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.








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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…

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)




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



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):



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.


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



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…


Get these from


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!


Get it delivered to your door from



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.



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.



Final result! 48″ of travel with lockout.



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 applied 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, gloves, etc)!


August 2017 update:

While completing our garage before the big departure, we decided to build a closet accessible from the living space. Having Antoine’s bike handle bar in the way was just not suitable. We decided to change how the bikes were mounted on the rack even though they are now taking more place (width speaking). We were lucky the rack was initially too wide!

Slide-Out Bike Rack Van


First month on the road review: 

(The following text is extracted from

During the “design” phase of the van, we emphasis on simplifying the repetitive tasks. Loading/Unloading our bikes repetitively is such a NICE problem and we’re glad we went with the Slide-Out Bike Rack system! It allowed us to pack our garage full of gear while keeping access to our bikes! There is no frame at the back, so it’s easy to sweep the dust out of the rack.




We think you might be interested in the following article:

On Board Mountain Bike Tire Inflator





Check out our Build Journal, learn everything about The Van, join us for The Ride, or if you’re new to this start by reading The Prologue.




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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, converted it to a campervan, sold our house, quit our jobs and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!



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  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!

  3. Comment by Reply August 29, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I always wondered how people got to their bikes with a lofted sleeping setup like this.

  4. Comment by Nate

    Nate Reply November 15, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Hey, Im starting to engineer our pull outs on our Transit high roof. I think we will do 2 side by side pull outs that will the whole width between the wheel wells. The question is, 48″ or 60″ slides, (our bikes are 63″ without front wheels)? Cost is pretty similar, but as Im sure you know they only lock all the way in or all the way out. After living with it for a while which would you go for? Thanks!!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply November 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      I find 48″ to be the perfect length, unless you plan on making a very long pull out… Also consider that 60″ will create much more up force on your floor when the slide is fully opened (make sure a friend don’t sit on it!!). I’m not saying it’s not feasible, just make sure your anchors are strong enough. Cheers!

  5. Comment by Jeremy Morgan

    Jeremy Morgan Reply December 4, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    From your photos it looks like you used the Accuride slides. If so, where did you guys purchase them? Those particular slides are tough to source.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      We used the slides from Lee Valley; it’s the ones with fastest shipping we could get here in Canada. Looks like they’re not branded…

      • Comment by Jeremy Morgan

        Jeremy Morgan Reply December 6, 2017 at 6:39 am

        Awesome, thanks. I didn’t even think to check LV. Have you been happy with those particular slides?

        • Comment by Antoine

          Antoine Reply December 6, 2017 at 10:00 am

          Yeah so far so good!

  6. Comment by Artur

    Artur Reply December 27, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Looks good 😉 What about the disc brake. Each time adjustment?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 27, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Removing the wheel doesn’t mess with the disc brake; no adjustment needed!

  7. Comment by Colin

    Colin Reply January 10, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for the writeup! What size mountainbike wheels are you running and do you both have dropper posts? We were hoping to have even less than 38″ vertical clearance under the bed if possible! Appreciate any tips 🙂

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply January 11, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Hi Colin,
      We have 27.5″ bikes with dropper post. You could remove the front wheel of your bike and measure the distance from the ground to your seat; that will give you the true vertical clearance you need. It’s a good idea to leave a buffer in case you change your bike or if you want to go ride with a friend with a different bike!


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