A truck provides the ideal platform and space for transporting any number of things.
They’re perfect for lugging sacks of cement over a building site or transporting tons of firewood. But what if you need to carry something carefully, something of value like a bike?
Sure, a lot of people will just chuck their bike in there unsecured, and we know a truck bed is designed for rugged use, but having a metal frame scraping around in there in transit is only going to scar the surface and damage the bike.
A good bike rack is a relatively inexpensive product with a truly invaluable function. It’ll open up new worlds of transportation, allowing you to take your bikes with you wherever there’s road, and even some places where there isn’t.
So, in the interest of keeping the roads, your truck, and your bike safe and mobile as can be, we’re going to be discussing five of the best truck bed bike racks available at the minute. After the reviews, we’ll take a look at an in-depth buyer’s guide and brief FAQ section to round things up.
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Check out our top pick right here for your viewing pleasure.
OUR TOP PICK
Securing your cycles at our number one spot is this awesome individual rack that’s as easy to use as it is steadfast. You don’t have to worry about complex installation or drilling holes in your beloved truck to accommodate it.
You simply use ratchet straps to secure it to the pair of tabs you slip between your tailgate and the base of the bed, no drills, no bolts, no tools at all.
Slide your bike's front wheel into the adjustable rack capable of holding up 29” x 5”, secure it with the built-in lock and key, and you’re off! There’s also plenty of space to incorporate your own cable lock to deter theft.
It’s a hard-wearing aluminum alloy and plastic design, making it lightweight, and durable, even during extended exposure to the elements. The rack is 18 inches wide, meaning you can fit 3 to 4 in your average truck bed, and it’s easily stored on its side when not in use.
Bikes weighing up to 50lbs will be fine in the Insta-Gater, but electric bikes tend to weigh 50lbs +, so if you’re an e-biker, it might not be quite heavy duty enough.
- Quick, Easy, non-invasive installation
- Hard Wearing plastic and aluminum and plastic design
- Lightweight for a rack at 11lbs
- Can fit up to four in a truck bed
- Built-in lock
- Space provided for your own security measures
- Holds a wide range of bikes
- Easily stored when not in use
- It won’t fit some trucks
- Needs to be paired with anti-theft measures
Despite being designed as a multi-purpose rack, thanks to its quality, our second pick is one of the best for securing bikes, available at the minute.
It’s a cross bar style design with an adjustable height between 19 and 30 inches, able to bear 500lbs on-road and 300lbs off-road.
Installation takes around an hour, but that’s mostly building the racks, and everything you need is included. Once that’s done, it simply clamps to the rails of your truck bed and you’re sorted. Rubber clamp lining protects your truck from blemishes during use.
The heavy duty, powder-coated aluminum construction keeps excess weight down and prevents weather damage and rust, so you don’t have to worry about packing them away after use.
Unfortunately, the bars are sold separately, but each rack can hold four bars, each capable of holding one bike.
It seems a little expensive at first, but when you consider the four bike capacity, you’re actually paying about the same per bike as you are for our top pick.
You get two sliding mounts that fit to the bar for precision bike placement, and integrated tie-down points give you the option to add your own security measures.
You can also use it alongside the numerous Yakima attachments and extensions, making for a truly versatile bit of gear.
- Multi-purpose rack
- Holds up to four bikes
- Bar mounts slide for precision placement
- Powder-coated aluminum is weatherproof, lightweight and durable
- Soft clamp function is easy to use and keeps your truck safe
- Integrated tie points help you secure your bike
- Compatible with loads of Yakima attachments
- Comes with everything you need for set up
- Cross bars are sold separately
- Installation takes a bit of time and effort
Our third bike bracing bed rack is an innovative design that helps to free up space in the middle of your truck bed so you can transport other cargo alongside your number one bike.
The INNO design clamps to the side of your truck bed, and hardwearing tensile arms reach out tipped with adjustable rubber holds that secure your bike from the front fork and the seat stay, keeping it flush to the inner wall of your truck bed.
The only downside to this space-friendly design is that you’re limited to transporting two bikes at a time, one on each side of the bed; however, you could probably fit a third on your tailgate if you don’t mind it being there.
INNO have provided loops to mount your own ratchet straps to ensure your bike is held firmly in place no matter how bumpy the drive gets.
In addition, you can easily load and secure your bikes from inside or outside of your truck, making this clamp rack design one of the most practical out there.
- Assemble in seconds
- Easy to fit clamping mechanism
- No tools required
- Mounts for ratchet straps
- Tough, weather-resistant design
- Super affordable
- Opens up room for cargo in the middle of the bed
- You can only secure one bike per pair of clamps, and three bikes per truck
- We’re not sure how you’d implement anti-theft
- Straps may tarnish the pain on your bike’s seat post
Our fourth option is the only one on the list that requires the removal of your front wheel. This is a little time consuming, but it’s a quality, affordable rack that gives you that extra stable singular axle mount.
The telescopic bar extends to fit almost any truck bed size and secures in place against your truck rails with soft but durable rubber ends, preventing scratches and abrasions. Again, no tools necessary. It couldn’t be easier to use.
The bar holds two fork mounts, so this is actually the cheapest option on our list in terms of price per bike, but you’re also limited to two bikes total due to the spacing.
The fork mount blocks have quick-release skewers that lock your bike in place during transportation, giving you peace of mind and easy access once you reach your destination.
We’re a little disappointed that the load capacity is 35lbs per bike, as there are a whole bunch of bikes out there that weigh more than this.
The bar is stainless steel, more than capable of surviving the elements, but it’s weakened by the hollow telescopic build.
- No tools required
- Comes ready assembled
- Easily installed using telescopic design
- Stainless steel construction
- Cheapest storage per bike
- Fits two bikes
- Rubber tips protect truck rails
- Quick-release skewer lock on the fork mounts
- Fits almost any truck bed
- Requires removing front wheels
- Limited to two bikes max
Our final pick follows the same fitting format as our Swagman bar, but the Elite is designed to transport up to four bikes at once.
Two rubber feet on either side of the rack extend to a maximum of 68 inches, securing firmly to the bed wall, with large wingnuts.
You needn’t worry about removing wheels with the Elite either as each of the four vacancies have a full-wheel holding arm and quick ratcheting strap.
In fact, forget bike wheels, you don’t even need a truck to use this clever rack. It’s a freestanding design that can be used as a bike stand anywhere.
Some customers have said that the cup fitting tips are easily dislodged when not in use and that it can be hard to get them to make full connection with a surface due to their size.
We’d recommend making sure your bed walls have adequate space to accommodate them before buying this rack.
Beyond that, this is a highly capable and sturdy rack. It’s quite expensive, but again, for price per bike, it’s still pretty good value.
- Can be used as a freestanding bike stand
- Installation requires no tools
- Lightweight and durable construction
- Rubber fitting cups keep your truck safe
- One unit carries up to four bikes
- The bars will extend to fit most trucks
- No wheel removal necessary
- Ratchet straps keep your bikes firmly in place
- The cups are hard to place as the wall isn’t always flat
- Not suitable if you have less than four bikes
Best Truck Bed Bike Rack Buying Guide
It’s not always easy shopping for a truck bed bike rack, especially if you’re not exactly sure what it is you’re looking for.
So, let’s take a look at some of the things we considered when compiling our list.
We’ve shown you three types of different mounting racks in our list: individual mounts, cross bars, and full mounts.
They all have their benefits and limits. It’s up to you to decide what suits your needs best.
Individual mounts are usually for holding one bike, so although they seem like the cheapest option, if you have more than one bike, you’re going to have to double up.
The best thing about these sorts of mounts is their flexibility. You can fit them almost anywhere in your truck bed which gives you greater control over the space. Individual mounts give you the freedom to transport other cargo alongside your bike.
Cross bar racks stretch across the width or length of your truck and either clamp on the rails or exert outward pressure against the walls or tailgate to stay in place.
Due to the length of the bar, they’re normally capable of securing at least two bikes.
They’re the largest, heaviest mounts available and can normally accommodate up to four bikes. Full mounts are very secure as they make many points of contact with your truck.
If you’re interested in transporting children’s bikes, a full mount may be the way to go as other mounts are normally designed for securing adult-sized bikes.
Here’s a fundamental for you.
To secure your bike(s) in place, a rack itself must fit securely to the truck bed.
Know Your Truck
The best advice we can give you is to know your truck.
You should have accurate measurements of every aspect of your truck bed, from front to tailgate, from wall to wall, from ridge to ridge.
Anything that might affect the placement of your rack needs to be taken note of.
Know your Bike(s)
You’ll also need some accurate measurements of any parts of your bike involved in the mounting process, especially your wheels and tires if it’s a tire mount.
Now that you know your truck and your bike, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Check a rack has appropriate dimensions and you should be good to go.
What kind of a fit are you looking for?
Clamps are a popular method of securing a rack to your truck bed. They can be fitted without the use of tools or frame mounts, and they normally have soft coatings to protect your vehicle from the force exerted for them to stay in place. Clamps fit over the top of the truck rails or your tailgate.
Cups and Telescopic Bars are another really fast and easy to use way of fitting a truck bed rack. They extend until both ends reach opposite sides of your truck bed. The pressure exerted against the bed walls holds the rack securely in place. Again, they’re normally coated with a protective layer to avoid any damage that may come to your truck.
Tabs that fit under your tailgate for securing a rack on the inside like our top pick are an easy and innovative way to transport your bikes in your truck bed. You can set fixtures like these up in seconds.
Other methods may include quite complex procedures with tools and frame contacts for fitting. We recommend avoiding anything that’s overly taxing to set up or fit.
Note - Make sure there are adequate measures in place to prevent damage to your vehicle.
Frame, tire, or axle, those are your options when it comes to mounting a bike.
If you have a good quality bed rack, it shouldn’t matter which of these it attaches to.
Your bike will always be secure. So, with quality and security out the way, what makes one of these right for you, and the other two wrong?
Frame mounts are ideal for maximum security as they hold your bike close to its center of gravity.
They hold bikes using clamps or ratchet straps. Both are really easy and quick to use; however, they can tarnish the finish of your bike. They’re normally sold in pairs. One holds the front of your frame, the other holds the frame beneath the saddle.
A bad quality tire mount is to be avoided as this is the most difficult part of the bike to secure because your wheels are designed to be as free moving as possible.
A good tire mount will reduce movement with a basic saddle for the tire to rest in, an arm that clamps up towards the fork, and ratchet ties in two different locations.
Tire mounts are easy to use and make no contact with the finish of your bike, which keeps it looking brand spanking new. The problem here is that they’re limited by their width and height. If your tires exceed the capacity, a tire mount is useless to you.
Axle clamps are used less and less these days as they require you to remove your front tire. If that’s something you can deal with, they’re a fantastic option for securing your bike.
The axle is a very sturdy part of your bike, designed to absorb shock, so damage from mounting is almost impossible, and it can be fully secured by that single connection. A bike with one wheel also acts as a deterrent for thieves.
You should look for racks that can handle the elements.
Even if you keep your truck in a garage, you’re bound to get caught in some weather on the road.
A rack may secure your bike in place, but they normally have some form of quick release system for your own benefit.
Unfortunately, this leaves your bikes vulnerable to theft.
Choosing a rack that has space for additional security measures will help provide peace of mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do bike racks damage your truck?
They can do, but most are fitted with soft contact points to prevent any damage.
It’s a good idea to check the soft fittings often to make sure they’re present and undamaged.
Should I remove my bike rack after use?
If your truck lives outside, you should make sure your rack has weather-resistant qualities if you plan on leaving them on.
If you do leave your rack on, remember to check it’s firmly secured before your next journey.
Should I bungee cord my bikes if they’re held by a rack?
No, it’s not essential unless the manufacturer of the rack advises to.
That said, more security is never a bad idea. If you’re taking a particularly long trip or traversing some rough terrain, we’d highly recommend using extra fastenings.
There you have it, truckers.
All you need to know before making that next purchase.
The truck and the pushbike are a perfect vehicular combination and the right rack will facilitate this relationship, bringing harmony to your life on wheels.