How to transport your mountain bike in a van?

With a much larger load space than cars, vans tend to be the go to vehicle for mountain bikers. They offer not only a place to put the bikes, but somewhere to change, shelter from the elements, or even sleep if you’re on a longer biking adventure. But, just how do you transport your mountain bike in a van?

Well there’s oodles of room in the back of a van, so you can just sling it in right? Yes, you most certainly could do that, but the more room there is, the more the bike or bikes can move around as you drive. Whilst all bikes will pick up some battle scars along the way, you’d much prefer those came from riding than sliding around the back of your van so it’s a much better idea to secure them in place somehow.

But how to secure a bike in a van?

Most vans will come with some form of tie down points in the floor or pillars of the van which can be really useful for attaching bungy cords or straps to, but as they tend to be low down they don’t necessarily provide a great solution for securing your bike in transit. So what other options are there?

Cargo Rails

Cargo Rails, or L-Track, like our flush and surface mounted rails are available in a variety of lengths and can be fitted to the side panels, floor and even some van bulkheads. They’re a great way of adding extra tie down points, particularly when combined with clip in single studs and bungy cords or straps. These rails work best when fitted to the substructure of the van so you can secure the straps really tightly to them without fear that the rails will pull away from the ply lining or floor.

Rails on the side of the van are a great low-cost option for transporting one or two mountain bikes, one strapped on each side but what if you’ve got more than 2 bikes?

Loaded Bikes Removable Threshold Rails 04
Loaded Bikes Surface Mounted Rail with clip in stud 1

Internal Bike Rack

An internal bike rack, like our fixed bike rack has wheel chocks to hold the front or rear wheel of each bike and extra tie down points to strap the bikes to. The bonus of this rack is that it can support three bikes spaced well apart from one another. The bike rack works with the existing tie down points at the front of the load bay too, so you don’t need to drill in to the van to install it. As a result it can be taken in and out really easily if you don’t need to use it all the time.

No bulkhead? No problem. This bike rack can be used in vans with or without a bulkhead.

The more bikes you need to transport, the trickier it gets to accommodate them all without them touching. So how do you do that without having to wedge lots of padding between the frames?

Loaded Bikes Transit Custom Bike Rack 2 1
Loaded Bikes Besopke Bike Rack 04

Thru-Axle Fork Mount

Whilst a thru-axle fork mount isn’t as faff free as wheeling your whole bike in to the back of the van, they are a great way of securing multiple mountain bikes in place and our fork mount offers the most versatility for doing just that. These are also a great option for smaller vans or Kombi/Crew Cab vans where the load bay isn’t deep enough to transport a fully assembled bike.

Fork mounts are most commonly used at the threshold of a van, with the bikes all lined up and our fork mount works great in that location. It’s not a permanent fixture either as it’s been designed to be completely removable, fixing in to any of our rail systems plus a few third party brands, so you can fit a fork mount and bike anywhere along the rails, in any orientation.

The fork mount’s built in off-set makes it really easy to position bikes very close together whilst still not touching. The rotational increments allow for further refinement to avoid clashing of handlebars and brake levers.

But the threshold isn’t your only option. Remember those cargo rails we mentioned earlier?

Loaded Bikes Removable Threshold Rail
Loaded Bikes Fork Mount 04
loaded bike cargo rail system the ply guys

Well, if you have those fitted to the side panels, with our fork mount you can attach your bikes width ways across the van too which is a great way to take up a minimal amount of space in the load bay, leaving the rest of the area free for say a bench/bed system if you’re away riding for more than just a day.

But what if you’ve loaded your van up for a big weekend biking adventure and you’re still finding yourself pushed for space?

You may need to take the rear wheel off too but you don’t want to risk damaging the rear mech or hanger. Our Rear Axle Support is the perfect height to hold the rear end of the bike, keeping those more vulnerable parts of the drivetrain out of harm’s way. Combined with a fork mount this is a really compact and secure way to transport a bike in a van when space is at a premium.

So, whether you have a small van, like a VW Caddy or Ford Connect, a second row of passenger seats, a SWB or LWB panel van or camper van we have a solution for transporting your mountain bikes.

Retrofit Threshold Rail and Loaded Bikes Fork Mount fitted to VW Transporter T6 Kombi