After posting the blog about bike racks, I got a lot of questions and concerns. While I was addressing many of them through different articles and comments, some of the comments left me questioning.
People were asking about safe ways to carry a bicycle in a truck. I have also seen a lot of people carrying bikes in pickup trucks. Whether they are retailers or individual bike owners, safe traveling has always been questioned. You don’t want to hurt your bike, neither you want to leave scratches on your truck.
Bike racks seem pretty a big deal for them. You could add hitch racks on some of the models. I wanted something easy to use, a solution that has been dedicatedly designed for trucks. So, while contacting some local shops and researching online, I came across tailgate bike pads.
Even a local bicycle shop agreed to show me some of the models. After seeing them in action, I thought there should be a separate article on the best tailgate bike pads. So, here it is.
Even after finding tailgate bike pads, I was looking for other commonly used methods. Usually, the widespread practice is laying the bikes on the truck’s bed. Some truck owners also use special truck bed bike racks or strap their bikes using trailer hitches. But, I found tailgate pads are a more efficient choice. So, let’s get more into tailgate pads for bikes.
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- Mountain Bike Tailgate Pads – A Quick Introduction
- 5 Best Tailgate Bike Pads
- Truck Tailgate Bike Pad Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Are tailgate pads safe for bikes?
- How do tailgate bike pads work?
- How do you hang a bike over a tailgate?
- Can I put my tailgate pad through the car wash?
- Can I use a blanket as a tailgate pad?
- Can I use the tailgate pad with a tonneau cover?
- Can I use the MTB tailgate pad to carry other types of bikes?
- What is a tailgate bike rack?
Mountain Bike Tailgate Pads – A Quick Introduction
Tailgate bike pads (sometimes also called mountain bike tailgate pads) are used on the tailgates of pickup trucks. They are mainly thick, foam-filled pads. These pads fold over the tailgate. Many of them also have additional straps for holding bikes in place. A few of them have bumpers to save bikes from hitting one another.
I found tailgate pads have several advantages compared to racks. Besides, if you are riding with your family, you have noticed that the frame size of different types of bikes is different. In fact, modern ones have gone bigger and longer. On another account, tailgate pads are easier to set on any truck. You don’t need any additional holes or screws to set up. You just put them on your tailgate, and they are ready to move. Moreover, they are cheaper options.
Tailgate bike pads are a fantastic addition to carrying bikes on pickup trucks.
5 Best Tailgate Bike Pads
As I said, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to review some of the best tailgate bike pads. These different types of products will give you a clear idea about tailgate bicycle pads and help you to understand more.
Before You Buy – Bike Tailgate Pad Sizes
Every bike pad manufacturer makes two different sizes of tailgates bike pads.
The smaller of the two sizes is for narrower tailgates of mid-sized trucks. It is often marked as Small, 54″ wide, or S/M.
The smaller bike pad will fit these mid-sized pickup trucks:
- GMC Canyon
- Jeep Gladiator
- Chevrolet Colorado
- Toyota Tacoma
- Honda Ridgeline
- Ford Ranger
- Nissan Frontier
- Isuzu D-Max
The large size pad or the larger of the 2 sizes (marked as Large, 62″ wide, or L/XL) is for wider tailgates of the full-size trucks:
- Ford F-150
- Chevrolet Silverado
- GMC Sierra
- Dodge RAM 1500
- Toyota Tundra
- Nissan Titan
The large tailgate pad will also fit heavy-duty trucks like the Ford Super Duty, Chevy Silverado HD, and Dodge RAM Heavy Duty.
Dakine Pickup Tailgate Pad (Editor’s Choice)
If there is intense competition for RaceFace tailgate pads, it is the Dakine Pickup tailgate pad. Some people even argue that this is the best tailgate pad currently available. Dakine offers two different sizes of pickup pads. The large Dakine tailgate bike pad fits full-size pick-up trucks, while the mid-sized pad is for compact rigs.
The vinyl body actually offers more than you can imagine. It has ¾” foam padding for keeping a distance between your bike and your truck’s body. The larger one comes with 3 cinch straps for securing the pad with the vehicle. This helps to keep your bike firmly placed, even on off-road tracks.
You’ll also have an access pad that is installed on the pad. It helps to hold the tailgate handle properly. If this is not enough, you also have the kickstand with the access flap. It helps to take good advantage of the rearview cameras in modern trucks.
You also have velcro frame anchor straps like RaceFace. It keeps the bike safe, secured, rub-free, and well-spaced. In fact, as we look towards designing, It is pretty simple. You have the Dakine logo in the middle written with 600D polyester. Dakine looks simple yet elegant on your bike due to the outer polyester.
But is Dakine a durable option? When I pulled it outside of the box, it felt pretty light. I was somewhat confused about its durability. I have to appreciate the heavy-duty vinyl cover that changed my perspective. 1000D polyester is the magic trick of the Dakine tailgate bicycle pad’s durability.
It withstands tension, sunlight, and even rain. I have hardly heard any complaints about the durability issue of Dakine Tailgate Pads. Even after rough and tough use, it almost remains the same. It hardly loses color or fades.
The Dakine Tailgate pad is easy to install. You need to unhinge the tailgate and slide the straps below the tailgate. Then you close your tailgate. Finally, you adjust the pad and tighten its straps. You can easily adjust the frame straps. It won’t also take more than 5 minutes to set up. Anyhow, it shifts towards the tailgate after some time. Though you can adjust it easily, there is a lot of space for improvement.
Overall, coming at a cheaper rate, this is one of the tailgate pads available in the market. There is always scope for improvements, but this can be a safe choice for anyone.
- 1000D polyester, Ultra Violet, and water-resistant outer coating
- Available for full-size and medium-size trucks
- Small ones can hold 5 bikes, while larger ones can hold 7 bikes
- The larger pad is 62 inches wide, and the smaller pad is 54 inches wide
- Black color design
- Lightweight but highly durable
- Easy to install
- Comes with Kickstands
- Comes at a budget-friendly price
- Has a tendency for shifting forward towards the tailgate
Related reading: Dakine Tailgate Pad Reviews & Buying Guide
Demon Tailgate Bike Pad (Popular)
The Demon tailgate bike pad for trucks has been specially designed for transporting mountain bikes. This MTB tailgate pad has zipper-lock bags like MNJ bicycle pads. But, it is preferable as the outer layer is much more durable.
The Demon has specially designed its straps for properly holding bike frames. They have several anchor points to hold their bike properly. The soft inner pad keeps bikes and truck separated. Straps are inward. So, you might face difficulty while unlocking your bike. But that won’t be a big issue.
Installation is pretty easy too. The pad has web cinch straps to properly hold bikes in position. You just half-open your tailgate and put the straps underneath. Then you tighten the straps for adjusting. You can do the whole setup alone.
The Demon pad is among the budget-friendly options on our list. Considering the price, they provide great value. The whole structure is pretty solid and water or dust-resistant. We can expect that they will serve you for years. You can not go wrong with Demon tailgate pads if you need a tailgate pad.
- Specially designed for mountain bikes
- Comes in small and medium sizes for different types of pickup trucks
- 3/4 inches padding
- Heavy-duty vinyl exterior layer
- Web cinch straps for proper placement of the pad
- Zipper bags for storing tools and accessories
- Can carry up to 7 bikes at a time
- Budget-friendly option
- Comes with a zipper bag for storing tools
- Cannot withstand heavy-duty performance
RaceFace T2 Tailgate Bike Pad
While a regular truck bike pad will give you protection on paved roads, the Raceface T2 Tailgate Bike pad will provide additional protection when the road gets rough. On rough roads, it is common for bikes to shift positions and damage each other. Race Face tailgate pad has added tube straps and enhanced foam bumpers to offer additional security to bikes.
You can store five to seven bikes together, and velcro down tube straps will provide higher security to your bikes. You must connect your pad to the tailgate with three attached nylon straps. These nylon straps have double plastic rings for extra protection. It took me around five minutes to set up and prepare the whole pad.
If you have Toyota Tundra, Dodge Ram, Ford F150, and similar vehicle, you should go for the larger sizes. On the contrary, you can use the smaller pad if you have Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, or another mid-size truck with a compact cargo bed.
The RaceFace pads come with elevated bumpers that help to hold the bike in the proper position. You also have straps for attaching the downtube of your bikes. These bumpers would perform better if they were directly underneath the bike.
This RaceFace pad does not look quite regular because of its floral design. Again, the material is quite solid and sturdy. It won’t cut or be damaged easily. On the inner edge, they have used a quite soft micro-brushed lining. So, this tailgate pad for bikes should withstand all obstacles for a long time.
- Raised bumpers are facing the truck to prevent bikes from knocking each other
- Square pads have been raised on the outer tailgate
- The velcro-backed webbing loop and strap system are attached
- Dark floral color design
- Comes in 2 different sizes
- The bumpers and straps hold the bike properly
- This model can withstand rough roads
- It prevents damage to the truck along with the bike, even in harsh weather
- Bumpers could have been placed more efficiently
Evoc Tailgate Bike Pad (Great Designs)
If you want something elegant outside the typical black designs, you should give Evoc tailgate pad a chance. You’ll find two color options- olive color with black accents and black color with olive accents. Along with the Evoc logo, anyone will also notice a trendy map graphic design on the pad, making it an excellent fit for a mountain bike tailgate pad.
There are two available sizes, like Dakine. If you have a full-size bed on your truck, go for the larger one. Otherwise, you can choose the smaller model. The larger model is quite spacious and large. With its larger width, you’ll need to be careful when opening your tailgate.
Evoc tailgate bike pads come with six partitioned slots. They have downtubes and their own Velcro strap. The slots are separated by a foam separator pad. This separator pad is made with vinyl for longer durability. Usually, you can store six bikes. You can also add two more bicycles by adding them on the last straps and putting in a bit of work.
Attaching the bicycle pad with the truck is pretty straightforward. You just retain them using three safe and secure straps. You also have a metal tightening adjuster for properly adjusting your tailgate pads.
Evo bike pads are made with Tarpuling and EVA. For those who don’t know, Tarpaulin is a water-resistant, durable material that can also withstand dirt. Tarpaulin prevents water from entering. It also provides attention to the outlook and holds a colorful texture for a long time.
EVA, or Ethylene-vinyl acetate, is a copolymer of ethylene and polymer. It helps provide flexibility and softness. It also has a rubber-like nature. Evo uses this polymer to provide a flexible yet elastic interior that keeps bikes away from the truck’s body.
It almost has a perfect outlook. It could have a microfiber liner instead of a woven one. Metal buckles can fall off. Besides, it is hard to attach e-bikes to them. This will be wise if you want to get rid of the traditional black vinyl look.
- Tarpaulin and EVA are the primary materials
- Can hold up to 6 bikes
- Comes with a limited manufacturer warranty
- Durable and weatherproof design
- Straps are removable and moveable
- It has an elegant design
- The materials are quite effective for longer durability
- Attaching the pad to tailgate is pretty easy
- Attaching e-bikes is troublesome
- Micro-detailing is not satisfying compared to other pads on this list
MNJ Motor Tailgate 5 Bike Protection Pad (Affordable)
When you carry a bike with you, you might need some tools along with your bike. I carry my pump, screwdriver set, chain locks, and other items. This MNJ tailgate pad addresses this need and offers pockets on pads for storing your equipment. You at least have a space for keeping them close to your bikes. The zipper lock also ensures that your items do not fall out while traveling.
You also get concave slots on the pads for firmly holding the bike properly. Fixing straps have been designed to keep bikes safe during transportation. In fact, the soft inner material also provides security to bikes. Both the inner and outer layers are water-resistant. The thick inner filler keeps the bike and truck apart.
Installation is pretty straightforward. You just need to set the tailgate and secure its straps. It takes around three to four minutes to set up. Anyhow, there is always scope for improvement. The tailgate flap is downwards. So, it covers the rear camera of some modern trucks. Straps are not so easy to handle. The material can also be improved.
- Comes with five or six concave slots with straps for holding bikes
- Can hold five to six bikes at the same time
- Tailgate outer layer is made with PVC
- Comes with pockets on the pad for storing tools
- Comes in two different sizes
- Zipper bags for storing tools
- The inner material is water-proof
- The strap is soft and might not be long-lasting
Truck Tailgate Bike Pad Buyer’s Guide
Several factors must be addressed before choosing the best tailgate bike pad for your truck.
Size of Your Truck
The size of your truck matters a lot when you are shopping for a tailgate pad. Getting a mid-size pad for a full-size pick-up truck will not be a good idea. If you want your bike to be as cushioned and safe as possible, you must buy bike pads of the correct size. Please scroll up to the chapter about truck and pad sizes for more information.
When picking out tailgate pads, you must take the design of the tailgate into consideration as well. For instance, several new Dodge and Ford trucks have curved tailgates, and regular tailgate pads may not work well.
In such cases, a tailgate pad that covers the curve is extremely important, so make sure you buy one that accommodates the design of your truck.
Number of Bicycles
The number of bikes you are planning on carrying is another factor that affects the choice of your new tailgate pad. If you usually need to transport 1 or 2 cycles, you can get either a single-bike tailgate pad or a half-size pad with 2 bicycle capacity. This will be enough to give your bike the protection it needs on bumpy car rides.
On the other hand, if you plan on regularly transporting more than 2 bikes, you will need a full-size tailgate pad. Make sure the pads you buy have bike anchor straps for individual bikes, making it easier for you to keep them safe.
Some models of tailgate bike pads have a large access flap for tailgate handles and rear-view cameras, while others only have a small flap for handles. If you have a new truck with a rear-view camera, you need a tailgate pad with a large flap. Similarly, if rear-view cameras are not of your concern, a smaller flap will do just fine.
Anti-Theft Locking System
You will be surprised at the number of unwanted situations having an anti-theft locking system in your tailgate bike pads will save you from!
With pads with built-in locks in them for the bikes, you will be able to save your bikes from getting stolen. Make sure you use a number combination that is easy to remember but not easy to guess, and you are good to go.
The pads with locking systems also have backup keys, so you can use them if you forget the combination. However, remember to keep it out of the thief’s reach.
Tool pockets are a must-have on the road with your bike. Having tool pockets in your tailgate bike pads will ensure that all the tools you need will be within your hand’s reach. These pockets will also ensure that you do not lose your tools during the car ride, thus being extremely helpful.
As we carry bikes, we must consider safety and security measurements. In fact, this is a crucial feature. You need pads to hold your bike. You might have wasted money if your bike tailgate pad isn’t holding your rigs properly.
Alongside that, we also need to consider the safety of our truck. We are looking for something to prevent knocking at the tailgate and damaging your vehicle. To be one of the best tailgate mats, it needs to stay firm on your tailgate while holding your bike correctly.
Durability of Padding
You will not be driving your pickup truck only in dry weather. You need a tailgate pad that can stand against rain and dirt. Especially if you are thinking about regular use, you need something heavy. For occasional use, you can choose simple, lightweight models.
Anyhow, there should be no compromise with material quality. The straps need to be strong as well. I suggest going through features and descriptions before buying any product. You must also know the additional facilities and read reviews for explicit details.
How many bikes do you want to carry at the same time? Are they similar types of bikes? You must understand why you need a tailgate pad in your truck. The racer’s tailgate pad and everyday occasional riders’ tailgate pad will differ. If you do not focus on your needs, you might end up dissatisfied or might end up having too many options at hand. Again, I would ask you to go through Product Features to understand if it is suitable for you or not.
Long Term Maintenance
Regular using fabric deteriorates its life span. Tailgate pads also face friction and rough weather. If the material is not strong or the anchors are not appropriately stitched, you might lose efficiency over the years. If you ask me, I would say that an ideal pad should last a decade.
The tailgate cover for bikes might be affected by weather and regular use. Still, it won’t be smart if you limit the use to only safety and additional features. You also need to evaluate the material. Try to choose something strong like nylon fabric.
Tailgate pads are a great addition to your truck. You can get creative with the designs. There are a variety of choices on the market. People love attractive colors. Dull colors do not look great, but they also do not get dirty quickly. When all the other criteria match, you can be creative about color and add a piece of beauty to your truck.
Tailgate pads are usually cheaper than racks. The price range varies based on design and features. A high price never means the best tailgate pad. Select something within your budget that will protect your bike and truck for a long time. To be more precise, the best tailgate bike pads may cost several hundred dollars.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are tailgate pads safe for bikes?
Yes, tailgate pads are safe for bikes. Tailgate pads have been designed to keep your bikes connected with your truck’s bed while not harming any of them. Anyhow, you need to ensure that the straps are correctly attached.
If you have selected the proper tailgate pad and ensured all the security checks, you should be able to move safely anywhere with your bike. On another note, tailgate pads’ durable finish might harm your bike’s paint job. So, try to use a foam cover to protect your bike.
How do tailgate bike pads work?
Truck tailgate bike pads work by holding your bike with your pickup truck’s tailgate while maintaining the distance between the bike and the truck’s body. The pickup bike pad is designed with thick, soft padding while the outer layer remains water and dust-resistant.
They have straps to hold your bike’s frame. So, when you attach your bike’s frame keeping the front wheel out of the tailgate, you have additional security. Besides, they also prevent multiple bicycles from knocking each other.
How do you hang a bike over a tailgate?
There are many ways to hang a bike over a tailgate, like strapping them or using tailgate bike pads. Tailgate pads are an excellent option when you are transporting multiple bikes at the same time. You should also consider bike pads when you regularly carry your bikes on trucks.
For hanging a bike over a tailgate bicycle pad, you need to put the frame over the tailgate and tighten the straps. Your bike’s front wheel should be outside the tailgate while the rest of the body is inside your truck. Some of the pads come with additional straps. You can also use them to provide extra security.
Can I put my tailgate pad through the car wash?
Most tailgate pads are constructed with water-resistant materials, with a layer on the inner and outer parts of the tailgate pad. The coating is made with PU nylon and often comes with a PVC layer. This prevents the tailgate pad from getting damaged from water or dust. Many users have experimented with a car wash, and the tailgate pads remained unaffected. We recommend covering the pad before going in the car wash for more precaution. You can also check with the seller if the tailgate is waterproof.
Can I use a blanket as a tailgate pad?
Many users don’t encourage a single moving blanket as a tailgate pad. Especially if you travel on bumpy ways regularly. Usually, all the movements could cause severe damage to the down tubes. Having said that, if you still want to use a blanket when the tailgate cover is unavailable, you should use 2 folded blankets for each bike being carried. Make sure the blankets are thick in the material. Instead, we recommend you use blankets to protect your tailgate.
Many ask if they can use a blanket or a wet towel as a tailgate mat for bikes. While that’s the only option available if you don’t have a tailgate pad, it will not prevent scratches or subtle damages. Spend a few dollars on a tailgate pad if you don’t want to take any risks.
Can I use the tailgate pad with a tonneau cover?
Most people who have tried using a tailgate pad with a tonneau cover do not recommend it. Few others have been successfully using the duo. While transporting the bike, a little space and unlocked covers are not an issue when you are on the way.
The problem would arise when you try to close the tonneau. If you still really want it, you would have to make adjustments to it. For one, you could use a good push up and shift the cover ahead. Unfortunately, it ruins the overall look of your truck.
When the tailgate pad is lying idle, few people have used straps to make adjustments for using the cover. For them, the cover worked as perfect protection for their pad. But you can still have the best result without it.
Can I use the MTB tailgate pad to carry other types of bikes?
Yes, although the bike truck pad is often called the mountain bike tailgate pad, it will perfectly fit every type of bike.
What is a tailgate bike rack?
The tailgate bike rack is just another name for the tailgate bike pad.
Inexpensive, safe, easier to install, and specially designed for trucks – these all points make tailgate bike pads an excellent solution for transporting bikes in your pickup truck. While the price range varies between brands, the features are different from one another. You need to understand your requirements.
Demon pads are the most budget-friendly option on our list. Both Demon and MNJ have zipper bags for tools. Evoc has a trendy outlook and sleek design. Raceface and Dakine have solid and durable bodies.
Now the decision is totally on you to choose your desired tailgate pad. Whatever your choice is, ensure that you have straps appropriately connected and the pad is correctly secured with your bike. Happy traveling!