Glass, Aramide or Carbon fibers?
A frequent and important question when selecting your WAW is the main fiber type. The WAW offers 3 types and each has it`s advantages and disadvantages.
Glass fiber is cheaper and easy to repair. The result will give you a less sportive WAW. This can be a pragmatic choice if the price is more important as the performances or if you plan anyway to mount an electro-assist on it to lift your performances.
Carbon fiber is the most expensive and provides a very sportive WAW. Light, stiff and nervous. This is the best choice for persons who wish the maximal speed out of their leg power. This type is more fragile and demands careful manipulation when used in every day life. To reduce risks of small cracks in exposed parts, we use hybrid fibers (mix of carbon and aramide).
Aramide (Kevlar) is a very tough fiber and difficult to cut, grind or work with, which is by the way the main reason why it is rarely seen on other velomobiles. For people using the WAW every day, as an alternative for the car, this fiber has several advantages. It will break later than Carbon and when it brakes it will not create sharp edges. For these reasons Aramide is also the safest choice of fibers. You recognize the Aramid fibers at the yellow color of the inside views on the pictures in our gallery
Hereunder we would like to share with you the experience of Devin. He had an accident with his WAW, the nightmare of every happy velomobile owner, but all in all with a good ending. The Aramide shows clearly it`s advantages and as the nose fairing can be removed and exchanged, Devin can now choose between repairing the nose on the places were it was damaged or order a completely new nose and simply replace it.
I am so very glad I opted for Aramid fiber WAW but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to prove this was a good choice for many more years. A wayward driver hit me head-on in the nose while I was stopped at a stop sign. Not a scratch on me but the nose is trashed. How much would a replacement one cost? One or two of the thread inserts pulled out. As long as there is no bad crack associated with those pulled out inserts I should be able to repair them without much trouble. I was able to pop the nose back out at the scene of the accident and ride it the six miles home fine.
Once I got home I popped the dents out the rest of the way. Fibers are torn at the top fixing bolt and along both sides where it stressed the most but overall it survived amazingly well. Thank you for making such a great product. In the morning I will take it apart and investigate more thoroughly. Right now I just wanted to get a price on a replacement nose.