Picture this: It’s a sunny day, hovering right around 75 degrees. You’ve got no plans, a freshly-tuned bike and a pickup truck waiting to take you to your favorite trail. There’s just one, teensy-tiny hiccup: you haven’t invested in a bike rack yet. Maybe the myriad options on the market have caused analysis paralysis; or perhaps you’ve been so busy, that you haven’t had time to research. Either way, consider this your sign to stop laying your bike down in the truck bed and hoping for the best and to find the rack that’s best suited to your needs.
Why buy a truck bed bike rack?
A truck bed bike rack will keep your bikes secure
There are a plethora of bike types out there: gravel, mountain, road, electric, cargo, etc. Bikes will vary in both size and weight, and depending on how many you’re transporting at a time, sometimes a hitch mount just won’t cut it. Truck bed bike racks make use of the hauling capabilities already built into your vehicle, and keep bikes secured and safe. A truck bed bike rack is also an effective deterrent against thieves and curious passersby.
A truck bed bike rack will protect both your truck bed and your bike
A truck’s bed may be tough (especially if it has a liner) but just laying your bikes down in the back could potentially damage both your truck bed and your bikes. Whether you’re just going around the block or you’re heading out for a multi-week road trip, a truck bed bike rack will save your bikes from getting banged up, or in the case of extreme wind, from flying out of the truck entirely.
What to look for in a truck bed bike rack
There are three main types of truck bed bike racks: wheel mounted, fork mounted and tailgate pads. Each style has its own benefits and drawbacks: wheel-mounted racks are secure and reliable and you don’t have to remove the front tire, which saves time and hassle. Fork-mounted bike racks require the removal of the front tire, but provide extra stability during the drive. Tailgate pads feature padded cushions that prevent your bike frame from rubbing against the metal, or lining, of your truck bed.
You’ll want to think about bike capacity when purchasing the truck bed bike rack that’s going to be best for you — if you’re the only one of your friends that has a pickup, chances are you’ll be hauling multiple bikes on the regular. If you like to ride solo, you can opt for something more minimal. If you’re going to be away from your bikes for long stretches of time, you’ll want to consider a locking bike rack, which provides both security and peace of mind.
You’ll also want to consider your bike style when choosing a rack: the frame design needs to match the rack’s style for effective and easy loading and unloading, and the size of your tire should be compatible with the allotted space on the rack if you’re opting for a wheel-mounted style.