The 6 Best truck bed bike racks

Image showing truck using best bike truck rack

Unless you are lucky enough to live next to your favorite bike trail, then you are going to need to put your bike in the back of the truck.

This means when you get there, your two wheeled pride and joy can have its paint scratched, wheels buckled or worse. The alternative is a truck bed bike rack.

We are going to talk about the 6 Best Truck Bed Bike Racks on the market today.

 There are three main types of racks to consider. Let’s jump in and take a look!

Fork Mounted Truck Bike Racks

As the name suggests, this type of rack secures your bike by means of locking your bike’s forks. Of course, this involves removing the front wheel and storing it separately in your truck.

Remember that leaving your front wheel in your garage will result in more truck miles, much less bike miles and a lot of cursing!

Thule Low Rider 821

Thule 821 Low Rider Bicycle Fork Mount
$39.95
  • Strong construction
  • Simple design
  • Lock included
  • Fits almost any truck
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The Thule Low Rider 821 is a simple and strong fork mounted truck bed bike rack that can be fitted to your truck floor or even on the side wall.

Installation is quite simple but does involve drilling your truck but Thule even supplies you with a drilling template to help you get your bike rack in exactly the right place.

You can watch a video of installation and test here

What we like

  • Strong construction
  • Simple design
  • Lock included
  • Fits almost any truck

What we don’t like

  • Nothing really, an excellent starter truck bed bike rack

Yakima BlockHead Bike Mount

Yakima - BlockHead Bike Mount
$36.95
  • Strong Construction
  • Easy to fit
  • Corrosion resistant
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A single bike fork mounted stand much like the Thule 821 Low Rider.

Constructed from aluminum and covered in a black vinyl covering, the Yakima BlockHead certainly looks and feels high quality kit.

What we like

  • Strong construction
  • Easy to fit

What we don’t like

  • Requires additional hardware to fit
  • No lock

Swagman PICKUP Fork Mount Bike Rack

The Swagman Pickup Fork Mount Bike Rack really is a brilliantly and simply designed truck bed bike rack that will fit almost every truck.

With its adjustable telescopic ends, this steel constructed rack will fit truck widths between 52-69” and features 2 fork blocks mounted to the rack.

Swagman PICKUP Fork Mount Bike Rack
  • Easy assembly
  • No drilling
  • Takes 2 bikes
  • Stainless steel construction
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What we like

  • No need to drill
  • Can fit two bikes
  • Flexible, can fit most trucks

What we don’t like

  • Availability (often hard to get)
  • Pricey if only carrying one bike

Side Clamp Racks 

There is a bit of a giveaway in the name. These are systems that are designed to clamp your bike to the side wall of your truck. 

They fit most trucks and have the benefit of keeping your bike to the side, this leaves plenty of room for the rest of your gear on the floor of your truck.

INNO RT201 Truck Bed Bike Mount

INNO RT201 Truck Bed Bike Rack
$66.03
  • No drilling required
  • No need to remove front tire
  • Space saving
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What We Like

  • Simple design
  • Inexpensive
  • Leaves plenty of space in your truck for other stuff!

What we don’t like

  • Care and Effort needed to secure bike properly, can be a bit wobbly
  • Easier target for thieves

Wheel Mounted Truck Bed Bike Racks

These bike racks are similar to fork mounts but you don’t need to disassemble your bike, all you need to do is push the front wheel into the rack and secure it with its locking mechanism.

No chance of leaving your front wheel at home.

Thule Insta-Gater Pro Truck Bed Bike Rack

Our Top Pick
Thule Insta-Gater Pro Truck Bed Bike Rack
$249.95
  • Fits ANY truck with an operating tailgate
  • No drilling
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Secure and stable
  • Doubles up as a home bike rack
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The Thule Insta-Gater Pro Truck Bed Bike Rack is a piece of engineering genius.

Fitting the rack to your truck is so easy, no drilling is needed as the Thule Insta-Gater Pro Truck Bed Bike Rack secures itself to your truck by using the gap between the truck floor and the tailgate to anchor it. Installation literally in seconds.

Made from aluminum and weighing in at 11 pounds this “made for any bike” looks the part on any truck. This truck bed bike rack can accommodate any bike up to 50 pounds and with tire widths up to 5 inches, the Insta-Gater can happily take most bikes in its stride.

If you are an e-bike rider then your bike could weigh more than 50lbs. If this is the case then just remove your battery, this should bring you within range.

Locating your bike is both simple and secure, a telescopic arm grips your bike’s front wheel and then the bike is locked in place by a cable and lock.

(The lock is included).

What We Like

  • Fits ANY truck with an operating tailgate
  • No drilling
  • Well built and designed
  • Installed in seconds (Don’t time yourself)
  • Secure and stable
  • Doubles up as a home bike rack

What we don’t like

  • Expensive (But certaily worth it)

Bike rack for a truck tailgate

So when is a truck bed bike rack not a truck bed bike rack?

The answer is when it is a tailgate pad.

Tailgate pads are fitted to your truck’s tailgate by means of straps, the pad is made from a hard wearing nylon fabric and your bikes are strapped to the pad.

Bikes is the correct word as these tailgate pads can hold up to 7 bikes at once depending on the size of your truck and tailgate pad.

Yakima GateKeeper

YAKIMA - GateKeeper Tailgate Pad (Carries Up To 6 Bikes)
$169.00
  • Easy Installation
  • Hard wearing
  • Looks good
  • Holds up to 6 bikes 
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What we like

  • Easy Installation
  • Hard wearing
  • Looks good
  • Holds up to 6 bikes 

What we don’t like

  • Bikes are not locked in place so you need to keep guard!

Thule GateMate Pro

Thule GateMate Pro Full Size
$199.95
  • Adjustable to fit wide range of tailgates
  • Weight 6.5lbs.
  • Secure integrated bike separation


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If you thought Thule only made regular truck bed bike racks, then you’d be wrong.

Thule also offers a tailgate pad, the largest of which can handle up to 7 bikes at once depending on the size. It must be said that 7 bikes makes for a very snug fit indeed.

As with the Yakima, the Thule GateMate Pro straps to any working tailgate and your bikes are then fastened securely to the pad.

Things to consider when buying a truck bed bike rack

There are a few points to think about when buying a truck bed bike rack, these are our main considerations.

Truck bed size and how many bikes

You will need to check your truck bed size before you buy, it’s really embarrassing having to send your shiny rack back to the shop because it won’t fit your truck. 

The other thing is how many bikes you intend to carry. If you are moving one truck, there is no need to buy a tailgate pad that can carry 7 bikes.

It is worth thinking about the future, you may only have one bike at the moment but you may increase in the future.

Permanent or temporary rack

Depending on how you use your truck, you may need to decide whether a temporary or permanent setup suits you best. Working on the assumption that everything that needs drilling is permanent, the models we have looked at earlier definitely fall into two categories.

If you need every inch of your truck bed when you are not using it for cycling, then you should probably go for a temporary option or maybe a side fitting clamp rack would be better for you.

How secure will your bikes be?

Many of the options we have looked at already come with locking mechanisms, the Thule one-lock system is used on the Thule Low Rider and the Thule Insta-Gator, with other systems need you to consider buying additional security devices if the bike(s) is to be left unattended.

The same applies for the tailgate pads,you will need to buy suitable locks and cables to keep your bike safe.

The side mounts, although they are fastened to your truck, are easy to spot and the fastenings are relatively easy to remove.

Truck bed bike rack FAQs

Best bike truck rack being unloaded in desert

Q. Do I really need a truck bed bike rack?

A. This simple answer is, if you have a bike and a truck then you should have a truck bed bike rack. There are so many stories of riders who have put their bike in their truck without a rack only to find their bike damaged on arrival. Some folks try to improvise by making their own but if you are not a qualified fabrication engineer, then the answer is simple, go get yourself a rack.

Q.What is the best truck bed bike rack?

A.

  1. In some ways this is a difficult question to answer because a lot depends on the individual rider’s specific needs. But in terms of the best all round truck bed bike rack, we feel the Thule Insta-Gator wins top spot.

It’s strong construction, ease of installation, portability and in-built security ticks as many boxes as we could find!

It is expensive but we feel it still is very good value for money.

Q. Do truck bed bike racks damage trucks?

A. Strictly speaking, yes if you include holes drilled in your truck. These holes can be easily filled when it comes to selling on. Most of the options we have mentioned above will not damage your truck at all.

Q. Can you fit a bike in a pickup?

A. Yes you can. Obviously the truck tailgate pads are not suitable but in most cases the Thule Low Rider, Thule Insta-Gator and the Yakima BlockHead Bike Mount will be able to handle the job. Just measure up before you buy?

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