Slide-Out Bike Rack Van

We often say that our Ford Transit DIY camper van conversion is built around the mountain bikes, so a proper bike rack is expected! Since we first brainstormed about the van, we knew that:

  • the mountain bikes must be stored inside the van (for thief and climate protection)
  • the bike rack must be quick and easy to load / unload (for sanity)
  • the storage solution must leave enough space for the bed above (for comfort)
  • catch dirt/dust/crap and easy to clean

 

We looked around and found that Traipsing About’s design was exactly what we were looking for! Here is our adaptation of the slide-out bike rack to our Ford Transit.

 

 

TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 8 hours

 

TOTAL COST : 280$ USD

 

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click and commit to buy one of the product linked, we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. Buying through our affiliate links is a great way to say thanks if we were of any help in your van conversion! Alternatively, you can visit our Say Thanks! page.

 

MATERIAL:

 

TOOLS:

 

PRE-REQUISITE

 

Disclaimer

We’re not woodworkers. We’re not well equipped in tools. So this is not a “How-To”.  This is just how we did it with our limited knowledge & limited access to appropriate tools. There are probably standards, but we’re probably not following them . That being said, we’re very satisfied with the final result and we are proud of what we accomplished!




 

 

First of all, we ensured the location and the function of the slide-out bike rack is optimized. The 3D model layout helped us a great deal with that…
ford-transit-camper-van-conversion-slide-out-bike-rack-cad

Interactive 3D model here


 

The Tray

The dimensions of the tray are 60″ long x 19″ wide x 3″ height (built from ½” baltic birch plywood). This provides enough space for the two mountain bikes with the front wheels on the side. (Depending on the fork, the front wheels axis is removed either from the left side or right side of the bike; make sure there is enough clearance to remove the quick release)

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Very first wood project of the conversion! Figuring things out…

 

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Triple-checking that the bikes will fit under the bed

 

This is one of the easiest woodworking project on the van… just cut plywood sheet to size, then glue & screw; the glue provides the bond between the plywood sheets, the screws hold everything together while the glue is curing.

We used #4 screws (1″ length) (Buy from Amazon) and Titebond III Waterproof Wood Glue (Buy from Amazon):

titebond-iii-exterior-wood-glue

 

The Structure

The dimensions of the structure is 48″ long x 4″ height (built from ½” baltic birch plywood). The slide-out bike rack is attached to the van’s floor plywood (underneath  the vinyl floor) with #8 wood screws. We used 2″ x 2″ corner braces every 12-13 inches to transferred the load from the tray to the van. The mountain bikes are not that heavy, but a guest sitting on the extended rack is a lot of load… we had to keep that in mind.

ford-transit-camper-van-conversion-slide-out-bike-rack-13

2″ x 2″ corner braces (Buy from Amazon) every 12 to 14 inches

 

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Smaller 20mm x 20mm corner braces (Buy from Amazon) were also added inside, for additional holding power (the drawer is extended in the picture)

The Extension Slides

We wanted the drawer to extend 48″ and after using the slide-out for a summer, we can tell this was a good idea. It makes loading/unloading the bikes so much easier! It also bring a “Wow!” factor at the trail head and is a good conversation starter 🙂

 

When shopping for extension slides, make sure to select ones that have a locking feature; the locking device will keep the drawer in fully out or fully in position. The van is never leveled…

full-extension-slide-48in-with-lock

Get these from Amazon.com

 

To install the extension slides, we first installed the slides on the tray. Then, we put the structure on the floor (not screwed yet) and the tray on a 3/8″ plywood sheet: the plywood sheet will create a gap between the tray and the van’s floor to ensure there is no rubbing while the bike rack slide in or out. The structure-side of the slides where then screwed and finally the structure was screwed to the van floor.

 

The bike hitch

We installed Delta bike hitch for 15/20mm axis. They come with bushings and spacers to work with 15mm or 20mm fork axis. To lock the bike in place, just use the fork axis. Simple and effective! There is no side-play and the bikes are secured. Neat!

delta-bike-hitch-15mm-20mm

Get it delivered to your door from Amazon.com

 

ford-transit-camper-van-conversion-slide-out-bike-rack-4

The Pike (Buy from Amazon) is locked in place in the Delta hitch

 

When locating the bike hitch, make sure there is enough clearance with the sides of the tray to remove the fork axis… if there isn’t, the hitch could be shimmed to raise it above the sides of the tray; the seat of the bike is the highest point, so this should have barely no impact on height clearance with bed.

 

The Protective Coating

We were enthusiast by the next step of the van conversion and did not protect the tray right away. This thing will get stained with oil, dirt, etc. So do it now! Polyurethane coating, or a plastic sheet should do the trick.

 

Maintenance

We did not close the most rearward side of the tray. This way, it’s easy to sweep the dust/dirt/crap out. It prevented us from installing a handle, but the locking devices integrated in the slides provide the perfect grab to pull the tray out.

 

ford-transit-camper-van-conversion-slide-out-bike-rack-1

Final result! 48″ of travel with lockout.

 

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

If we were to start over, we would probably reduce the 40″ bike clearance height to 38″; there is approximately 2″ buffer, but removing this buffer would give us 2″ more head space above the bed…

We should have apply a protective coating as soon as the tray was built. We procrastinated and now the tray is stained with chain oil and stuff; it only aesthetic though, no big deal…

The width of the tray (19″) could probably reduced to 17″, but it turns out the tray is very convenient to put the bike gear as well (shoes, shirt, helmet, etc)!

 

 

WANT MORE?

Check out our Build Journal, or learn everything about The Van.

 

 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, we’re converting it to a campervan and we are now selling our house to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

4 comments

  1. Comment by Tim

    Tim Reply November 26, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I like the sliding bike rack. Thank you. Thinking of a similar set-up. How much headroom do you have left from the top of the platform bed to the roof?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply November 27, 2016 at 8:16 am

      There is 35″ left from the top of the platform to the wood paneling roof. Cheers!

  2. Comment by Tyler

    Tyler Reply February 3, 2017 at 7:20 am

    This is the exact set up I plan to do, what is your plan for the front wheels? Ive seen people strap them to the rear doors, strap them to the under side of the bed, and many other options. I haven’t figured it out yet, my wife and I ride our fat bikes a lot, so they take up more space. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
    Tyler

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