Fifty Plus (50+) - bike hauling vehicle
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06-24-10, 09:28 AM
Here is the scenario: Its the middle January in the Pacific Northwest, we haven't seen the sun or any temps above 40 since the middle of November. We want to throw the bikes in the back of a vehicle and drive south till we find some sun and hang around for a couple of weeks. This scenario may also include the same thoughts in May or July who knows. I'm looking for a decent rig that will haul the bikes upright inside without having to mount a rack on the back or top of said vehicle. I'm thinking one of those little boxy looking things made by Scion or who ever that will take the bikes without taking off the front wheels or if I did have to I can bolt some fork mounts onto a 2X4 and make it fit snug enough against the sides to do the trick. Any good ideas. We would be taking enough gear to go for a week or maybe a month who knows. Not really wanting somthing huge, a Chrysler mini van is about a big as I want to get.
Why not a small pick-up? You can throw a topper on it, or not , and just use fork mounts as you noted.
06-24-10, 09:40 AM
For 2 bikes, we use a Honda Fit. Tuck the rear wheel between the front seat and the b-pillar, a bungy cord around the top tube to a hook on the inner fender, bingo. Two bikes up right, room for some gear, 40 mpg on the hwy, handles like a go cart. We are going to buy another.
06-24-10, 09:45 AM
Yeah the Fit looks like a contender. Maybe the Subaru Forrester too. I have a Ranger pick up but it get horrible mileage with the 4 wheel drive and big engine but a nice long cab pickup could work. I really want this to be an all around vehicle not just for hauling bikes so something that I can remove the rear seats or at least fold them down. I like the Scion but I think it might be a bit small.
06-24-10, 09:50 AM
The Honda Element often comes up in these kinds of discussions, but the last time I mentioned that in my household someone hit me with a brick (which looks a lot like the Element, now that you mention it). I've always wanted one.
06-24-10, 09:51 AM
Here is the scenario: Its the middle of June in the Pacific Northwest, we haven't seen the sun or any temps above 40 since the middle of November..
Stringbreaker, I fixed this for you.
06-24-10, 09:53 AM
I put my bikes in a Mazda6 wagon. I don't even have to remove the wheels. I keep a bike in the car almost every day and ride wherever I am. Yes, I know the bikes are on thier side, not an issue for me.
06-24-10, 10:00 AM
40mpg! My wifes Fit has 70,000 on the clock. I travel to Tahoe every other week, and consistantly get 40mpg. All for a base price near $ 15,000
06-24-10, 10:14 AM
How about one of those new Ford Transit Connects? An MSRP of about 24K.
06-24-10, 10:56 AM
Thanks Bengeboy I knew someone from around here would say something. Ain't it a mess this year? The Ford Transit thing looks pretty odd but I know it would work. Lots of plumbing and heating and other contractor types are starting to use them. I really think the Fit is the right size, anyone have any experience with the Nissan style car similiar to the Fit?
Take a look at the Mazda 5...Sliding doors like a mini van, but the size of a car. This is the most overlooked vehicle out there.
06-24-10, 10:38 PM
I regularly transport two bikes, standing up with all wheels on in the back of my Town and Country. The 3rd seat is folded down - I have the stow and go option for all four rear seats - and use a bungee cord (hooked to the seat belt) around the seat posts to hold them still. This leaves lots and lots of room for luggage, etc., for my wife and myself. I have had four bikes, all standing up, in the rear of the van. It is so convenient to stop, unload a couple of suitcases, pull hte bikes out (you have to lean them over quite a bit to clear the rear upper lip) and go for a ride with no hassle.
When the bikes are in place, the front wheels are at 90 degrees to the frame. This includes my wife's large hybrid, and my mtn bike and/or road bike.
This leaves seating for four in bucket seat type chairs.
I've done this with 4 different Chrysler product vans over the years.
I bought it as a "Certified" vehicle - with all the options I like - for about $18,000. It had about 16,000 miles on it.
06-24-10, 10:39 PM
Plug for the Element. I have the rear seats out, toss the bike in the back all the time, laying it flat. No bungees needed.
The Element also works as a light-duty camper. I spent two nights in it in campgrounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway last weekend. Worked great!
06-25-10, 08:12 AM
All the cars mentioned are fine choices, but its hard to beat 40mpg on the hwy. All for $15,000. The Fit can also be used as a camper with the seats folded flat, build quality is good overall. Door seals do not keep out dust
06-25-10, 09:27 AM
This may not be what you're after, but I have a BMW X3 with a really cool interior bike rack. Holds 2 bikes upright side-by-side, but at least for my road bike I need to remove the front wheel and the seatpost and saddle. The rack comes with straps to hold down the front wheels. There's room for some luggage (soft-sided preferably) even with the bikes.
MPG is not the best, gets maybe 24 on highway driving, much less for city.
More fun to drive on twisty roads than anything else in its class, that's why I got it.
The Subaru Forester is about the same size, better MPG, more economical to buy and maintain, but not as much fun to drive, and you'd have to DIY for an interior bike rack.
I have a strong bias toward European-style sport wagons, which deliver safety, fuel economy, driving pleasure, and versatility. It is regrettable that so many manufacturers have abandoned this market. Our 2001 VW Passat wagon has been a near-ideal car for us, and contenders to supplement or eventually replace it include the Jetta Sportwagen, the Audi A3 (a bit small), the A4 Avant, the Volvo V40, and possibly the Subaru Outback (although I would have preferred the discontinued Legacy wagon). I am also strongly considering the new Acura wagon, which is essentially the Honda Accord wagon/estate that Europeans, but not Americans, have been able to buy for the past several years.
These vehicles give you a choice -- you can put the bikes inside, on a roof rack, or on a rear bumper rack.
My younger son is able to fit two bikes and two people inside his Audi S4 sedan, but the process of loading and unloading the bikes is much more convenient and efficient with a wagon.
You asked about Nissan-- I have a Versa Wagon/hatchback. This would not meet your needs, but for anyone else interested--- I can put the rear seats down and put my bike (16") in, on its side, without removing a wheel. This leaves plenty of room for luggage & stuff for me and a companion. A 2nd bike might fit but not easily, I think. The reat seat backs do not fold flush to the floor, which is its main limitation on using the space. It gets about 33 mpg hwy.
When I was shopping, the reason I went for this car was the price--only $9,500. There were other small hatchbacks/wagons that I might have preferred--like the Fit, or the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix--I have heard that the Prius can actually take 2 bikes upright as well--but this has worked out fine for me. Nissan now has the Cube but I haven't given it a look, seems a lot like the Scion but bigger perhaps.
If the Mini Clubman were just a bit bigger, it would be a contender, as well. I do like the look.
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