So, you’re tired of watching your bikes get beat up every time you throw it in the back of your truck to head out to the trailhead.
It’s time to get a truck bed bike mount to keep your bike safely secured.
But which bike mount is right for your truck bed?
- Are there mounts that will keep your bike safe from thieves?
- Which mounts let you haul more than two bikes?
- Are there mounts that can be installed and uninstalled quickly?
So many questions. But don’t worry.
On this page, I’ll help guide you through the process of turning your truck bed into a sweet bike carrier. I’ll cover all these in detail in our buyer’s guide.
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite Truck Bed Bike Racks
Wheel Mounted Racks
Thule Insta-Gater Pro
Bike rack king Thule has come up with its answer to the bike truck mount with its Insta-Gater product. And what an impressive mount it is.
This rack uses a padded hook to securely hold the front wheel of your bike without making contact with the bike frame. And best of all, it mounts to your truck’s bed without the need for any tools. Just drop the frame’s mounting brackets in the crack between your tailgate and truck bed and close the tailgate. Done.
Up to two Insta-Gaters can be used with tailgates 34” and greater while up to three can be used with tailgates 51” and greater. It works with wheel sizes ranging from 20” to 29”.
- Pros : High-quality rack from a very reputable brand in the industry.
- Cons : One of the most expensive truck bed racks on the market.
Want to haul four bikes without having to go through the time-consuming task of removing wheels on one end and adding them on the other?
This wheel mount style rack can haul up to four bikes without removing any wheels. The rack is adaptable, extending from 54.5” to 66.5” wide without the spacer. With the spacer, this rack can go as wide as 72.5”. It is designed with padding to protect both the bike and truck.
A 72” lockable cable is included for securing your bikes while in tow.
- Pros : Doubles up as a floor rack in your garage.
- Cons : One of the most expensive truck bed racks on the market.
Fork Mounted Racks
Thule Bed Rider
Looking for a top-quality fork mount rack for your truck and don’t mind paying a bit extra?
Then you’ll love the Bed Rider from Thule.
Installation is easy and safe for your truck’s finish thanks to an aluminum telescoping bar with soft rubber feet that grip the side rails of your truck. This mount includes two lockable skewers with single-side adjustments. Three Thule One-key lock cylinders are included to lock your bikes to the carrier and your carrier to the truck for total security.
The kit includes two bike mounts; however, additional mounting blocks can be purchased separately to add more bikes to the rack. The Thule Bed Rider offers excellent quality but does cost significantly more than other fork mount racks on the market.
- Pros : Compatible with most trucks with the adjustable telescoping bar.
- Cons : Be prepared to pay more.
Swagman Pickup Fork Mount
This affordable bike rack from Swagman, a company that has been designing and manufacturing bike racks since the early ‘90s, is an affordable and easy to install fork mount rack. Installation is easy with a stainless steel telescoping bar that requires no drilling.
Rubber ends grip your truck’s bed rails without leaving marks or scratches. Bikes are mounted to 9mm quick-release skewers that are rated to handle bikes up to 35 lbs. Adjustable mount blocks allow you to properly space your bikes. The Swagman fork mount allows you to transport up to two bikes.
Worried about security?
This rack includes an integrated push-button lock that secures your rack to your truck bed. Two keys are included to unlock the rack.
- Pros : Excellent value for price vs features.
- Cons : Grips can slip especially approaching the maximum load.
Side Clamped Racks
INNO RT201 Truck Bed Bike Mount
Simple installation, space-saving, low priced, and easy to use.
That’s what you get with this Truck Bed Bike Mount System from Inno, a company that has specialized in designing and manufacturing bike racks for the past 30 years.
This side mount rack consists of two clamps that attach to the side of your truck’s bed. Each clamp includes a ratcheting strap that grips your bike’s frame, holding it firmly upright as you motor down the road.
Unlike other mount styles that take up the majority of the space in your truck’s bed, this system keeps your bike off to the side, freeing up space for other gear.
- Pros : Easy installation with no tools required.
- Cons : Bikes need to be secured firmly to avoid wobbling.
Top Line Mfg Unigrip Biike Rack
Like the ease of the side mount bike racks but wish there was one that could hold more bikes?
Top Line, a company that specializes in bike racks and other accessories for trucks and RVs, has the bike rack for you. Its innovative Uni-Grip rack system is designed to hold two bikes.
The rack clamps easily to the side of your truck’s bed then connects to the top tube of your bike using an aluminum bar with a rubber-coated clamp. An additional bar can be added to connect your first bike to a second bike.
More bars can be daisy-chained in, allowing you to securely carry up to four bikes in the truck bed. The rack system keeps your bikes upright, stable and prevents them from rubbing against each other.
- Pros : Can carry up to 4 bikes (instead of 2).
- Cons : Installation can be complicated with many small parts.
How many bikes are you looking to carry in your truck bed? Two or three? How about half a dozen?
The Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad from Yakima, one of the leaders in the bike rack industry, offers you super-simple installation and room for up to six bikes.
Installation is a breeze. Just throw this pad over the tailgate, secure it with the straps and you’re ready to load in a fleet of bikes.
The Gatekeeper includes a velcro cradle closure system that wraps around your bikes’ frames, keeping them in place and preventing them from rubbing against each other while thick nylon material and extra soft backing protect your truck’s paint finish.
- Pros : Can carry up to 6 bikes.
- Cons : Expect to pay more for the Yakima brand and quality.
This affordable and durable tailgate pad from Swagman holds up to five bikes.
The Tailwhip installs easily over your truck’s tailgate using three tie-down straps. Four Velcro straps secure your bikes to the pad and keep them in place. Daisy-chained straps allow you to decide how to best arrange the bikes.
The pad is constructed of high-density foam that protects both your truck’s bed and your bikes. The Tailwhip’s exterior is made from waterproof ballistic tarpaulin, giving it excellent durability.
A large center flap in the center of the pad gives you access to your tailgate handle. The Tailwhip is available in two sizes; 61” and 54”.
- Pros : Good value for money.
- Cons : Velcro straps tend to degrade overtime.
Types of Bike Racks Mounting
1. Fork Mount (Bed Rail)
Fork mount bike racks offer a quick and secure way of storing your bike in your truck bed.
These racks consist of a bar that mounts to your truck’s bed just behind the cab. The bar is fitted with multiple fork mounts. Just pop off the front wheel, drop the fork into the mount and tighten.
Due to their design, they usually come with a key locking system, allowing you to easily secure your bike. They do; however, leave it to you to find a place to stow your front wheels.
2. Wheel Mount
Similar to fork mounts except you don’t have to disassemble your bike. Simply wheel your bike into the mount and engage the locking arm over the front wheel.
As with the fork mount racks, wheel mounts usually incorporate a locking mechanism for securing your bike.
They are larger, which can impact other uses you have for your truck bed. Whereas fork mounts generally stay out of the way, wheel mounts take up a significant amount of space.
3. Side Clamp
As the name suggests, these racks clamp to the side of your truck bed and hold your bike upright by clamping onto the downtube.
Side clamp racks benefit from their low profile design. They can be quickly installed and uninstalled, freeing up your truck bed for other uses, and can also be used to hold other objects in place.
4. Tailgate Pad
This rack style consists of a large pad that drapes over your truck’s tailgate, allowing you to store bikes by placing the front wheel over the tailgate with the back wheel resting on the truck bed.
The padding serves to protect your bike and your truck. These pads are equipped with velcro straps that hold the bikes in place. This option provides a relatively simple way of transporting up to six bikes.
The pad can also be used to protect your truck when transporting other large objects. This is also probably the least stable of your options as the bikes aren’t held as firmly as with other rack designs.
Truck Bed Bike Rack Buying Guide
Now before you jump straight into info buying, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Number of Bikes vs Truck Bed Size
When determining what rack to go with you’ll want to consider how many bikes you plan on hauling.
- Tailgate pads can typically hold up to six bikes depending on the size of your truck’s bed.
- Wheel mount racks such as Thule’s Insta-Gator can typically handle up to three bikes while most fork mounts are designed for up to two.
- Side clamp mounts usually only allow for two bikes, although there are some exceptions such as Top Line’s UniGrip, which holds up to four.
Geek Tip : Consider the size of your truck bed and how many bikes you plan on transporting when determining which rack to purchase.
2. Permanent vs Temporary Installation
Unless you’re only planning to haul bikes, then this is a significant factor to consider.
Although the picks on the list are all easy installs, some can be time-consuming to install. Because of this, some of these racks are not a good option if you plan on using your pickup truck for hauling other items.
- Fork mount racks such as those from Swagman may not interfere with your truck’s ability to multi-task due to its low profile and positioning near the cab of the truck.
- Side clamps such as those from Inno and tailgate pad from Yakima can be installed and uninstalled very quickly, making them great options for multi-use pickup trucks. In fact, they might even help you haul other large objects.
3. Bike Protection
One of the main reasons for getting a truck bed bike rack is to protect your bike’s finishing and components. Otherwise, you’d just pile them in the back.
- Fork mount, wheel mount, and side-mount systems keep your bikes from shifting and rubbing against your truck or other bikes.
- Wheel mount and side mount systems use rubber grips to protect your bike while tailgate racks use heavy padding to protect your bike’s paint job.
Geek Tip : Fork mounts engage with your bike’s wheel mount and therefore don’t require protective padding or coatings.
4. Bike Security
Wheel mounts and fork mounts offer the highest level of security for your bike. Both involve intensive installs onto your truck bed, making them difficult to remove. They also integrate key lock systems into their mounts for securing your bike.
Side mount systems are generally easy to install and uninstall, making them and your bike easier targets for thieves.
Tailgate pads also offer no theft protection. These racks should only be used with some form of cable lock if you plan on leaving your bikes in the bed while you stop for a post-ride meal.