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  1. #1
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    Perfect MTB Truck/SUV

    I'm looking for advice on how SUV and truck owners specifically have their vehicles setup for bike hauling, and if anyone has a perfect year/model to recommend.

    I'm in the market for a new vehicle, and the primary consideration for it is to haul bikes. I also need it to be a 4x4 or AWD, have enough cab/interior space for my wife and dog(s), be able to keep a decent amount of gear out of the weather, and is also capable of hauling deer carcasses and firewood. For that reason, I'm looking primarily at crew cab/extended cab trucks, and some SUVs.

    My previous vehicle is a 2006 Escape with a Thule roof Rack system, and my only bike complaint is that the only way to haul my DH bike with it was to remove the front thru axle wheel and transport it inside with the rear seats down. Other than the vehicle being a mechanical piece of crap and requiring laying down tarps to haul deer, it worked fine logisitically.

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
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    New or used? Price range? Toyota Tacoma double cabs are nice, as are the Honda Ridgelines- they appear similar, but are very different mechanically. Both beds are pretty short, but can haul a bunch of bikes (or carcasses).

  3. #3
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    So many different options for trucks and suv's. I've been lucky to have driven company vehicles for almost 20 years (switching every couple years on leases) and have tried most American makes and models of trucks and suv's. I personally prefer trucks for hauling bikes. My current ride is a Chevy Silverado. As for which one is best, it really comes down to your preference. Can't really go that wrong with all the newer vehicles now. Just find one that you like the look of and within your budget.

  4. #4
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    I swear by Suburbans; hope to have one as long as they keep making them. 5 bikes and 5 people plus gear inside, no sweat. Fits full sheets of plywood flat with the rear seats folded, can comfortably sleep a couple people and a dog. I keep the third seat in my shed and just keep the back tarped (and half full of bikes, tools, and random ride detritus). One thing I do like about SUVs is that I feel more secure leaving stuff locked in them than I would a P/U with a cap. Plus you keep everything nice and dry and happy on cold wet drives. Not exactly fuel sippers, but comparable to other large 4x4 vehicles.

    I had a 99 that I kept for ~200k, and now I've got a an '05 Z71 with around 150k on it, have had really good luck with both mechanically. I got each with around 40k on them, for less than 1/2 the MSRP (pro tip - wait for a spike in gas prices to shop.)

    My wife has a 2010 Ram 1500 Sport with the quad cab. Thing about the big cabs is a lot of the time their paired with short beds - I can put a couch in the 'burban and close the gate, but the thing would be hanging out the back of the Dodge.
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  5. #5
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    I recently bought a 2003 Lexus GX 470 I didn't want something to big and unnecessary (LX/GL/LandCruiser/QX56 etc.) and definitely did not want a dinky small suv, to me their pointless. So I went in the middle. Something that can still tackle all the off road stuff. Reasonably priced, fantastic reliability, tons of space, optional 3rd row, and great luxury. It was a no brainer.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like what you really want is a minivan . Best beater I ever had was an 89 dodge caravan which I kept for 12 years. Sit lower to the ground than a SUV so the dogs had an easy time getting in and out of it and bike fit standing up with both front and back wheels on. My friends with SUVs borrowed my van to haul stuff, somewhat because I didn't give a crap if the van got damage/dirty but also because it had more room and was easier to load. Anyway SUVs are soccer mom cars now. All the cool people drive minivans and station wagons.

  7. #7
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    I guess this is the thread where everyone goes off about their own ride.

    My suggestion wouldn't be considered an "SUV" but a crossover--Honda Element. Good MPG, cheap maintenance, AWD, good interior room for you, wife and dogs, plus gear. Easily haul deer or other living or dead things. I don't have one, as I have a bigger family and need more space, but for your uses, it seems it would fit. It has a fairly high roof line, so storing bikes inside usually not an issue, even with the seat post extended.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudforlunch View Post
    I'm in the market for a new vehicle, and the primary consideration for it is to haul bikes. I also need it to be a 4x4 or AWD, have enough cab/interior space for my wife and dog(s), be able to keep a decent amount of gear out of the weather, and is also capable of hauling deer carcasses and firewood. For that reason, I'm looking primarily at crew cab/extended cab trucks, and some SUVs.
    Define this one part a bit better for me........Firewood. How much do you plan on hauling? Heat your house amounts or have a campfire here or there? It makes all the difference in the world.

    If the former, 8 foot bed trucks are the way to go. If the latter, I'd still go truck over suv, you can add a toolbox for dry storage when needed and pull it if you don't. I heat my house with firewood as a primary heat source. Had a shortbed truck, and it just didn't work. Even for bikes the 8 foot bed is better, you can have a toolbox and still close the gate with the bikes in. Deer, firewood, plywood, bikes, you just can't beat the versatility of a truck.

    Personally, I have a 13 F350 crewcab longbed. Way overkill for bikes, but I have other uses that require it. It can seat 6, haul at least 5 bikes but you could jam a 6th somewhere. Can haul 4 or 5 people plus gear comfortably. I have a giant 27" weather guard toolbox for excess dry storage that I use on an as needed basis, but a box that big isn't for everyone and there are plenty of narrower boxes. Right now I have a Delta stableload bar in it for bikes because it allows for flexibility of toolbox in or out use, where a pipline style rack would not. Far as security of bikes goes, I have a 30 foot kryptonite cable that I pull through all the bikes and wheels if we are going to stop for lunch somewhere. It's not the best thing, and will only keep honset people honest, but thats all SUV windows do too in reality.

  9. #9
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    Agree if you're gonna move a good amount of wood or dirt/mulch etc, you're better off with a p/u than an SUV if you've gotta choose between them. Luckily I've got one of each; I find we almost invariably go with the SUV for any sort road trip. Even when we take go snowmobiling or dirt biking, I'd rather just haul a trailer than load everything into the back of a p/u.

    I had a couple mini-vans in the past and loved them for biking trips. I got spoiled with all the room; I was actually looking for an AWD Honda when I ended up buying my first Suburban. The really big SUVs are the only ones that have the same sort of room as minivans do.

    I've done shuttle runs at Sunday River in an F350 single cab where we've put as many as 12 people and 12 bikes in the truck and took it for some pretty rugged fire road climbs. Used to put 10 and 10 in my buddy's F150 all the time too. That's one thing you can't pull off with an SUV or minivan.

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  10. #10
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    Diesel crew cab long bed only way to do it. Not jacked to the sky either just factory 4x4 height all you need. Plus makes you feel better when you park next to the tacoma driving specialized rider and give em the old "cute hybrid, pretty ride". Let em figure out which one is which.

  11. #11
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    Perfect MTB Truck/SUV

    What u really need is a full size diesel van

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Dawg Catcher View Post
    Diesel crew cab long bed only way to do it. Not jacked to the sky either just factory 4x4 height all you need. Plus makes you feel better when you park next to the tacoma driving specialized rider and give em the old "cute hybrid, pretty ride". Let em figure out which one is which.
    Oh, so that was you? Did you figure out my "what are you overcompensating for" was referring to?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuxdiesel View Post
    Oh, so that was you? Did you figure out my "what are you overcompensating for" was referring to?
    C'mon - leave the guy alone. He obviously spent a lot of time and money in his quest to find the ultimate vehicle for impressing strange spandex clad dudes in parking lots. As if the Calvin pissing sticker wasn't enough.

    Take that away, all your left with is the old marketing victim 'the sticker on my bike makes me better than people with a different sticker on their bike' schtick. Let a fella dream.
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  14. #14
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    Haha I love it, if having a factory height 4x4 truck is compensating now, jeez guess all the mexicans with the lowered trucks must be the norm now. hahahah

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Dawg Catcher View Post
    Haha I love it, if having a factory height 4x4 truck is compensating now, jeez guess all the mexicans with the lowered trucks must be the norm now. hahahah
    It's only compensating if it 'makes you feel better' than people with different vehicles.

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  16. #16
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    i'll second the CC LB diesel truck recommendation. we've had a bunch of different vehicles and our 99 F350 is by far our favorite.

    super comfy, hauls butt, hauls all your toys, super long range, very acceptable gas millage given how large and powerful it is.

    we have a 4" lift and 35's, and we do use it offroad several times a year. its big enough to handle crap, but not stupid.

    and yes, my truck does make me feel a lot better than most other vehicles. its a lot of fun to drive.

    downsides: no uturns, can be tough to park.
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  17. #17
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    I guess Im guilty of that, for some reason I feel a lot better watching others with smaller trucks try to cram all the gear in the bed of the truck. I think to myself I could fit that all in the back of my cab and still have room to sit two people. hahaha seriously though if you are looking for something to haul your gear camping biking what have you, get the biggest possible truck you can afford and then go a step bigger, trust me when you think you have enough room you dont.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Dawg Catcher View Post
    I guess Im guilty of that, for some reason I feel a lot better watching others with smaller trucks try to cram all the gear in the bed of the truck.
    I guess I'm guilty of the same whenever I see somebody on the highway with a truck bed full of gear in a driving rain/snow storm (of course, a cap would address that too.)

    Agree on going big as possible - I stuff mine to the gills on a pretty regular basis.
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  19. #19
    i like rocks
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    no cap on ours, but if things need to stay dry they go in the toolbox or in action packer tubs, or we can put the thule box on the rails that go across the bed.

    so yeah... as long as we aren't talking about parallel parking downtown or u-turns... can't beat the full size truck.
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  20. #20
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    I'm looking forward to checking out the new 2015 Colorado/Canyon trucks. It's plenty of truck for my needs. (I'm usually only hauling my self and sometimes one other person and 1-2 bikes.) I also really like the looks of the new Ford Transit Connect van. No AWD, though--just front.

    My ideal next vehicle will feature 30+ mpg hwy, 20+ city, room for 2 people, their bikes with wheels on, and their gear. AND have as small a footprint as possible while still meeting those requirements, for maneuverability, and easy parking and fit in my garage. The Transit Connect is currently my top choice but I want to give the Colorado/Canyon a look, and see what other companies might come up with to compete with these vehicles...

  21. #21
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    I had a 2005 colorado before going full size. the truck was nice parked great but i always needed more room.

  22. #22
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    Yeah, I have a 2008 Colorado and it has plenty of room for me. I'd rather buy as small a truck as I can make work than as big a one as I can afford--just makes more sense for my needs.

  23. #23
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    Hemi getting 18+ MPG w/ 8 speed trans.

    Price tage was a little steep. $55K but it's awesome.



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  24. #24
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    We have decided to downsize even further from the Tacoma to a Mazda CX-5. Picking it up this week. Bikes on the back, a pod on top and upper 20's MPG. I felt guilty for driving a truck that got 18 MPG to haul around a bike or two and only towed a trailer 2-3x per year. I could care less what people who drive monster vehicles as commuter cars think, and the $1000 savings per year in gas and insurance will be a healthy addition to my daughter's college fund.

  25. #25
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    whatever...

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