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Does anybody use a van?

TheNorthernTrainTheNorthernTrain Posts: 1,049
edited July 2013 in The hub
I've been browsing a fair few van forums recently and no surprise many users are mountain bikers.

I pretty much have a clear idea of what I want to do inside. The main thing is being able to have a bed and room for a bike, I've seen one that is similar to what I'm thinking but doesn't appear as if the bed is removable, I don't always want to have a bed in there, but there will also be times where a bike won't also be with me. So I've got an idea in mind for a removable "single" and also "double" bed when required that won't involve much effort to remove and could possibly be stored in the van anyway while barely taking up any room.

Just wondering if anyone has done anything similar and if so how they went about it? I'm seriously considering getting a VW Caddy, looking at getting a maxi version just for the added space but can't decide if I could live with the look of it. Much prefer the smooth panel sides of the swb versions.
MmmBop

Go big or go home.
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Posts

  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Much prefer the smooth panel sides of the swb versions.

    There's a guy I've seen at stainburn a few times who has a bright red one (2012 I think) with alloys and limo tints on the rear and side window, I think it looks good.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    T4.

    check out the T4 forum there is an area for caddies as well.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • ol\'greggol\'gregg Posts: 612
    As Nick said get a T4. My mate has a T5 and a guy in work has a T4 with a rock and roll bed in the back and plenty of room in the middle for his bikes. I am looking at getting a T4 in the next year or so great little vans
    gochel chan ddynion i mewn blew beisiau achos hwy cadernid bod eirth
  • GazlarGazlar Posts: 8,110
    Any vw van of the T ilk is great but also pricey in comparison to a lot. I presynaptic have been looking at vans for a camped/bike ferry conversion. For the kaiser challenge last year we were loaned a Renault traffic which was really nice decent on fuel and drove well. Also looked at swb Maxus vans as they are going at good prices at auction
    Mountain biking is like sex.......more fun when someone else is getting hurt
    Amy
    Farnsworth
    Zapp
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,569
    A mate of mine does refurbs on T5's, fits kitchen type units and rock & roll beds etc.

    I'm guessing you're in the north somewher, he's based in Todmorden.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • TheNorthernTrainTheNorthernTrain Posts: 1,049
    Thanks for the replys... The main reason I'm not gonna get a t4/5 etc is purely because of the size, I'd love one but their size just makes its impractical for something that will be used as an everyday car. Can't afford to insure both so it's one of the other. Another factor that is making me swing towards a swb model over a lwb model.

    The idea is just to have something convenient, I'm always carrying censored loads in the car that would be easier to bung in the back of a van and a lot of the time it would be useful to have somewhere that could double as a bed. An uninsulated car isn't much fun.
    MmmBop

    Go big or go home.
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    T4/5's are fine for everyday use. I used to have one as a company van and took it everywhere. Only some smaller underground car parks were a problem.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,258
    If your looking for something smaller how about a Ford Transit Connect. You can get a bike and a mattress in the back and you can pick them up cheap at an auction.
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    I don't think I'd want to sleep on a mattress I'd bought at an auction...
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    stubs wrote:
    If your looking for something smaller how about a Ford Transit Connect. You can get a bike and a mattress in the back and you can pick them up cheap at an auction.

    I had a transit connect too. I couldn't fit my bike in without it being on an angle, I never tried lying down in the back but I reckon it'd be a squeeze :?
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,258
    The long wheelbase high roof Connect with a side door is a bit roomier and should fit a bike plus medium size human.
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    I'm thinking of doing the same thing too (getting rid of the focus and swapping it for a camper conversion), but I wouldn't get the connect. I'd go for the second gen of Peugietron Expert/Scudo/dispatch. Seems a much better size for commuting to work in, but still loads of room to convert into a weekend camper.
    I rented out a connect which I'm pretty sure was an LWB version. took it camping in Wales for a few nights. The handiest thing about it is that the front passanger seat folds completley flat, so you can get an extra few feet of length out of it. Even 6.5footers should be able to sleep in that side comfortably with the seat flat, but it was a tight fit for a 5'10" fella until I worked the seat thing out.
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    I'm thinking of doing the same thing too (getting rid of the focus and swapping it for a camper conversion), but I wouldn't get the connect. I'd go for the second gen of Peugietron Expert/Scudo/dispatch.

    Driven both the Expert and Dispatch a few times in my last job. Horrible things to drive, I couldn't live with one as my only transport.
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    I'm thinking of doing the same thing too (getting rid of the focus and swapping it for a camper conversion), but I wouldn't get the connect. I'd go for the second gen of Peugietron Expert/Scudo/dispatch.

    Driven both the Expert and Dispatch a few times in my last job. Horrible things to drive, I couldn't live with one as my only transport.
    Really!? This is very sad news as I'd had my heart set on one as being the perfect size... I was hoping to pick one up before the end of this year. I don't know if the Connect is better/worse but I didn't like driving that.
    So, what's the best driving small van then?
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    I'm thinking of doing the same thing too (getting rid of the focus and swapping it for a camper conversion), but I wouldn't get the connect. I'd go for the second gen of Peugietron Expert/Scudo/dispatch.

    Driven both the Expert and Dispatch a few times in my last job. Horrible things to drive, I couldn't live with one as my only transport.
    Really!? This is very sad news as I'd had my heart set on one as being the perfect size... I was hoping to pick one up before the end of this year. I don't know if the Connect is better/worse but I didn't like driving that.
    So, what's the best driving small van then?

    I've driven pretty much all of them. I know that the Vauxhall (combi?) was the most uncomfortable thing I've ever had to drive to north wales in! I quite liked my connect when I had it. a vw caddy drives like a car, but you pay a premium for it being a vw. but it's the best imo
  • Ben_morrisBen_morris Posts: 61
    Hi,

    Weve got a t5 with a rack on the back. Its perfect, drives like a car. Mind is cost some money engine wise.

    Ben.
  • neddieneddie Posts: 101
    Got to be a T4

    Best thing I bought .

    Drive to hill .bike.jump in back and change. Sit back in the glow of a job well done with a fresh cuppa.
    Boardman Comp.

    Norco Fluid
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    I'm thinking of doing the same thing too (getting rid of the focus and swapping it for a camper conversion), but I wouldn't get the connect. I'd go for the second gen of Peugietron Expert/Scudo/dispatch.

    Driven both the Expert and Dispatch a few times in my last job. Horrible things to drive, I couldn't live with one as my only transport.
    Really!? This is very sad news as I'd had my heart set on one as being the perfect size... I was hoping to pick one up before the end of this year. I don't know if the Connect is better/worse but I didn't like driving that.
    So, what's the best driving small van then?

    Dunno, Ive not driven many, but I know there's no way I could swap my car for driving something like a Dispatch/Expert as my primary transport. Horrible interior (it's a utility vehicle, after all), tinny radio that sounds like something a 1970s window cleaner would have up his ladder, horrendous road noise (you're driving a hollow tin can with no sound deadening), a handbrake designed by a ginger haired bloke from Borneo and horrible agricultural tractor engines that sound like a giant rattling his toolbox and require an eight mile straight and three weeks written notice to even think about overtaking anything. My car cost pocket money, has leather seats, climate control, cd changer, electric windows, sunroof and heated mirrors etc etc, swallows my 20" Kraken easily in the boot and is fun to drive on the twisties that lead to most rural destinations. As far as small vans go, I'd hazard a guess that the ones based on car platforms would drive the best?

    I could be tempted by a nicely modded and chipped facelift model T5 Sportline though...
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    neddie wrote:
    Got to be a T4

    Best thing I bought .

    Drive to hill .bike.jump in back and change. Sit back in the glow of a job well done with a fresh cuppa.
    2.4d run it on Veg oil and bung a Turbo in it. :mrgreen:
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    require an eight mile straight and three weeks written notice to even think about overtaking anything.
    :o
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    require an eight mile straight and three weeks written notice to even think about overtaking anything.
    :o

    Didn't bother me when driving the company van, 'cos I was doing it on work time and in no hurry. Pottering about in the sunshine in a van made a nice change to being at my desk (especially when I could make a detour and purchase some bling for my bike, while still getting paid, lol), and if I didn't get back for 4pm then I was on overtime rate after that, but it would be unbearable on my own time - I get a bit psychotic when stuck behind dawdling twats, so need at least a bit of mumbo for overatking, lol.
  • apple eaterapple eater Posts: 302
    I run a t4 2.5tdi 88hp at present. I now have a rock n roll bed in the back and unitl i decide on a bike rack on the doors or a tow bar mounted one the bikes are in the back. I take off the wheels and then stand the frame upside sown with handle bars to seats and insert the rear triangle of the frame between the forks (with a sheet inthere to stop noise and damage) this holds the frames upright and the wheels are just tied to the frames with small luggage straps.

    I have to say that when i first got the van i only bought it to lug the building stuff around when i did my extension. I really couldn't see myself getting rid of it for the forseeable future.
    I don't know enough to make smart r's remarks about peoples choice of parts 'n' things, yet!
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Can it actually move its own weight with only 88hp, lol? The Triumph dealer I bought my bike from has a black T5 Sportline (the type with the side windows and removable back seats) chipped to about 230hp, I could live with that.

    This looks nice:

    philsvan4a_2272x17041.jpg
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    Crikey, the amount of photoshop on that picture is making my eyes bleed!
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Crikey, the amount of photoshop on that picture is making my eyes bleed!

    Aye, very clumsy post capture work by someone (some folk just don't know when to stop), but nice van.
  • pilchpilch Posts: 1,136
    319_48511823568_3322_n.jpg

    Here's one I made earlier... my old van, fast but not very practical, got a humdrum Renault trafic hi top now
    A berm? were you expecting one?

    29er race

    29er bouncer
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Why not practical?
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,258
    Why not practical?

    Wouldnt like to be bumping those Alloys and lowered body down a rutted potholed forest road to a car park.
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Doesn't look low, if it's been lowered then it's not by much, and what doesn't have alloy wheels these days, unless you're looking at real poverty spec cars (looks like the tyres have rim protectors too, from what I can see in the pic).
  • pilchpilch Posts: 1,136
    Why not practical?

    I race a lot, usually involves driving on rutted tracks or across fields from time to time, the van was lowered as well which didn't help.

    I was regularly dinging the body kit, I was paranoid about my wheels - 20" with rubber bands on... also very little traction when its muddy.

    It was a SWB and the inside was fitted out as a camper so I had to fit my bikes around the seating, often getting mud and censored all over the seats etc - I wouldn't put them on a carrier, too many bikes have been nicked from events that I have been to.

    My other half also races now, we are often away at events all over place for weekends and we take the dog with us most times... so 2 people + 2 bikes, dog, kit, food - just didnt work

    I guess I could have changed the wheels, taken the body kit off and changed the inside... but that kind of defeated the object so I sold it and bought a trafic hi top LWB, plenty of space and way easier.
    A berm? were you expecting one?

    29er race

    29er bouncer
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