Sunday, April 6, 2014

Left Coast Velomobile Gathering

Back from the Left Coast Velomobile Gathering.  Lots of driving, not so much sleep and some excellent riding.  A very fun weekend.  Many thanks to Craig and Vicky for hosting the event.

This was the first time I could ride the Milan GT with other velomobiles to compare performance.  While I knew that the Milan was quick I had no real reference point.  After the first half of Saturday's ride I was more than a little pleased especially considering that I have not ridden much in the last few months.   Now I understand why Markus would start later in the mornings on ROAM and come whizzing by.  The folks at Raderwerk who designed the Milan have succeeded in building a very fast comfortable velomobile.  I was impressed by being able to climb a gentle slopes at reasonable speed.  Carrying momentum up the next hill was great fun.  On gentle up slopes the saved up kinetic energy sure cared one a long ways.

At the LCVMG there were a couple of other velos that were quite interesting.  I have always liked the sort of retro look of the Allweder.  There was one that was polished up to a high level.  It sure looked nice.  I checked out how it was constructed and it's amazing what can be done with aluminium.  There were also two chloroplast velos built on ICE trikes.  Nicely built and a good way to get into velomobile if you already have a trike.  While not quite as fast as a Quest or Milan they provided most (90-95%) of the benefits velos offer.  You would be hard pressed to go back to the bare trike after riding these.  

Here are a few of pictures at the Avila beach on the second day.

The previous day I managed to scare myself at bit.  I actually overdid it a bit and ended up going down a hill too fast.  I was reluctant to do anything but let it run out.  I didn't have my GPS on but was going at least the speed of traffic(55 mph if they were going the speed limit, doubtful at the best of times) and certainly a lot more than the 85 kph I have been at before.   Lesson for the future about keeping speed in check. I didn't actually have any trouble controlling the Milan GT it just felt way too fast, enough so that I was even reluctant to apply the brakes. I have since practiced braking from fairly high speed and am now more comfortable doing this. 

Here are more pictures of "Bubbles".  It  got stuck with this name before it even made it off the car.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Before and after snow

We did get some snow a while back that almost covered my GT.  It was a bit of an unexpected snow fall.  I didn't move in inside in the evening and this is how it looked in the morning.

Here is what if looks like now.

I dressed it up with some graphics.  The real reason for the graphics is the make some of the inconsistency in gel coat less noticeable.  I rather like it dressed up as it is.  

The new rear signal light.  I have built a new enclose for the LED lights.  A little carbon fiber and some clear casting resin.  Much nicer than the first version.

Here is a  view from the back.  The small cutout in the reflective sticker on the the back allows the three 2W LEDs for the brake or rear light to shine through.  This light is much brighter than the standard rear bike light just below it.  One can also see how flush the new enclosure for the turn signals is.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Milan SL Pictures

The first few pictures of our demo Milan SL.  Next step is the roll out tests to check the front alignment.  

No mirrors or lights yet so there is still a fair bit to be done before I can consider it finished.  Once I have ridden it a some and fine tuned my fit I'll post about the maximum size that will fit.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Milan for bigger folks?

We have laid up some heavy sections out of the Milan GT moulds.  We had three reasons for doing this.  To use up some old material that we can't use for anything else,  train a new staff member in hand laminating and perhaps build a new velomobile.

Of the first four or five potential customers who visited me looking at the Milan GT two certainly didn't fit and a third was too close to call.   The need is for a bit more clearance for bigger feet, even 1-2 cm would be a big gain, accomodating a longer femur lenght and more knee space can be acommllished by moving the door opening forward 5 cm.  Adding 2.5 cm extra width at each shoulder will be a big plus for some.  Just from looking at the shape it can be blended into the existing bulges and still look very nice.  Is adding 5 cm in total width at the shoulders enough?

We are not sure if this will happen as building a new velomobile is a very big project.  In any case it's going on the back burner for a while.  Still an interesting undertaking to contemplate.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Taking Orders and Prices

Finally at the point where we can take orders for the Milan GT and Milan SL.  It has taken far longer than I thought it would but I think well worth the delay.  For something as simple as a bike it has proven to be quite complex.

The base price for the Milan GT and Milan SL is $8,500  This includes carbon wheel wells, carbon rear fender, carbon ribs in the floor and sides of the shell, left and right mirrors with carbon fairing and reflective stripe, rear tail light. 

Upgrade to carbon/Kevlar laminate  $1,500

Lighting package( two headlights, running/signal lights, brake light)  $800

Storage compartment in front of wheel wells  $100 each

Upgrade to 90 mm drums $100

Side stick (tank steering)  $100

Hood   $450

More details to follow!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Milan SL

 Front storage compartments for the Milan SL
The picture shows the front storage compartments for the Milan SL installed in the bottom half of the velomobile.  I find them quite handy to contain loose items you don't need too often.  Each one is about 8-10 liters in size.  It is best to install them when the shell in at this stage as it is hard to reach once the top is on especially if you do not cut footholes. 
Jig for bolting the rear swing arm into the Milan SL.  I was working on this on the weekend and didn't have anyone to help squeeze the parts together when tightening the bolts so I made a jig.  The rather beefy rear swing arm has two plastic shims on each side that need to fit tightly between the plastic blocks that clamp the pivot tube in place.  Having two shims on each side allows for some adjustment sideways of the swing arm for the wheel and the fender. Here's a better picture of the swing arm with the spacers visible. 
This is the third Milan SL being built.  It will be our demo and the one I try to make fit me.  We are now able to start building the Milan GT and Milan SL for customers.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Details and options

I have finally come up with a way to hold wires to the shell that is simple, easy to do, and very light.  The secret is in the one layer of carbon fiber used to make the fixture.  The other trick is sticking the tube to the shell with silicone.  The advantage of using silicone is that you can remove  it if necessary and we always have a few tubes of it in the shop.  The disadvantage is that it takes at least overnight to set enough to stay in place.   Here's a picture of it in the 1/4" diameter

Now I just have to finish the wiring in my velo so it is rideable any time.  It is still missing the connections for the headlights and brake light with only the signal/running lights working. 

Plastic drain for the rain gutter.  The piece of tubing used as a drain for the rain gutter is now easily made.  I just had to make some jigs to form the end of the tube rather than doing it free hand.  I'll use the channel for the wires to hold it to the side of the velo.

Mirror fairing with the light in the front of it seems to be working out nicely.  I had to come up with a slightly different clip to mount the mirror.  The mirror mounts so it is almost touching the shell rather than on a stalk. I suspect that it will now be possible to mount it on most velos. 


The Milan GT and Milan SL both come with suspension on all three wheels.  I do have the plug for making the rear fender for the SL without rear suspension in the shop.  I will move it out into storage where it can rest until some one really wants this version.  I will take some convincing to do so!!!!  The front suspension is the normal strut from but with the stiffer spring in it.  The rear suspension is a double sided swing arm with two suspension struts, one on each side.