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Old 07-21-10, 08:36 PM   #1
DougG
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Vehicle that can carry bikes

I've always been a fan of smaller vehicles. My current car is 2004 BMW 325i sedan. And if I want to take my road bike to a distant location, I can fold the rear seats down and load it in thru the trunk with no problems (front wheel removed, obviously).

If my wife and I are both going on an outing, I put on the roof rack. But this has some hassles, such as dropping my gas mileage from about 30 to 25mpg; bikes out in the weather; and if we stay overnight, we feel we have to take the bikes into the room.

My wife has a Mazda3 hatchback, which is easier to load than the 325, but still won't hold both bikes (laying them on top of each other is not a good option!).

So if I'd like my next vehicle to be capable of carrying two bikes inside with room left for two people and some gear, what might I be looking at? Would a small SUV or crossover do it? What do you folks carry your bikes in?
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Old 07-21-10, 08:51 PM   #2
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Dodge Grand Caravan.
4 bikes with all wheels attached + 4 people!
Inside.
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Old 07-21-10, 08:55 PM   #3
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Something Square. I don't care for many of the crossover square SUV and mini wagons but for hauling bikes inside they work. Mini-vans work very well. Scion xBs work reasonable well even if I find them a bit.... well never mind. The best units have a low floor and a tall roof. I like old school full size SUVs because they will take two road bikes with wheels on and the back seat folded down. I also like being able to lock my bikes inside in case I happen to stop somewhere to get something to eat. I use a bike rack when hauling friends and their bikes to an out of town ride. But when it is just me and my wife the bikes go in back. But you might give a mini-van.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:10 PM   #4
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The best bike hauler I owned was a Ford Areostar minivan. I could fit one bike behind the rear seat with wheels on. taking out the rear seat I could carry two or three bikes bikes by careful stacking - along side each other not on top of each other. A simple floor rack could have easily added more bikes. Not sure if newer minivans have the same volume. i would look at Honda Element or a full-sized pickup truck with a cap. I currently own a small half ton pickup with a cap - good for one bike laying in the bed; not enough head room for multiple bikes with a floor mounted rack. If you are carrying multiple bikes, you need height as well as floor space. A big back door is nice too. Get out and look at the car lots of your favorite brands to identify candidates for bike hauling. good luck with the search.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:39 PM   #5
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There was a thread about this just a while ago, and I seem to recall a couple people saying a Honda Fit would hold two bikes without disassembly.

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Old 07-22-10, 01:13 AM   #6
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I usually carry my bike in the train or on the rack on the front of the bus. It's been many years since I owned a personal car. But if I were to have one, I suppose it would be some sort of cargo van. I don't think I'd leave bikes visible inside a vehicle overnight if I could help it, though.
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Old 07-22-10, 01:17 AM   #7
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chevy express - 5 bikes inside, 4 outside, 12 people inside
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Old 07-22-10, 04:26 AM   #8
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If a small car is a priority, I would go for one of the tall wagon type cars. My PT Cruiser will carry three bikes and three people inside if I remove the wider of the rear seat sections. The bikes face the rear with front wheels removed and forks attached to a mount on a board at the rear. Three bikes takes some work, but two bikes is easy.
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Old 07-22-10, 05:53 AM   #9
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Corvette Convertible - Draw Tite hitch and 2 bike Swagman. Hitch weighs 15 lb and is barely noticeable. Very easy to drop bike into Swagman. Swagman also works with hitch on 2006 Cadillac STS. Neither car could use roof rack or trunk rack.

I would not let bikes dictate what car I would choose.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:54 AM   #10
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Honda Element - The bikes roll in the back and off you go. Perfect for a couple.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:27 AM   #11
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Some good suggestions here -- thanks! I'll definitely take a look at the Element, but since I'm realistically not going to be in the market for a couple of years yet, I can always wait to see what comes out by then.
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Old 07-22-10, 10:45 AM   #12
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Station wagon. Holds lots of stuff; drives and handles like a car. We find our Mercedes 300TE ideal.

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Old 07-22-10, 01:51 PM   #13
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How important is it to put the bikes in without taking the wheels off? Unless you find a car that has plenty of length- then it will not be possible- and you want a small car.
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Old 07-22-10, 02:13 PM   #14
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Here you go,35 mpg,1939 American Bantam Sedan Delivery:


You don't have one?

You guys can have all the new Junk....

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Old 07-23-10, 10:58 AM   #15
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Anyone put a bike rack on an Auto Moto yet?
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Old 07-23-10, 02:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougG View Post
I've always been a fan of smaller vehicles.
My wife has a Mazda3 hatchback, which is easier to load than the 325, but still won't hold both bikes (laying them on top of each other is not a good option!).

So if I'd like my next vehicle to be capable of carrying two bikes inside with room left for two people and some gear, what might I be looking at? Would a small SUV or crossover do it? What do you folks carry your bikes in?

I have a 2004 CR. It replaced my 2-door explorer. Both allow carrying two bikes upright. Almost any suv shaped smaller vehicle can carry two bikes upright if configured properly. At least mountain bikes. Road bikes may work depending on the vehicle.

I use a board across the vehicle on the rear floor against the hinges of the folded-up rear seats. I mount two skewer clamps on the boards to hold the forks. The clamps are fitted to put the bikes as far towards the outside of the vehicle as possible. I put the rear wheels together in the center of the vehicle to reduce the fore-aft space required. If the rear overhang is low, you tilt the bike over to get the saddle under. You load from the rear and just set the fork down near the board then move to the rear side-door and attach the fork to the skewer clamp.

We use a plastic basket between the two bikes for shoes/helmets/gloves/etc. The wheels fit on the sides in sleeves the wife made. There's plenty of room left for clothes bags and even a few days worth of groceries in the CRV.

The floors are generally uneven where the board has to lay. I used a gray foam of the kind used to make white water canoe saddles/knee-pads under the boards for stability. That provided space to pass a couple of bungee cords which hold the board/bikes against the folded-up rear seat. It takes about 5 minutes or less to install/remove the board. I made prototype out of scrap before I made the final version using more substantial materials.

Drop handlebars may complicate things requiring more fore/aft space than available in the CRV or require moving the fork-clamp up, but I think it might just work in the CRV.

Our favorite vehicle is our 2001 F150. I have a camper shell and a lift-back vice a tail gate. I made a custom mount similar to the CRV's but turned around so it sits at the rear of the truck bed. The bikes are put in rear first. The lift back gives good shade on a hot day.

Since the truck runs & looks/feels like new, reliable and is fully depreciated + payed for, it's not cost effective to worry about gas mileage yet.

I might add that a roof box of the long/narrow type does not seem to affect the CRV's gas mileage all that much. We use one if we need more space with the bikes inside. I prefer bikes inside if at all possible.




Al

Last edited by alcanoe; 07-23-10 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 07-23-10, 04:51 PM   #17
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How important is it to put the bikes in without taking the wheels off? Unless you find a car that has plenty of length- then it will not be possible- and you want a small car.
Taking the front wheel(s) off is not an issue. I realize that carrying two bikes upright with wheels would require a good-sized van or SUV. I guess what I'd really like is one of those vehicles that are larger on the inside than they are on the outside.
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Old 07-23-10, 07:14 PM   #18
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I guess what I'd really like is one of those vehicles that are larger on the inside than they are on the outside.
That would be a "Tardis".
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Old 07-24-10, 05:16 PM   #19
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That would be a "Tardis".


Says Who!!



So DougG are there any issues with owning more than two vehicles? We drive the wife's Camry around town and haul bikes in our old '94 Ford E-150 Conversion Van. We get to drive an economical vehicle of our own choosing as a daily driver and still have comfortable, roomy cargo hauling capabilities with the Van.

We get 21 mpg out on the road with the Van, 17mpg with the A/C on (my '03 S-10 only get 21 mpg on the road), plus it can be used to haul all kinds of "household freight". We can configure it to transport seven adults in luxury, or pull the seats and load it up with an apartment full of furniture, or of course our bikes. We can seat four comfortably and still roll our tandem or LWB recumbents inside.

Though it may not be the generic answer for everyone, it works great for us.

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Old 07-24-10, 05:44 PM   #20
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Here's what I did with my Prius this week. I put an Allen three-bike rack on the back, me plus two other riders inside, plus camping and clothing duffles for each of us. The car had room for maybe two more bags before being stuffed to the gills. Then we drove 280 miles north to St. Ignace, MI to meet the tour group for a 325 mile 6-day tour around the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. With the bikes, 37 mpg on the highway. Same vehicle normally will give me 44 mpg without bikes cluttering up the airflow

I guess a Prius is a vehicle that can be used to transport bikes.
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Old 07-24-10, 05:56 PM   #21
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Dodge Grand Caravan.
4 bikes with all wheels attached + 4 people!
Inside.
+4

I have done this with two different Grand Caravans (both totaled in accidents that were not my fault), and my current Chrysler T&C

My wife and I can (and do) stop just about anywhere, get the bikes out and go for a ride with about 2 minutes of getting the bikes out. No worry about the front wheels, etc.

Mileage is good on the road - up to about 25 mpg.
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Old 07-24-10, 06:34 PM   #22
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+4

I have done this with two different Grand Caravans (both totaled in accidents that were not my fault),
.......
Yep, that's the same thing my wife says about all three left front fenders (wings) we replaced on her Camry.
Well......actually she's correct as I'm sure you are too Dnvr., but I still get a chuckle out of the 'They weren't my fault' phrase.

You have brightened up my evening Sir. My thanks to you.
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Old 07-24-10, 06:44 PM   #23
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Yep, that's the same thing my wife says about all three left front fenders (wings) we replaced on her Camry.
Well......actually she's correct as I'm sure you are too Dnvr., but I still get a chuckle out of the 'They weren't my fault' phrase.

You have brightened up my evening Sir. My thanks to you.
Well, just for the record, the 1st was a man going into a diabetic coma who turned left directly in front of us as we entered the intersection. Flipped his truck and totaled our van. 2nd was a girl and her dad following closely behind a huge 1 ton pickup. The pickup swerved around us while we were stopped at a traffic light and the car behind him didn't, and we were collapsed between the car in front and the one that hit us.

So, there!!
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Old 07-24-10, 07:04 PM   #24
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My Mid 60's SAAB 96 worked Quite well , 3 Yakima rails connected by the bike trays,

the rear 3rd set of rails were attached to the trunk lid.

Ah nostalgic for cars with Proper rain Gutters ..
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Old 07-25-10, 05:34 AM   #25
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An interesting smaller car option is a PT Cruiser. That is actually catagorized as a light truck because it has a flat floor. Pull out the back seat and it will easily hold 2 road bikes vertically with the front wheels removed.
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