vrijdag 23 december 2016

Te Koop / For Sale: WAW272 eWAW (SOLD)

For sale, from private customer: WAW272 eWAW, 406km, december 2015.

Green, Kevlar nose and body, Rohloff, e-assist LiFePO4, full lighting 12V:
the perfect long distance, 4 season, high speed and safe commuter.

This eWAW is abolutely flawless.

Bullitt cargo bike with Fietser.be e-assist

Fietser.be Zelda, Larry vs Harry Bullitt, Fietser.be Gantoise, VelodeVille.

Small and very, VERY stiff.

Discrete, silent but powerful, this motor is fantastic.
A cargo bike with aluminium frame? Looking good anyway.
Study for a new project: bracket motor as a mid motor to a Rohloff, for a lady who needs an extremely narrow q-factor.

zaterdag 17 december 2016

Swiss WAW 1.97m, carbon, Supernova

Julien is now riding his Extra Long carbon WAW back to Switzerland. We fit the beautiful Supernova e-bike light instead of the normal Busch & Müller high beam. The foot hole was cut out further to the front to fit his size 47 shoes. Julien will make a custom aero foot hole cover.

The difference in height against the Quattrovelo is a little exaggerated in this photo as the QV is standing higher. The cruising light is the top one, high beam is the lower SuperNova. Its light beam is impressively powerful and well shaped.

Julien's mascot, on top of WAW316. Not called "Orange Carrot" but 'Le Suppo de Satan' which has the double meaning of a bigot in french. As we rode home to my place, the first yell was "What the F*ck!", which was less practical. Second was "Suppo?!", so that will probably stick. 

Long tail with nicely integrated tail light and brake light.

The foot hole was cut out 12 cm to accommodate large foot size ('pointure' in french sounds so much more refined, doesn't it?). Also see the mixed carbon-kevlar fiber, just like in the old times of WAW1. This way we can add some crash protection to an otherwise full carbon WAW.

dinsdag 13 december 2016

New wind deflector

We have been testing out iterations of a new system to keep your (cycling) glasses as dry as possible. The new wind deflector is put forward of the canopy and fixed with industrial suction cups. At speed, it guides wind and rain drops over the line of sight.

Riding through pouring rain with nothing in between you and the horizon, and to see the droplets 'magically' be yanked up above your head is... awesome. It does a good job keeping the wind out of your eyes and off your head, while the canopy keeps your head warm, so you don't have to wear silly hats anymore. Anything for the street credibility of velomobiles.

This is how the WAW canopy works: 

You look UNDER the large visor,
and OVER the small deflector,
So you keep a clear line of sight on the horizon. 

Incoming air is slowed down by the larger section of the canopy (warm).
New and improved:
Air and water is lifted up by the deflector (dry)


So yes you have to look under the visor. It's an application of Bernoulli's principle. Nothing is in front of you, yet air is slowed by simple alteration of volume. This is why the WAW cabrio canopy works so much better than the motorcycle style visor we used to make for the WAW1 and 2. That and the leaking from the top of course. It's not understood very well by the public, even by velomobile pro's, but also by our WAW riders themselves. To add injury to bad sight, if the canopy's too low, the screws on top of the large visor can hit your head...
Most of the rain is kept out but at speed rain tends to fall in an almost horizontal way, and when riding slowly, raindrops burst on the top and form a mist that's not too uncomfortable, but ruin your vision with glasses quickly. People without glasses don't seem to mind a bit of water mist, it's actually a good coolant.

Inside the head hole, extending the kevlar deflector, was a smaller, adjustable visor. This is the summer visor, and it's intended to use without the canopy. The summer visor creates a still bubble of air for the head, instead of the canopy. Combining them doesn't make much sense. If it rains your view is blocked by droplets on the polycarbonate (or fog from your breath), the viewing slit becomes too small for comfort, and you have to quickly tear off the summer visor.

The cover of the WAW used to slide forward for entry and city riding, attaching magnetically to the body. This possibility was lost with the aluminium hinges invented by Katanga, but the pivoting function was so much improved that the sliding wasn't missed much. This allows us to put a deflector further forward on the body itself. That would keep out the mist, as well as deflect the horizontal rain upward, over the gap we actually look through. It has to be low enough to look over because here too our view is blocked when wet. Thanks to the industrial suction cups we could experiment with different locations and angles. 

 Rider's view on the horizon over the front deflector.

The combination of the forward deflector and canopy in heavy rain and at speed is amazing. It just works so much better than you'd expect from such a simple setup. From the rider's perspective it looks like a virtual windscreen in between the two actual visors. No windscreen wipers, no droplets or fogging blocking your view. Your face, and glasses, stay reasonably dry, I'd say the new WAW canopy stops 95% of the water. Success from a velomobilist standpoint, maybe still disappointing for automobile standards.

The start is actually the worst part. Droplets on the large visor roll off as soon as you start riding, then the wind blows them rearward and inside, onto your chest, this is mildly annoying when you're not warmed up. Perhaps it will be enough to tick the visor with a finger before starting. Or perhaps we can use a foam insert like the Orca.

On nonWAWs

The deflector works best in team with the WAWs canopy. On a cabrio WAW, or other heads-out velomobiles, adding the deflector alone is easy and at least protects your eyes and ears. I certainly cannot miss it on the Quest and Quattrovelo. 
It works really well with a Flevobike roof. The sides are more open, which can be good or bad. The Bernoulli effect is clearly noticeable, and the rain deflector keeps out almost all rain.
It could make the racing caps with motorcycle visors more userfriendly: leaving the visor open partially, taping up the top, and lifting water and air up before the gap.


The difference with our old summer visor is that we used to velcro that one to the Kevlar deflector part of the cover. It's important it's adjustable to the millimetre. The still air bubble has to be just high enough to protect your eyes an ears. If the air bubble is too high, your forehead warms up so quickly you will explode. Unfortunately in the WAW4 we sort of lost the adaptability and quick removal of the deflector.

The new deflector isn't adjustable on the fly either, it's a bit of work to loosen the suction cups.  Maybe we can set it up just in front of the head hole so it acts like the old deflector reasonably well. So you'd have a summer and a winter position and angle of the same deflector. Time will tell but I think the two will be valuable. 

 Some different sizes and models of the deflector: Orca, Quattrovelo, WAW, Quest.

We have some hand made ones tested and available for Orca, Quattrovelo, WAW, Quest, Strada, ... Some 30 customers are testing out various versions at the moment. Too bad we hear the least from the most successful ones. We'll have them water jet cut later on.

They cost 35 € a piece. I'll publish the drawings for the different velomobile models some time, once you understand the principles you can make your own. Transparency is nice but not mandatory. The suction cups are not easy to find, we got them initially from Velomobielonderdelen.nl. 

If anyone can think of a gracious way of adjusting the visor's height, pray tell...

dinsdag 6 september 2016

Uit de oude doos

Een sympathisant stuurde deze fotomontage door. De velo is Tina (Waw010), inclusief de honorabele Dries Callebaut, onze nationale Fietstechnoloog en medestichter van Fietser.be.

zaterdag 3 september 2016

donderdag 25 augustus 2016

Aramid fiber / Crash protection: the sequel, part II

Some pics of the repaired WAW284. 

Famously also known as WAW[horse]. 
(see this blog post). 

dinsdag 2 augustus 2016

Nieuw telefoonnummer / New phone number

Het atelier (Ben) is voortaan rechtstreeks bereikbaar op nummer +32 468 / 10 10 13 (woensdag tot vrijdag).
Het vaste nummer +32 9 330 49 12 is in transit en zal binnen een paar dagen terug actief zijn. Dit nummer wordt doorgeschakeld naar één van de mobiele lijnen.
Natuurlijk kan u indien noodzakelijk nog steeds terecht op Brechts privénummer +32 476 / 238 000.

The shop has a new direct phone line at +32 468 / 10 10 13 (Wednesdays to Fridays). 
The land line +32 9 330 49 12 is in between providers and will be active in a few days. This line redirects to one of the mobile lines so it can take a few seconds.
Of course you can still reach me on my private phone at +32 476 238 000.

Groeten, Regards,

zaterdag 16 juli 2016

2016 Holidays

We're taking a week or two off until august 3rd /
Wij gaan er even tussenuit tot 3 augustus.

Meanwhile enjoy your Future Fueled Freedom:


dinsdag 7 juni 2016

Fietscongres Gent

A joint venture with University Leuven / campus Ghent is emerging, to develop a new solarvelo based on our eWAW.

In 2013 a solar WAW was disqualified for speeding (!) on the Suntrip race to Kazachstan ( http://www.solarbiketour.com). Participating again would be nice, setting things straight.

woensdag 4 mei 2016

Prijslijst update: WAW Configurator 2016

De WAW Configurator is aangepast.

Prijzen blijven globaal gelijk: 5.450 € exBTW voor de basisWAW, 6.595 € BTWin.

Er zijn een paar nieuwe, of toch minder bekende opties:
  • Actieve luchtvering achteraan
  • Neus met gestroomlijnde schijnwerpers
  • De instelbare winddeflector 
  • 3 x 10 versnellingen ipv. 3 x 9 
  • USB-lader op boordelektriciteitsnet

Om uw hoogstpersoonlijke WAW Configurator aan te maken maakt u een kopietje (Mijn bestanden > Een kopie maken...) of stuur een emailtje.
Een printervriendelijke WAW Configurator 2016 NL Compact.pdf kan u hier dowloaden.

dinsdag 26 april 2016

Terug van Spezi: een koepel voor de Quattrovelo en een luchtvering voor de WAW.

De dertiende keer Spezi?  Deze keer was ik er niet zelf aan het werk dus kon ik het wat rustiger aan doen.

Persoonlijke hoogtepunten:

- Stephane van Katanga presenteerde de nieuwe luchtvering op de WAW. Ze blijkt zeer goed te werken. Ik schrijf er nog wel eens een artikel over wanneer we de eerste exemplaren in Gent hebben en langduriger kunnen uittesten.
Ik denk dat vooral de eWAW met deze luchtvering over de concurrentie springt en aan de top komt van de functionele fietsen, in het goede gezelschap van de:

- Quattrovelo. Allert sculpteerde een prachtige koepel, en presenteerde alvast de plug. Dit wordt een uitstekende vierseizoenenfiets. Je kan de QV trouwens nu al voorbestellen bij Fietser: onderdak tegen de herfst.

- Kabelsturing / drive by wire blijkt nu eindelijk door te breken, en wel in de bakfietsen. Dat doet mijn ontwerpershart deugd: als zoiets sociotechnisch kan doorbreken worden de mogelijkheden voor ons weer een stuk ruimer.

dinsdag 5 april 2016

Aramid fiber / Crash protection: the sequel

It's been a bit frustrating at times to build speed bikes for road use and then see the majority buy machines designed for the races. Ha! Sometimes fate throws you an occasion to prove your point.

At the very moment I was writing the former blog post about an aramid fibre crash protection zone on an ultralight carbon velomobile, something amazing happened:

Yes that's the same WAW284, on it's maiden trip... According to the owner, he was out on his first try-out ride, on a remote cycle path, accelerating to well over 40 km/h, when he noticed a horse had started running alongside. Then suddenly the horse was in front or on top of him. It isn't exactly clear what happened but considering the damage on top of the nose, canopy AND the top of the tail he must have scooped up the horse and it must have rolled on top of the WAW from front to back.

The rider was completely unharmed. So was the horse. The owner was soon found and well covered. The carbon tail was scattered and a total loss. The aramid fibre cover and canopy had minor damage, the right cover hinge was bent. We don't know exactly how large the load exercised by the horse was, but any amount of horse is better taken by a roof than a head. The bulk of the shock was absorbed, as it should, by the shock absorbing nose, which had crumpled like a well behaved crumple zone would.

The really astonishing thing was that after the accident, the rider just popped out the nose again with his foot, to this result:

The above picture was sent to me by another customer the day after. I couldn't believe it myself. Later on the WAW came in and we just exchanged the cover hinge, some white tape was applied to the mirror cap and the small damage to the left wheel well. Otherwise the carbon semi-monocoque of the WAW was undamaged. While a new nose, tail, cover, wheel cap and cover are on order from CZ, the owner has been doing his 45 km commute every day since, without further incidents.