Building a pull-out bike rack

March 7, 2019

I really like mountain-biking. I’ve already crossed the Alps multiple times with my mountain-bike before moving into a van in 2017.

Mountain-bike trip at the Umbrail Pass

I took the mountain-bike on my first van trip through Europe and northern Africa where I enjoyed awesome rides in Italy near Lake Garda,

Mountain-bike trip at Lake Garda

in Asturias, Spain,

Mountain-bike trip in Asturias

and at the Atlas mountain range in Morocco.

Mountain-bike trip at the Atlas

Developing the concept

After more than 10 years, my bike is still in good condition because I’ve always stored it indoors to protect it from the weather. The bathroom of my previous van was the only place where I could store the mountain-bike. Besides not being able to use the bathroom, it was a pain in the ass to get the bike out of the van. Each time I wanted to go for a ride, I had to remove all the chairs, boxes and the table to finally pull out the bike. :-1:

Pulling the mountain-bike out of the bathroom

I wanted to have a dedicated storage area inside the van that would allow me to easily access the bike in a few seconds. Space is very limited in my Mercedes 508D, so I decided to build a horizontal pull-out rack right under the bed. Together with Alois, the farm’s cat, I sketched out a rough plan.

Alois the cat in my van

Building the rack

Before cutting the beams, I piled up some big bars to figure out the perfect height of the rack.

Prototype of the rack

I installed the rack about 40cm above the floor to provide as much storage for other stuff as possible.

Mounted rack

I mounted the rack on 700mm heavy duty gliding rails to ensure easy access.

Pulled-out rack

The rails are designed for 30kg which seems good enough for my 16kg mountain-bike.

Testing the rack

I’m quite happy with the outcome of my little project. When the rack is pulled out, I can easily put the bike on top of it.

Bike on the pullout rack

When pushing the rack back into the van the bike smoothly slides right under the bed construction,

Pushing the bike rack into the van

until it reaches its final position in which the doors can be closed.

Bike store under the bed in the van

Here’s a video of the bike rack in action: