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Old 11-21-2022, 11:26 PM   #1
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Default Bikes Hanging inside a ERA 170x?

Started looking for a class B, and one constraint is getting our e-bikes inside. No standard offering seems to works, but I wanted to consider a used class B before going full custom (e.g. sportsmobile). Our bikes are big (mine is fat tire MTB 80' long and 50" high with the wheel on, 64/36 wheel off); her's is smaller. One disadvantage of my custom design it will only have 2 seats; okay for us but not great if we want to take some family along on day trips to their nearby beach when we visit them. And, of course, full custom new takes more $$ and a big depreciation hit.

Looking at what is available nearby used, I found a 2016 Winni ETA 170x with under 40K miles. That model has 4 captain chairs in the front, the second row is easily removed.

Any feedback/experience on the idea of removing the second row, and the associated overhead cabinet along the driver's side (they sold a version with a large wardrobe there so it has to be reasonably removable) then putting some vertical bike mount hooks along the wall there and mounting the bikes in there. I'd make a custom mount that clamps where the seat did to hold the bottom wheel as well to make them stable while driving. Picture attached. I probably have to take the front wheel off mine to keep it reasonable in terms of headroom and thus may need a fork mount on the wall would probably be more stable (but also more of a pain to use).

Here is a rough idea of what it would do, take out the chair/cabnet were the magenta lines are and hang bikes there.


Unlike some of the other ideas I've been generating, I think this mod would be straightforward to do, and to reverse. But a little concerned about the reliability as RVinsider ratings for that year/model are not great (2.8 on quality). But I presume that much of that is stuff that would have been corrected by now. Does anyone have comments on 2016 ERA reliability?
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Old 11-22-2022, 12:36 AM   #2
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How much to those bikes weigh? Might be tough to get up to a hanger and they will be hard to stabilize, I think.


Building a solid cabinet, bolted to the floor, might be a better solution than trying to find solid mountings to keep them from moving around or killing you in crash. A welded angle iron framework could be made quite strong with a front wheel quick release mount like is used on roof racks with wheel off. Two U hooks over the rear wheel on the ground probably.
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Old 11-22-2022, 01:23 AM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. I guess I should have commented that the example shown would not be sturdy enough. My ebike is beast at 85lbs, hers maybe 40. Will be fun getting them up there (which maybe a limiting factor.. I can test getting them up in garage before I bother checking the van.) But the wall mounts are not holding up all that weight.

A wheel holder bolted to the floor (the chair mount plate) was part of what I mentioned I would be doing. it will be doing most of the holding -- the bikes will not really hang on the wall, just be stabilized there. Looking at the expected measurements, I Might have to do a board along the wall if the mounts don't line up well in terms of the window.

I've built carriers for inside my minivan (horizontal of course) and travel 1000s with them so I know I can make bikes stable. However, building a cabinet might be a good way to make it look better (if DW requires that), but would cut into visibility.
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Old 11-22-2022, 01:12 PM   #4
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Iím not sure Iíd worry about the quality rating. I have a 2018 Era A and have only have a couple of trivial issues. I suspect issues on this one would have been found and dealt with. You might want to check to see if the Bluetech DEF recall was done. Itís too late to get paid as part of the settlement and Iím not sure if there are any ramifications if it is never done. I donít think there are.

Regarding cabinet removal, in my year they are frame constructed in place, not preassembled cabinets. It should come out okay but probably wonít go back in so easily in case you thought to do that for resale.
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Old 11-23-2022, 05:30 PM   #5
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Leave the seats alone and use a rack on the trailer hitch for the ebikes. Then you do not have to remove the secondary seats, as they can be very heavy.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:11 PM   #6
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We pulled out both secondary forward-facing seats in our Airstream Interstate Lounge. It wasn't particularly difficult, though it did take some work and we now store the seats in our garage. One additional thing we did was to pick up some matching stainless steel bolts with rounded heads and big flat washers which hold the captive nuts in place in the floor in case we need them for re-installation of the seats, and don't offer a tripping hazard. We love the extra room we got by doing this. Caveat: we bought our van gently used, in the two years we've had it, nobody has ridden in the van except for the two of us and our dog. In retrospect, we probably should have bought a van without that second row, but we're making it work.

Now, as to putting bicycles there? I doubt we'd be able to do that, as the overhead cabinets above that space would be in the way, and placing them left to right across the van behind our seats isn't an option because that would block everything up. So, the bikes still go in the rack we mount into the hitch receiver on the back of the van.
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Old 11-27-2022, 06:32 PM   #7
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We carried our e-bikes in a Letsgoaero cargo carrier with the front wheels removed. Worked great, secure, out of sight and weather protected. We were able to also have camp chairs, and other outdoor stuff in the cargo carrier. Our current custom van has raised full time bed with a garage and gear slide that holds the e-bikes under the bed. I sold the carrier but it was perfect for last two vans and it was well traveled through both North and South America. We didn’t take bikes to South America but used it for gear storage there.

https://letsgoaero.com/gearspace-car...er-light-gray/
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Old 11-27-2022, 08:20 PM   #8
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Key difference between a nice cargo carrier like that one and our bike rack is that if our bikes aren't on the van, our rack can be folded up. It's also lighter and easier to remove / remount. Downside is that our bikes are not protected from the weather, which can at times be pretty annoying.
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Old 11-27-2022, 10:15 PM   #9
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I had a Let's Go Aero with my first van. $3,089? Wow, they've gone up in price drastically. I paid about $700. The problem is the bikes are not stored inside as the author wants and they are the farthest out of any cargo carrier I know. If I needed to carry two bikes I would opt for an extended van, store inside and keep the overall dimension a bit shorter. There are many designs including vans under 20 ft. in length that can carry bicycles under the hiked up bed. Those solutions are popular with the so called "adventure" vans seemingly marketed to a younger active crowd. My solution with a short van was vertical adjustable shelves and folding bikes. I have the folding bikes but my biking days I'm afraid are long over. I have Biden's disease with my balance. I mostly hike and walk now. The shelving is versatile and holds more than I could store with my three longer previous vans.
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Old 11-28-2022, 01:34 AM   #10
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Thanks to all those that replied.. Yes the "adventure" vans are close to what I would do in custom, just not a brand name. I've also been looking at an an older twin-bed model and raising the bed like in the adventure vans but with 2 high twins not a high-queen like the revel or safari condo.

The let-go-area might work though it would be quite difficult to get the 85lb bike up there. I've done some testing on what I imagine would be getting into the 170x front to get the bike up the step and then up into a hanging position. I can do it now, though it's tough to do, so not a direction I would keep pursuing. Would be easy with a street bike or a 20lb mountain bike but not my 85lb fat-tire mid-drive mountain e-bike.
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