Best Truck Bed Bike Racks – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

Isaac
| Last Updated: February 14, 2021

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Many truck owners use their vehicles to transport bikes to faraway cycling destinations.

While you can transport a bike by simply laying it down in the bed of your truck, you might be surprised to learn how much damage this can do to the bike.

This chance of damage is why it is essential to invest in a high-quality truck bed bike rack that will protect your bikes and the lining of your truck bed.

Our Top Picks for Best Truck Bed Bike Racks

  • Holds 4 bikes
  • Strong, durable
  • Easy storage
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  • Easy to mount
  • Easier assembling
  • Easy to use
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  • Best for the Money
  • Easy to use
  • Lasts long
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Comparison of the Best Bike Racks for Truck Beds

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Will easily hold up to 4 bikes
  • Strong and durable materials used in construction
  • No need to remove the wheels for storage
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  • Telescopic bar for quick and easy mounting
  • Very easy to assemble the bike rack
  • Easily hold 2 bikes at a time
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  • Best for the Money
  • Easy to use and operate
  • Made from high-quality and durable materials
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  • Best Thule Truck Bed Bike Rack
  • Very stable and secure bike transport option
  • Add-on blocks can be added for more bikes
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  • Best Yakima Truck Bed Bike Rack
  • Easily carry up to 75 pounds
  • Easy to install on your bike
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How Do I Choose a Truck Bed Bike Rack? 

Given that there are so many different truck bed bike racks on the market today, it can seem a little bit overwhelming choosing the right one for your needs. While bike racks come in a variety of styles, paying attention to the following features will help you choose the right one.

Number of Bikes

Before determining which rack you should buy, you should first decide how many bikes you plan on hauling. While some wheel mount racks can accommodate up to four bikes at a time, others can only hold one.

Ease of Installation

Some truck bed bike racks slide into place and require next to no prep work, while others require a more permanent installation that is more time consuming and difficult. Decide how often you plan on using your bike rack and how comfortable you are with a permanent installation.

Bike Protection

The best bike racks don’t just hold your bikes in place, but they also protect them from scratches and other damage. Choose a bike rack that will protect the finish and components of any bikes it is holding.

Build Quality

Choose a bike rack that is built from durable materials and features professional craftsmanship. 

Quick Take  - Best Bike Racks For Truck Beds

Before you get any further, here are our recommendations for the best bike racks for truck beds:

  1. Heininger Automotive 2025
  2. Swagman Pickup Fork Mount Bike Rack
  3. INNO RT201 Truck Bed Bike Rack

Review of the Best Bike Racks For Truck Beds

To help you choose the best truck bed bike rack for your needs, we have highlighted and reviewed some of the best on the market today.

Heininger Automotive 2025 Advantage SportsRack BedRack,Black

PROS

  • Includes lockable cable
  • Quick, tool-free assembly and installation
  • Extends to fit a variety of truck bed widths
  • Soft padding to protect bikes and the truck’s paint from scratches
  • Can be used as a standalone bike rack when not being used in a truck bed

CONS

  • Does not fit bikes with 29” wheels
  • Bike rack can slide unless secured with straps or bungee cords

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were impressed by how functional this bike rack is. They liked that it can accommodate up to four bikes, which makes it perfect for family road trips. Most were also satisfied with the quick assembly and installation. While some were a little disappointed that it could not accommodate 29” mountain bike tires, it works well for anything smaller.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason why this bike rack stood out to us was its ability to hold up to four bikes upright at a time. Many families like taking their bikes with them when they go on family outings, so the option to stand four bikes at a time is helpful.

We also liked that rack features thick padding, which protects both the bikes and the truck. The ability to remove the bike rack and use it as a standalone bike rack is also a great feature, especially for those that plan to take the bike rack on camping trips.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a straightforward truck bed bike rack that is easy to use and assemble, this might be just what you need. You can put it together quickly, and it holds anywhere from one to four bikes at a time.

Swagman PICKUP Fork Mount Bike Rack

PROS

  • Easy assembly and installation
  • Easily accommodates up to two bikes
  • Constructed from durable stainless steel 
  • Telescopic bar is easily adjusted to fit various truck bed sizes
  • 9mm quick-release skewers for easy and convenient bike removal

CONS

  • Poor locking mechanism 
  • Assembly instruction manual is somewhat confusing 

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers were impressed by how easy it is to install and remove this bike rack. They were also impressed with how securely the rack held their bikes; however, some had issues with the locking mechanism, which they felt was flimsy and unreliable. Some even found that this bike rack outperformed those offered by more expensive brands, such as Thule and Yakima.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The first thing that stood out to us about this truck bed bike rack was the fact that it will securely hold two bikes in a stable, upright position. While there are bike racks that can accommodate more bikes, this rack works well for those that want to transport more expensive bikes and do not want to risk any movement during transportation.

The durable stainless steel construction combined with the strong fork clips give this rack stability and make it the perfect choice for those looking for a way to take their high-end mountain or road bikes to distant riding locations.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to purchase a high-performance truck bed bike rack at a fraction of the price of the top brands, this could be the perfect product for your needs. 

INNO RT201 Truck Bed Bike Rack - Bike Mount for Standard Pickup Truck

PROS

  • Compatible with all sizes and types of bikes
  • Straightforward installation that requires no drilling
  • Does not require removal of front tire or any other bike parts
  • Side clamping design takes up very little room in the truck bed
  • Affordable price

CONS

  • No locking feature
  • Can cause scratching on larger bikes

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were happy to find such an affordable solution to the more expensive crossbar and bed racks. They also found that the clamps held their bike securely. While there were some concerns about scratching from those with large mountain bikes, this is not an issue with other types of bikes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

As you may suspect, this truck bed bike rack stood out to us because of its low price. You get a convenient and stable way to transport a bike in the back of your truck without having to spend nearly as much as you would with other types of bike racks.

While we would have appreciated a built-in locking mechanism, the clamps hold the bike securely enough that a simple cable lock would solve the problem. We also liked that this bike mount is compatible with all types of bikes, which is great for those that alternate between a road and mountain bike.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a discreet truck bed bike lock that can secure a single bike in an upright position, this affordable bike mount from INNO should meet your needs.

Best Thule Truck Bed Bike Rack:
Thule Bed-Rider

Thule Bed-Rider Bike Rack

PROS

  • Comes with three lock keys
  • Convenient quick-release fork mounts
  • Features ‘SoftGrip’ rubber feet to prevent scratches
  • Bike rack locks to the truck, and the bikes lock to the carrier
  • Durable aluminum bar extends to fit various truck bed sizes

CONS

  • Fairly expensive
  • Only holds two bikes at a time

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers were happy to discover that this truck bed bike rack lived up to the high standards people expect from Thule. The durable aluminum construction makes sure that this bike rack will not bend or break with use. Users also really liked the fact that the bike rack locks to the truck and the bikes to the rack.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The main reason this bike rack stood out to us was its double locking mechanisms. While many truck bed bike racks feature bike locks, very few locksridehe truck itself. There is little point in locking a bike to a bike rack if someone can easily steal the bike rack itself. Thule corrects this issue with locking points on either end of the bike rack. On top of that, it comes packaged with three keys, which secure the anchor locks and bike locking mechanisms.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to invest in an extremely secure truck bed bike rack, the Thule Bed Rider is well worth the extra money. Thule makes its products to a high standard, and this truck bed bike rack is no exception.

Best Yakima Truck Bed Bike Rack:
Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Pad

Yakima - GateKeeper Tailgate Pad for Compact Truck Beds, Carries Up To 5 Bikes

PROS

  • Can accommodate up to six bikes at a time
  • Soft nylon backing material protects the truck
  • Cradles prevent bikes from shifting and sliding
  • Made from water-resistant and weatherproof materials
  • Padded neoprene cradle straps prevent scratches to the bikes

CONS

  • No locking mechanism
  • Difficult to install with just one person

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers enjoy the simplicity of this tailgate bike cover. Users found that they could easily load and unload multiple bikes without risking any damage to the bikes or scratches to the truck’s tailgate. Many users also really enjoyed how many bikes they could carry using this rack, which is perfect for those that take group rides.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The main thing that stood out to us about this padded bike holder is how it transports so many bikes at one time. While six could be a little cramped, it is still an impressive total. For those that enjoy driving their truck to the entrance of a trailhead group rides, this is the perfect carrying solution.

We also liked that the bikes and truck are equally protected, and there is no need to worry about scratching or denting either.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a way to transport a large number of bikes in a way that will not scratch or damage them, this padded tailgate bike holder from Yakima is a great choice. 

Best Dirt Bike Rack For Truck Bed:
Thule Insta-Gater

Thule Insta-Gater Truck Bed Bike Rack, Black, One Size

PROS

  • Easily installed and removed
  • Option to lock the bike to the rack
  • Fits wheels anywhere from 20” to 29” in diameter
  • Easy to load and unload using convenient ratcheting arm
  • Securely holds the bike by grabbing the front wheel with no contact with the bike’s frame

CONS

  • Fairly expensive
  • Only fits tires that are 3 inches or less in width

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers have been impressed by the easy installation and removal of this bike rack. They also find it is one of the more secure truck bed bike racks they have ever used, which is particularly attractive for those that own expensive mountain bikes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The thing we liked the most about this bike rack is how quick and easy it is to set up. While some truck bed bike racks involve a time-consuming installation process that requires the user to position frustrating clamps and straps, this bike rack drops into place in minutes.

We also liked the impressive build-quality, which is something we have come to expect from Thule products. While the relatively high price can be an obstacle for some, we believe the security and stability this bike rack offers is well worth the price.

Bottom Line

If you own an expensive mountain bike and you are looking for a convenient and stable way to transport it to remote trailheads, the Thule Insta-Gater could be the perfect bike rack for you.

How Does a Truck Bed Bike Rack Work?

While truck bed bike racks are available in a variety of styles, they all share the same purpose – to hold one or more bikes in place so they are not sliding around in the back of a truck during transportation.

By securing the bike, or bikes, in place, they are not able to move around, which prevents them from becoming damaged. Unsecure bikes can slide around the truck bed, which damages the bed’s lining and the bikes themselves. Depending on the style, truck bed bike racks use wheel mounts, fork clips, or frame clamps to hold the bike steady. 

Are All Truck Bed Bike Racks The Same? 

As mentioned above, truck bed bike racks are available in a variety of styles. Each holds a bike securely in the bed of a truck, but each accomplishes this differently.

Bed Rail Style Racks

These racks consist of a bar that mounts to the truck’s bed, typically right behind the cab. Bikes are then clipped into place and secured by their forks.

Wheel Mount Racks

These lay across the bed and allow the user to roll the bike’s front wheel into a holding mechanism. 

Side Clamp Racks

These racks attach to the wall of the truck bed and hold the bike in place by clamping its frame.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying 

Before you buy a rack, you should first consider the following factors:

Bike Capacity

Carefully consider how many bikes you plan on transporting with your new bike rack. You do not want to buy a new bike rack only to have to replace it down the line when you need something that can carry more bikes. The bike racks reviewed above can hold as few as one bike to as many as six, so be sure you are choosing the correct one for your needs.

Price

Truck bed bike racks are available at a variety of price points. Take your budget into consideration when you are shopping for a new bike rack. The amount you invest in your bike rack should also be a reflection of the value of your bikes. It can be worth investing more into a higher quality bike rack if you use it to transport expensive bikes.

Compatibility

Make sure you are choosing a bike rack that is compatible with the particular types of bikes you plan on transporting. While some carry only small road bikes, others can accommodate large mountain bikes with 29-inch tires.

Pros And Cons For In Truck Bed Bike Racks

Pros

Ease of Loading Bikes

Truck bed bike racks make it much easier to load and unload bikes than hitch and rooftop bike racks. Truck bed racks allow you to climb up into the truck bed and attach or remove the bike in seconds. 

Easy Installation 

Many truck bed bike racks simply drop into position in the truck bed and are easily secured without screws or bolts.

Affordable Options

There are several types of truck bed bike racks available at very low prices. Due to the simplicity of their design, most truck bed bike racks are much cheaper than their hitch and rooftop counterparts.

Cons

Take Up Truck Bed Storage Capacity

While standing bikes in the bed of a truck can be a convenient and stable way to transport them, it does take up some of the truck’s storage capacity. When you fill the bed with bikes, you take up space that would be available for hauling other things.

Only Work With Pickup Trucks 

Naturally, a truck bed bike rack only works with a pickup truck. On the other hand, many bike racks that attach to the rear hitch of a vehicle work with various makes and models, which means the owner can continue using it, even if they switch vehicles.

Truck Bed Bike Rack - Comparison Overview

Fork Mount vs Wheel Mount Bike Racks

Fork mount bike racks require you to remove the front wheel of the bike before loading it into the bike rack. While this extra step can be somewhat time consuming and frustrating, bikes that are clipped into position by their forks are much more secure.

On the other hand, wheel mount bike racks involve rolling the bike into position without altering it in any way, which is much quicker, but also usually involves a less secure hold. 

Inside Truck Bed vs Hitch Bike Racks

Inside truck bed bike racks use the storage capabilities of a truck’s bed to hold bikes in an upright position. This method is one of the easiest ways to transport bikes, but it does have one major drawback – it reduces the truck’s storage capacity.

Hitch bike racks connect to the vehicle’s rear hitch, which means the bikes they hold do not occupy any storage space like a truck bed or trunk. However, it is much more difficult to attach a bike to a hitch-style bike rack than it is to position one into a truck bed rack.

How to Install a Truck Bed Bike Rack

Truck bed bike racks come in a variety of styles, which means installation will vary from one model to another. 

Bed rail style racks, like the Thule Bed Rider, use a telescopic pole, which extends until it reaches either wall of the truck’s bed. Once the rubber feet are in position, the locking mechanisms are secured to make sure that the rail will not slide when driving the truck.

Tailgate liner bike holders fold over the tailgate before being fastened into place with straps. These are the easiest bike racks to install, but they can be quite long, which means it sometimes helps to have an additional pair of hands during installation.

As the name suggests, side-clamp truck bed bike racks clamp to the sidewalls of the truck bed. They are positioned over the edge of the wall and tightened until they have a secure grip.

Conclusion

Purchasing a truck bed bike rack will allow you to keep your bikes and truck bed in much better condition than laying the bikes down. Any of the bike racks reviewed above can help you transport your bikes safely and securely.

People Also Ask

We know that you might have a few more questions about how to choose the best truck bed bike rack, and we want to help. Here are some of the most common things people wonder about when shopping.

Will Bike Rack Mounts Fit in a Short Bed Truck?

Yes, bike rack mounts fit in short bed trucks. Many bike racks connect to bike forks, which means you have to remove the front wheel, making the bike shorter in length. Tailgate pads also work well with short bed trucks, as the front end of the bike hangs outside of the truck bed.

Can a Roof Bike Rack be Modified for Truck Beds?

While it might be possible to modify a roof bike rack to fit in a truck bed, we don't recommend it as it would lack the stability of a purpose-made truck bed bike rack. A modified roof rack could also result in damage and scratches to the truck bed.

How Do Tailgate Bike Pads Work?

Tailgate bike pads drape over the front and back of a tailgate to provide a soft and secure place for the bikes to rest. The front-wheel sits outside of the truck and helps prevent the bike from moving as the truck drives.

Isaac

I used to work in construction and landscaping, so I've seen my fair share of ratchet straps, winches, and similar rigging gear. I started Winch Central because I've seen some nasty accidents due to crappy rigging or poor practice. I wanted to be able to recommend good equipment that's SAFE and also provide resources for how its used. I handle the research side of things here as well as product selection for gear reviews.