A distraction has arrived

Well, I’ve put the Zephyr build on hold for a while…

New to me yellow Milan, my stump damaged Milan, and a white European Milan

A friend sold me his crash damaged Milan. It’s the yellow one in the photo; in the background is his other Milan, a newer European made Milan, and my white/red/blue crash damaged Milan.

Last year he had an accident with this Milan, about two weeks after my crash. A car decided to cross traffic directly in front of him. He was unhurt in the accident, the velomobile protected him. But the Milan will need repairs. Here’s the other view:

A car driver decided to cut across his travel path

And the interior view:

Before pushing the nose back into shape. That white piece at top was a mount for bike computer (since removed). You can see the left wheel pocket has detached at the front.

The white Milan also needed repairs: a change over on the rear suspension system. It’s a newer model, Mark 6 or 7, which uses an entirely different suspension design (my two Milans are Mark 2). This required some epoxy resin and carbon fiber work, things my friend wasn’t excited about attempting. So I agreed to take care of this for him. I did that repair first, so I could get the white Milan back to him, and then concentrate on repairs to the yellow Milan.

It’s a Canadian built velomobile, serial #5 (my white/red/blue Milan is #10). There are a few design changes that happened between 5 and 10. Most obvious is that this has side stick steering, so that will be interesting to compare it to a WAW.

Panzer or side stick steering.

Most of the damage is confined to the front, little damage to the underside or the rest of the velo. But the right heel bump has been crudely cut out, I assume for more air flow. I’ll close that right heel bump off, and I’ll be adding an air intake to the front, and a couple access panels as well.


The impact was left to right across the nose, so the left side of the nose took most of the damage, but it also pushed the velomobile sideways and bent the connecting rod for the right wheel.

Right side bent connecting rod; maybe the velomobile was pushed sideways against a curb.

I checked it over closely and no cracks, so I’ve straightened it out nicely and it will be re-installed.

At the front of the boom there is a piece of aluminum tubing, running perpendicular through the boom. The ends of the tubing are bonded to the shell with fiberglass cloth. The impact broke the left side of the tubing clean off. I’ll make a carbon fiber boom support piece that will be bonded in place instead.

You can just see the break on the tubing. The left side wheel pocket was detached from the wall; I’ll bond that back into place.


Even though it may look awful, the kevlar in the shell allows the nose to be pushed back mostly to it’s original shape. There are some dents that don’t want to go away. I can press them back into shape, but as soon as I remove pressure they bounce back into the dent shape.

I found that I could use a heat gun to slightly soften the resin, and helped by pressure from a foam block, the dent memory would go away.

Removing “dent memory” with a heat gun and using foam block for pressure (because the resin gets hot!)

I removed the boom, bottom bracket and pedals, and headlights. I’ve spent the last week adding reinforcements onto the inside of the nose. Even though the kevlar lets the shape return, the carbon fiber and kevlar become weaker because of it. Here’s the interior stripped out.

Removed the boom and all the drive components.

And some repairs

Added reinforcements as needed.

There is no fairing around the rear wheel, I’ll have to make one. And the rear wheel housing has been cut up way too much. Although it doesn’t affect the structure, I’m going to close that in better. I’ll have to do it with the wheel housing in place, it’s bonded to the shell. (and I’ve no idea why there is that long slot at upper left; the drive system is on the other side…)


I still have to cut the slot in the “now repaired” right side….


The rear swing-arm (orange-yellow in color) is two sided, so the rear wheel is supported on both left and right sides. This allows use of any drive system (Rohloff, derailleur, Dual drive, etc). Many velomobiles have the rear wheel attached on the right side only. So there have to be vertical slots for wheel removal/installation. I’ll also make some covers for that slot.

I’m finished with interior structural repairs and that rear wheel housing. Now I’ll be creating that boom support piece. And then it’s on to creating a SPAI air intake and two access panels. I’ve already marked out some thoughts on those….

I’ve marked out thoughts for a front derailleur access panel, SPAI air intake. I’ll also go ahead and add an access panel for the rear derailleur.

My intent is to get this up and running as quick as possible, so I can get riding again! And get myself in shape for when the Zephyr is ready to ride. Both my Milans have a gel-coat exterior. When I’m finished with the repairs the exterior will need to be painted with an automotive type paint.

I’ll treat this velomobile as a “beater” for a while, at least until the Zephyr is riding. Painting will mean taking the velomobile off the road for at least a week.

As it came to me this Milan used a 10 speed derailleur with a single chainring up front. I’ll leave the derailleur but add a Schlumpf Mountain drive to the front for better range. This will be a good time to try out the Mountain Drive. And of course new chain, new chain tubes…

And the lighting…. 99% of my riding is during the daytime so headlights aren’t a necessity for me. I have Ay-Up headlights that I can use when riding at night. The electrical system is 6 volts, with no horn. The rear turn indicators are sorta worthless so I’m giving it a total lighting upgrade, adding Kellermann indicator lights as well as a horn (a necessity for any velomobile).

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