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  1. #1
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    It rained as I was driving home from Phoenix the other day with our new tandem on the roof (a 4 hour drive), and we visit Phoenix on a regular basis. This combined with added security, less wind-drag, and the fact that it's time for a new (-er used) car leads me to ask about your experience fitting a tandem inside a car with the rear wheel on.

    I'd really like to fit the tandem inside standing up, with only the front wheel removed (on a fork mount). I also would like to see 30 mpg or better. I have considered the Honda Odessy, but wonder if something smaller and more economical would fit. Specifically we are looking at the VW Jetta and Passat wagons (TDI). Does anyone fit their tandem in one of these?

    After digging around the archives, I found this post by Rudy.

    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    Howdy from Tucson!
    If you have a 'burban keep the tandem inside and out of the elements and save the hassle of lifting bike up.
    Oh, more than one person has driven into the garage and forgetting about a bike/tandem topside . . . CRUNCH!
    We carry our custom Zona tandem inside a Honda Accord station wagon; remove one wheel and it fits just fine, but then again we have a rather short wheelbase: 63 1/2 inches. A standard length tandem would fit with both wheels removed.
    A tandem inside a vehicle is less like to be noticed/stolen when parked.
    However, your choice!
    From this post, it sounds like the fit is close enough in this case to depend on the size of the tandem. Ours is 88 inches long with the front wheel removed. My single (also needs to be accommodated) is taller than the tandem at 37 inches tall in the same fashion. I wonder if their tandem travels standing upright?

    It seems unfortunately common for car manufactures and reviewers to measure cargo room in square feet and neglect to tell us about the actual dimensions.

    And hey, if that's not enough to slim down the selection, I'm also partial to turbo because we live at nearly six thousand feet elevation.
    Last edited by turtlendog; 11-21-04 at 05:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    I have a Chrysler minivan (not the sexiest thing on wheels). I made a fork mount out of wood and one of those fork holders you can buy for pickup trucks that have 2 bolt holes. With the bench seats out, I can fit the tandem in the car upright.

    A guy I know has a new Honda minivan (much nicer) with seperate seats in the middle and he slides his tandem right in between them. His third seat folds into the floor, so he does not have to take it out.

    That is the best setup I have seen for taking the tandem on the inside.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I have a Chrysler minivan (not the sexiest thing on wheels). I made a fork mount out of wood and one of those fork holders you can buy for pickup trucks that have 2 bolt holes. With the bench seats out, I can fit the tandem in the car upright.
    And a limited number of them have a 2.2 (or was it a 2.5?) turbo.

    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    A guy I know has a new Honda minivan (much nicer) with seperate seats in the middle and he slides his tandem right in between them. His third seat folds into the floor, so he does not have to take it out.

    That is the best setup I have seen for taking the tandem on the inside.
    I saw a setup like that last week. He could fit a tandem and two singles and still have seating for 4. Nice. I didn't know that the third seat folds into the floor though. Even better. I like the Odessy alot, but wonder if there isn't a more economical alternative.

  4. #4
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    Trek T200 will fit inside a Volvo V70, removing the front wheel (of the Trek, not the Volvo). Front seat has to be moved up somewhat. In fact this is one reason we own the Volvo. The bike fit inside our previous 850 Volvo as well, and I can't say enough about how great it is to carry a bike inside the car as opposed to roof or rear bumper mounts. Downside is that rear seats can't be used, and grease/dirt inside the car can be an issue if you are not careful. Use a drop sheet. One more point: the bike is not upright, it lies on the side. Also, with the non-turbo car and a manual transmission you can average about 9 litres per 100 kms on the highway. (better than 30 miles per gallon i believe, but I'll lat someone more mathematical do the conversion.)
    Last edited by geoff; 11-21-04 at 05:41 PM. Reason: additional notation

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoff
    Trek T200 will fit inside a Volvo V70, removing the front wheel (of the Trek, not the Volvo). Front seat has to be moved up somewhat. In fact this is one reason we own the Volvo. The bike fit inside our previous 850 Volvo as well, and I can't say enough about how great it is to carry a bike inside the car as opposed to roof or rear bumper mounts. Downside is that rear seats can't be used, and grease/dirt inside the car can be an issue if you are not careful. Use a drop sheet. One more point: the bike is not upright, it lies on the side. Also, with the non-turbo car and a manual transmission you can average about 9 litres per 100 kms on the highway. (better than 30 miles per gallon i believe, but I'll lat someone more mathematical do the conversion.)
    I used to wrench for a Volvo dealer, and am fond of both the 850 wagon and v70 (especially with the high-pressure tubo ). Cool cars for sure. I figured they would not be tall enough to hold the bike upright, and I'm pretty hung up on that.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    toTurtlendog:
    from Rudy/Zonatandem

    Our tandem lies flat inside the 97 Honda Accord station wagon (NOT upright). As noted before we have a very short wheelbased tandem: 63 1/2 inches.
    Have also hauled all our luggage, tandem plus racing single bike INSIDE that wagon with the hatch shut for over 7,000 miles this past summer. There is room for driver and stoker only.
    In a pinch, going to GABA's Tucson big bike swap meet, have carried 3 tandems (in various form of minor disassembly: some wheels off, some pilot seat with attached stoker bar/stem removed) and with the hatch open. Using old spare tube to haul hatch down 'til it hits the padded bikes and attaching tube under the back end of the Honda to a convenient hook on the frame.
    There are very few Honda Accord station wagons for sale used; the last year they made the wagon was 1997. An Odyssey van (used) would also be a good choice.
    Gas mileage on our wagon (with 100,000 miles on the odo) varies from very high 20s to low 30s, depending on city or hwy use and cruise control.

  7. #7
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    I don't know the cargo dimensions, but I highly recommend the Volkswagen TDI engines. Before I deciding I could do without a car, I owned a Jetta TDI for five years. I put 120,000 miles on the car, and the only thing that ever went wrong was a problem with the window, which was a common problem with the model so VW repaired it for free. The TDI engine will easily make it 300,000 miles and during that time you will save about about $8,000 (conservative estimate) on fuel over a gasoline engine with "good" gas mileage.

    All that said, I'm sure the tandem won't fit with the rear wheel attached into a Jetta. Check on the Passat's measurements and whether the Passat wagon is available with a TDI engine.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony King
    All that said, I'm sure the tandem won't fit with the rear wheel attached into a Jetta. Check on the Passat's measurements and whether the Passat wagon is available with a TDI engine.
    I passed a Jetta wagon the other day that looked quite tall compared to the sedan, but maybe it's an optical illusion. The do make the Passat Wagon in TDI now, and I plan to bring my bike to the VW dealer in the near future.

    One Volvo dealer I worked for also did VW (but I only worked on Vovo). I remember that customers almost always raved about their TDIs.

  9. #9
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    Thanks to those of you who shared your thoughts. In the end we decided that the combination we were seeking was not realistic. We opted to get a VW TDI for economy (haven't bought it yet) and an older full size van as a bike hauler (bought it yesterday).

    The van I bought is an extended Ford with a 302. It's so huge! It seems to do surprisingly well on fuel for something it's size. There is plenty of room to carry 5 bikes, 5 passengers and all the fixin's without putting anything (or anyone) outside! The cargo area is 5.5' X 12' but we'll be installing a bench seat to take up a few of that 12.

    Since the van will be pretty much a dedicated bike-hauler (it will also replace the Jeep in towing capacity, and frees us up to get rid of that), my plan is to create a 1' raised platform (with drawer for storage underneath) to mount the bikes to. The idea is that the tandem and both road bikes will be accessible from the rear doors (without having to move anything but the bike you want). The mountain bikes (we use them less) will be inserted from the front via the side doors. I look forward to being able to gather all the bike stuff in one place and roll it to the ride of the day.

    The next trick is to unload the Jeep and put the proceeds toward a VW TDI (probably a Golf).

  10. #10
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Thats kinda funny because I owned a Dodge B350 15 passenger window van (aka church van) for the same reason! I took out the last 2 rows of seats and could haul 8 people and all their crap - bikes, skis, snowboards - everything inside the van. It doubled as a work truck.

    But, it got about 12 MPG and something broke on it every 6 months or so.

    Anyway, I see the new Daimler/Chrysler minivans now have seats that fold into the floor and.... split too! Looks like you could fold one side of the middle and rear seating into the floor and carry a tandem inside and upright and still have seating for 5.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtlendog
    I passed a Jetta wagon the other day that looked quite tall compared to the sedan, but maybe it's an optical illusion. The do make the Passat Wagon in TDI now, and I plan to bring my bike to the VW dealer in the near future.

    One Volvo dealer I worked for also did VW (but I only worked on Vovo). I remember that customers almost always raved about their TDIs.
    If you want to transport the bicycle vertically, you need about 4' of inside height. That pretty well takes it out of station wagon range and puts it into the mini-van category.

  12. #12
    Banned. FXjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony King
    I don't know the cargo dimensions, but I highly recommend the Volkswagen TDI engines. Before I deciding I could do without a car, I owned a Jetta TDI for five years. I put 120,000 miles on the car, and the only thing that ever went wrong was a problem with the window, which was a common problem with the model so VW repaired it for free. The TDI engine will easily make it 300,000 miles and during that time you will save about about $8,000 (conservative estimate) on fuel over a gasoline engine with "good" gas mileage.

    All that said, I'm sure the tandem won't fit with the rear wheel attached into a Jetta. Check on the Passat's measurements and whether the Passat wagon is available with a TDI engine.

    You left out the prt about the 500 dollar timing belt replacements every 50,000 miles.

  13. #13
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    If you want to transport the bicycle vertically, you need about 4' of inside height. That pretty well takes it out of station wagon range and puts it into the mini-van category.
    I think I left out the part where I discovered the same. I couldn't find anything smaller (or more aero) than a minivan that would transport even our singles in a fork-mount without having to remove the seat of both bikes. I'm not willing to spend that much effort jacking with my bike every time I load it up. No wagons I looked at had a prayer of holding the tandem without removing the rear wheel.

    Several minivans were contenders, as was the Honda Element. Unfortunately neither of these are what I would call an economy car (or a towing vehicle, it would have to be one of the two to impress me). There's also the fact that full-size vans are dirt cheap to buy and, as I said above, I expect this van to tow well and allow me to get away from the Jeep that's been using that excuse to justify its presence in my driveway.

  14. #14
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    Maybe our tandem is different but it seems to prefer being ridden. It doesn't like to be carted anywhere. It is a bike after all not an ornament for an automobile.

  15. #15
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepurplepirate
    Maybe our tandem is different but it seems to prefer being ridden. It doesn't like to be carted anywhere. It is a bike after all not an ornament for an automobile.
    Now bicycles talk and have feelings... Did you ask it and it told you this? Mine likes to be ridden from home but also likes an occasional trip out of town....it whispered in my ear....'take me to the country....'

    Anyway purple, if the guy is trying to put the bike INSIDE the car... is he showing it off?????

    I am sure nobody at your commune ever put a bike in or on a car…. It would be sacrilege….

  16. #16
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepurplepirate
    Maybe our tandem is different but it seems to prefer being ridden. It doesn't like to be carted anywhere. It is a bike after all not an ornament for an automobile.
    Mine agrees with you, but it also told me it likes to visit exotic places from time to time so it can enjoy more scenery than the corn country it usually gets to ride in. I oblige it by loading it up and driving it to different parts of the country several times a year so it can relax and unwind. It also understands that it takes a vehicle to get there.

    It also warned me about condescending people with computers.
    Dennis T

  17. #17
    Purple Pirate Powered!
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    We ride ours to where it (and us) want to go. That way we get stronger. It is a simple system to training. You should try it.

  18. #18
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    Maybe instead of getting a new car, you could get a new tandem or modify your current tandem with S+S couplers so you can disassemble it and throw it in the backseat? It's bound to be a cheaper solution and also allows you to more easily pack the tandem up for plane trips too.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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