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Old 01-09-12, 11:04 AM   #1
RideNoCO
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Transporting the bike - van recommend?

I have a pickup now with a bed-rack for my bikes, but it's a bit of a pain to lock-down when I leave it parked.
I'm thinking of getting a van that I could easily roll the bike in and out; basically looking for a lazy-man's bike transport that can be easily locked, parked, etc. I was looking at those Mazda 5 minivans, but it might be too small. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-09-12, 11:22 AM   #2
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I guess it depends how often you need to transport your bikes. If it's a regular occurence or you need the van for other things, the convenience of a van may be justified, but otherwise I wouldn't get a vehicle specifically for transporting bikes.
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Old 01-09-12, 12:16 PM   #3
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Consider an enclosed cargo trailer too , there are fairly small ones .
and you can leave it at home, when not needed, and drive a more economical car,
rather than a van, that when empty, still will not be so great on Fuel economy.
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Old 01-09-12, 03:20 PM   #4
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With a little practice, I've gotten pretty good at loading and unloading my bikes from the back of my Outback.
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Old 01-09-12, 03:59 PM   #5
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Cars and Vans that work well for your question are: HHR or PT cruiser. Take out rear seat and you can store two road bikes with wheels. Any Mini Van, Chrysler has a flat floor. Honda element and even the Scion xB work OK, both are a bit homely. All full sized SUVs and many of the mid sized ones work. Ford Flex. Suburu Forrester, Honda CRV would work well in the Colorado winters.

How many bikes and how often are they with you and the vehicle?
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Old 01-09-12, 04:31 PM   #6
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If you're not opposed to buying used, 2005-? Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country offered Stow-n-Go seating for both the rear and middle rows- seats folded down and stored underneath the load floor. Older Taurus wagons with the rear seat folded down worked for me for a while. And Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis had some truly cavenerous trunks...
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Old 01-09-12, 07:03 PM   #7
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Our 2001 Mazda MPV accepts our recumbent tandem right down the middle, between the seats. Ditto for my long wheelbase 'bent. Or, either one of those bikes will go on the tandem roof rack, which doesn't get used much because it's so much easier to just put a bike in a van rather than on a van.
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Old 01-09-12, 08:06 PM   #8
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I was looking at those Mazda 5 minivans, but it might be too small. Any suggestions?
You don't need to guess, just show up to the lot with your bikes and see how well they fit.
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Old 01-09-12, 11:21 PM   #9
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I fit 2 recumbents (one a short wheelbase Lightning, the other a long wheelbase Gold Rush) plus my streamliner (below) in my Dodge Grand Caravan. That was for a weekend of racing, so I had a bunch of other carp along for the ride. It all fit without too many rattles.

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Old 01-10-12, 02:20 PM   #10
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SAAB 900 Series 3-door hatchback is perfect! I'm on my third one and love it as a bike transport.
30 mpg on freeway at 72 mph
I drive a lot on bad mountain roads, dirt, mud, snow, and have never been stuck and hardly ever need chains

Lift rear hatch - opening allows vertical access to over 1/2 the cargo area
Fold the backseat down
Put mat down
Put fully assembled bike in back - lay on its side
Put cargo mat/blanket over bike
Put another fully assembled bike in back - lay on its side
Put cargo mat/blanket over bike
Remove front wheel from 3rd bike
Put 3rd bike and wheel on top of cargo mat
Put cargo mat/blanket over 3rd bike

Drive away

Only drawback is that only two people fit in car with rear seat down

Bikes are not readily visible unless you walk up to SAAB and look inside
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Old 01-10-12, 02:30 PM   #11
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Too bad about GM and the execution of SAAB.. I liked my '68 model 96 Monte Carlo.
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Old 01-10-12, 03:34 PM   #12
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My Honda Station wagon works. Take off the front wheel and prop it up over the back seat.
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Old 01-12-12, 06:10 PM   #13
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Hey guys, thanks for the advice, I went ahead and rented a Mazda5 van to try for a couple days. Had to take out the back seats to make bike easy to fit but can take one bike no problem. Seems to fit the bill. I'm going to try a couple others as well, from above recommendations. My wife drives an Outback so another option is to find her upgrade and ask (nicely) for hand-me-down
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Old 01-12-12, 06:22 PM   #14
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My wife drives an Outback so another option is to find her upgrade and ask (nicely) for hand-me-down


I've transported more than one bike at a time in mine -- I use the side of a large cardboard box to protect them from scratching each other.

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Old 01-12-12, 06:24 PM   #15
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A cap for the pickup truck will work very nicely.
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Old 01-12-12, 07:45 PM   #16
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Pickup cap, also take a look at the Ford Transit Connect we are going with a cap for the truck. We still need a truck for other things so the truck stays.

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Old 01-12-12, 08:40 PM   #17
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I'd keep the truck, having owned a minivan and a truck, the truck is much better.
One issue is safety, if your in some sort of accident there is no separation between cargo and driver in anything but a truck and most of your bungee cords and rope and whatnot are rated for a static load and not dynamic load so your likely to get knocked in the head.
Then there is always the one thing you want to carry thats too tall.
There really isn't much downside to a truck either, my v6 mini van could hit 25mog highway, the v8 4x4 truck 21mpg highway but loaded the both would drop down to 19-20. The truck is designed to haul a load where the minivan is designed to haul a couple extra people occasionally so maintenance cost is lower on the truck so overall cost is about even for a more capable vehicle.
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Old 01-12-12, 08:54 PM   #18
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I'd keep the truck, having owned a minivan and a truck, the truck is much better.
One issue is safety, if your in some sort of accident there is no separation between cargo and driver in anything but a truck and most of your bungee cords and rope and whatnot are rated for a static load and not dynamic load so your likely to get knocked in the head.
Then there is always the one thing you want to carry thats too tall.
There really isn't much downside to a truck either, my v6 mini van could hit 25mog highway, the v8 4x4 truck 21mpg highway but loaded the both would drop down to 19-20. The truck is designed to haul a load where the minivan is designed to haul a couple extra people occasionally so maintenance cost is lower on the truck so overall cost is about even for a more capable vehicle.
But how much force will a crash exert on ropes or ratchet straps? I've moved my bike in a Sienna countless times. I used two 3000lb ratchet straps and the bike never budged. I one strap from each side attached to the nose of the saddle or sometimes the seatpost, to keep the bike upright. Will a 25lb bike exert sufficient force to break this?

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Old 01-12-12, 08:58 PM   #19
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thats why I said most stuff people use. going back to the OP the time to secure the bikes in the back of the truck was an issue, but it takes just as much time to properly secure in the back of a van so its not giving any benefit.
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Old 01-12-12, 09:21 PM   #20
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No need to buy a different vehicle. Invest in a retractable tonneau cover.
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Old 01-13-12, 06:00 AM   #21
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No need to buy a different vehicle. Invest in a retractable tonneau cover.
That won't do much for securing the bikes. The cap we purchased is lockable, I also lock the bikes down inside the cap. At least I am guessing that was part of what the OP was concerned about. Our reasoning for the cap was out of sight out of mind as well as protecting cargo from the weather.

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Old 01-13-12, 11:53 AM   #22
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i got a truck a bit over a year back. i keep a pretty good sized chain (pulled bushes out of the ground and moved a car with it) with an innertube over it in the back. i just have one end locked to a hook in the bed to keep someone from walking off from the chain it's self. it doubles as my bike lock when i transport one (some). i use it with a ratchet strap to keep the bike from moving around. won't help with parts of the bike that can be taken off (i tend to just have a bike back there when i'm directly going somewhere with it though), but not bad otherwise.

i might consider one of those new cargo vans like ford makes, but i have a motorcycle also so i want something sturdy enough to carry it when i want/need to. plus it's my first pickup truck. i kinda like having it more than i thought i would.
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Old 01-13-12, 03:24 PM   #23
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i might consider one of those new cargo vans like ford makes, but i have a motorcycle also so i want something sturdy enough to carry it when i want/need to. plus it's my first pickup truck. i kinda like having it more than i thought i would.
I did think about the Ford Transit, the smallest of the cargo vans ... looks like it has a nice size door. If I get a chance to check it out, I'll post.
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Old 01-13-12, 06:57 PM   #24
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That won't do much for securing the bikes. The cap we purchased is lockable, I also lock the bikes down inside the cap. At least I am guessing that was part of what the OP was concerned about. Our reasoning for the cap was out of sight out of mind as well as protecting cargo from the weather.

Aaron
The one that I was referring to had models that were lockable- and one even had remote/keyless operation. It's all good, though.
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Old 01-14-12, 12:07 PM   #25
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We bought a Fort Transit Connect last fall to replace a Chevy Astro that we had used to transport up to 4 bikes. We bought the wagon version that has rear seats. The seats fold up and leave enough room in the back to carry at least 4 bikes. I mounted a piece of 3/4" pine at the rear of the cargo compartment and screwed fork mounts into it. The bikes fit easily without removing the seats (just have them folded up).
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