Milan SL

I became aware of this Milan SL several years ago when my friend Duane in Paso Robles ordered it from Steve Schleicher in Canada. Steve’s main business is building kayaks and he builds Milans under license from the parent company in Germany. His production rate is usually pretty slow. Duane finally got his Milan in March, 2019. He put about 2500 miles on it but something about the seat and the geometry gave him severe back pain. So he decided to sell it. In November, 2019, Duane and my friend Doug from Riverside met me in Santa Barbara for a ride. Duane rode my DFXL, Doug rode Duane’s Milan and I rode my WAW. They both smoked me by the way. At the end of the day, Doug bought Duane’s Milan SL and Duane ordered a new DFXL.

Fast forward to May, 2020 when I received an email from Doug asking if I had any interest in the Milan SL. This was his 4th (concurrent) velomobile and he needed to thin the herd. I had owned a Milan GT for a short period of time, but I found it to feel big and sluggish. That, along with the fact that Milans are very difficult to work on, prompted me to sell it. However, the very much smaller SL had intrigued me since I witnessed 70+ year old Orin Peters fly in his at the 2018 Great Western Bike Rally Time Trial, winning with an average speed of 35mph over 5 miles. So my answer to Doug was “Yes. I’m interested as long as I can squeeze into the thing”.

Doug and I agreed to meet at Griffith Park, which is between Riverside and Santa Barbara, to do the deal. Fortunately, I barely fit, so I was happy to pay Doug and load the Milan SL into my minivan. Now I have 3 velomobiles – a DFXL, a WAW and a Milan SL. I don’t need 3 velomobiles so I plan to evaluate them and sell either the WAW or the Milan SL. The DFXL is staying for sure.

After a few days of tinkering with the SL and going on short rides, I’m already leaning towards keeping the Milan. Yes, it’s a bit painful to work on but it feels really quick so far. It handles great but the ride is a bit harsh with its very stiff springs. I’m starting the fun process of dialing it in to my liking. I’m working on the drive train, trying to eliminate a noisy chain. The idlers are in bad shape, probably due to a thrown chain and the chain tubes have some cracks near the rear idler. I’ll replace both idlers and chain tubes with new parts from Terracycle. I’m also going to swap out the 53t chainring for a 61t chainring that I have in the drawer.

Here are the first photos of my Milan SL…

I’ve recently designed and built some front wheel fairings for the SL. I’m not sure if they improve the aerodynamics much. Some testing is required. They do limit the wheel angle a bit when steering. The turning radius is increased by a couple of feet. This only comes into play when doing a U-turn.

Here are some later photos taken after completing my home grown aero hood.

Below is Version 2 of my Aero hood. This version has a smaller gap at the trailing edge and a small change to the visor angle. This involved making a new plug and mold.

I’ve also removed the stock mirrors. They were big and located pretty low on the body – making them difficult to see. I’ve gone with the smaller Zefal Spin mirrors (with my 3D printed mirror covers) now located higher up on the hood.