Transporting bikes in a campervan

General bike chat that does not fit elsewhere
GyatsoLa
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Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby GyatsoLa » Thu Feb 14, 2013 21:27 pm

I'm in the process of buying a Volkswagen Transporter van which I'm hoping to convert to a campervan. I intend to carry at least 2, possibly 3 bikes around. I would prefer not to carry them externally for security and fuel efficiency. As I'm working on a bit of a blank canvas now I have a lot of flexibility in trying to work out how best to carry them.

I was wondering how others have dealt with this? A simple option would be to carry them permanently in padded bike bags, just like any other baggage, although I'd be worried about damage this way. The other thing I'm looking at are floor mounts from Minora or Thule such as this one:

http://www.thule.com/en/IE/Products/Bik ... Indoor-592

The main problem with these is that they seem to take up a lot of room.

I was thinking of mounting them on the side interior, maybe welding in hooks to the side of the van so I could use a Saris bone or similar, with build in storage either above or below. Has anyone tried this out? I was wondering if the different movement when a van accelerates or decelerates would be a problem for a standard rear rack.

Any option I haven't thought of?

(x-posted on MTB General.)

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smidsy
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby smidsy » Thu Feb 14, 2013 21:30 pm

If you are converting to a camper the internal space is a premium.

I know what you have said but external cycle carrier for transporting really is better in that scenario.

If you have it as a van then internal becomes a whole lot more sensible a proposition. Transporting 3 bikes upright takes up a lot of space.
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turboslave
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby turboslave » Thu Feb 14, 2013 22:23 pm

Have a look at an Auto-Sleepers Trooper or Trident layout, theses are built on a SWB T5 chassis, if you took the wheels out you could transport up to 3 bikes inside, however there would be no room for the 3 rd passenger.

Auto-Sleepers will put the conversion on your chassis, the Trident model with the fixed high top roof can be produced on the LWB chassis.

They also produce a LWB Topaz model, you could squeeze 2 bikes down the middle of that conversion, I know co's I have one.

If an Auto-Sleepers conversion interests you let me know.

good luck

mustol
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby mustol » Fri Feb 15, 2013 07:42 am

I've got a T4 campervan with a Fiamma rack on the back, which is made specifically for the T4. Bikes stand on the rack and the rack doesn't obstruct the number plate or lights. I think you can get order them for 2, 3 or 4 bikes. Just make sure you lock the bikes up to the rack properly. Obviously, when you arrive somewhere and park the van, you can just take the bikes off and stick them in the van (if you've got room!) - I don't think anyone's going to steal your bikes while your moving and I can't imagine the fuel saving would be that great anyway. I don't really notice the rack when I'm driving and the bikes don't move around at all. I'll be taking a couple of bikes over to France on it in July. Can't imagine not having the rack - just get one!

GyatsoLa
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby GyatsoLa » Fri Feb 15, 2013 08:37 am

Thanks for the input - I should say that another reason I don't want a rear rack is that I live in an apartment building, and the car parking space is very cramped - I don't want to be in a situation where I need to have to remove bikes and rack every time I pop out (the campervan will be my only vehicle). So I was hoping for a situation where my bikes 'live' in the van.

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Pickled Pig
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby Pickled Pig » Fri Feb 15, 2013 08:39 am

I've taken bikes all over Europe for the last 15 years on the back of my camper van and never had a problem. Rear mounted racks like don't affect fuel economy as they are completely sheltered . If we are at all concerned about security we put the bikes inside, but that's normally only if we're going out all day or staying in a dodgy area. Put the bikes in away from where you park up so nobody sees what your doing.

mustol
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby mustol » Fri Feb 15, 2013 08:42 am

GyatsoLa wrote:Thanks for the input - I should say that another reason I don't want a rear rack is that I live in an apartment building, and the car parking space is very cramped - I don't want to be in a situation where I need to have to remove bikes and rack every time I pop out (the campervan will be my only vehicle). So I was hoping for a situation where my bikes 'live' in the van.


It literally only takes a few minutes to remove the bikes, then the rack folds up flat against the van.

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sungod
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby sungod » Fri Feb 15, 2013 09:57 am

depends where you live, but i'd think if the local thieves knew about a van with three bikes in it, they'd just steal the van
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diy
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby diy » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:19 pm

depending on the type of bike, you could either fix some sort of seat post clamp (similar to a bike stand) to the roof on an arm that can be pulled down and basically hang them up in side. You could do the same for the floor if you'd prefer them upside down. But you can't do that with MTBs though.

A trick we do if we are camping with power, is to coil the power lead through the bike frames so that any thief has to cut a live power cable to get at the bikes. Not saying they wouldn't do it tho.

mustol
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby mustol » Fri Feb 15, 2013 13:24 pm

diy wrote:A trick we do if we are camping with power, is to coil the power lead through the bike frames so that any thief has to cut a live power cable to get at the bikes. Not saying they wouldn't do it tho.


Or they could just unplug the cable!

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nicklouse
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby nicklouse » Fri Feb 15, 2013 13:26 pm

sungod wrote:depends where you live, but i'd think if the local thieves knew about a van with three bikes in it, they'd just steal the van

they steal them without bikes in them often enough any way.
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Spender
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby Spender » Fri Feb 15, 2013 16:30 pm

I have a Toyota granvia camper van thing. The Flavia rack is really secure and most times the bikes go on that. If I am away for an overnight stay for a tt I can get away with the bike with its wheels on inside the van and sleeping in the roof.

I bought the van last year and now wish I bought one years ago.

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smidsy
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby smidsy » Fri Feb 15, 2013 16:37 pm

So the overwhelming consensus so far is forget the in the van approach and get a proper cycle carrier, properly fitted.

Fiamma are good. Flavia make coffee machines (good ones but not upto bike transportation) :-)
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BillyMansell
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby BillyMansell » Fri Feb 15, 2013 16:59 pm

If you're fitting out the van yourself rather than buying a converters mid, side or rear conversion then you're not limiting yourself to what a conventional camper can do and allowing yourself greater possibilities to achieving what you want.

By removing the wheels (and possibly pedals) and depending on whether it's a SWB or LWB or whether you want to use the front seats as part of the conversion you could consider building a bike space at the back of the van or an elevated rear bed with bike space underneath. Both options allow the bikes to be hidden and not part of the conversion.

Check out some self-build motor caravan forums if you're interested.

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Navrig
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby Navrig » Fri Feb 15, 2013 17:07 pm

Is the campervan only to be used by you or will you have someone with you.

If only to be used by you then consider taking out the passenger seats in the front and converting that to "living" space thus giving you more space in the back for the bikes.

If you mean there will be 3 of you using the campervan then I doubt you will get 3 bikes in there as well.

YIMan
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby YIMan » Fri Feb 15, 2013 17:46 pm

I have a fully converted Short Wheelbase poptop T4.

I can put my bike (road or MTB) inside the back diagonally behind the drivers seat across to by the sliding door/rock-and-roll seat/bed. But you wouldn't get more than one bike in this way - you will if you start taking wheels off.

When I'm camped up, I can do one of two things with the bike - one wheel off, spin both from seats round and it will fit across the front of the van between the seats and the dash. Or it will fit inside the poptop on the boards.

However, neither of these are really satisfactory.

What I would do if I was starting from scratch is to buy a long wheelbase van, have the rear seat on rails to move up/down AND then probably build a bike locker across the back - with a bit of inventiveness I'm sure you could get bikes in a rear locker safely with some hooks/fasteners. Even without the locker, with a the extra 400mm length of a LWB van and the bed on rails, you could fit the bikes across the back of the van and still have space to camp inside.

rodgers73
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby rodgers73 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 07:54 am

diy wrote:depending on the type of bike, you could either fix some sort of seat post clamp (similar to a bike stand) to the roof on an arm that can be pulled down and basically hang them up in side. You could do the same for the floor if you'd prefer them upside down.


That's what I've always imagined would work best, the bike clamped to one side wall on an arm as described, with the bed running the length of the other side of the van.

Depending on the strength of the clamp you might want to add something to the back of the seat where the front wheel of the bike would rest to allow it to be anchored there too.

You then have both lateral and forward/reverse movement while travelling sorted.

Totally understand not wanting the bikes on an external rack. They always look like giant thief magnets to me.

Spender
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby Spender » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:33 am

Smidsy, no I got the upgraded bike rack / coffee machine combo. :D bike off, out for a ride and a nice cuppa at the end. Does yours not do that? :D

GyatsoLa
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby GyatsoLa » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:56 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses, food for thought.

Just a few random answers to questions posted here - the campervan is mostly for me, so there is lots of scope for a 'different' sort of layout than the usual family van. The van will spend most of its life in the relatively secure underground carpark of my apartment building. The parking space is very small, so I'm reluctant to have a rear rack - plus its a pain to be hauling bikes up 3 storeys to my apartment, hence I would like them to 'live' in the van.

I won't be doing it myself, it is way beyond my skillset. The guy in the VW converters (www.cosyclassics.ie) I've been talking to suggested some sort of wall rack, at the expense of half the 'usual' storage (I don't mind this so much, I'm quite happy with just the kitchen sink etc and a few overhead and underseat storage options). His other suggestion was to lose the last metre of storage at the back, and have a double seater bed on rails so I can leave about a metre at the rear for the bikes (but only with an LWB, as YIMan suggests). I do like the suggestion of some sort of storage arm, but I'm wondering if that would interfere with the insulation.

Camperversions
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Re: Transporting bikes in a campervan

Postby Camperversions » Sat Dec 05, 2015 20:21 pm

Hi Guys,

Just noticed this thread regarding campervans, we actually build them!

We've just done a few specifically for cyclists.

#imagine_yours


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