Thursday 4 August 2016

New Wheels!

So what else has been going on in the world of Nomad Racing?

As you will have read yesterday, it hasn’t involved a lot of rally racing!

In March we got the opportunity to change the Vito “race truck” for a nice shiny and almost new VW Transporter T6 Kombi. A similar layout to the old Vito in that it’s a Kombi… side windows and a second row of seats but there the similarity ends….

A 180bhp 2 litre diesel linked to a 7 speed DSG auto box compared to the Mercs 114bhp 2.2 litre with 6 speed manual. So it’s a bit rapid to say the least, yet fuel consumption is a bit better than the Vito.

It’s a six seater but instead of having to get the tool box out to remove the rear seats, they lift out with a single release lever. Unfortunately VW have decided to make the rear seat a single three seat unit unlike the T5 that had a split twin and single seats. As a result the seat weighs a ton and is definitely a two person job to get it in and out the van! I’ve had a look at converting to the T5 configuration but the mountings, whilst the same; are in completely different places and there are four instead of the T6’s two mounts.

Compared to the Vito it’s luxurious in its other role as a camper van, being lined, including a full length headlining, so none of the dripping from condensation I used to experience in the Vito as that was just a bare metal roof in the back. It is also fitted with a full length rubber floor mat that is cushioned, so luxurious before you have even rolled out the mattress.

I used it at the Ryedale rally, where I had to bodge up some window blinds (much gaffer tape was in evidence) but it was very comfortable. Little features like the opening rear windows allowing decent ventilation make it far more pleasant than the Vito.  Since then I have purchased a set of Thermo Mat window blinds from Just Kampers, an excellent bit of kit.

Other modifications so far include a VW 4 bike cycle rack, purchased for the van's role as the support vehicle when we cycled the coast to coast (C2C) route back in May. Another excellent piece of kit (well it should be at over £400) made by Thule it makes carrying four mountain bikes a breeze.

On Black Hill, the highest point of the C2C

At the Ryedale, I did manage to get the van stuck in the campsite but it had been very wet and the front tyres were almost at the legal limit. So I did investigate fitting it with all terrain tyres but would have to go to a slightly larger size. As this would mean changing all four tyres, when the backs still have plenty of life in them, I decided to go for a set of conventional road tyres instead. My local independent tyre shop recommended Accelera PHI tyres, made in Indonesia. I’d never heard of them but they are half the price of the well-known brands and perform just as well if not better than the Bridgestone’s they replaced.


The other advantage over the Vito it replaced is the additional room inside. The Transporter comes in two body lengths as opposed to the three of the Mercedes. The Vito was a “Long” (short wheelbase but long body) whereas the Transporter is a short wheel base. But in reality they are about the same length, with the Vito having only 132mm (5”) more length inside on paper but in reality the T6 is actually longer inside as it doesn’t have the Vito’s substantial metal beam behind the front seats that restricts how far forward you can park the front wheel of a bike. 

But it is the small amount of extra height where it shows its true advantage. Whereas to fit my rally bike in the Vito I had to remove the entire navigation tower, in the T6 all I have to do is remove the fairing and it goes straight in. I’m in the process of changing the mountings from Allen bolts to quick release Dzus fasteners to make this even quicker to do. My Honda CB500X also goes straight in the van without removing the mirrors or top box which is very convenient.

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