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 trucks. Whether they are retailers or just personal bike owners, there has always been a question about safe traveling. You don’t want to hurt your bike neither you want to leave scratches on your truck.
Bike racks seem a quite big deal for them. You could add hitch racks on some of the models. I wanted something that has been dedicatedly designed for trucks. So, while contacting some of the 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 methods that are commonly used. Usually, the very common method is by laying the bikes on the bed of the truck. Some of the truck owners also use 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. A good number of them also have additional straps for holding bikes in place. A few of them have bumpers for saving bikes from hitting one another.
I found tailgate pads have several advantages compared to racks. Besides, if you are riding together with your family members, 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.
Overall, tailgate bike pads are an amazing addition to carrying bikes on pickup trucks.
5 Best Tailgate Bike Pads
As I was saying, 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 size large 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 any of the heavy-duty trucks like the Ford Super Duty, Chevy Silverado HD, Dodge RAM Heavy Duty.
Dakine Pickup Tailgate Pad (Editor’s Choice)
If there is any strong competition to RaceFace tailgate pads, then it is the Dakine Pickup tailgate pad. Some people would even argue that this is the best tailgate pad currently available in the market. 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 in 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 proper 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 pretty 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 of any complaints against the durability issue of Dakine Tailgate Pads. Even after rough and tough use, it almost remains the same. It hardly loses color or fades.
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
- Supports 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 truck has been specially designed for transporting mountain bikes. This MTB tailgate pad has zipper-lock bags like MNJ bicycle pads. But, it is more 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 bike and truck away. 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. They have 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 a great value. The whole structure is pretty solid and water or dust resistant. We can expect that they will serve you for years. If you need a tailgate pad, you can not go wrong with Demon tailgate pads.
- Specially designed for mountain bikes
- Comes in small and medium-size 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 quite common to shift positions of the bikes and damage them. Race Face tailgate pad has added tube straps and enhanced foam bumpers for offering 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 just need to connect your pad with the tailgate with three attached nylon straps. These nylon straps have double plastic rings for extra security. 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 vehicles you should go for the larger sizes. On the contrary, if you have Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, and other vehicles that have compact cargo beds, you can use the smaller ones.
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 its floral design. Again, the material is quite strong and sturdy. It won’t cut or be damaged easily. On the inner edge, they have used micro rushed lining which is quite soft. So, this tailgate pad for bikes should withstand all obstacles for a long time.
- The inner lining is made with micro brushes
- Raised bumpers are faced into the truck box for preventing bikes from knocking each other
- Square pads have been raised on the outer tailgate
- 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 a great 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 length, you’ll need to be careful when you are opening your tailgate.
Evoc tailgate bike pads come with six partitioned slots. They have downtubes and have 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 extend up to eight bikes by adding them on the last straps and a bit of shifting.
Attaching the bicycle pad with the truck is pretty easy. 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 is useful for providing flexibility and softness. It also has a rubber-like nature. Using this polymer, Evo provides 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. Overall, this will be a smart choice if you want to get rid of the traditional black vinyl look.
- Tarpaulin and EVA are the main 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 are troubling
- 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. Like, I carry my pump, screwdriver set, chain locks, and such 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. Zipper lock also ensures that your items do not fall out while traveling.
You also have 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 inner thick filler keeps the bike and truck apart.
Installation is pretty easy. 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
There are several factors that need to be addressed before choosing the best tailgate bike pad for your truck.
As we are talking about carrying bikes, we need to think about safety and security measurements. In fact, this is a key feature. You need pads to hold your bike. If your bike tailgate pad isn’t holding your rigs properly then you might have wasted money.
Alongside that, we also need to consider the safety of our truck. We are looking for something that can prevent knocking at the tailgate and prevent harming your truck. For being one of the best tailgate mats, it needs to stay firm on your tailgate while holding your bike properly.
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 also need to know the additional facilities and read reviews for clear details.
How many bikes do you want to carry at the same time? Are they similar types of bikes? You actually need to understand, why you need a tailgate pad in your truck. The racer’s tailgate pad and normal occasional riders’ tailgate pad will definitely be different. 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 to go through Product Features for understanding 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 fabric is not strong or the anchors are not stitched properly, you might lose efficiency over years. If you ask me, I would say that an ideal pad should last for a decade.
The tailgate cover for bikes might be affected by weather and regular use but won’t be a smart choice if you are limiting 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 easily. 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 hundreds of 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 properly connected.
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 from protecting your bike.
How do tailgate bike pads work?
Truck tailgate bike pads work by holding your bike with the tailgate of your pickup truck while also maintaining the distance between the bike and truck’s body. 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 bikes frame keeping the front wheel out of the tailgate, you have additional security. Besides, they also prevent multiple bikes 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 whey 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 PVC layer. This prevents the tailgate pad from getting damaged from water or dust. A lot of users have experimented by going through a car wash, and the tailgate pads remained unaffected. We do recommend covering the pad before going in the car wash for more precaution. You can also check with the seller to know 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 serious damage to the down tubes. Having said that, if you still want to use a blanket when the tailgate cover is not available, you should use 2 folded blankets for each of the bikes being carried. Make sure the blankets are thick in the material. Instead, we recommend you use blankets to protect your tailgate.
Many people 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 would 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. When you are on the way, transporting the bike, a little space and unlocked covers are not an issue.
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, specially designed for trucks – these all points make tailgate bike pads a great 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 strong and durable bodies.
Now the decision is totally on you for choosing your desired tailgate pad. Whatever your choice is, ensure that you have straps connected properly and the pad is properly secured with your bike. Happy traveling!