About my Velomobiles

I own 2 velomobiles, and their differences make for unique characteristics. Most velomobiles are designed similarly, with two 20″ wheels in the front that provide steering and braking. The cranks out front drive a long chain (3x the length of a typical bicycle chain) to the rear wheel, and the chain is fully protected from the weather; most real wheels are 26″ size, although there are some velomobiles that use a 20″ wheel on the rear as well (both the WAW and Milan are 20″ front/26″ rear). The front wheels have basic Macpherson strut style shock absorbers; the Milan has rear suspension as well, and the WAW can now be ordered with rear suspension as an option.

I ordered my WAW, named Velma, in December of 2014 and received it in April 2015. She is all carbon fiber shell, and has panzer or side-stick steering. The WAW is quite unique in that the nose cone and tail cone can easily be removed, which makes maintenance, servicing, or sizing the WAW to a different rider far easier than other designs.

The WAW was designed and originally built in Belgium, but manufacturing switched over to Katanga, in Czech Republic in 2013-2014, and the quality of construction improved greatly under Katanga’s processes, and they continue to offer the WAW. The WAW was air-freighted to NYC in a large crate. The front wheels are exposed so the turning circle is smaller, but there are aerodynamic losses because of that (and making covers for those front wheels is still on my “build it” radar!)

The front wheels are also canted out at the bottom for cornering stability, and the seating position gives a very low center of gravity, so the WAW is the best cornering velomobile. The weight is approximately 77 pounds as outfitted (each of my velomobiles has a sound system using exciters bonded to the shell, so that and the battery for sound system adds some weight 😉 )

Maintenance on a WAW is easier than any other velomobile.

View inside the WAW, looking rear. Side stick steering and controls

The Milan GT, named “Esmerelda” is the standard size of Milan offered; there is also a smaller (and even faster!) version, the SL, and there is a larger size as well, the MX. The Milan that I own was built in Vancouver, although the design is German, and the Milan is also still being manufactured in Germany (there are slight variations depending on the builder).

This Milan is also carbon fiber, with kevlar added in specific areas, for strength and protection. The Milan is offered with either panzer steering, or center column/tiller steering (Esmerelda has tiller steering). The front wheels are fully enclosed for better aerodynamic performance, so this makes the turning circle for the Milan much larger than the WAW.

Milan GT, cabriolet style. Great airflow riding this way, and still reasonably fast!
This is the center tiller on the Milan: shifters, brake lever, turn signal switch, and mounting bracket for Wahoo Elemnt computer.

What attracted me to each of these velomobiles is that a full hood is part of the design. Most other velomobiles don’t include full enclosure style hoods; they have to be purchased separately, sometimes from other vendors (or other hobby builders). The WAW hood pivots on the turn signal stalks, easily removed. The Milan hood can be simply lifted off and is held in place with elastic cords and special hold down mechanism when riding.

Milan GT with full hood

I put together a video exploring the differences on the interior features of these two velomobiles. I used the Garmin 360 camera.