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Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/19/17 7:46 a.m.

The bar width on mtn bikes has gone "moto" in recent years so they're pretty wide. In an effort to keep the general feel of my bikes similar, I run the same 780mm (almost 31") wide bars on all of them. 

Yes, as soon as I get the van home, I plan to take some dimensions and make a final decision on whether or not I can make this  work. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
12/19/17 7:48 a.m.

You could definitely fit a twin mattress next to that!  Maybe even have bunk beds if you want to bring a friend.  People bunks next to bike bunks?  cheeky

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/19/17 8:10 a.m.

Yes, there are definitely different options depending on how much of the "RV" part I want to build.  Unfortunately, the width of the van narrows as you get up near the bar height.  Bikes next to the bed would mean getting in/out of bed would be a PITA and any drawers under the bed would be difficult to open.  My real hope/need is to keep the bikes as separate from the living area as possible since there would be times when wet and muddy bikes would get loaded into the van and it would be good to keep said dirt out of the living area. 

Mtn bike racing generally happens rain or shine and I've finished some events absolutely covered with mud. My real dream is to have the bike area be separated by the shower area so that I could get into the back of the van, close the doors, strip the muddy gear off, get right into the shower, then go from the shower to the living area to change into street clothes.  However, I fear that short of a Sprinter or box van, this will remain a dream.  I just don't see enough room in an extended Ford van.

What I'll probably end up doing is a more minimal conversion and not modifying the van much; seeing what I can make work and how much space I can really live with as well as giving up on some of the more customized aspects that would require extensive modifications.

Bunk beds... have you been talking to my teammates?

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
12/19/17 8:56 a.m.

I get the issue with weight on adding a dropper when you don't need it. What about using QR collars to just pull the post/saddle?

The wheelbase on the Fuel is longer than my previous bikes too - they all seem to be growing.  I can just barely fit it in the back of the ZJ by dropping the front wheel, laying down the back seats and putting the fork trap as close to the door as I can. If I was running a longer stem that would be a no go.

 

So...if you put fork traps right at the back door (or as close as handlebar clearance allows), could you build a bed loft that just clears the rear tires, but stops short of the raised saddle? It would put the bed right behind the front seats, but you could use the under bed/forward of the wheel area for lots of storage.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog Reader
12/19/17 8:59 a.m.

If the bikes fit during transport, how about a pop up camp tent for stowing them during events?  Frees up the inside, keeps the bikes sheltered, keeps dirt outside, spray out  or brush out tent.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/19/17 9:30 a.m.

In reply to ultraclyde :

I measured that idea, but the van isn't high enough to give enough sleeping room after building the platform and putting a mattress on top it.  The bed would end up about 4' off the floor and I barely have 6' of total height. 

In reply to Dirtydog :

Each of my bikes cost more than I paid for the van - by a lot.  They spend the night inside. Always.  Plus, I've tried the tent thing and that defeats the whole point of having a van in the first place.  Mostly with having to deal with a soaked tent when getting home when it might be a number of days before I can actually unload the van after a race.  Part of this whole idea is that it can be left set-up and ready to go with minimal prep spread out over days and conversely tear-down also spread out. A wet tent needs to be dealt with almost immediately or it will be a disgusting mess.  I've tossed a bunch of tents because of this. I don't like tents.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog Reader
12/19/17 9:40 a.m.

Enclosed trailer?  Storage plus work shop/ spare parts etc.  Wet tents is why I gave up camping 40+ years ago.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
12/19/17 10:21 a.m.

 

So what you really need is THISTHIS, or THIS.

 

Okay, but seriously. Have you considered buying a small box trailer for the bikes and making the van the sleeping quarters? Or better yet vice versa? That thing will tow anything you need it to. Make a mini-chalet in a small box trailer and that way you can use the van to cart the bikes day-to-day and only drag out the minihome when you need it. This keeps the bike in the more secure vehicle too.

Inspiration: 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/19/17 11:19 a.m.

In reply to ultraclyde :

The second one is close to what I'd like to get, although if I want to learn from mistakes, I'll hold out for one with hinged doors rather than a roll-up door.

Trailer-wise, there is the Forest River Wolf Pup 17RP "mini" toy hauler, which pretty much checks all of the boxes:

Besides the up-front costs (actually not bad at around $13K give or take), I would also need to get a new vehicle with a 5000 lb tow rating. Then there is the issue of where to store the damn thing the 40-odd weeks of the year I wouldn't be using it... 

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
12/19/17 12:10 p.m.

The E-350 will tow well over 5k lbs as long as you have plenty of time to get there...

Years ago I bought a pop up camper specifically to use for as a MTB basecamp. Carried the bikes in the Exploder and towed the house.  It worked well, but storage was always an issue.  If you're spending several weeks a year in the camper it's worth while.....but that's rarely the case. I just gave yp and figure I'm old enough that if I can't tough it out in a tent I'll just rent a room. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/19/17 12:27 p.m.

In reply to ultraclyde :

Yep.  Room rental was what I did in 2015 and 2016 and in some cases was definitely the way to go. However, I've also raced at venues where the closest hotel was over an hour away.  Plus, there is a communal vibe with camping at DH races that was arguably what I missed most - sometimes more than the racing itself.

I possibly have a place I could store the camper (my mother's house), although I would need to become an expert at reversing to negotiate her long and rather narrow driveway.  Plus, the way her trees drop leaves and limbs, I fear for the longevity of the camper being stored there.  This is where the van is now and I really need to get it out of there ASAP before it starts to rot. 

spin_out
spin_out HalfDork
12/19/17 1:02 p.m.

That's a lot of refer. 

Refrig?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/19/17 2:43 p.m.
spin_out said:

That's a lot of refer. 

Refrig?

In the Wolf Pup RV above?  Yes - REFER = Refrigerator.

Maybe you're thinking of "reefer"? wink

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle Dork
12/19/17 4:36 p.m.

Are you any good at Tetris?

Can the bike(s) park longitudinally where the passenger seat goes?

How about bike(s) across the back right in front of the door, minus a wheel. 

Use the height to stand them up and hang them? If you can stand, surely these long ass bikes can too.

logdog
logdog UltraDork
9/11/18 10:50 p.m.

Did you ever figure out a good way to set up the interior for your bikes and camping?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/12/18 11:04 a.m.

In reply to logdog :

Not yet.  I haven't really touched the van in over a year.  I have too many projects on my plate and this one is far down on the priority list.  Sucks because I could really use a camper-van right now.

If I get time, I plan to mock up a raised bed over a "bike garage" and see if that leaves enough room between the bed and the roof.  The problem is even with the front wheel off and with the fork mounted to a axle-clamp, my DH bike is still pretty damn tall.  I've seen a YouTuber who built a van with a sliding bike tray which allows him to store the bikes very tightly together, but easily accessed (search: Singletrack Sampler).  The down side for my van is it would add even more height to the garage.  He has a ProMaster, which is taller and a bit wider than an E-series.

Part of me just wants to say "berk-it", buy a new Sprinter and send it to Sportsmobile for a conversion, using a combination of this layout:

...but with the bunk beds changed to the platform bed from this layout (along with a few other changes like rotating front seats):

Of course, the "berk-it" part is the huge $150K investment... with the upside being I'd get exactly what I want vs. somewhat of a kludge were I to do a DIY build. Plus, while the Sportsmobile would take about a year to get built, at the rate I'm going a DIY build won't happen any faster. Especially with me working in NH 300+ miles from home until who knows when. 

In reply to OHSCrifle :

No, the bikes don't really fit across the width of the van.  I tried.  I have bikes hung length-wise in my living room right now.  They take up a MASSIVE amount of room that way. 

grover
grover HalfDork
9/12/18 11:45 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

sounds like you need a bus.  

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/12/18 11:56 a.m.

In reply to grover :

The thought has crossed my mind.  Everything is a trade-off. There is part of me that really wants to try to get the E-350 to work as anything larger would start to get unwieldy if I want to use it as a DD.

logdog
logdog UltraDork
9/12/18 4:28 p.m.
Ian F said:

 

Of course, the "berk-it" part is the huge $150K investment... with the upside being I'd get exactly what I want vs. somewhat of a kludge were I to do a DIY build. Plus, while the Sportsmobile would take about a year to get built, at the rate I'm going a DIY build won't happen any faster. Especially with me working in NH 300+ miles from home until who knows when. 

 

Last year I sold my Savanna because it finally reached a point I didnt think it was worth spending any money on.  It worked pretty good as a racetrack/camp van before rust won out.  We replaced it with a Grand Caravan and although our geriatric German Shepard finds it much easier to get in and out of, it doesn't fit the needs quit as well so we are back to looking at full size vans.  Ive been looking at older ones but I know I don't have time to fix the mechanicals AND modify the inside.  This week I have gone from PA, to CT, to MA, and am currently in upstate NY so time is always a premium.  I too need to just say "berk it" and buy something that better meets the needs.  There is something to be said for just getting what you want, but it sucks to spend the money.  I fell in love with the medium wheelbase/medium roof Transit I rented last year.  

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