I ordered my WAW without the rear suspension option in order to save some weight. At first I didn’t really notice the lack of suspension too much. However, after switching back and forth between the DF and the WAW, I started noticing the back end hopping around on rough pavement. I played with lowering the rear tire pressure, but it was still bothering me. So, I decided to take the plunge (and the weight penalty) and ordered the rear suspension kit from Katanga. The kit included the aluminum assembly, shock, hardware, drilling template and shock pump. The chain protector was extra. (I’m not sure how effective the chain protector can be.) Altogether with shipping it cost about $800.
The installation was pretty straight forward with one exception (more on that later). The instructions were pretty good. The first step was to remove the unsuspended mounts and drive train. Next, the installation involved drilling some holes in the rear bulkhead. Katanga provided an excellent removable fiberglass template that snapped onto the bulkhead. After drilling the holes, the next step involved removing the gelcoat from the bulkhead surface, bonding and riveting the carbon fiber shock mount to the rear bulkhead. I used structural adhesive epoxy to bond the piece to the bulkhead. The provided rivets were installed with my manual pop rivet gun.
All that was left to do was to bolt on the two lower metal brackets and the pre-assembled rear suspension. At this point, I probably had about 3 hours of work in the project plus 24 hour cure time for the epoxy. This is where things got tricky. I just couldn’t get the 2 lower arms (called “swings”) to line up with the lower brackets. After scratching my head and staring at the situation, I decided to disassemble things to understand the problem. It seemed that the provided swings were slightly misaligned. In these photos, you can see that the bolt holes are not parallel – which is required for proper alignment and movement through the suspension travel arc.
I emailed Stephane at Katanga who immediately responded. He checked their inventory but none of his swings had the same problem. Somehow, two misaligned swings had made it into my kit. So he created a problem swing like mine so that he could come up with a fix to get me going again. It turned out that fixing the misalignment was pretty easy to do by clamping the swing in a vice and applying a a bit of force with a lever arm. I was hesitant to do that but this was what the factory suggested. So I went ahead with the suggested fix.
After a few iterations of bending and measuring, I was able to mount the suspension. Even though these were small bends, it made me nervous about the effect on the welds. I voiced my concern to Stephane and he immediately offered to send me replacement swings. When they arrive, I’ll swap them for my “fixed” swings.
I recently noticed a want to buy ad for a GLR on BentriderOnline. This got me thinking about whether I really needed my GLR. It was fun putting it together and updating it, but with 2 velomobiles and a couple of other trikes available, I just wasn’t riding it. So I contacted the buyer and worked out a good deal. The GLR will soon be cruising the streets of Florida.
I’m selling my brother’s Catrike 700. This is the Candy Blue 700 that I built for myself in 2013. My brother adopted it from me a few years ago but has decided to stop riding. The price is $2000 shipped to the continental USA or $1850 if picked up within 50 miles of Santa Barbara, CA.
Here are some photos.
This is an area on the bottom side of the cross member where the chain was allowed to drag against the frame.
Here are some notes about receiving and setting up the WAW:
Shipping The only surprise in the shipping process was that I was contacted by Katanga’s freight forwarder when the WAW arrived at LAX asking for information about my freight forwarder to arrange the transition through US Customs. I didn’t know what a freight forwarder was. After a couple of calls, I found a company near Los Angeles that did a good job working with Katanga’s freight forwarder to take care of everything very quickly. The WAW was delivered to my house only a couple of days later. There was no damage to the crate nor to the WAW. The crate is very nice. I have put it into storage for future use. I recently built a crate for a Milan. Mine was not nearly as nice and it was a lot heavier.
Drive Components I purchased the WAW without drive components so that I could use my own. Installing the drive train was very straight forward. It’s so easy to work on. I had a small problem with the bottom bracket. The threads were not cut very cleanly. I don’t have bottom bracket taps so I took it to my local bike shop and had them run the taps through it again to clean up the threads. Not a big deal. It was a little tricky to install the chain but it didn’t take long once I figured out how to do it. I had purchased the wrong front derailleur. I had assumed that it would be the clamp on type as was the case on the DF and the Milan. So I had to order a braze-on type derailleur. This was my fault for not noticing this in the photos. Again, this was not a big problem.
Bodywork The quality of the carbon fiber work is excellent. I make some of my own carbon fiber parts and I have to work harder to match this level of quality. The gel coat is beautiful – except for the nose. For some reason, a section of the nose was not polished correctly so it was very dull, still having fine scratches. It stood it out next to the rest of the polished gel coat on the main body. I believe that I will be able to polish it to match the rest of the WAW.
Setup The seating and boom length were set almost perfectly. Even the mirrors were adjusted correctly. I checked the front end alignment and it was perfect. The electrical system works perfectly. It is obvious that Katanga does a good job testing everything before it leaves the factory.
Ginkgo Front Wheels I paid extra to upgrade the front wheels to Ginkgo wheels and machined drums. I removed the front tubes to replace them with latex tubes. I was surprised how difficult it was to get the Pro One tires to seat on this model of Ginkgo rims. I had to use soapy solution and a lot of pressure to get them to seat properly. I have not had this problem with other wheels from Ginkgo. I’ve added a small bottle of soapy solution to my toolkit in case I have a flat on a road. However, I doubt that I can get enough pressure using the small travel pump to seat the tires in this situation. I’ll have to use a CO2 cartridge pump.
Ride I took it for a short 10 mile ride yesterday. It was very comfortable. It handles great through the fast turns. I didn’t feel any tendency to lift the wheel. It felt comparable to my DFXL and Milan GT in that respect. The lack of rear suspension was hardly noticeable on this particular ride. We’ll see if it bothers me on future rides outside of my local roads. My top speed was only about 30mph, but at that speed it felt very stable. I have had several side stick steering trikes in the past. The steering motion took very little effort. I was surprised by how much effort it takes to move the levers on the WAW. I see that the reason for this is that the pivot position is very high up the stick so that there is not much leverage to move the stick. It’s not a problem, just different than I had expected. It won’t be a problem.
A big box arrived from the Netherlands the other day. IntercityBike finally sent my order containing some pants and another set of front wheels for the DF XL. The pants enclose the front wheels and are supposed to give a nice little speed gain at the higher end. Front wheel clearance is a bit sketchy with the pants so Ymte at IntercityBike recommended a set of narrower offset front wheels.
Ymte provided some very thin tape, Nitto 21, to attach the pants. I decided to try something a little more substantial so I’ve gone with magnets. Here you can see the magnets glued to the pant. Mating magnets are taped to the inside surface of the DF’s interior.
In these photos you can see that I actually did tape the seams using red electrical tape just to be safe.