Newsletter April 2023

Newsletter April 2023

In this newsletter you receive a broad update of our product portfolio, sales levels, R&D, market and internal developments, changes and perspectives. Many people have been following and supporting us since we started with the WAW and since we last informed you, so much happened  internally and around us. Let me start with an overview of our activities today:

    • Production and sales of own products:
    • Production and other services related to not-owned products:
    • R&D projects:
      • Improvements of existing products
      • New options for existing products
      • for the Armadillo on request of VELOVE
      • The VM45 project


The VM45 project is well described in the previous newsletter. You can expect an update on the VM45 in the form of a specific newsletter as soon as we receive the first set of body parts and start to assemble. Our partner is intensively working on these body parts now and has everything ready besides the main central part. Other parts for transmission, pedal frame, drive train, light system, etc. are all ordered, produced or in production and being delivered now. It is very exciting to receive and hold parts designed during several months on the computer. Till now all looks very good and promising!

Regrettably, we will not be able to show you the VM45 on SPEZI this year… the first assemblies will be in May. Testing and evaluation will follow immediately, after that we decide what the next steps will be.




Our first and still most successful product is the WAW velomobile. Sales have been as expected in 2022 with 50 unities sold, an average level compared with the past but realized in a complicated economical and logistic environment: supply chain disorders due to Covid, missing sea containers, energy crisis in Europe due to the conflict in Ukraine, price hikes, … Thanks to comfortable stock levels, helpful partners and understanding customers this has not stopped us to produce and deliver without interruptions.

Some smaller R&D projects led to improvements in the WAW:

    • Rohloff shifting, change from short grip shift on the right steering handle to a long grip shift on the left steering handle. Shifting is easier even with sweaty hands. Shifting cables are shorter, make less bows and do not encumber luggage space.
    • Tail T3 cut out for better access to the valve. This allows to pump up the tire of the 28 inch wheel of hard tail variants without having to partly remove the tail.
    • Addition of a coil spring DNM shock on the option list: cheaper and more robust than the Suntour air-shock but less possibilities for fine-tuning.


We are now working on WAW630 and this means that we produced 500 units since Katanga took over the WAW production from end 2011! When Katanga completely redesigned the WAW in 2014 and added the rear suspension in 2016, we kept the timeless design of the central cockpit with removable nose, tail, manhole cover and race hood. This modular design offers plenty of advantages like accessibility, exchangeability of damage parts, possibility of compact/larger parts dependant on driver size or esthetical preferences.

The WAW also differs from all other velomobiles on the market by its variability in configuration. It can be configured as a light and stiff sportive bike, as a comfortable e-assisted velo or anything in between. The WAW offers a healthy base for any type of transmission (from classical cassette, PINION to Rohloff) or any type of e-assist (from Bafang mid-drive motors to hub motors with or without freewheel). Moreover, WAW owners can quite easily adapt it when in the course of time their needs or wishes change.


The multitude in options and configurations makes it sometimes difficult for customers to make a choice. Do not hesitate to ask our help when evaluating the purchase of a WAW. Write us and give a short description of yourself, the main use you wish to make of your WAW and the type of roads you will most often use. We will send you a configurator with a selection of options fit for you, you can adapt it and send back to us till we find your ideal selection. If you are in travel range the best is to make an appointment, visit us and a make test-ride.

If you are closer to one of our dealers then contact them in the first place of course. The added value of a dealer is that he is closer to you, has minimally one demo-WAW for testing and a lot of experience. We believe in a long-term cooperation with dealers and offer them a protected market big enough to have an interesting turn-over that allows them to have a return on investment and costs. This protection ends if a dealer can not offer test-rides, does not respond on requests or does not reach a minimal sales level per year. In that case we are ready at Katanga to take over and deliver directly to you.


Our initial dealer network did suffer last years for several reasons. Some dealers with whom we started are now at retirement age and not all transmitted their activity to a younger partner. Other dealers did suffer too much during the covid period, went out of business or did not recover completely. This needs to be addressed and the solution is different per case:

    • We can sell directly to all who have no dealer in a reasonable distance. You receive a personal service with professional advice and guidance through the sales process. We have years of experience with safe shipping of the WAW all over the world. Delivery time between order confirmation and delivery at your door is in between 2 and 3 months (not only for Europe but also Canada and USA).
    • If visiting us is in your reach, ask for an appointment. We organize a test-ride and free time to answer all your questions.
    • Germany: we welcome 2 or 3 motivated dealers spread on the Western part of the country.
    • Canada: We have never stopped delivering directly to Canadian customers and are the best placed for advising and shipping.
    • USA: our dealer BicycleEvolution in Texas is the advised choice if you go there for testing and count with their service. But in case you order without testing and if you are far away from Texas, BicycleEvolution is not the advised choice. Please contact us directly.


The focus was more on the PONY4 and VM45 last years and less on the WAW. After moving the velomobile production to our new place (see further in this newsletter) we plan several actions to bring the WAW back on the front stage as it deserves more attention! Let me share 2 videos made recently by two WAW users. The first is from David, known from all the WAW tutorial videos, filming his morning ride to work. (Incredible how this guy can talk when speeding in his WAW J ) The second is from Michael who has now 41.000 km on the odometer and made a global face-lift of his WAW. Thank you, David and Michael!

David to work at 45km/h average

Michael’s WAW380 with 41.000km


The PONY4 is an innovative bike with a big potential. It is a very practical choice for all who need stability or increased cargo space and has little competition on the market. Everybody who tries it is enthusiastic. The sales evolution evolved very positively last 3 years increasing from 12 in 2020, 25 in 2021 to 36 in 2022. These sales have been realized using our existing dealer network from the WAW and by direct sales.

All components are in stock, and we react swiftly on any order with lead times of less than one month. Our ambition is to grow fast to sales numbers well above 100 pieces per year and have next action plan to reach that level:

    • Increase the visibility by publishing more videos on the social media. Show in these videos how the PONY4 can serve different types of users. Indeed, the videos of the PONY4-Dog inspired lot of dog owners and we need now videos of different target users, for instance PONY4-Family to inspire young families.
    • Get the PONY4 in a broader dealer network specialized in recumbent or cargo bikes. It is important that people can test-ride the PONY4 as the positive riding experience often leads to a purchase.


The actual R&D project related to the PONY4 is the semi-trailer and its applications. We are in the stadium of testing a first batch of semi-trailer chassis. The semi-trailer has 2 suspended wheels with inertia drum brakes. It is a modular concept as we are aware that the market wishes flexibility in sizes of trailers. If you have a personal project, we can already offer you a building kit that you need to complete with plywood plates.

We advance on specific applications for the semi-trailer like a camper for travelling. Finally, we also test out a different type of rear axle for the PONY4 to be used in hilly region in combination with big loads.

Irena and I use the PONY4 since 2020 almost every day to commute to work and for traveling. Irena made two nice videos:




The cooperation with VELOVE was in 2022 a combination of assembly of the Armadillo and a R&D project to test out different types of drive trains.

The cooperation with VELOVE has indeed changed since their change of business model from selling cargo bikes to selling the service of last mile deliveries. Katanga evolves from being a production partner to being a full service partner including advanced R&D and prototyping. The transformation of our partnership is ongoing and the shift from assembly to a diverse service offer has freed up production capacity. We are ready for new challenges and more partnerships to fill up the gap left, especially now that we will soon have even more assembly capacity available.


Yes, 3 years ago, my wife Irena and I had been looking for a parcel close to an international bicycle trail with the intention to move there and run a campsite in summertime. We moved gradually further away from the city and finally found a dream place at the Austrian border. The site was used by the army for border control. Situated in the iron curtain belt where human activity was constrained during the communist period, this region has been very well conserved, is very little populated, with little car traffic, a beautiful nature and several cultural attractions. The EUROVELO 13 and the Prague-Vienna cycle trails pass just in front of us.

Works have started soon after the purchase and in a couple of weeks we hope to open our campsite: “Camp Velo”. The website is active but for the moment only in Czech language and pictures need to be replaced as soon as we finish the works.


As till a couple of months ago Katanga needed more space for assembly, we have added next to the camp site a workshop for bikes and the production of the WAW and VM45 will be moved to this place. We will also receive here WAW customers and organise test-rides. The roads are simply ideal to discover the full potential of velomobiles. A couple of PONY4 will be available for rent.

The assembly of the PONY4 and Armadillo stays in Brno together with purchase and R&D activities. I plan to work every week at least 2 days in Brno and we built there a small room to accommodate for the nights.

With the sale of our apartment in Brno city centre and some extra financial resources, still to be found, we hope to reconstruct the military barracks into a guesthouse in the next 2-3 years.


Last 5 years Katanga was able to operate without need for capital injection. Profits stayed in the company and were used to increase our stock of components and to finance R&D. Now the situation looks different. The homologation of the VM45 will request more investments and development costs which can’t be covered only by the cash flow of Katanga and I planned to use my personal reserves for the reconstruction of the guest house.

One strategy that would allow to continue with all projects would be to take a partner in Katanga. This partner should share our values and believe in the potential of our product range. Besides participating financially he would ideally strengthen the sales capacity of Katanga or bring an additional business so that we can use our team and infrastructure in an optimal way. Contact me if you have serious interest.

Hope you enjoyed this newsletter and thank you for your support. Hope to see a lot of people at our stand at SPEZI next week!

Stephane Boving

+420 602 724 063