand's sailors hope pedal power will help them win the 35th America's Cup.

The Kiwis have gambled on an innovative approach in their bid to capture the Auld Mug for the first time since 2000 and avenge the 9-8 defeat by Oracle Team USA in San Francisco in 2013.

For this year's event in Bermuda, the New Zealanders have replaced the traditional arm-powered winches with cycle-style grinders.

Four bikes on each of their new AC50 catamaran's hulls will provide the power to supply the hydraulic systems, which raise and lower the foils and pull in the huge wingsail.

The ideal scenario, and the fastest way to sail, is to keep the boats foiling continuously above the water all around the course — known as stable flight.

This requires power in the system to make continuous adjustments to the foils and wing.

And with six crew allowed on board, and two — the helmsman and wing trimmer — concentrating on steering, strategy and sail settings, only four sailors are available to produce all the power needed.