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8 Best Truck Bed Bike Racks (Reviewed Oct, 2020)

A pickup truck is a type of vehicle that is always good for transportation where there is a bed for loading important things and accessories. Judging by their weights, payload capacities, and maximum towing capabilities; they are overall the perfect vehicles when you want to take any kind of adventurous tours. There are four kinds of different categories for pickups in the American market. They are compact size (also refer to mini or small), Mid-size, Full-size, and Heavy-duty. The compact size pickups are considered as small size trucks whereas the full-size and the heavy-duty are treated as standard size trucks.

No matter what kind of truck you drive, there will be someplace for mounting a bicycle carrier on its bed.

There are a lot of bike rack options in the market that you can buy to carry your bicycles on the truck beds. It is usual to get confused by the vast options of bike racks available in the market, especially, when you don’t have enough knowledge about bike-accessories. So, we are presenting you with this article so that you can get rid of your confusion and get an idea about what kind of rack you are really looking for, for your truck beds.

After testing and reviewing the most popular brands of bicycle racks, we’ve entitled the Swagman Tailwhip tailgate pad as our editor’s pick.

Swagman Tailwhip

The Swagman Tailwhip tailgate pad comes with versatility and comes with style. There is nothing that this rack won’t cover. Ballistic Tarpaulin build material, protective Velcro straps, Daisy chains, and other amazing features have made this tailgate pad the desired choice for many people who drive a pickup. There is nothing to dislike about this rack. This gives your vehicle a solemn look occupying a very tiny space and it is also waterproof.

  • No. of Bike Capacity: 5
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 3
  • Dimensions (inch): 61″ x 20-1/2″ x 1″
  • Application: Full-size Pickups

Our selection includes the following bike racks that we think are best for your truck bed:

Bike RackRack TypeBuy
Swagman TailwhipTailgate MountCheck Today's Price
Hollywood Racks T970Fork MountCheck Today's Price
Thule Insta-GaterWheel MountCheck Today's Price
Yakima GateKeeperTailgate MountCheck Today's Price
Inno Velo GripperSide-ClampCheck Today's Price
Swagman PickUpFork MountCheck Today's Price
TopLine UG-2500Side-ClampCheck Today's Price
Heininger Automotive 2025 Advantage SportsRackTruck-Bed/StandaloneCheck Today's Price

8 Best Bike Racks You can Buy Today for Truck Beds

Before you read further of this article, we want you to look at this comparison table that will give you some general ideas about the racks that we have chosen.

RacksPreviewNo. of Load Bike CapacityTotal Load Capacity (lbs)StyleDimensions (inch)Rack Weight (lbs)Lock Feature
Swagman TailwhipSwagman TAILWHIP Tailgate Pad - Full Size5n/aTailgate Mount61" x 20-1/2" x 1"3No
Hollywood Racks T970Hollywood Racks T970 Fork Block 1 Bicycle Fork Mount145Fork-Mount4.3” x 1.5”0.5No
Thule Insta-GaterThule Insta-Gater Truck Bed Bike Rack, Black, One Size150Wheel-Mount40.6” x 18” x 6.7”11Yes
Yakima GateKeeperYakima - GateKeeper Tailgate Pad for Full-sized Truck Beds, Carries Up To 6 Bikes6n/aTailgate Mount62” x 20” x 7”8No
Inno Velo GripperINNO Truck Bed Bike Mount System1n/aSide-ClampClamp: 2-13/16” x 1-⅝” / Rod’s Length: 6-⅜”4No
Swagman PickUpSwagman PICKUP Fork Mount Bike Rack270Fork Mount54” x 3.5” x 6”13.23Yes
TopLine UG-2500Top Line UG2500-2 Uni-Grip Truck Bed Bike Rack for 2 Bike Carrier2n/aSide-Clamp21.8” x 11.5” x 2.8”4Yes
Heininger Automotive 2025 Advantage SportsRackHeininger Automotive 2025 Advantage SportsRack BedRack,Black4n/aTruck-Bed/Standalone31” x 27” x 6”0.5Yes

1. Swagman Tailwhip: Carries up to 5 bikes

Swagman Tailwhip

  • Type: Tailgate Mount
  • No. of Bike Capacity: 5
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 3
  • Dimensions (inch): 61″ x 20-1/2″ x 1″
  • Application: Full-size Pickup

Features & Considerations
  • Velcro Strap: This rack can firmly load 5 bicycles with 4 Velcro straps.
  • Loop Straps: Attach all three loop straps to their corresponding buckles and snug them up to get the perfect stability.
  • Protective: The high-density foam padding is very soft. The surface of your bicycle and vehicle will remain protected.
  • Build Material: Made of ballistic Tarpaulin which will ensure great durability.
  • Soft Fleece Lined: The pad is lined with soft fleece on the inside to keep your vehicle protected.
  • Daisy Chains: These Nylon chains are strategically placed that enables versatile bike placement.
  • Latch Access: The large flap pocket will allow you easily access the tailgate latch without removing the pad.
  • Save-Up Storage: Keep the rack always mounted as it doesn’t cover almost any space of your truck bed.
  • This flap can also be secured up to expose the rear cam when not carrying any bike.
  • A waterproof pad, so rainwater won’t do any damage.
  • You will get a limited lifetime warranty.

Some Weaknesses
  • You cannot hang any bicycle unless the tailgate is closed.
  • Don’t tie all 3 loop straps too tightly otherwise the pad might tear up.
  • A well-built rack, but there will be excessive movements of your bicycles while crossing bumpy roads.

The Swagman Tailwhip tailgate pad is certainly the best option to transport bikes on your pickup. This full-size pad is 61” wide and 20-½” tall that will fit almost any full-size pickup truck. It is one of the most affordable solutions for you that you can find in the market for securely carrying up to 5 bicycles. It is simple in design but it definitely looks cool. For adjusting different vehicle sizes, this is available in two sizes – Full-size and Mid-size carrier.

This is not only great for carrying bicycles but also great for hauling lumbers, surfboards, ladders, kayaks, and other outdoor gears.

For its robust stitching, the Tailwhip is impervious to tears, fraying and decay due to excessive sun-heat. At the same time, this pad is also waterproof, so you can carry your bikes under rain-water. Loading and unloading your bicycles will be a breeze with this rack and the 4 Velcro straps are vowed to keep your bicycles secure. However, to be more secure you can buy additional Tailwhip Velcro straps that will hold your bikes more tightly. Watch this video from ‘Swagman’ to find out how to install this carrier and how its features work.

2. Hollywood T970: Mountable on any surface. Cheapest option.

Hollywood T970

  • Type: Fork-Mount
  • No. of Bike Capacity: 1
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 0.5
  • Dimensions (inch): 4.3” x 1.5”
  • Weight Capacity: 45 lbs
  • Application: Full-size Pickup

Features & Considerations
  • Adjustability: A compact size rack that can fit anywhere on your truck bed, inside a minivan, on the toolbox or in a trailer.
  • 9mm Skewer: A 9mm quick-release skewer will secure the fork to the vehicle.
  • Rapid loading and unloading of your bicycles are possible with the help of this skewer.
  • Build Quality: A heavy-duty rack constructed with 6061 Aluminum.
  • Over-Locknut-Dimension: With this type of dimension, you can adjust the front wheels of any bicycle with a 100mm locknut.
  • Bike Compatibility: It won’t matter if your bike has either a disc or standard brake system, with this rack you can easily mount it.
  • Easy Installation: This comes as pre-assembled, so you don’t have to worry about setting up the rack.
  • Color: Allows you to choose from two available colors – Black, Chocolate.
  • Against any defect, you are getting a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

Some Weaknesses
  • As it is a fork mount rack, you have to remove the front wheel of your bicycle first to mount it on this rack.
  • Forcefully occupies a large portion of the storage of your vehicle when it is installed.
  • Sometimes you need to find a suitable flat platform to install the rack i.e. a wooden plank.
  • If this rack is installed in your vehicle, then the cone nut may vibrate off when you are crossing an uneven bumpy road.
  • You may find the quick-release very tight.

The Hollywood Racks T970 is a great fork-mount rack that can be easily set up on the bed of your truck. This pocket-friendly rack can accommodate a wide selection of bikes with various weights and frame sizes. But it is recommended that you should load a bike that weighs not more than 45 lbs. The installation is hassle-free as the rack is already assembled. You just need to install it on the bed of your truck or somewhere convenient.

This rack can hold only one bike. But if you want to carry more bikes as there is some space on your bed, then you can buy other packs with multiple numbers of this rack. This rack is available in – 2, 3 or 4 pack variants in the market. If you are a professional bicycle transporter, then this rack might come in handy for you.

3. Thule Insta-Gater Rack: No frame contact. Our premium choice

Thule Insta-Gater

  • Type: Wheel-Mount
  • No. of Bike Capacity: 1
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 11
  • Dimensions (inch): 40.6” x 18” x 6.7”
  • Weight Capacity: 50 lbs
  • Application: Full-size Truck

Features & Considerations
  • No Frame Contact: An adjustable hook secures your bike by holding the front tire and makes no contact with the frame.
  • RQL(Ratcheting Quick-Load): By using the ratcheting arms, you can quickly load your bicycles.
  • Bicycle Compatibility: An ideal rack to carry carbon frame bikes, eBikes, mountain bikes, downhill, and fat bikes.
  • Any bicycle with a wheel size of 20″ to 29″ and tire up to 5″ can be accommodated with this rack.
  • One Key Locking System: A lock cylinder (one-key and it is sold separately) is available that will enable you to lock your bike to the rack with just a single key.
  • Easy Installation: You don’t need to make any hole or drill your truck’s surface to mount this rack.
  • You will get a limited lifetime warranty against any defects in materials and workmanship.

Some Weaknesses
  • If your truck has a tailgate gap greater than ½”, then this rack won’t fit.
  • The rack won’t be ready to carry your bike until the tailgate is closed.
  • You have to lift up your bicycle to place it on the truck bed and then mount it to the rack, which is very exhausting.
  • This rack has no functional locking option, all they have to do is take off the front tire and steal your bike.
  • This rack sucks for trucks with short beds such as Dodge Ram 1500.

The Thule Insta-Gater rack keeps your bike steady in an upright position making no contact with your bike frame. For the installation of this rack, you don’t have to make any hole for inserting bolts. The ratcheting arms of this rack will prevent your bike from bouncing around in the back of your truck.

It is possible to install up to 3 Thule Insta-Gater bike racks when the truck has a tailgate of 51” or more. And you can add 2 Thule Insta-Gater racks where the tailgate is equal or greater than 34”. There is a One-Key lock cylinder available for this rack which will add extra security for your bike and you can just lock your bike with a single key, but you have to buy it separately.

4. Yakima GateKeeper: Best for full-sized truck bed. Carries up to 6 bicycles

Yakima GateKeeper

  • Type: Tailgate Mount
  • No. of Bike Capacity: 6
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 8
  • Dimensions (inch): 62” x 20” x 7”
  • Application: Full-size pickup

Features & Considerations
  • Convenient Transportation: This large size tailgate pad will provide a safe and secure transportation for 6 bikes.
  • Velcro Cradle: With the new shape Velcro cradles, you can put your faith to carry carbon-frame bikes.
  • Abrasion Resistant: Made of rugged Nylon material that is resistant to abrasion and any kind of weather damage.
  • SitTight™ Strap Management System: This is integrated with a strap management system that keeps the pad along with your bikes very firm and secure on a bumpy mountain road.
  • Vehicle Compatibility: This large size tailgate pad will fit most of the full-size pickup trucks.
  • The back of the pad is extra soft that will keep your vehicle’s paint job-protected.
  • HindSight™ Cover: The built-in large flap cover will tuck out of the way so that you can access the back-up camera or tailgate handlebar without removing the pad.
  • Easy Installation: Just hang it on the tailgate, keep the top aligned with it and tie down the 3 adjustments straps and voila! You are ready to go.
  • Yakima will provide a limited 2-year warranty for this pad.

Some Weaknesses
  • Unless the tailgate is closed, you cannot load your bikes.
  • To some users, the Velcro cradles seemed to be weak after using the rack for a year.
  • You may face difficulties placing the rack on the correct spot as there is no specific instruction.
  • Need to push the straps hard under the tailgate.
  • Durable rack, but unable to keep the bikes still and the bikes will probably flap around.
  • Unlike the Swagman Tailwhip, it is not waterproof.

The Yakima GateKeeper is the perfect alternative if you are tired of your current rack or you are unable to buy the desired tailgate pad for some reason. This rack will surely give your truck the coolest look while keeping free almost all the space of your truck bed as it will be attached to the tailgate.

You will find two sizes of this rack – medium and large, so choose the right size of this rack depending on your truck’s size. The back of this pad is much softer to protect your tailgate surface. The Velcro straps, integrated strap management system, tough build quality and other features made this rack a perfect companion to transport your bikes.

Please be sure to check your truck’s bed size and select the perfect size of the rack before buying it.

5. Inno Velo Gripper: Space-saving. You will get 90% free space

INNO Truck Bed Bike Mount System

  • Type: Side-Clamp
  • No. of Bike Capacity: 1
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 4
  • Dimensions (inch): Clamp: 2-13/16” x 1-⅝” / Rod’s Length: 6-⅜”
  • Weight Capacity: 33 lbs
  • Application: Trucks with Standard Side Rails

Features & Considerations
  • Save Space: This rack takes only 10% of the truck’s total storage. By gripping along any c-channel track system of the standard truck bed, 90% of the storage will be remain unoccupied.
  • With the help of ratcheting straps and adjustable rods, this rack will hold your bike firmly by its fork.
  • Bike Compatibility: A perfect rack to accommodate mountain bikes, cruisers, BMX, and other types of bikes.
  • D-Rings: If you want to add extra cable locks, the built-in D-rings will provide tie-down points for them.
  • Easy Installation: Without drilling the bed, you can easily install this rack on the side rails of your truck.
  • Mounting hardware is included with this rack.
  • Build Quality: Strong and durable build quality with silver powder coating that is resistant to rust.
  • The company will back you up with a limited lifetime warranty.

Some Weaknesses
  • At the mounting point, this rack may damage your bike’s finish as the surface that holds your bike is hard.
  • There is a warning for this rack – that you should keep it out of direct sunlight and it is better to store it after you have finished using it.
  • Make sure that your truck’s rails and the bike frame are perfectly aligned. So check your vehicle’s compatibility for this rack before buying it.
  • This rack has some adjustment issues with a c-channel.

The Inno Velo Gripper bike rack comes with an amazing concept to store your bike on your truck bed saving up a huge portion. This is a solid rack that will guarantee the safety and security of your bike that you have always longed for. With a weight load capacity of 33 lbs, this rack can hold any bike effortlessly.

In 1976, ‘Inno’ started as a car rack division for a Japanese auto accessories company called Car Mate. By achieving worldwide recognition for building first-class products at affordable prices, Inno made its demand in the North American Market in 2003.

Before you buy this, first check the compatibility of your car for this rack. There might be some issues for adjusting this rack if your vehicle has a c-channel, for example – a Toyota Tacoma or a 2008 Nissan Frontier. But sometimes you may face adjustment issues even with a standard rail system, for example – a second-generation Honda Ridgeline.

6. Swagman PICKUP Bike Rack: No drilling is necessary for installation

Swagman Pick Up

  • Type: Fork Mount
  • No. of Bike Capacity: 2
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 13.23
  • Dimensions (inch): 54” x 3.5” x 6”
  • Weight Capacity: 35 + 35 = 70 lbs

Features & Considerations
  • Vehicle’s Compatibility: You can adjust the length of the rack (52″ – 69″) with its telescoping bar to fit any bed of trucks.
  • Scratch-free Adjustment: This rack firmly places on the bed by gripping the rails with its end-pads that will keep the truck’s surface scratch-free.
  • Quick Release Skewers: With a 9 mm quick-release skewers on the fork-mount blocks, this carrier secures your bike forks.
  • Push-Button Lock: Remain free of worries as this rack will secure itself with a push-button lock where there are 2 tubular keys to unlock it.
  • Easy Installation: Simple and quick installation. No drilling is necessary.
  • Build Material: A long-lasting rack with stainless steel construction.
  • The fork blocks are adjustable and you can change their positions to ensure enough space between your bikes.
  • A limited lifetime warranty will be provided by ‘Swagman’ against any manufacturer’s defects.

Some Weaknesses
  • The locks are unable to provide a great deal of security to prevent your bike from getting stolen.
  • Need to fix the locking mechanism which can be very tricky.
  • This won’t work with trucks that have bed liners, such as a 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport with 5.5” bed.
  • The assembly guideline is poor and may need some modifications before using it.
  • There are some objections from the customers that this rack isn’t compatible with new MTB and road bike models.

The Swagman Pick-Up (item 64702) fork mount truck is a classical design reliable bike rack for your truck. With the help of an adjustable telescopic arm, this rack can attune any compact or full-size truck bed. It provides easy and quick installation and within a few minutes of installation, it is prepared to carry bikes on your way.

This rack is not very supportive when it comes to the locking mechanism of this rack. However, there are some add-ons that you can buy for this rack to update the overall performance. You can buy a padlock that will attach to the telescoping-arm lever if you want extra security for your bikes. You can add an additional fork mount (P848), if you want to carry a third bike.

7. TopLine UG-2500: Carries 2 Bikes on the Bed

TopLine UG-2500

  • Type: Side-Clamp
  • No. of Bike Capacity: 2
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 4
  • Dimensions (inch): 21.8” x 11.5” x 2.8”
  • Application: Full-size Pickup Trucks

Features & Considerations
  • Quick Installation: It is said that the installation process will only take 2 minutes.
  • UniGrip: With this system, you will be able to mount 2 bikes with different frames.
  • Locking Option: Keep your bikes locked with a 74” cable lock.
  • Bike Frame Compatibility: The clamps can attach various bike frames where the diameter is up to 1 – ½”.
  • Save Space: It only occupies a limited space at the side of the bed, so you will get a lot of free storage.
  • Add-A-Bike Assembly: With this system, you can carry 2 bikes smoothly.
  • Hold your bike safe and secure in an upright position clamping them to the truck’s rail.
  • You can use this with or without bed liners.
  • A limited 1-year warranty will be provided by the manufacturer.

Some Weaknesses
  • Damage your truck’s body as you need to drill a hole or cut the bed liner for installing this rack.
  • The clamp can be too small to adjust all types of bike frames.
  • The Add-A-Bike system works, but both your bikes need to be in a similar size.
  • The clamp system of this won’t work for vehicles with tie-down track system in their beds, for example – 2005 and newer Nissan Frontier.
  • This won’t work with trucks with OEM track system where you can’t access the underside of the side rails.

The TopLine UG-2500 is a good option when you are willing to carry 2 bikes by the side rails of the bed of your truck. And you can successfully carry 4 bikes on your truck if you have two of these bike racks installed on both side rails of your truck.

This rack holds your bike by its frame and keeps it firm and steady in an upright posture during transportation. You can also attach its clamps to the seat post of your bike, instead of attaching them to the frame. Try to check the vehicle’s fit list before you buy this for your truck as it may not fit some trucks such as a Toyota Tacoma.

8. Heininger Automotive 2025: Carries up to 4 bikes. No removal of wheels.

Heininger Automotive 2025

  • Type: Standalone
  • No. of Bike Capacity: 4
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 0.5
  • Dimensions (inch): 31” x 27” x 6”
  • Application: Full-size Pickup Trucks

Features & Considerations
  • Easy Mounting: This can carry 4 bikes on the bed very well without removing any wheel.
  • Hassle-free Assembly: No tools are required and no drilling is required to assemble this rack.
  • Locking Option: A 72” lockable cable is included so you can lock your bikes to the rack.
  • Expansion Capability: This can extend from 54.5” to 66.5” without any spacer and a full-size spacer is included that enables the rack to extend from 60.5” to 72.5”.
  • Damage and Scratch Free: The rack will attach to the side rails with soft rubber-feets that will prevent scratching your truck’s body.
  • The holding rods include soft foams to protect your bike’s tires.
  • You can also use this one as a standalone parking rack if you want.
  • Despite being a big one, it is incredibly light-weight.
  • A limited lifetime warranty will be provided by the manufacturer.

Some Weaknesses
  • Unable to make a perfect fit for a full-size truck.
  • Will not fit a bike with 28/29” tires.
  • Defines poor construction.
  • The bikes may tilt to one side rather than staying upright even if you tighten the clamp.
  • You cannot use this rack on those trucks that have bed liners.
  • This rack may bend the disc if you mount a bike with disc brake.

The Heininger Automotive 2025 Advantage SportsRack is a unique style bike carrier where you can utilize the idea where you can use the same rack on your truck and use it as a standalone bike rack when you are not using it on your truck. This company thinks of exceptional ideas for making road trips that will become revolutionary.

This can hold any bike with 27″ tires that are 2.5” wide. It will adjust the most truck bed sizes and the size of the smallest bed should be 54.5” in order to get fitted with this rack. You can see a gap in the middle section of the rack that sits close to the tailgate. Without using an additional spacer there is a way to close this rack with a simple trick. Watch this video from ‘Heininger Automotive’ to get an idea of how it works –

Types of Bike Racks for the Beds of Your Trucks

There are mainly 4 types of bike racks that you can place on your truck bed. All these 4 types of carriers handle the job smoothly for the secure transportation of your bikes. The general types of bike racks are –

  • Fork Mount
  • Wheel Mount
  • Side Clamp
  • Tailgate Pad

Fork Mount:

These types are the most common when you are looking for a rack for your truck: small types of bars (in build) that are usually mounted on the bed portion of trucks. Generally, you can mount one bike with one fork-mount rack. But sometimes you can find these racks consist of a bar with multiple fork-mounts where you can load multiple bikes.

As they are fork-mount racks that means you need to remove the front wheels of your bike to mount them. Now, every time you remove the front wheel to mount your bike on the rack and again install the front wheel when you take off the bike for a ride can be bothersome.

Most of the time these racks offer locking mechanisms due to their design. So your bikes remain protected and secured from theft all the time. These types of racks include a 9 mm skewer that tightens the fork of your bike to the vehicle. Compared to the other types of rack, the fork mount bike racks have a smooth and easy installation process.

Wheel Mount:

This type of rack follows a similar process as a fork-mount bike rack for mounting bicycles except you don’t have to disassemble the front wheel of your bike. Simply insert the front wheel of your bicycle into the mount and keep it stable by fastening the locking arm over the top of the front wheel.

Most of the time, wheel mount racks incorporate some sort of locking mechanism to restrain your bikes from getting stolen. Similar to fork-mount racks, wheel mount ones can carry only one bike and unlike the fork mount bike racks, you won’t find any bar that holds multiple racks for carrying multiple bikes for this rack.

They are usually larger and they can occupy a significant amount of space on the bed of your truck. The installation process is a breeze and you don’t need to drill the truck’s body for setting up these racks.

Side Clamp:

Judging by the name, you can already guess that – this rack holds your bike to the side of the truck clamping your bike’s frame. These racks keep your bike at the side of your truck within a limited space. As a result, you will get sufficient storage on your truck for storing other important things. You can also use this space for loading other outdoor gear.

You will be greatly benefited from their low profile design and you can take them anywhere with you. Like a fork-mount and a wheel-mount rack, this rack carries only one bike most of the time. However, there are other versions of this rack that can carry more than one bicycle.

The installation process can be a little bit challenging, but it really depends on the rack and on your mechanical skills.

Tailgate Pad:

In general, these types of racks are large pads that drape over the tailgate. When you are mounting your bicycle on this type of rack, the front wheel connects to the rack near the tailgate and the rear wheel rests on the bed of your truck. The mechanism of this type of rack allows you to transport the maximum number of bikes at the same time. You can transport up to 6 bikes with this kind rack which is greater compared to the other types of racks.

The main purpose of the pad is to protect your bicycle and truck. There are Velcro straps equipped with the pad so that your bicycles can stay secure and stable in their places. You can also use the pad to protect your truck while transporting large objects.

These racks have a relatively easy installation where you don’t need any tool and you don’t have to drill your truck’s body. But you need to be careful with this rack as they can get damaged when they are exposed to rainwater and they probably have the least stability as the bikes won’t remain firm and steady as with other types of racks.

We made a comparison chart for the four types of racks, take a look:

Different types of bike racks that you can use with your truck bed

Things to Consider When Buying Bike Racks for a Truck’s Bed

Whenever we are trying to buy something for ourselves, we set up some pre-conditions in our minds. That is also the same when you are planning to buy a rack for your trucks’ bed. The things that appear in your mind when you try to buy a truck bike rack are – your truck bed size, number of bicycles you want to transport, its build quality, its security, and other considerable factors. Here, we are going to discuss some of the important factors that you really need to consider while buying a rack for your truck’s bed.

Determine How Many Bicycles You Want to Carry Depending on the Bed Size of Your Truck

The first and foremost thing is – how many bikes do you want to carry? When you made an answer to this question, then measure the size of the bed of your truck. The bed size of your truck is related to the number of bikes that you want to carry.

That being said, different bike racks are available for different sizes of truck beds to carry different numbers of bikes.

  • A tailgate pad usually has the greatest number of bicycle load capacity. This type of rack such as the Yakima GateKeeper can hold up to 6 bikes depending on your truck tailgate and its size.
  • Commonly, wheel-mount racks can hold one bike. But there are some types such as Thule’s Insta-Gator that can typically carry up to three bikes.
  • Side clamp bike racks can carry two bicycles at the highest. But, there are some exceptional models like TopLine’s UniGrip that are able to transport a maximum of 4 bicycles.

Decide Whether You Want a Permanent or a Temporary Installation

This factor determines whether you want a rack for just hauling, or you want to permanently install the rack as you frequently transport bikes.

If you are looking for a temporary solution to transport your bikes then you need a rack that can be easily and quickly installed and uninstalled. The racks that we have selected on our list all have an easy and quick installation process. But there can be racks with a tough installation process that can be time-consuming. So those racks won’t be a good option if you just want to haul with your bikes.

Sometimes, a fork-mount can take a considerable amount of time to install. But they don’t interfere if you want to use your truck for multi-task because of their low profiles.

On the other hand, tailgate pads and side clamps have fair and quick installation methods. This makes them a great option if you want to use your pickup truck for hauling with your bikes. They can also be used for multitasking. For instance, you can carry other types of outdoor gears with a tailgate pad or a side clamp rack.

How Different Types of Racks Protect Your Bikes in Different Ways

Different racks have their own unique styles for protecting your bike and keeping it free from scratches or damages.

  • Fork-mount racks engage with the fork of your bike’s wheel. As a result, they don’t require any foam padding or protective coating to keep your bikes safe
  • Fork-mount, wheel-mount and side-mount bike racks keep your bikes stable (anti-swinging feature) and keep them away from the truck’s body and other bikes.
  • There are soft rubber pads or cups in wheel-mount and side-mount racks that keep your truck’s body scratch and dent free.
  • While a tailgate pad drapes over the tailgate so that it can protect your bike’s paint job with heavy padding.

How Secure Your Bike Rack Should be

When you are looking for a rack for your truck with maximum security, then wheel-mount and fork-mount racks are the most reliable options for you. Both of these racks involve an intensive installation procedure which makes your bike very difficult to take off. Moreover, there are additional locking features and locking cables that come with a premium quality wheel-mount or fork-mount rack.

Side-clamp racks usually hold your bike to the side rail of your truck. You can easily mount and dismount your bikes from this type of rack that kind of makes your bike an easier target for the thieves.

Tailgate pads don’t offer any type of theft protection. Therefore, you should only carry your bikes with these types of carriers when your bikes are tied-down with some kind of cable locks. In this way, your bikes may remain protected from getting robbed when you are not around.

Why Do You Need a Bike Rack?

Transportation of your bikes:

A truck bed bicycle carrier gives you the opportunity to take your bike to distinct places and enjoy the alfresco riding with your bike. These racks can carry your bikes far and wide. So you don’t have to ride your cycle all the way. Carrying your bikes with a rack is a great way to haul your bicycles from one place to another and you will have enough freedom to load up your bikes any time you want and hit the road.

Moreover, you might be an avid cyclist who is also an adventurous traveller, who drives a pickup truck and hauls around different places with his bike. These racks will help you a lot to easily travel with your bikes.

Protection of your truck and your bike:

Instead of buying and installing a rack, you can just simply put your bikes on the bed and start travelling. But this will cause serious damage to both your truck and your bike while driving. The irresistible forces while turning around and sudden stops can toss your bike or throw it out of the truck. Moreover, this can damage your truck’s paint job and leave ineradicable scratches and dents. A perfect rack will keep your bike securely in place and you can have peace in mind knowing that there is no contact between your truck and your bike.

Allows you to use it outside of your truck:

Some racks can be used both in your truck and outside of the truck as an independent carrier. For example – the Heininger Automotive 2025 Advantage SportsRack can be used in your truck where it will be installed near the cab of your truck. At the same time, you can use this rack as a standalone bike rack in your garage. If you don’t want to use the rack in your truck anymore this will do a great favor to you as you can use it in your garage for parking bikes.

Allows you to transport other equipment:

A fork-mount, wheel-mount, and side-clamp bike rack occupy a little space beside the side rails on your truck. They take a little space for assembly and there will be enough room in your truck’s storage to carry other outdoor gears even when the bicycle is mounted to the rack.

As the bike racks will be installed on the truck bed, the hitch remains free to pull a small trailer, camper or an RV. So you can carry your bikes at the same time you can pull any types of trailers. But first, make sure everything is correctly connected and secured to avoid any type of destruction.


When you drive a pickup truck, it is always a wise idea to have a bike rack for your truck. No matter how frequently you transport your bikes, have a bike rack installed in your truck. These bike racks won’t take a huge area on your truck to be mounted. You can always carry important things on your truck bed even when a rack is installed because of its low profile. These types of racks are always great and they will always make a pleasant and safe journey for you keeping your bikes as well as your truck safe. So, if you haven’t bought a rack especially when you drive a truck, then why are you still sitting there? Just go ahead and buy a preferable bike rack for your truck, they will come in handy for sure. Hope this article will cheer you up to buy the perfect bike rack for your truck. Finally, we wish you the best of luck for buying a rack for your truck, and thanks for reading this article.

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Last update on 2020-10-26 at 11:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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