Andrew Taylor's Ultimate Short Bus Adventure Vehicle

Aug 8, 2016 at 13:27
by Long Nguyen  
Views: 10,558    Faves: 128    Comments: 8


Mountain bikes can take you to some pretty cool places. For many of us mountain bikers, we are always seeking for the perfect trail. And when we find that trail, we have the urge to find the next one, and the next one. Sometimes it’s right in our backyard or sometimes we have to travel unknown distances.

Andrew Taylor and I have been friends for many years now and AT is always traveling around the world riding somewhere unique and amazing. This year was a little different. His goals were still the same, but he wanted to change it up. He decided to purchase a vehicle of some sort, fix it up and hit the road. I was able to catch up with him to talk about his bus and goals.

On our way to the top of the mountain.

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Above the clouds and trying to hit our camp spot before dark.

Long: What inspired you to buy a vehicle and travel around the country in it?

AT: It’s crazy to think, but it’s been nearly ten years since the last season of Drop In, where I was lucky enough to have a spot on the bus traveling around to some of the best riding spots along the West Coast with a bunch of awesome dudes. I’ll never forget the memories of waking up in a new location every day and literally just rolling right out of bed. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the world riding bikes. However, nothing beats the memories of the bus life, so that’s what inspired me to build one for myself.

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Long: Why did you choose a short bus over a Sprinter, VW bus or some other van?

AT: Living right next to the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in Santa Cruz, CA I see some of the coolest travel vehicles rolling through on the daily. A lot of what I see are old restored VW buses, so originally I thought that’s what I wanted. After tons of research and scouring the internet my mind started wandering in a new direction. The price tags on old VW buses nearly gave me a heart attack and during my Craigslist “bus” search I kept seeing old short buses pop up. With the price of these being more reasonable and the thought of starting with a blank canvas and having more room for activities, it became a no-brainer to purchase an old short bus, which almost gave my girlfriend a heart attack.

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Long: Were you worried about possibly breaking down on the side of the road with it being an older bus?

AT: That was definitely one of my main concerns from the get go, but after doing my homework I knew exactly what I was looking for. Most of the short buses come on a Ford e-350 chassis with one of the most reliable engines Ford has ever put into a vehicle. The 7.3L diesel engine is known to go well over 500,000 miles. Another great thing about buying a school bus is that there are many maintenance requirements from the school district to keep them road safe, so they are well taken care of. When I purchased the bus it came with a thick folder of all the maintenance ever done, so I could rest assure I wasn’t buying a time bomb.

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Long: A question that most people are probably wondering at this point, what kind of fuel economy does something like this get?

AT: With it being a shorter bus on the E-350 chassis it does much better than even I expected, with close to 14 miles to the gallon.

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Long: It seems like a daunting task to renovate a bus into a livable vehicle. Did you do all of the work yourself? How long did it take you from start to finish?

AT: I bought the bus back in November 2015 and it’s definitely been a lot of work, but for me, this was the most exciting part of the whole process. Being able to start with a blank canvas and build it into my dream rig kept me motivated throughout the entire build. To keep the cost to a minimum I made it a point to keep the build between myself and some close friends that were stoked to help me make it happen. My buddy Alex Dunn is an insanely talented artist and completely blew my mind with the paint job. My long time friend Jordan Nash built one of the sickest custom rear platforms and bike racks I’ve ever seen. Thanks again boys!

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Long: Can you give us a cost breakdown as it sounds like a pretty expensive project?

AT: You’d be surprised of the cost! Another one of my main goals with the whole project was to build something that would serve the purpose of an adventure vehicle that I would be proud to call home while on the road but to also stay within a reasonable budget along the way.

- Bus: $2,200
- Renovations: ~ $6,000
- Total Cost: ~ $8,200

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Long: So, it’s possible to make this affordable?

AT: The fact that anyone can pick up an old short bus for a reasonable price makes the idea of doing something like this that much more attainable. I really wanted to build something that would inspire more people to do the same and I’m hoping that by having people reading this it’ll do just that.

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Long: Where do you plan to go with the bus? Do you have an ultimate destination?

AT: During the build we took it on a handful of weekend trips to get a better idea of how we wanted things set up. The first trip we took once the bus was finished was down to Big Sur for a short weekend getaway. This trip helped us work out the kinks and be ready for our first big trip. In June, my girlfriend and I loaded up for our first long haul. We did a 4,500 mile trip from California up to Canada and back as a test run for the ultimate destination. As soon as I finish this Q&A I’ll be loading up and hitting the road for Alaska.

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus
Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Long: Sounds like an awesome adventure. How can others follow you on your trip to Alaska?

AT: It’ll be one wild adventure, that’s for sure. I’ll be taking over the Adidas Outdoor twitter @adidasoutdoor along with posting stuff to Instagram @andrwtaylr #AKorBust

Long: Safe travels!!

AT: Thanks buddy! See y'all on the road!

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

Andrew Taylor s Ultimate Short Bus

AT would like to thanks his sponsors for making this all possible. Norco Bicycles, Adidas Outdoor, Bell Helmets, Gravity, X-Fusion, e*13, VP, Formula, SDG, Kenda, Smith, Hitcase.


MENTIONS: @norcobicycles / @BellBikeHelmets / @ridegravity / @x-fusion-shox / @ethirteen-components / @vpcomponents / @rideformula / @kendatire / @SmithOptics / @Hitcase




71 Comments

  • + 109
 looks sick! now i just need to find an artist buddy, a solar panel buddy, an interior design buddy, a sheet metal worker buddy, and a metal fabricator buddy.... shit i need more friends
  • + 22
 Bus/Thug life right there! Never wanted to be in a short bus so much in my life!
  • + 5
 Don't forget the 12 solid sponsors :]
  • + 3
 a good fab guy and a girlfriend should work just as well too.
  • + 42
 I wish I was special enough to ride that short bus....
  • + 19
 Nice bus brother! My girlfriend and I just finished up converting an '88 E-350 Uhaul truck into a full service bike shop! Check out www.misterlost.com if you would like to see it!
  • + 1
 Looks awesome dude
  • + 12
 i nearly chocked when I saw 14mpg.
Im guessing fuel is still ridiculously cheap in America.
My rough dollar to pound, us gallon to litre conversion has me reckoning on just short of $6 a gallon to run that here in the UK.
Thought my van was very uneconomical at 33mpg
Cool bus though. Just hope the bikes dont get nicked off the back.
  • + 2
 Agreed, my Transit does 30-35mph and I didn't think that was great. My big old Smiley Face Transit Hi top LWB still did 30mph. Although I didn't have a sink in it. And in the UK you have to factor on keeping the bikes inside for security.
  • + 6
 The US gallon and UK gallon are different.
  • + 7
 $1.89 per gallon in south carolina
  • + 3
 Yeah, you guys overseas get all of the cool vans we don't get. Everything that has a turbo diesel with a little bit of power and some good mpg. We don't get anything like that except for Sprinters, and not all of us can afford one of those. That's why i'm hoping to get an old Delica in a few years. But even those aren't very economical.
  • + 1
 @Leppah: but the 90s/00s ford e150 and f150 ecovans look sick!!! wish we had those over here!
  • + 3
 Around where I live (the land of absurdly lifted dodge rams "Rolling Coal,") 14mpg would be considered a good thing. Sadly.
  • + 15
 When your bike cost more than this guy's house Fuck.
  • + 11
 That moment, when you realize the relish is the only green thing in the fridge....


#Batchelorlifeforever!
  • + 6
 That is a pretty sick build. I bet it's a cool cruiser. I've daydreamed about having some kind of big camping van that I can just drive to a random spot, park, and camp for a few days. Unfortunately I just have to stick with minivans for now since most of my time is spent working, going to school, and running a small family around. I do have to say I like how Pinkbike is doing little features on what people are using to do their traveling in. I'm a car guy, so I like seeing the different things people come up with.
  • + 9
 More room for activities, like karate and playing the drums with the ball sack.
  • + 7
 Very cool. We did something similar 2 months ago (only our e350 is a 15 pass, not a bus) and now we live on the road full-time. It's been an amazing journey so far.
  • + 4
 AT is an awesome guy! I remember that virgin backloop of the drop in season 5. Drop in started the revolution and Pinkbike and many others owe their success to the dirt bags. AT, head north grab Tremblay and Romaniuk and let's get season 6 rolling. Forget sponsors and marketing, Drop in was about the love of biking.
  • + 1
 I love when Drop In gets name checked in an article! It was such a great show, and made me so stoked to ride when I was 16-20 years old. Have lucked out and ridden with a few dudes who were on that show for a season or so, and they all say such good things. Also, Sick Bus!
  • + 2
 I like it. I'm in the process of shopping for an E-350 15-passenger van with a similar end goal in mind, but the execution for mine is going to be different. The idea of the school bus works fine for Mr. Taylor, but if I'm crashing in the parking lot of a resort (or a Wal-Mart or truck stop on the way to or from the bike park) I want my van to be 100% under the radar. Bikes stored on the inside, no wild paint job, no stickers, even. Just a boring old 15-passenger van with blacked out windows. I really don't want the vehicle to scream "Hey, there's a guy sleeping in here with a bunch of expensive shit" My interior won't be as plush as his, either (this thing has a gorgeous and mad comfortable-looking interior btw...). Plain old plywood will do the trick for my cooking surfaces, desk, etc. I love his idea for the sun shower, I might have to "borrow" that one.

All in all, though... well done. Great rig, awesome that he made his vision of the ultimate road trip vehicle a reality. Andrew, if you're reading, I have van envy.
  • + 2
 A knackered old Transit covered in shit and twigs is never going to look as cool in the cold wet and windy but wonderfull UK
but f*ckit and roll on winter ( poxy dust is over rated any way) you cant get our mud off with a feather duster !
  • + 6
 No cribbage board??
  • + 5
 *instantly checks out Craigslist for short buses
  • + 1
 anyone looking for bike shoes that look more like tenny-runners or outdoorsy shoes, those adidas terrex are great... they have stealth rubber soles just like Five Ten, great on the bike, great for hiking, dont look like skate shoes...
  • + 10
 Did you just say, outdoorsy?
  • + 1
 @Tearsforgears: ... outdoorsy and/or tenny-runners
  • + 1
 A knackered old transit covered in shit and twigs in cold wet and windy but wonderfull UK will never look as cool but give me the old Tranny anyday !!!! roll on winter !!!!!
  • + 1
 Too bad most of us spend our money on bikes Frown opens up the 8k to build a bus/home when you don't have to spend money on gear. #sponsorenvy. Sick photo shoot though and looks like a ton of fun!
  • + 3
 Heck yeah AT! That thing looks awesome! A little cleaner (and probably less smelly!) than the Drop In bus too!
  • + 1
 Right on AT! That's a slick ride for sure! Be safe, shred on & conquer new lands. Stoked for your success. Hope to hookup again some time soon.

w4 - C3 Bike Shop
  • + 3
 Would you need a bus license to drive it?
  • + 3
 This ones about the size of a cargo van so no special license needed. With a bigger bus you'd need one for sure.
  • + 1
 @AndrewTaylor: any vehicle under 26,000 GVW does not require anything other than a regular license
  • + 1
 It's amazing how little we truly need to enjoy whats really important. Glad you are making it happen. Ride on grom, see you soon...Team Old Soil
  • + 3
 shower idea is a must...winter project
  • + 2
 Looks like a dually to single conversion. Tell us a bit more about the suspension and drivetrain. I assume it's still rwd?
  • + 8
 I got the bus with the drivetrain as is. It's 2wd with a single axle in the rear but has a posi rear end so it does pretty well on dirt roads.
  • + 1
 @AndrewTaylor: Two words: Quigley conversion. Smile
  • + 1
 @AndrewTaylor: If you ever want to convert it to 4WD, DO NOT do a Quigley. Check out all the bus and Amboy conversion kits from Chris Steuber at UJOINTOFFROAD. He has a 500 + page thread of conversions. He lives in Asheville and his shop is on Cane Creek Road 5 minutes from Cane Creek Cycling Components. You can buy a kit from him or have him do it. That goes for anyone doing anything E series van/bus/Amboy related.
And if you come.ride with the crew, ring me. I live 5minutes the opposite direction.
  • + 2
 Oh SICK I didn't know Big Sur had trails.
  • + 2
 It really doesn't. So much if it is wilderness. The area those pictures were taken there's a narrow band of national forest and there is a legitimate trail dropping from ridge line to the coast.
  • + 1
 @krisrayner: i was being sarcastic sorry. i grew up near there.
  • + 2
 Step one: Have lots of friends.
  • + 2
 AT is a shredder! miss the drop in days
  • + 1
 Is the plumbing either the schrader valve on the roof to pressurize your water system?
  • + 8
 Yup, one you fill the pvc pipe with water you cap it, pump it up and you got a nice warm pressurized shower at the end of the day.
  • + 1
 @AndrewTaylor: Thanks for sharing the ride, and thanks for responding to the posts! For those of us dreaming of such an adventure, its rad to read about yours!
  • + 1
 nuthn' like makin' a dream happen. and he's set for any kinda riding. smart rig!
  • + 0
 14MPG!!!!! It's nuts to think that in the US that's classed as economical when in Europe that's the sort of mpg you get from a Ferrari or Lamborghini!!!
  • + 2
 "economical" is relative dude. For most people in the US 14 MPG would absolutely not be considered economical for a daily driver. For a camping vehicle like that? Sure.
  • + 0
 14 is abysmal. I get 21 combined in my WRX and consider THAT to be borderline unacceptable. Most people in my neck of the woods seem to be driving small crossovers that get around 30. Gas isn't as crazy expensive as it was a few years ago, but spending a fortune on the stuff is still no fun.
  • + 1
 @martis: Yes, 14 is abysmal for the purposes of most people driving to work or the grocery store or whatever, I wasn't saying otherwise. For a school bus converted into an MTB chalet on wheels? Meh, not sure money or being economical is really a concern. If you want to go into the environmental impact that's a different story.
  • + 2
 i loved watching drop in back in the day
  • + 1
 That is thw dream except for one thing. No throne. I hate shitting in holes. I love biking. Simple solution. Hahah
  • + 1
 I know that he's in big sur but where exactly bc that trail at the end looked pretty sick
  • + 1
 Googled Short Bus, Then watched the movie. Wow! the first scene is amazing.
  • + 2
 Super simple, super classy. Your living the dream
  • + 1
 I love it. One question, where does the girlfriend sit? I don't see any other seats with seatbelts.
  • + 1
 AT you are living the dream! Beautiful bus conversion.
  • + 0
 Is he well funded by self or he still manage to get funded by sponsors lol.
  • + 1
 Living the dream ! Fricken cool
  • + 1
 As if I need more excuses to spend all my money...
  • + 1
 WOW!!! incredible journey with this Big Grin
  • + 1
 Well done! Thanks for sharing. Cottage on wheels!
  • - 1
 Shit, PB better take down that pic showing him riding an 'off-road' motorcycle on street-legal-only land. This is Kalifornistan, and that right there is a 'hangin O-ffence
  • + 1
 Taking over Instagram s is a job now.... Gotta love that.
  • + 1
 Rad!
  • + 1
 Netflix and squint.
  • + 0
 bruhhh

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2017. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.066162
Mobile Version of Website