Small van ideas please

yello

Legendary Member
Location
France
I'm putting this question here because I class a motor vehicle as a bike accessory!

I'm looking for ideas for a vehicle (or other solution) that I can carry the bike and sleep in. Obviously, my thoughts first turn to a small van - something like a Citroen Despatch or the Renault/Fiat/Ford/etc equivalents.

It's basically for travel to audaxes the day evening before and kipping in. Here in France, audaxes are widely spread meaning I have to travel some distance to get to them. More so for the bigger distance audaxes (400km plus). It's logistically difficult, if not impossible, on public transport. I'm looking for ideas, or alternative ideas. I've consider an old VW combi but they seem to be thin on the ground here, or silly expensive.

So which vans/vehicles might be best suited? Or other ideas perhaps....
 
The Fiat Scudo is a good van with the JTD engine and roomy enough in the back to sleep in ... i would'nt rule out one of the older SWB Ford Transits either or the Mercedes Vito

Simon
 

TheDoctor

Europe Endless
Moderator
Location
Stevenage
Citroen Berlingo or the Pug version (whatever it's called) could be a goer. Not sure if they've got the length to get a mattress in though.
I take it you've considered the car + cheap tent combo?
 

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
Are you thinking of cuddling up to the bike inside, or could it go on the roof? My guess is that if you want a full length mattress in the cargo space, there will be more than enough width for a bike.

As The Doctor said previously, the Berlingo is a great van. The L2 version has a load area length of 2050 mm which will take the length a standard mattress, but it is only about four feet between the wheel arches, so a big mattress will not fit. Mind you, some careful interior design ( pink shag-pile, candles etc) has a sporting chance of turning it into a complete babe-magnet.

Berlingo review.

http://www.vansdirect.co.uk/content/citroën-berlingo-review
 

Tim Bennet.

Entirely Average Member
Location
S of Kendal
They might appear to be much bigger, but the Renault Traffics are very easy to drive.
We favoured the small vans when we started looking but are glad we opted for the Traffic (or Vivaro, or Primastar).
 

eldudino

Bike Fluffer
Location
Stirling
My dad's got a Citroen Dispatch as his work van and it's a pretty nice bit of kit. Feels solid and has plenty of room in the back, he's 6'2" and manages it fine. He's kipped in it before. If you're going to do that, it'd be worth making a stealth camper, possibly not all-singing, all-dancing but boarded out and insulated so that you can sleep in it in cooler/warmer weather without perishing! Some kind of sun-shield/curtain set up would be crucial for the front windows and an air circulation vent would be advisable.
 

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
I would look at either the VW Transporter (modern FWD type) or Toyota Hiace. More refined and nicer to drive than the Transit, more durable than any of the French/Italian options. The Hiace can be a bit thirsty, but overall running costs should be low  as they are pretty bullet proof mechanically. The big Mitsubishi van (L300?) can sometimes be bought cheaply and are a perfectly good van as well.
 
OP
OP
yello

yello

Legendary Member
Location
France
Thanks for the feedback people. My responses & thoughts in no particular order...

Yes, I've thought about tent options but there's not always going to be a convenient camp site nearby and then there's those early am ride start times.

Vito - I like them and there are many available here in France at reasonable prices (for Mercs!) BUT, reading around, the older ones tend to have rust problems primarily and other issues (steering racks, tyre wear, thirtsy) secondary.

Berlingo - we have one. Not quite enough room in the back. But it does drive well, rather impressive really but does suffer with a little body roll if you get too enthusiastic! Tend to be expensive (here) 2nd hand. I didn't know there was a model with a longer load length.

Despatch (called Jumpy over here) - excellent van. The misses had one in London, it would be perfect space wise and drive wise. It's the van that inspired my thinking. Pretty much the same as the Expert and the Scudo. The Citroen and Renault tend to be pricey 2nd hand but I'll follow up on the Scudo, it sounds worth a look.

Transporter - looks like another to follow up on. The T4 is reasonably priced and seems to have a good reputation.

Hiace - difficult to find here but another possible. I'd initially thought it more like a minibus (too open, too many windows) but I'll look at the options available. I'm probably not aware of the range of models.

Bigger vans (Traffic, Transit, etc).... dunno. Doesn't appeal at first impression. More for driving considerations than space. I'd rather something more car like to drive, i.e. less cabin noise. I'll not rule it out though. Affordable Transits here tend to be well used (tatty) as they're builders etc vehicles. Also, whilst they are cheap enough to maintain, run and repair in the UK, I read that well used ones are prone to niggling little faults. That could be pricey here.
 

Crankarm

Guru
Location
Nr Cambridge
Thanks for the feedback people. My responses & thoughts in no particular order...

Yes, I've thought about tent options but there's not always going to be a convenient camp site nearby and then there's those early am ride start times.

Vito - I like them and there are many available here in France at reasonable prices (for Mercs!) BUT, reading around, the older ones tend to have rust problems primarily and other issues (steering racks, tyre wear, thirtsy) secondary.

Berlingo - we have one. Not quite enough room in the back. But it does drive well, rather impressive really but does suffer with a little body roll if you get too enthusiastic! Tend to be expensive (here) 2nd hand. I didn't know there was a model with a longer load length.

Despatch (called Jumpy over here) - excellent van. The misses had one in London, it would be perfect space wise and drive wise. It's the van that inspired my thinking. Pretty much the same as the Expert and the Scudo. The Citroen and Renault tend to be pricey 2nd hand but I'll follow up on the Scudo, it sounds worth a look.

Transporter - looks like another to follow up on. The T4 is reasonably priced and seems to have a good reputation.

Hiace - difficult to find here but another possible. I'd initially thought it more like a minibus (too open, too many windows) but I'll look at the options available. I'm probably not aware of the range of models.

Bigger vans (Traffic, Transit, etc).... dunno. Doesn't appeal at first impression. More for driving considerations than space. I'd rather something more car like to drive, i.e. less cabin noise. I'll not rule it out though. Affordable Transits here tend to be well used (tatty) as they're builders etc vehicles. Also, whilst they are cheap enough to maintain, run and repair in the UK, I read that well used ones are prone to niggling little faults. That could be pricey here.

Try and find an old Renault Master SWB T35. Bullit proof, fund to drive, easy to load and unload and plenty of space to kip in the back easily accommodating a double mattress, your bike and all your odds and sods. Of course being Renault any garage or atelier will be able to service it.
 

threebikesmcginty

Corn Fed Hick...
Location
...on the slake
How about an old Volvo estate? It's much comfier than a van and with the rear seats folded down it's huge.
Recently took three of us with two bikes inside and one on the roof. With the back seats down it's also a big enough area to kip in.
 

benb

Evidence based cyclist
Location
Epsom
This is perfect for you:
kvincyr-5_camperbikeride2.jpg
 

toekneep

Senior Member
Location
Lancashire
We have a Berlingo which is great for carrying the bikes. The only disappointment is that it isn't easy to actually remove the rear seats completely. The Skoda Roomster on the other hand does have this feature which is why it will probably replace the Berlingo eventually. I don't have measurements but my guess is that the extra one or one and a half feet that this would give you might be enough for the mattress.
 
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