The 10 Best Bike Racks for a Truck Bed of 2023 – The Wayward Home

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The proliferation of electric bicycles has made biking more accessible than ever. While some of us are still traditionalists, it’s hard to argue that you need one of the best bike racks for a truck bed if you want to transport any kind of bicycle.

Now, there are plenty of bike rack options out there these days. What makes sense for some might not make sense for all. So our goal today is to explain the different types of truck bed bike racks, help you decide if this type of rack is right for you, and then give you our thoughts on the best bike rack models out there today.

So let’s get started!

Reviews of the Best Bike Rack for Truck Bed Contenders

Here are our picks for the 10 best truck bed bike racks:

Thule Insta-Gater Pro

  • Bike Capacity: 1
  • Dimensions: 40.6″ x 18″ x 6.7″
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Max Wheel Diameter: 29″

The Thule Insta-Gater Pro is a fully-adjustable bike rack. It carries a single bike that weighs up to 50 pounds and it can accommodate wheel sizes from 20 to 29 inches. It also has enough room to accommodate five-inch tires.

No drilling or bolting is required to install this bike rack. Instead, it mounts directly on the bed of your truck and secures between the tailgate and the bed. It then uses a ratcheting arm with a quick release to secure your bikes without any frame contact. That means you won’t have to remove the front wheel.

This bike rack for truck beds also comes with a One-Key system with a lock included so you can secure your bike if you leave it unattended.

Thule GateMate Pro

  • Bike Capacity: 7-8 (depends on truck size and bike configuration)
  • Dimensions: 59″ x 16″ x 2.75″
  • Weight: 6.5 pounds

The Thule GateMate Pro is the best tailgate pad that Thule makes. It holds 7-8 bikes depending on the size of your truck and how you configure the bikes. It’s also a heavy-duty vinyl pad that provides protection for your bikes and your tailgate.

Unlike some pads, this one includes an opening around your truck handle so that it doesn’t block your rearview camera (if applicable). It also features mesh pockets facing in so that you can carry bike tools and other small items.

In terms of installation, the GateMate Pro simply gets mounted over your tailgate. You then secure it using three straps that run underneath your tailgate and through fastening buckles.

Once the pad is in place, you can use the strap anchors and integrated bike channels to keep your bikes separate and secure for transport.

Thule Bed Rider

  • Bike Capacity: 2
  • Dimensions: 50.3″ x 4″ x 4″
  • Weight: 7.9 pounds
  • Fit: Full-size and small pickup beds

The Thule Bed Rider is a fork mount rack that can hold up to two bikes in the bed of your pickup. The installation of this rack doesn’t require bolting or drilling, but you will need to remove the front wheels to secure the forks to the locking skewers.

This bike rack is comprised of SoftGrip rubber feet on the ends of the rack’s aluminum telescoping bar. These feet easily attach to your truck bed’s side rails to effectively lock the rack to the frame of your truck bed.

Your bikes are also effectively locked to the rack itself at the fork mounting points. The Bed Rider is compatible with full-size and small pickup beds and even works with most truck bed liners. Although it does require an additional purchase, you can boost your bike carrying capacity by mounting Thule’s Add-On Block to this bike rack.

Pipeline Racks Truck Bed Bike Rack Collection

  • Bike Capacity: 2-5
  • Max Bed Width: Fits Truck Beds from 41 to 59+” (depending on size and model)
  • Max Wheel Diameter: 29″

Pipeline Racks actually offers several different truck bed rack options. We put their collection on here because they mainly only differ based on the size of your truck bed and the number of bikes you are hoping to transport.

Their truck rack designs range from fitting two bikes up to 5 bikes and they all include everything you need to install them. They also come with wheel straps so that you can secure your bikes without taking the front wheel off and locking in the forks.

Their rack options work with a variety of different kinds of bikes and they could be adjusted based on the wheel diameter and tire width of our bikes. Their all-aluminum designs won’t rust if left mounted in your truck and they can also be removed if you want space to store your bikes in your garage.

Heininger Automotive 2025 Advantage Sportsrack

  • Bike Capacity: 4
  • Width: Adjusts from 53.5″ to 63.75″ (59.5″ to 69.5″ with spacer)
  • Max Wheel Diameter: 27″

The Heininger Automotive 2025 Advantage Sportsrack holds up to four bikes and can be adjusted to fit compact and full-size pickups. It mounts at the front of your pickup truck bed without any drilling or bolting required.

The width of this bike carrier can expand from 53.5 inches up to 63.75 inches without the additional spacer. If you do have the additional spacer at your disposal, it can extend further from 59.5 inches to 69.5 inches.

This bicycle carrier can accommodate a maximum tire width of 2.5 inches and it can be deployed as a standalone bike rack if you decide to get roof racks to carry your bike instead. It also fits a maximum tire diameter of 27 inches, but Heininger’s BedRack Elite fits multiple bikes with a larger wheel diameter.

Yakima BikerBar Truck Bed Bike Rack

  • Bike Capacity: 2
  • Crossbar Length: 66″ (Mid-size) or 78″ (Full-size)
  • Weight: 11.8 or 12.8 pounds

Yakima’s BikerBar is a dependable bike carrier that holds up to two bikes. Every single bike has its own SKS locking mechanism that holds the front fork in place. As you might imagine, this means you’ll need to remove the front wheel to mount the front fork of your bicycle to this rack system.

It is available in two different sizes for full-size and mid-size trucks and it features quick-release skewers that make it easy to install and remove in seconds. No tools or drilling are required for this system to attach to the rail of your truck.

Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Bike Pad

  • Bike Capacity: 5-6 (depends on truck size)
  • Dimensions: 62″ x 7″ x 20″ (large) or 53″ x 5″ x 17″
  • Weight: 6-8 pounds

The GateKeeper from Yakima is the second and final tailgate bike pad on our list. It is built with an integrated strap management system that keeps it tight around your tailgate and provides excellent security regardless of the conditions.

It’s made of a rugged nylon material that’s abrasion-resistant and minimizes weather damage. It pads the frame of even the most sensitive carbon bikes and it also has a protective felt backing to keep it from damaging your truck’s paint job.

The large version of this tailgate pad has enough space for up to six bikes and fits most full-size pickup truck models with beds at least 62 inches wide. The medium size can carry up to 5 bikes and fits truck beds that are 53 to 61 inches wide.

Inno Velo Gripper RT202

  • Bike Capacity: 1
  • Dimensions: 12.5″ x 10.3″ x 2.7″
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Max Bike Weight: 33 pounds

The Inno Velo Gripper RT202 is one of the most compact truck bed bike racks out there. It’s a ratcheting fork holder that doesn’t require any tools or drilling to install. It can carry only one bike, but it works with all types of bicycle models.

This rack is meant for standard truck beds and getting your bike onto it does not require removal of the front wheel. It does come with D-rings for tie-down straps and is compatible with standard cable locks, but it does not come with either of these bike security accessories.

Let’s Go Aero Full Nelson Truck Bed V-Rack

  • Bike Capacity: 2
  • Max Crossbar Length: 72″
  • Weight: 66 pounds
  • Max Bike Weight (per bike): 35 pounds

The Full Nelson from Let’s Go Aero is a unique V-shaped bike rack for your truck. The base model can be used to mount two bikes that could weigh up to 35 pounds each, but the rack can be expanded to fit a total of six bikes if needed.

The wheel mount design includes straps that secure around the top of your bike tires. The V-Wing mount also has three different position settings, which allows you to customize this rack according to your other storage needs.

This best bike rack for truck beds fits any truck without a C-channel mount system and it offers 100% no-tool assembly and installation. It also comes with a RingLocker security system that includes a lock and two cables to lock the rack to your truck and your bikes to the rack.

Swagman Pickup Truck Bed Rack

  • Bike Capacity: 2
  • Crossbar Length: 54″
  • Weight: 13.5 pounds
  • Max Bike Weight (per bike): 45 pounds

This Swagman truck bed bike rack has space to carry up to two bikes with a maximum weight of 45 pounds each. An extra fork mount can be mounted to the rack’s telescoping bar if you want to carry a third bike as well.

It’s equipped with nine-millimeter quick-release skewers that provide a stable platform for your bikes with plenty of security. Adding to that security is the integrated lock that connects the bike rack in position in your truck bed.

This rack fits full-size and mid-size trucks but the telescoping bar makes it easy to adjust. Installation is also a breeze because it features a spring lever with a locking push button. Simply push one side against one rail, contract the bar until the other side pushes against the opposite rail, and then lock the pin in place.

Pros & Cons of Truck Bed Bike Racks

Before you go any further, it will help to know the advantages and disadvantages of this type of bike rack. Here are a few things on each side of the aisle to consider:

Truck Bed Bike Rack Pros

  • Most are relatively easy to install
  • They are great for storing bikes in the bed if you need your hitch free to tow anything
  • They are stable and sturdy
  • They don’t extend the overall length of your truck

Truck Bed Bike Rack Cons

  • They take up space in your truck bed that you might need for other outdoor gear
  • They require more assembly
  • Most take more time to install and remove
  • Some can block your truck’s rearview camera

Types of Truck Bed Bike Racks

There are also several types of truck bed bike rack models to choose from. Depending on the size of your truck and whether or not you have other truck accessories (see camper shells), certain types will make more sense for you than others.

Fixed Racks

Fixed racks mount more permanently in your truck bed. They typically consist of a long rod that installs across the width of your truck bed. Along that rod, there will be fork mount locations to secure multiple bikes.

Fixed bike racks usually require you to remove the front wheel of your bike. Then, the front fork mount locks down to the rod. Some fixed truck bed bike rack models can be installed on the side of your truck bed.

Your bike secures to this type of rack at the frame and it keeps the majority of your bed free to store other gear. This particular design only holds one bike, but fixed bike racks, in general, can be found to hold any number of bikes.

Adjustable Bike Racks

This type of truck bed bike rack typically features some sort of adjustable arm that extends or retracts depending on the size of the bike. This arm will either attach to the bike’s front tire or to the bike frame.

Because of this, you won’t have to worry about front wheel removal to secure your bike in your truck bed. That being said, the downsides of adjustable racks for your truck bed include more bulky designs and a bit more difficult setup process.

Truck Bed Tailgate Pads

Tailgate pads could arguably be the easiest carrier to mount in your truck. The front wheels of your bikes will hang over the tailgate while the rest of your bicycle stays secure in the bed of your pickup.

Tailgate pads are great for easy loading and unloading of your bikes, but they generally don’t come with any type of locking mechanism. These pads do, however, allow you to secure four bikes (or sometimes more) as long as they fit across the width of your truck bed.

Key Features to Look For in a Bike Rack for a Truck Bed

Regardless of the type of rack you choose, all quality bike racks for the bed of your truck should share these common features:

  • It fits in your truck
  • It can accommodate the number of bikes you want to transport
  • It has some sort of security feature for locking your bikes up
  • It is made of durable and sturdy materials
  • It can mount securely in the bed of your pickup
  • It has a quick release to easily get your bikes on and off
  • It can accommodate your need to store other recreation gear in your truck
  • It is within your budget

Considerations when Choosing the Best Bike Rack for Your Truck Bed

We all know that personal preference plays a major role in any buying decision. So let’s talk about a few criteria that will help you narrow down your bike rack options based on those preferences!

Does it Fit in your Truck?

This is the logical place to start because there are many different truck bed sizes. If the kind of rack you choose has a bar that is intended to fit across the width of your bed, you need to make sure bar length and truck bed width match up.

How Is It Mounted?

Once you make sure it can fit in your truck, you should check on how it is designed to be mounted. There are different truck rail types that are compatible with different racks, but the easiest designs to mount just have an expandable rod that extends to push against the sides of your truck bed before locking into place.

How Do Bikes Mount To It?

Once you’re comfortable with how to mount the rack in your pickup, look at how your bikes will mount to the rack itself. Some require the removal of the front wheel so that you can lock the fork in place. Others have straps that go around the frame of your bike or around the tires themselves.

For most people, being able to leave both of your wheels on makes loading and unloading much faster. That being said, the kind of racks that lock into the front fork tend to offer a little more security. Ultimately, you’ll largely have to choose between security and convenience on this front.

How Many Bikes Does it Accommodate?

The number of bikes you need to transport is also important to consider. You’ll find options for just one bike while some of the tailgate pads out there can basically fit as many bikes as you can carefully squeeze together across the width of your pickup.

Realistically, you should narrow your search down to a model that can fit the average number of bikes you’ll be loading into your truck. But it’s always good to give yourself a little wiggle room in case you end up organizing a shuttle for a group point-to-point mountain bike ride.

What is the Price?

At the end of the day, a lot of our buying decisions come down to the price. If the price is right, we go for it, but if it’s not, we often shy away. That’s sometimes the case even if spending a little more gets us a much better product.

When it comes to the best truck bed bike racks, you can generally expect to pay a little more than $200. Being willing to pay this much is important if you really want a heavy-duty rack that provides secure mounts and long-term reliability.

Top Truck Bed Bike Rack Brands

Before we get into our reviews of the best truck bed bike racks, here are some of the top brands in the truck bed bike rack industry:

  • Thule
  • Pipeline Racks
  • Heininger Holdings
  • Yakima
  • Inno
  • Rhino-Rack
  • Swagman
  • Let’s Go Aero Gear Management Solutions

While we haven’t necessarily included a bike rack model from each of these brands, they are definitely worth researching if you don’t find a compatible rack in our reviews below.

How to Mount Truck Bed Bike Racks

The steps for mounting one of the best truck bed bike racks will change depending on the model you choose and the features of your truck. However, here are some general tips to help you secure various types of truck bed bike racks:

Mounting a Fixed Rack

The mounts for fixed truck bed bike racks generally clamp to your truck bed’s rails. They may not be compatible with some liners and installation of certain models may require bolting the crossbar into the rails.

The important thing to remember during the installation of a fixed rack is to place it far enough forward for your bikes to fit in your truck with the tailgate closed. Because the forks will clamp directly to the bar, where you mount the bar will dictate whether or not your bikes will fit.

Mounting an Adjustable Rack

Because your bikes don’t secure to this kind of rack at the fork, you’ll actually have to account for the full length of your bike. This means that mounting this type of rack all the way at the front of the bed of your truck.

If your rack has bars with spring levers, you’ll simply contract them to fit and then expand to push against the walls of your truck bed. Then lock the bars in place so that the rack doesn’t shift while you’re driving.

Mounting a Tailgate Pad

The installation of a tailgate pad is the easiest process of the three. You can simply set the pad on top of your tailgate and then secure the straps underneath. From there, you’ll just load your bikes in with the front wheels hanging off the back of your tailgate.

Conclusion on the Best Truck Bed Bike Racks

Whether you’re into mountain biking, road biking, or something in between, getting your bike rack to your favorite trailheads is essential. So we hope you’ve enjoyed these reviews and we wish you the best of luck choosing your own truck bed bike rack!