Best Truck Bed Bike Racks: Bring Your Bicycle on Any Journey
Secure your bike all the way to the trails and back with these top truck bed bike racks
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.
PUBLISHED ON September 18, 2019
Putting your bike in the bed of your truck may seem fine, but it could be doing more harm to your bike than you think. A high-quality truck bed bike rack will keep your bike and truck safer. Plus, it gives you access to your hitch in case you need to hook up a trailer or camper. Here are the best bike racks to consider the next time you plan on riding the trails.
- Best OverallThule Insta-Gator Truck MountSummarySummaryThis rack’s secure hook is able to tightly clasp the front wheel to firmly secure the bike in place. All you need to worry about is wheel size.ProsProsLoading and unloading the bike is done by simply raising and lowering the ratcheting arm over the wheel. It’s also equipped with a locking mechanism that locks the bike to the mount.ConsConsIt will not function properly on trucks with a tailgate bed gap greater than half an inch. You will also be at the mercy of the length of your bike and the truck bed. Shorter beds may not be able to accommodate this mount and a bike.
- Best ValueInno Truck Bed Bike Mount SystemSummarySummaryThis rack allows you to store bikes on the bed railing and is a great option for anyone wanting to save cargo space.ProsProsYou get ratcheting holders and two D-ring clamps for the railing with the benefit of leaving these fitted to the truck. You can use one clamp to hold one bike and move the other to the opposite side for a second bike.ConsConsYou are limited to the number of bikes you can carry. As it is a side-mounting kit, you can fit only one bike per side. A bike may get jostled around a bit during the drive and move a few inches.
- Honorable MentionSwagman Pickup Truck Bike RackSummarySummaryThis two-bike mount fits firmly between the truck bed with an extending arm and comes with rubber pads that won’t scratch the paint.ProsProsBikes are easy to attach to the bar by removing the front wheel and sliding the forks into the fork mount. The mount is also adjustable and allows you to freely move the brackets from side to side to position your bike exactly where you want it.ConsConsThe locking mechanism may not work properly and can be a hassle to engage. Plus, the rubber pads may also not be very durable.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Truck Bed Bike Racks
- Take your bike anywhere. You don’t have to worry about how you are going to transport your bike. A bicycle rack for pickup truck beds is a great way to haul one or more bikes. This gives you the freedom to load up the bike and hit the road without having to ride all the way to the nearest trail.
- Protect your bike and truck. You could simply set the bike down in the truck bed, but that could damage it during the drive. The force from turns or sudden stops could toss it around or fling it out of the bed itself. It could also scratch or dent the truck’s paint. The best truck bed rack will keep the bike secure and prevent it from falling down or out of the bed.
- Haul other equipment. A bike stand for trucks frees up the trailer hitch, leaving you room to pull a camper, RV, or small trailer. You can also store other equipment and gear in the bed around the bike. Just make sure everything is secure to prevent any damage.
- Use them outside of the truck. Many mountain bike racks for trucks can be used out of the bed as well. If you need to stow your bike in the garage or on the ground, you can place the mount on the floor and simply mount the bike to it. This gives you the ability to service the bike or leave it there for another day.
Types of Truck Bed Bike Racks
These racks are quite popular and can be fixed in place to hold the bike. They typically consist of a long metal rod or pole that extends to the width of the truck bed to hold it securely. To lock down the bike, remove the front wheel and insert it into grooves where the tire would go. These racks can also attach directly to the side of the bed to hold the bike frame. The designs can vary, depending on the number of bicycles they are able to hold, and they are simple to set up.
Adjustable mounts come with extendable arms to lock down the bike's tire or frame. With these racks, you shouldn’t have to remove the front tire at all, since it clasps on to the rubber. However, adjustable frames can be trickier to set up and are a bit on the bulky side compared to fixed racks.
Founded in Malmö, Sweden in 1942, Thule specializes in making bicycle racks, accessory mounts for skis, and kayaks. It also focuses on tents, backpacks, and other gear to enjoy the great outdoors. The heavy-duty Thule Insta-Gator Truck Mount is just one of the mounts you can use to haul your bike.
Yakima began as a small machine shop in Washington state. Then in 1979, Steve Cole and Don Banducci bought the company and started focusing on cyclists. The company manufactures a number of bike racks, roof racks, cargo pods, and other carrier accessories. Consider the Yakima Locking Blockhead Permanent Locking Fork Mount Bike Rack if you need one of the best truck bed bike mounts.
Swagman began in the early 1990s in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It designs a wide variety of products to transport outdoor adventure equipment. One of its specialties is its trunk mounts, including the Swagman Pickup Truck Bike Rack.
Truck Bed Bike Rack Pricing
- Under $100: Here you will find smaller and a more simple selection of truck bed bike mounts. They will typically hold just one bike, but you can find some that accommodate two. You may also have to drill holes into the truck bed to properly connect them.
- $100-$200: This is where you will see the quality of the material increase as well as the number of bikes the racks can carry. They are also equipped with more robust frames and enhanced locking mechanisms to lock them down when the bikes are off.
- Above $200: In this range, you will find large, durable, and sturdy mounts that are capable of holding a lot of weight. They are also designed to carry larger equipment, such as kayaks, surfboards, and rooftop tents.
Truck bed bike mounts lock your bike down in one of two ways, either by the forks or the wheel. Both offer a secure way to prevent the bike from tipping or swaying during travel. With bed bike racks that are wheel-mounted, you do not have to remove the front wheel. They come with an armbar that clamps to the wheel, holding it in place. Those designed to fit in the fork grooves will require you to take off the front wheel. You can then use straps or a bungee cord to hold down the wheel or place it inside the truck.
Truck Bed Mount
There are multiple ways truck bed bike mounts attach to the vehicle, but not all of them will necessarily work in your truck. Some can be extended from one side of the bed to the other to hold it tightly in place. Others slide into the gap between the bed and the tailgate to prevent them from sliding around. However, you may want to get a lock for your tailgate in order to prevent anyone from lowering it and stealing the rack. You can also find racks that require you to drill holes in the frame of your truck. Many bike mounts will not fit on your truck if you have over-the-rail bedliners.
- Bike Capacity: Your truck bed is limited to the number of bikes it can hold. The wider and longer the bed, the more it may be able to accommodate. The length and width of the mount are important. Larger ones will take up more space but may hold fewer bikes.
- Additional Accessories. Many mounts offer you the ability to carry more than just bicycles. Certain brands can hold surfboards, tents, and kayaks as well. These tend to be more expensive.
Best Truck Bed Bike Rack Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Thule Insta-Gator Truck Mount
As one of the leading names in bike gear and accessories, Thule’s truck bed bike mount is durable and easy to set up. With its secure hook, it is able to tightly clasp the front wheel to firmly secure the bike in place. All you need to worry about is the size of the wheel; it fits wheels between 20 to 29 inches in diameter and up to 3 inches wide. It doesn’t make any contact with the frame, so there is no risk of any scratches or dings in the paint.
Loading and unloading the bike is simple, which we think is rather helpful. All you do is raise and lower the ratcheting arm over the wheel, and you’re ready to go. Another feature we like is the locking mechanism that locks the bike to the mount so you can leave it unattended and not worry about anyone stealing it. You can also attach up to three bikes, depending on the width of your truck bed.
One downside is it will not function properly on trucks with a tailgate bed gap greater than half an inch. This may be especially problematic with bed liners. Since it is a tailgate-mounted rack, you will have to close the tailgate to properly lock it in place. While that makes for easy installation, this can be a hassle if you are loading it by yourself. You will also be at the mercy of the length of your bike and the truck bed. Shorter beds may not be able to fit this mount and bike.
Best Value: Inno Truck Bed Bike Mount System
This may be the most unique bike rack we’ve come across, but don’t let its design fool you. Instead of placing the bike in the center of the truck bed, this rack stores bikes on the sides. This is a great option for anyone who is looking to save cargo space or bring multiple bikes on a trip. You simply attach the hardware over the side rails and then attach the bike to it.
Out of the box, you get ratcheting holders and two D-ring clamps for the railing. One of the best features is you can leave these fitted to the truck while leaving room for whatever else you need. While it is designed to hold a single bike, you could use one clamp to hold one bike and move the other to the opposite side for a second bike.
However, while it does save space for cargo in the center of the truck bed, you are limited to the number of bikes you can carry. As it is a side mounting kit, you can fit only one bike per side. Also, the rack may not be able to hold smaller children’s bikes or large, robust ones. Plus, the bike may get jostled around a bit during the drive and move a few inches. Make sure it is securely tightened before each trip.
Honorable Mention: Swagman Pickp Truck Bike Rack
The Swagman Pickup Truck Bike Rack is a two-bike mount for truck beds that fits firmly between the truck bed with an extending arm. You don’t have to drill holes or risk damaging the bed in any way. The soft padding provided by the rubber pads gently rests against the sides of your truck bed without scratching the paint.
Bikes are easy to attach to the bar by removing the front wheel and sliding the forks into the mounting blocks. Then you rotate the 9mm quick-release skewers into place to anchor the bike down. This adjustable truck bed bike rack allows you to freely move the brackets from side to side to position your bike exactly where you want it.
One problem you may encounter with this mount is its locking mechanism. There can be an issue with the pin not fitting properly inside the hole, which is inefficient. While it doesn’t take away from the overall function of the rack itself, it means you won’t want to leave the bike on the rack unattended. The rubber pads may also not be the most durable.
- Be aware of the weight restrictions on bike racks. While most can carry mountain and road bikes with ease, many won’t be able to hold the weight of recumbents, cargo bikes, or tandem bikes.
- Check the size of your bike’s wheelbase before purchasing a rack. Many can easily fit normal-sized wheels, but anything larger than 29 inches may be too large.
- If you end up having to remove the wheel of a bike, you can store it in the truck. You could also leave it in the bed and use bungee cords or ropes to hold it in place.
- Remove the bike’s seat and pedals to reduce the weight of the bike and decrease the amount of wind noise and resistance during the drive.
- If you feel uncomfortable with the way your bike sits in a rack, you can use extra tie downs or straps to hold it in place.
Q: Do bike racks prevent a bike from being stolen?
A: While many do come with a locking mechanism to prevent theft, many do not. You can buy a locking kit for your mount or use a strap to tie around the bike then lock it with a regular lock.
Q: How long does it take to install a bike rack?
A: This depends on the style of the mount you have in mind. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes if all you have to do is extend a bar between the bed or insert it between the tailgate. Larger, more robust racks may need more time and may also require you to drill holes into the truck bed.
Q: Will bike rack mounts fit in a short bed truck?
A: They should fit in any type of truck bed. The problem you may run into is the size and length of the bike in addition to the rack. If you are having issues fitting the bike into the bed, you can try angling the bike while keeping the front wheel in place. As long as the wheel is facing straight, you should be able to fit the bike inside the bed. However, this only works with some racks.
For an easy-to-use truck bed bike rack that holds your bike securely in place, check out the Thule Insta-Gator Truck Mount. Or, if you want to save some cash and still get a high-quality mount, consider the unique Inno Truck Bed Bike Mount System.