Van Vs. Pick Up | What’s The Ultimate Mountain Biker’s Vehicle?

Van Vs. Pick Up | What’s The Ultimate Mountain Biker’s Vehicle?


(upbeat music) (whistling) – [Narrator] A versatile
MPV and a pickup are both high on the wish lists for
many of us as a vehicle for the mountain biking life. But which is the ultimate
mountain biker’s vehicle? (whistling) (doors closing) – Neil, right, do you know what? I find it really hard to find the correct vehicle to cater for my mountain biking life. – I think riding a bike
has a big influence on what vehicle you choose. It’s also got to work for normal life, kids, other sports even. So with the help of Mercedes, we put two popular vehicles
head to head, trying to find the ultimate
mountain biker’s vehicle. (rock music) – So why would you choose
a pickup over a van? Well, for me, I’m a outdoors kind of guy. I love biking, I love the woodlands. Now the best thing about this
vehicle is it’s utilitarian. (rock music) – [Neil] Although a pickup
has that rugged cool, it’s not necessary that
practical as a day to day vehicle for, say, a rider with the family, which is where MPVs come in. Combining the practicality of a family car with the flexibility of a van, they can do most things riders would ask of them. That’s the theory anyway. – [Blake] So, Neil and I have
borrowed an example of each from Mercedes-Benz: a pickup and an MPV. So we’re going to put
them through a sequence of really rigorous challenges
to find out which one is best. – This is the Mercedes V
class; their popular MPV. – My vehicle of choice
is a Mercedes X class; it’s the pickup. – From afar, it looks like
a van but the closer you get the more you see a very classy car with a premium interior, it’s
very flexible and modular. (rock music) – Okay, this is not an
ordinary farm pickup truck, one that gets mud plugged
all day carrying cows. No, at the end of the
day, this thing is still a Mercedes-Benz and it is
plush through and through. Dashboard looks like
something out of space age, it’s beautiful. (beep) – [Neil] All right, enough Blake, how easy is it to get your bikes into? (trumpet music) – Now the best thing about
this thing is instead of chucking your dirty
mountain bike in the back of a nice, clean van,
you can just chuck it in the trunk there and
it gets a free wash when a rainy day like this. Nice, you just flip the
heaters on and you’re warm! It is as simple as A-B-C
1-2-3 loading your bikes up into the back of the pickup. You simply lift up your
bike, place it in the back, and strap it up with the straps provided with the tailgate pad,
and away you go, easy. – [Neil] So you could, as
with any vehicle I suppose, stick a tow bar on or a
rear-mounted bike rack, but personally, I’d rather
keep my pride and joy inside the vehicle and
use this like a minivan. Uh, yes, our bikes are
a bit dirty, it’s been very wet this week here in, uh, Portugal. So in this case, I’ve
removed the back row seats. There’s loads of different
ways of securing your bike into the back of a van. Normally I’ll strap it to the side, but in this case because we left the second row of seats
in, we just took out the front wheels and then
strapped them in moto style. One strap on either
side of the handlebars, and one on the back wheel. It literally takes less than a minute, the bikes are super secure,
they’re not going to roll around in the back of the van
and damage each other. In an MPV, you can carry
bikes however you choose, inside, on a rear or
tow hitch mounted rack, or on a roof rack. And with modular seating,
you can configure them in pretty much any way you wish. – [Blake] It’s super,
super easy just to chuck your dirty bike into
the back of the pickup. It makes packing up post
ride simple and hassle-free. Using the tailgate protector is a must to keep both your pickup and
bikes in pristine condition. Plus, it’s super easy
to wash down afterwards. Look at this endless
amount of room in the rear. Now this is a five seater
so that means you can bring four mates along with you
with five bikes in the back. How good is that? A lot of room. Or, if you want a little more room, leave one of your mates
in back so you can have two in the back here, they
can have a lot more room, and you can put your helmets
there and it all gravy, baby. Just pump in the tunes
and the bikes in the back, it just looks mountain bike. Now let’s go to the back
to see all those bikes. Okay, now the back with all your mates and all the bikes, well,
you can fit five bikes in here quite comfortably
and snug as well. But I haven’t got five, or four friends I’ve only got myself
and Neil, so you can fit two bikes in quite comfortably. And right here – look
at this – all this dirt is dripping outside, not inside your lovely little van,
whereas this super easy. Now though the one thing is,
Neil’s probably going to go “I can get changed in the
van when it’s raining, I can get in the van and
get changed, nice and warm.” Well, we don’t have that option right now. Just got to man up and do it outside. But you can chuck all
your dirty gear in there and then just jet wash that
clean, easy, look at that! And it looks mountain bike. That, to me, is mountain bike. – So this vehicle comes with eight seats now I’ve got five with space in the back. I can put two bikes, bike bags, water. I reckon I could fit five
bikes and kit in this car. But I think if I leave all eight seats in, if I take the wheels out of the bikes, I could probably get two bikes in as well. So you’ve all this space
in the back for bikes, boards, anything you
want, plus you’ve got room for kits or mates if
you’ve got any of those. And check out the interior
– this is very posh. It’s a bit like a Mercedes
car, not like any old van. And, it’s very comfy, so I win that one. (upbeat music) – Versatility means that
with an MPV, you can do the school run during
the week, then easily load up your bike and buddies, bikes and gear on the weekend. Happily taking up to five
people and bikes inside. Being able to take out all the rear seats also means you can use it just
like a van when you need to. – [Blake] You can get pickups
in a crew cab or single cab. Crew cabs can carry up
to five people and bikes. A single cab is limited to just two people but still has a capacity
to take five bikes. So for more versatility,
I would say go for the crew cab pickup. – What if we want to go to
the cafe after the ride? – Well – You’re going to need a lock. – Ah, yeah, about that. That’s an issue, Neil, that’s an issue. Go ahead- hey, hang on! (rock music) – [Neil] It’s a good thing about
vans, leaving bikes in vans isn’t the safest, but it’s
still a bit more secure than the back of a pickup truck. If you carry your bikes inside
an MPV, your pride and joy will be far less noticeable to randoms and it will also help the fuel
efficiency on longer drives, as it will keep your vehicle’s
aerodynamics unchanged. (guitar music) – [Blake] Although nothing
says “mountain biker” more than a pickup with bikes
racked up over the tailgate, your bikes are on display all the time. So they’re harder to keep
hidden from thieving eyes. You can buy a canopy or a
truck cap to go over the back and keep everything
enclosed to solve this. (guitar music) We’re in the Mercedes-Benz
X class 250-D 4 matic. This thing’s a six speed manual gear box. You can get an automatic,
but I’ve gone for the manual. – This V class has got the
250D diesel engine in it. With a 9G tronic nine
speed automatic gear box. But you’ve also got this dynamic select to go from eco, to comfort
up to sport or even manual where I can use these little paddles behind the steering wheel should you wish. (guitar music) Top speed of 205 kilometers and hour. – The top speed on this vehicle
is 180 kilometers an hour. – It’s 0 to 100 kilometers
an hour time is 9.4 seconds. – Now, 0 to 100 kilometers an hour, that is 11.1 seconds. Now, I feel like that might
be a little bit slower than the van, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve got four wheel drive, that means there’s power to all four wheels. (guitar music) – It’s also got quite a
frugal engine speed there, for what is quite a big vehicle. It’s combined consumption is 5.9 liters per hundred kilometers,
or 47.88 miles per gallon. – The combined fuel
consumption in this vehicle is 7.9 liters per hundred kilometers. Now, in miles per gallon that
is 35.76 miles per gallon. That’s not bad for a
vehicle of this stature. – [Neil] MPVs are generally
more fuel efficient and faster than heavier pickups, thanks
to their lighter weights and a wide range of engine
options to choose from. – [Blake] Modern pickups aren’t sluggish, but are generally less
efficient than a van or MPV. With lower MPG numbers, slower
top speeds and acceleration. But, saying that, a
pickup’s towing capacity can also be two to three times greater than an MPV or van’s. (guitar music) That’s great if you’re really hauling. – Off road capabilities
– well, this V class is just rear wheel drive, and
did I mention it’s very posh? It’s very nice. So it can take a bit of
mild fire roads I suppose but proper off road
capabilities for going out into the wilderness maybe
not quite as good as Blake’s. – This is what makes
this car more utilitarian for a mountain biker. Why? Because you can go off road in this beast. There’s a lot of clearance underneath, you can just flick it
into four wheel drive when you get into a bit
of a sticky situation, when you’re trying to
get to the trail head you just flick this switch
just here to four high or if you’re in a very,
very, very dire place and it’s a bit snowy you can just chuck it into four low. That locks those difs and you can get out, whereas the van – it’s
just rear wheel drive. You’re stuck there. It’s all about the pickup. Tell you what, Neil’s going to love this. Off road, what the X class is all about. Neil, you ready for this? – [Neil] Are we going up there? Where’s the trail? – [Blake] It’s up this
fire road, all the way to the top. – All right. – And it’s raining. – It is raining. – Has that got 4 matic in it? – It’s got a very nice stereo,
so I’m going to go steady and enjoy a stereo, and
don’t drive like a hooligan. – I’ll try not to,
Neil, I will try not to. I’ll see you at the top Neil! (laughing) (guitar music) Woo hoo! Oh man, look! (guitar music) Muddy puddle, no worries. (splashing) (classical music) – [Neil] All right,
yes, I probably could go a little bit faster up this fire road but I’ll let my speed talk
when it comes to riding a bike. – [Blake] Where is Neil? It’s like taking forever, it’s stupid. (classical music) Hey finally Neil, where have you been? – It’s not a race. Give him a Mercedes, he
thinks he’s Louis Hamilton. – Yeah well you know off
roading to rain and stuff. – Anyway I was in comforts, all right? – It does look nice. – Was that in two wheel
drive, or four wheel drive? – This was in two wheel drive, Neil. It wasn’t that bad
coming up here, but it is going to get bad when you go further up. But the trail’s just
over that way, anyway. – All right then, fine,
I’ll leave it there. – Yeah, it’s fine there, Neil. – [Neil] MPVs are
generally two wheel drive, with lower ground clearances than pickups. So aren’t as off road
capable as the dedicated four by four when headed
away from the tarmac. But they’re just fine for fire
roads and light off roading, like getting off the
trail head or to an event. Just be careful when
things are wet or icy. – [Blake] Pickups can be
a cost-effective route to owning a proper four by four. It will get you through
most off road challenges that both the terrain and
weather can throw at you. Their increased ground
clearance also means you won’t need to worry about bashing the bottom of your vehicle off. – Right. Practicalities of vehicles. That is virtually a camper van – [Blake] Yeah. – A very posh camper van,
I could take all those backseats out of there – Yeah. – Stick a mattress in – Yeah. – Take bikes, take surf
boards, take the kids. – Yup. – You’re not going to sleep in
that, unless it’s very sunny. – I’m not going to sleep in that, Neil, and if I take the kid
– I’ve got one child – he can fit in there. I just, I can’t sleep in it. – Yeah. – That’s one thing I can’t do. But practical? – Yeah. – I think this is way more practical. – I mean, you don’t mind
your bikes getting so muddy and chucking them in
the back there, do ya? – No. – You can just hose the whole thing off. – Literally if you put
it on your lovely carpet in the back of that,
it’s going to be dirty and muddy and stink isn’t it? – You do need to clean it up. – Now look at that – just jet wash there. You can wash the bikes in there,
on the back of your truck. – I always think pickups
like with a pad on the back, bikes in the back, people
know you’re a mountain biker. But, what in situations
where you don’t want to look like a mountain biker? Maybe if you’re trying to keep your bikes on the down low for security, maybe? – Security, ah yes. I think, again, Neil,
that is not very secure. Unless you had a big chain
and still locked it up but your bikes are still on show, Neil. – But it does look cool. – You’re winning there again. Yes it does look cool, I’m
winning there for sure. I think a pickup’s way
more cooler than your car. – Well, I think it looks cool,
that is a cool car as well. There’s a huge range
of MPVs to choose from and they’re a more practical
day to day driving choice. Especially if you live in towns or cities. They’re also really at
home and comfortable for long drives and are super versatile as you can easily configure
the seats however you need. Internal carpets can
be more of a challenge to clean up, though, after
muddy bikes and gear. But you can get boot liners to solve this. – [Blake] Pickups very
from super practical to high-end luxury options,
and everything in between. So there’s plenty of choice out there. They’re generally less
maneuverable than a van or an MPV in towns or cities. A pickup is more at home
in rural environments or in the mountains. But, bear in mind, as
stock, pickups have little covered cargo storage,
which can be an issue for keeping bikes or gear
protected from the elements. But, like I’ve said, you can buy a canopy or a truck cap to solve this. They’re super easy to keep clean and they’re way cooler than a van or MPV. – What about the tech heads,
the gadget nerds like myself? I like to have a good sound system, a big wide screen sat nav. – Yeah. – A 360 camera. – Yeah, well I have a
nice sound system, Neil. I don’t have sat nav, and
I don’t have 360 cameras, because, you know, I’m not in the urban environment that much. I’m always up in the mountains. – You’ve got lane assist. – I have got lane assist, that is good because of the long
journeys to the mountains. – Do not work here,
coming down the fire road. – It does not work here, Neil. (guitar music) – [Neil] MPVs generally
will be packed with all the gadgets and options you’d
expect from a modern car. Good for me, less so for Blake. – [Blake] Although mine
isn’t, but you can absolutely get a gadget packed pickup out there. But, no lane assist works on fire roads. It’s sad, but it’s true. – [Neil] So what is the proper
vehicle for a mountain biker? – Rugged, functional all terrain, Neil. You get to see a lot of
these in the United States. – I think, actually, climate’s
got a lot to do with it. Cause in the UK, you see
way more people with vans because it’s wet, it’s cold,
you can chuck your bikes in there, you can get changed in there. – You can actually get
changed in there, yeah. – So, right now I think
I’m sticking with the van. – Yeah, no, I’m going to
stick with this, Neil. I can get to the top. – Maybe the ultimate mountain
biker’s vehicle is that because it also comes with
239 horsepower engine. – Oh, really? – Pretty fast. – That’s pretty top trumpy,
but I can top trump that. This V6, 254 brake horsepower, Neil. – Well, you’re going to
lose some MPGs, phew. – I’ll be getting there faster,
too, to a petrol station. – [Neil] But the numbers don’t lie, so without further ado, who won? While Blake’s pickup put up a good fight and notched up two
round wins and one draw. Whereas I and my MPV drew once, but won four out of the seven rounds, for a pretty convincing overall win. So there you have it, today the MPV is the ultimate mountain biker’s vehicle. (rock music) – Right, thanks Mercedes. And if you want to see some
more videos from GMBN over there for things I wish
I know about mountain biking, before i started. – Give us a thumbs up, like if
you like this sort of stuff. We’ll see you next time. See ya. – Let us know your ultimate
mountain biking vehicle down in the comments section.

100 comments

  1. Are you a van owner or a pick-up truck owner and did you make that choice for mountain biking? If you're not an owner of either of these styles of vehicle, how do you choose to get around with your mountain bikes?

  2. Difficult choice. I suppose a truck has more cool factor, if you care about that sort of thing. Also 4WD would be useful. But vans are easier to get really cheap, and for me the versatility of a van can't be beaten. I would love a truck but would probably choose a van, if my Toyota Camry wagon ever dies, that is…

  3. Van everytime.
    Had a pickup, theyre just not good at anything unless youre a farmer or a builder.
    Cabvan…6 seats, bikes out of view…no easy target for local thieves.
    Doesnt look as cool though.

  4. Ute better for shuttles, van better for everything else, go away sleep in it, more space for bags etc inside. Most trails don't have much offroading to get to them and Subaru Outback or similar would do better than many utes off roading.
    If want to shuttle your mates get the ute, otherwise van or station wagon for cheaper option

  5. Great video! Vans really are a great idea, especially for the security of your bike. Being Canadian though I still think the truck has the edge but you cant go wrong with either! Trying to be unbiased as we have a SUV and a Sedan/Saloon. I would love to see a bike rack video as that will probably be my next move.

  6. Pickup is fine until you want to stop at a pub on the way home and you've got £6k worth of bikes sitting for everyone to see and grab!

  7. So while the dude in the van sets off to go for a ride on the bike track the other guy can go for a ride anywhere on his MTB.

  8. We all have multiple bikes, who can afford a mercedes? I run a a 14 year old toyata truck. Each of my 3 bikes is worth more than the truck.

  9. A camper van without any doubt, depending on the layout you can even store your bike inside without a problem. If needed you can choose one with 4×4..
    Certainly during winter you can get into a heated space and you can wash yourself and put on warm dry clothes immediately after you finished your ride. Think of that when you are feeling chilly after a fall in the water or another reason. When I don't do a trip starting from home I always take the camper to drive to my starting location. It is even cheaper than the Mercedes V-class of an uncle..

  10. As a simple matter of fact you can't throw a dirty bike in the back of a van. Also Pick-Ups are usually a lot more rugged and better suited to the outdoors livestyle

  11. Sorry, but performance metrics are a bit irrelevant for such utiliterian verhicles… The only thing that possibly matters is all wheel drive.

  12. Welcome to Sintra, Portugal!! Bad luck you had with such a rainy day. I hope that you enjoyed all the others ammenities we offer (food, hospitality, good weather, security)!!
    Too bad that you didn´t told us that you were here…. 🙁
    Just one more thing…. I think that in Portugal, by our trafic rules, you can't drive a car with luggage that exceeds his measures. Driving the Mercedes pickup with the wheels outside the car itsn't possible!!

  13. Come on guys, that isn’t a van test, that Merc mpv thing is a big S Class. Posh nonsense. Get a Transit, you can still get rear seats and you can kip in it. Proper. Those Merc things are for mincing round towns not using and abusing.

  14. The small town peeps just throws a chunk of shag carpet over the tail gate of the truck for the local trails. i had an older style hitch mount bike carrier the last couple years. i fill the box of the truck with camping gear and the kids' bikes. i like the idea of putting the bikes inside for long trips – my bike gets plastered with mud and road grime. the most hardcore MTB travellers have the converted camper vans with slideouts for kit and bikes. that's about 100k more than i want to spend though.

  15. I have a v class and there is no way on this earth that I will put dirty bikes in there, especially with the cream leather interior.. as for removing seats, yes you can but it’s a pain in the backside, you don’t want to be doing that every week.
    I have mine on a tow bar mounted rack, but of a faff but at least my car interior stays clean.

  16. Certain pick ups are better than others. For example a Tacoma has two slots in the bed that fit a 2×6 board. Newer Chevy S-10 has slots for 2x4s. I'm sure there are others with similar features with the bed, I only know these from personal experience. With either of these you can get a front wheel mount to attach the board. Then just strap the bikes down. This is a great set up for up to 3 bikes. If you aren't worried about scratched paint, you can fit 2 bikes between the three mounted bikes.
    If it wasn't clear, I am a crew cap pick up fan.

  17. How can you sleep two people (and a kid) in that van with the bikes inside? Seems like either way you’ll need a tent.
    Not hating the mpv though, does seem like the sensible option for most people considering this.

  18. Blake is South African like my good lady from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). They all love pickups it's in their blood!😂😂 I'd go with the van all day long!

  19. im with neil on this one. If mtb is the purpose no need for a truck. Get a bike rack for the van and you even have free lodging. No need for a tent or hotel rooms!

    edit: also I can't name a single trail head near me that would be impossible to get to unless I have a truck. Had a 15 Tacoma and never once "needed" it to go mtb. Traded it in for a RAV4 and now I can drive around with better fuel economy to trials in other nearby cities.

  20. I have noticed that a majority of serious XC racers have minivans and an overwhelming majority of DH and Enduro racers have trucks. Now, in the states Dodge Grand Caravans are cheap, reliable, and plentiful plus they have stow-and-go seating, and if you lay the seats down you can fit a 4×8 sheet of plywood in the back (or a mattress), trucks tend to be the Duramax or Powerstroke variety, and the majority of DH riders here have the bike more as a statement piece and are often also dragging a toy-hauler (boat, atvs, etc) and have the $12k bike just to prove they can afford it (this is the midwest, you can ride our DH runs on XC bikes, yes, even in Houghton and MQT).

  21. What's wrong with a Skôda Fabia Combi with four bike racks. It's cheaper, more fuel efficient, takes up less space on the driveway/parking lot and is probably more comfortable as well. 🙂
    If left unattended, security is handled by heavy motorcycle chain locks together with alarm wires.

  22. Funny… in the US most riders wouldn’t be caught dead in an “mpv.” A Sprinter, sure, but a minivan? No way. BTW, that really isn’t much of a pickup truck. Low clearance and a teeny tiny bed is kind of a soccer mom truck.

  23. Defo the van, you always get a 4 matic merc if you want 4wd also with the van you can open the back door and sit under it and do some work on the bike.

  24. We have one of each! A pickup and a minivan! I’ve used both for bike trips. Pros and cons to both. Just get to the trails and have fun! Cool video

  25. Tip for pickup owners: don’t waste your money on the tailgate mat. Put you bike in upright in the corner along the side. Two bungie straps and you’re off and ready. Bike rides upright with tailgate shut! (If your box is long enough). Works great

  26. No mention of the SUV which (if you buy the right one) gives you offroad capability, bike storage inside or out, changing inside or under the rear hatch and shorter wheelbase/more maneuverable/easier in town than a pickup. I drive a 4runner but you guys can just get a Land Cruiser.

  27. Idk why this is even a question for you guys.

    Of course you needed to get a Merc to get a truck there without importing something. xD

    Here in north america that's a different story with the abundance of trucks here.

  28. Dream car set up.. Tesla with w lockable tow bar bike rack. Medium vw golf with lockable bike rack. Budget fabia with lockable bike rack. Because a. Pick up and vans cost too much to buy and run. 2ndly they are destroying our plannet through climate change. Don’t put bikes inside your car they always end up scratched and it wrecks the car. Speaking from experience.

  29. No contest! The van wins every time! Especially that Mercedes! Best MTB vehicle I've ever had. and I have a ute as well!

  30. ive had several Land Rovers (Disco & Defender) in the past but have ended with the ideal solution…VW T5 Kombi van….throw the bikes in the back and still has seats for kids / family life. love it!!!

  31. Truck over minivan any day. No need to take off wheels. No worry about kid or dirt. If you have a supercab you can change clothes in there too

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