5 Cycling-Friendly Rigs at the Tampa RV Show


If you’ve followed our blog from the beginning, you know that we originally started RVing as a way to make participating in cycling events easier.  We’ve been all about getting our bikes in our RVs from the start.  In fact, the first RV review we ever filmed was driven mainly by our desire to see if we could cram some bikes into it.

A lot has changed since 2013 (and man, that makes me feel old), but one thing hasn’t – we’re still on the lookout for the perfect cycling-friendly rig for us.  It’s always in the back of our minds.  So in this video from the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, we decided to bring it to the front of our minds and deliberately set out to find cycling-friendly rigs.  We found 5.

 

So the first thing we should do is define what we consider a cycling-friendly rig to be.

  1. It should be a motorhome.  We’re not really into towing.  We tow a very small trailer sometimes now, and we don’t love it.  We don’t like having to think about our turns.  We don’t like having to check out overhead views of gas stations to plan an exit.  And Stef certainly doesn’t like the idea of having to stop and exit the vehicle to use the restroom.  And speaking of towing – while we don’t want to tow a trailer, we also don’t want to tow another vehicle, which brings us to…
  2. It should be compact.  Our cutoff is at 25 feet in length.  Anything longer becomes too much of a chore to drive, and we’re not into that.  But most importantly, if you’ve ever been to a cycling event, the parking is often times… challenging.  Trying to cram a Class A diesel pusher into a crowded cycling event parking lot is comical (in a bad way) to think about.
  3. It should have indoor bike storage.  When you’ve spent more on your bike than you did on your first car, you don’t want to be schlepping it around outside on a bouncy hitch.  Think of these bikes like children.  If you wouldn’t carry your kids there, you wouldn’t store a nice bike there.
  4. The indoor bike storage will *not* interfere with your ability to sleep or use any other feature of the motorhome.  There are a LOT of motorhomes where you could carry bikes inside.  But many of those floor plans would require you to put the bikes outside to sleep.  If you wind up spending the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot (it happens), you’re not going to leave a bike outside overnight.

But beyond those few things, we didn’t have any other requirements.  We scoured the show at Tampa, and we came up with 5 rigs.  Three of them we knew about, and two of them we didn’t.  Three of them were small Class C motorhomes, and two were Class B camper vans.  All 5 of these rigs would work as a cycling support vehicle.  But if you’re not into cycling, they would work as a gear-hauler for any other sport or pursuit really.  Inflatable kayaks.  Dog show kennels.  Climbing gear.  Whatever you’ve got that’s dear to you, these rigs will haul it, and keep it inside and safe.  The five we found were:

The Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB

After years of pestering RV manufacturers, Leisure Travel Vans were the first to address the needs of cyclists with their Wonder model.  In fact, Dean from Leisure Travel Vans even called us out in the reveal!  We’ve done a full review of the Wonder RTB before, so if you have detailed questions, you can get them answered there.  But for those new to the rig, it’s a Ford Transit based Class C motorhome with a large bike (or gear) garage in the back.  They’re well-appointed and well built by our friends at Leisure Travel Vans.  The Wonder is on the longer and wider end of this list, but the space that gives you inside is put to good use.  We think you could use a Wonder without a tow vehicle (and many do), but some parking lots you’d probably find a bit tight.

Midwest Automotive Passage

This one took us by surprise!  Midwest Automotive kind of straddles the line between being a “regular” RV manufacturer, and being a “custom” shop.  We see them at RV shows now, and they have a few standard models, but they also offer lots and lots of options.  One option we didn’t know about was a motorized loft bed!  This makes this class B a cycling friendly rig because you could put the bed down just far enough to store your bikes (or other gear), but you could then sleep on top.  Everyone – including bikes – sleeps inside.  The loft bed runs lengthwise, which is also pretty cool.  It’s even more astonishing that they got all this to fit inside a 19 foot Mercedes Sprinter chassis – with a 4×4 option – so parking it literally anywhere would be a snap.

Coachmen Cross Trek

We knew about this rig coming into the show, but we hadn’t seen one in person yet.  We were blown away!  In addition to having the largest bike garage in North America, this was also, hands down, the most affordable Cycling friendly rig at the show.  By a factor of about 2!  We’ll be doing a full review of this coach in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for it.  Briefly, the Cross Trek is an extremely affordable, Class C motorhome built on the Ford Transit chassis.  It has an enormous garage in the back, and over eighteen hundred pounds of carrying capacity – so you can actually fill that garage.  If you’re a cyclist who RVs, put this one on your short list.

Tiffin Wayfarer 25 LW

Tiffin is more well known for their larger coaches.  Since we like to RV small, we haven’t paid them much attention.  Until now.  While it was the largest RV on our list, the Wayfarer made the cut because of its large, pass-through gear garage in the back.  Their brochures show bikes in that garage, so they’re clearly looking at the cycling and RVing market.  AND… I don’t know if I’m remembering this right or not, and I think I see it in the video, but I’d almost swear that there was an air compressor chuck in the garage.  Check out the video and tell me if I’m seeing that right.  And this rig may have been the largest, but it was also certainly the most posh of the bunch – clearly a carry-over from Tiffin’s work on the larger coaches.  After checking the source video, the cargo carrying capacity on this one is around 900 pounds.

The Winnebago Revel

We feel a special affinity for the Revel, since we were the default discussion board for Revel wannabes when the whole thing was jut a concept vehicle.  Winnebago has been making the Revel for a couple years now, and people have hauled everything you can imagine in that large cargo area.  This includes bikes, of course, and hence you see it on our list.  The Revel is also built on the 19 foot Sprinter chassis, and they’re all 4×4, so it’s got the maneuverability down.  The loft bed in this one runs cross-coach.  That makes the sleeping with the elevated bed a bit more challenging (bring extra pillows), but it also means you get more room in the rest of the coach when you’re not sleeping.  We’ve done a full review of the Revel before, so if you want more information head over there, or check out the updates for the 2020 model year in our other video.

 

So there you have it.  Those are the 5 compact gear-haulers we found at the Tampa RV show.  We know there are others in North America, like the Safari Condo Flex (which we’ve also reviewed), but they weren’t at the show so we couldn’t include them.

Was there something at the show we missed?  Do you own one of these rigs and use it for bike hauling?  Sound off in the comments below!



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    25 thoughts on “5 Cycling-Friendly Rigs at the Tampa RV Show

    1. Scott S.

      Excellent review! I’ve been looking for a bike friendly B+ since my $8k road bike was stolen off the front of my old Chinook.. while I was in the van! I’m going to check out the Coachman Cross Trek but I’m also considering the Gulf Stream BT Cruiser 5210 because it’s the shortest self-contained B+ I can find on the market. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have under bed or pass thru storage for a bike. Do you have any tips on how to securely lock up a bike on the back or top of the vehicle to deter theft? Or should I just take it off the bike rack and lock it up inside the vehicle every time I walk away from the van or go to bed at night? Ugh. Thanks!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Bummer about your bike!!!
        Besides just locking it up with heavy chains, we don’t have any great suggestions.
        We either lock our bikes inside the van, or inside our trailer. We don’t leave them visible or exposed.

        Reply
    2. George Hanson

      I’m looking at a picture of the 2019 Tiffin Wayfarer 25QW OCCC placard that was posted in the coach. In that coach, the OCCC was listed as 672 lbs. The 25LW may well be 900 pounds as stated. HOWEVER, the figure in the 25QW does NOT include water and passengers. Once loaded with water, 315 lbs, and passengers, for most of us about 360 lbs, would leave storage weight available of approximately 300 lbs or so. That is not much. The Wayfarer 25QW has a net carrying capacity of -3 lbs. Yes, that’s right, a negative net carrying capacity. Otherwise, the coach is very interesting!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        We can’t speak to the QW floor plan because we did not look at it.
        The 900 pounds is about right for the one we show.

        Being overweight (or close to it) is a common theme among the “bigger” floor plans we see on the Mercedes Sprinter. The manufacturers don’t seem to know when to stop adding stuff to them.

        Reply
    3. Lise Duquette

      Excellent review and good timing as we are looking for a Cycling Friendly Class B+. Would it be possible to provide the UVW (unloaded weight) even if appproximate (as it varies depening on options) of the LTV Wonder RTB and Tiffin Wayfarer LW.

      It is nice to have a large garage but the question is how much capacity is there left for sport equipment (2 bikes, 2 golf clubs), fresh water, LP gas, passengers.

      We saw the LTV Wonder RTB at the Toronto RV show. We’ll need to go the United States to see the Tiffin Wayfarer LW. It is very difficult to obtain accurate and concise information about weights from manufacturers or retailers.

      A future topic for a blog could be an analysis of the options to trade off to gain capacity for bike equipment. How much can be saved by removing levelers (160 pounds), tv (22 pounds), lithium vs lead acid batteries (? pounds), LP vs diesel generators (205 pounds vs 172 pounds). Your input would be appreciated.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I wouldn’t hazard a guess at the weights.
        I do remember that the Tiffin had a cargo carrying capacity of around 900 pounds. I remember that because the number surprised me… I thought it would be less.
        If you’re looking for a cycling friendly rig, you may want to check out the review we’ll be posting later today!

        Reply
    4. Tim Woody

      One you missed, maybe they didn’t have one at the show. Coachmen Freelander 22xg. The added benefit is the door is a great emergency exi, since it’s by the bed.

      Reply
    5. David

      Nice overview. 5 is a start. How many years have you been advocating for a bike garage? I see that Leisure is going with a revised Transit in the RTB floorplan with a 3.5 liter twin turbo gas engine at 310 hp and 400 ft-lbs of torque and AWD in the 4th quarter this year. Another option will be a 2000 watt inverter with 2 AGM group 31 batteries. Do you think Winnebago is working on a unit using the redesigned gas Transit chassis with a 11,000 lb GVWR? The Promaster is maxed out and can’t compete and there are few gas chassis available.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        We’ve been asking for a bike garage since basically forever.
        As to Winnebago’s plans for the updated Ford Transit, we really can’t say. It’s an interesting and tempting platform.
        (My biggest beef with the Transit was always the non-rotating driver’s seat that’s too close to the center console, but they seem to have fixed that.)

        Reply
    6. Cameron

      This is a self-build that has me inspired. It starts with a cutaway cargo van like a U-Hual, adds 4X4. The bodies feature square walls and corners and have proven very durable.
      They are available in Chevy, Ford E Series and Transit and Promaster. The E-Series can be easily converted into 4X4. The boxes are available in 10’,12’14’ both single and dual rear tires. Superior Truck Body will also do custom builds with non-standard rear doors as well.
      Check them out:
      https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/e350-10ft-box-van.198271/
      https://supreme.worktrucksolutions.com/Cutaway_Van?filters=Area:Zip:94558;Miles:All
      https://youtu.be/8OISONcc7YQ

      Reply
    7. Tom Henkler

      Awesome rundown of what’s available. The wonder is a great rig and probably my favorite but like all smaller RVs there are compromises.

      I’m 6’5″ and the Wonder kinda stretches it saying interior height of 6’5″. I would love to see LTV use some of that new Tranist weight capacity invested in an inch or two for the interior. (I can’t be the only tall RVer)

      The Tiffin looks very nice but I suspect like the sister models it is low on cargo capacity.

      The Cross Trek is interesting but lacksvvthe finish of the Wonder & Tiffin.

      The two B’S are not on my radar.

      Love to see you review both the Tiffin and Cross Trek.

      Nice work.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Cargo capacity on the Tiffin was around 900 pounds.

        We do plan to review the Cross Trek (we’ve already captured the video).
        Don’t have plans on the Tiffin, but you never know…

        Reply
    8. Ted

      One of these days I hope you get around to looking over “Outside Van” from Portland Oregon.

      https://www.outsidevan.com/

      These guys seem to focus “Only” on transporting bikes internally to the point of omitting other niceties like a bathroom. I’d classify them as “Bike Transports”, RV optional. A few years ago we laughed at their “nose bleed” prices… but now everybody seems to have caught up with them.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        It’s always tough to review something from the custom shops. They don’t ever make “stock” units. Everything they make is built for a particular client.
        Advanced RV at least builds stock units from time to time.
        Even so, I wouldn’t mind taking a look at Outside Van someday.

        Reply
    9. Tim Woody

      Loved the quick rundown. The thing that disappointed me about most of the units is that I don’t believe that many of them would accommodate my Catrike because of its 32” track width. Because of neck problems I cannot ride a conventional diamond frame bike.

      Reply
      1. PC

        I have the Midwestern Legend on the ProMaster chassis with the drop down bed. The width between the two rear bench seats is 33″, not sure if the Sprinter would be the same though. They are also making this layout on the Ford Transit this year.

        Reply
        1. PC

          I’ve included a link that shows my 26″ mountain bike under the loft bed while it is down. The wheels are laying on top without tires at the moment, but would still fit. The garage space with bed down is 72″Lx33W”x21″H. You could also put another bike, sans the front wheel, toward the front of the cab and still have access to the bathroom and squeeze by to get out the side door. It may be possible to fit two bikes under the bed if you removed the pedals and stored the wheels at the front of cab. As you can see in the photo, the loft bed option does remove overhead storage and leaves only cubby holes. There is some limited storage under the benches where I keep hoses, electrical cord, and some miscellaneous stuff. I don’t think the limited storage in this layout would be too much of a problem for one person but would need more consideration for two.
          https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPKTIo8ghasdzhA5ARMpBEsz4amp5GDOUl60AI9tiPsh_dQrHCnR5_9m8EHJ9JqUw/photo/AF1QipOzfHx2jhJtE_uMYY6rJkK_aZ-n–uSNlDjsivg?key=YWlMOUNSUG5GMHlYMUk1d1BobGNFeWlnZUR6UDNB

    10. t. harrigan

      What’s the OCCC of the Tiffin? What I’ve heard stock, it’s negative. Of course I like the Pleasure-way Lexor FL. Stef has a pic of how to store two bikes without affecting access to the rig other than the front seats.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Cargo capacity: I just listened to the original audio of that clip, and as I was walking away from the door, it sounds like I’m muttering “978 pounds”.
        I do remember it being more than I thought it would be, so 900 pounds-ish sounds about right.

        Reply

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