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Best Bike Transporting SUV/VAN???

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
It's time to buy a new car... so I was hoping for input on the best SUV, Van or Truck for transporting road bikes? Ultimately, it would be great to have a vehicle that I can put a bike "into" instead "on-top-of" or "on-the-back-of". I've considered a Land Rover, a Land Cruiser, and a Honda Element, but I've only determined that the Element will fit a road bike standing upright? Any suggestions?....
post #2 of 23

Re: Best Bike Transporting SUV/VAN???

First, I'd look into the Bauer bike rack, whcih fits into the SUV's trailer hitch, swings out of the way of the back door, and is low enough that my 5'4" wife can load and unload her own bikes. (If you're single, that last benefit may be meaningless, for now, but it beats the heck out of a rooftop rack, IMO). The rack also comes with a locking clamp, and can hold 4 bikes with the extender - highly recommended.

Then, you can actually get the SUV you WANT for all its other features, like most comfortable, or best-looking, or best fuel economy, instead of the one that's boxy enough or big enough to hold a bike inside.
post #3 of 23
Bike 'inside' is not as good as it sounds. I can put my bike in my mum's 4x4, but after that nothing else'll go in (unless you don't mind piling luggage on top of your ride or on the seats). So basically if you're going anywhere for more than a day and have say one passenger and luggage for two, then you might need a rack anyway.
post #4 of 23

Trailer Hitch !!!!!

I second the trailer hitch recommendation. I have a rack that is easy to put on and off the vehicle in the first place (one bolt through the hitch) and then the bikes are easy to load. Mine says it carries up to 4, I've only done 3. When empty of bikes there's a pin to pull and you can lower the rack for regular access to the back of your vehicle. I can still pack the van for a family vacation AND take the bikes.

I would recommend a, ahem, mini-van for internal transport. They make them with all sorts of seat mobility. The mileage is way better than a gas-guzzler SUV. And the smaller ones aren't all that big. A couple have seats that recess right into the floor.

good luck!
post #5 of 23
I oppose rear-mounted racks for two reasons. A minor fender-bender will total your expensive bicycle. And the back of your car is about the dirtiest place and your bike will wear a lot of that dirt.

I have to agree with pineapple that transporting bikes inside is not as sweet a deal as it sounds for all the reasons he mentioned. Even if you carefully pack your bike and gear you are still carefully pakcing your bike and gear which gets old fast! I do this and by the end of the summer after 2 trips a week to the track I'm just chucking my bike into the back of my vehicle with no regard for it.

The best set-up I've seen for carrying bikes inside was in a dodge caravan. A friend of mine set up 2 rocky fork-mounts in the far rear so he could carry two bikes running sideways in the van w/ the front wheels off. No more room back there for cargo though but since it was a mini-van there was plenty in the middle section.

I now have a roof-rack on my car and love it. Of course if you're getting a high-roofline SUV it can be difficult to load and I suspect aerodynamics are severely compromised when carrying bikes up there.

So there really is no good solution IMO.

post #6 of 23
Get a VW EuroVan, its tall enough even the largest of bikes will fit in it assembled, also you can still have a seat in the back facing rearward with you bikes inside, 4 bikes, 4 passengers at least.
post #7 of 23
Renault Espace with Seats down
post #8 of 23
Originally posted by Dimboy
Renault Espace with Seats down
You're not trying very hard .. I fit bikes just fine in my Peugeot 306 with the seats down

For our Atlantic friends who have no idea what we're on about:

Renault Espace

Peugeot 306
post #9 of 23
I have a suburban with the 3rd seat removed. I've screwed 3 skewer mounts (like you sometimes see in pickup beds) to a 2x6 cut to fit the width of the 'burb. I can carry 3 bikes inside with room for the front wheels, plus an extra set. and still seat 5 adults. going on a trip? 2/3 adults, 2/3 bikes, and gear on the backseat/floor, or some combination. bikes are inside, protected from the elements or prying hands. don't mind stopping and going inside to eat/shop/etc. with them locked inside. had a gmc savanna before the 'burb with same setup. also have hitch mount, but it sucks in comparison, although I do use it for the occasional mtb ride (dirty bikes).
post #10 of 23
Wheels removed, and very carefully packed, I did manage to squeeze a bike into a Lotus Esprit once.

Of course, there wasn't much room left for the driver...
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Figured I'd post the final results of my research: if you want an SUV that is capable of having a road store inside (one of reasonable heigth) without taking the wheels off, you have just three choices... The Land Rover Discovery, the Toyota Sequoia, and Honda Element.
post #12 of 23
I routinely transport my fully assembled bike upright in the back of my Ford Escape with the rear seats folded down.
post #13 of 23
I've gone through all the problem of finding bike racks and vehicle that I can fit my bikes in etc.. Recently I just bought a 5x12 covered trailer. Now all my bikes, windsurf boards and sails fit in it just fine. I no longer have to search for my fun stuff. They are all in there! On long family trip I can even bring the kids bikes along. My wife was a little apprehensive about getting a trailer at first. Now she loves it because we can bring our bikes any where. It takes only couple minutes to hitch it up and we are ready to roll.

I know it seems a little too much but trust me it's a good solution. No more scratches of your vehicle interior from your bike. You can consider buying all other kind of vehicles without worrying whether your bike will fit inside or your bike racks will fit etc.. In the past 15 yrs I've spent half the cost of my trailer on various bike racks and other contraptions to secure the bikes and surfboard on or in my vehicle. I no longer have to throw away or sell those thing cheap every time I buy a new car.
post #14 of 23
I pack my Cannondale or ritchey bike in the trunk of my 2001 Mustang Cobra convertible. No mini van or suv for me! I use a car cover to protect the frame from scratches. A mustang convertible does not have fold down rear seats, so a wheel sticks out with the trunk open. I'm working on getting a bike carrier soon
post #15 of 23
Why don't you want to take the wheel off?

I have a Toyota Tacoma Extra Cab 4x4 with camper shell.

Here's the short-girl solution for loading bikes on a tall truck: Install the roof rack crossbars as far back on the shell as you can. Mount the bike trays backwards. Stand on tailgate, roll rear wheel up the tray, clip the fork in. Make sure to strap the rear wheels tightly, I have heard stories of them coming off and flipping over (eek!). I have 2 trays and the extra-big rocket box on top of my truck. Can also get my road bike behind the front seats by taking off the front wheel only, turning bars and carefully positioning it. (I have a tiny frame, this might not work for many other folks.) Can also put bikes inside the shell, i have a carpet kit, so I can just lay my bike on its side. So I can take 4 bikes and 1 additional person, or 3 bikes and 3 additional people. Or, you can skip the rocket box and get 5 bikes up top, for 5 bikes, 3 additional people

Oh yeah... I always cable-and-U-lock my bikes to the frame of the truck when I leave them inside the cab or the rear. Just because your bike is inside the car, doesn't mean it's safe. Windows can be broken, mine was. But I still have the bike.

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