When you’re regularly moving your bike or bikes around in your truck, you need something to secure them safely to it. It’s OK to just throw your bike in the back, hopefully with some padding, for a short journey on a rare occasion. However, over the longer term, you’ll need a much better alternative.
That’s where truck bed bike racks come in to play. They provide you with an effective system that helps you haul your bikes without fear of damage to either your bikes or truck.
The best truck bed bike rack for you will very much depend on your circumstances and budget. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list to take both of these criteria into consideration. Hopefully, they’ll be one in the five on our list that’s right for you. ]
So, let’s go through them…
- 1 Top 5 Best Truck Bed Bike Racks On The Market Reviews
- 1.1 1 Top Line UG2500-2 Uni-Grip Truck Bed Bike Rack for 2 Bike Carrier – Best Budget Truck Bed Bike Rack
- 1.2 2 Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks for 2 in. Hitch – Most Versatile Truck Bed Bike Rack
- 1.3 3 Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack
- 1.4 4 YAKIMA – Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad for Full-Sized Truck Beds, Carries Up to 6 Bikes – Best Truck Bed 6 Bike Rack
- 1.5 5 Hollywood Racks T970 Fork Block 1 Bicycle Fork Mount – Best Custom Fit Truck Bed Bike Rack
- 2 Best Truck Bed Bike Rack Buying Guide
- 3 Looking for more superb accessories for your bike?
- 4 So, what is the Best Truck Bed Bike Rack?
Top 5 Best Truck Bed Bike Racks On The Market Reviews
1 Top Line UG2500-2 Uni-Grip Truck Bed Bike Rack for 2 Bike Carrier – Best Budget Truck Bed Bike Rack
The Top Line UG2500-2 Uni-Grip is suitable for hauling two bikes.
It weighs just 4 pounds. The frame is made from aluminum, and it’s easy to install on any truck. It can be installed on trucks with or without a liner. You will need a wrench to secure the clamp assembly onto the side of your truck. The clamps on either side of the assembly can be operated by hand.
It can be fixed anywhere on the side of your truck. One side of the rack clamps on to the side of the truck, and the other side clamps on to the bike. And best of all, it doesn’t require you to take off the wheels.
Safe and secure…
The clamps have padding on the inside to prevent damage to either your truck or bikes. The clamps that close onto your bike can be angled to either hold it on the top tube or the seat post. If you have an aero bike or a vintage bike, we’d be more prone to secure it via the seat post.
The first bike is held between the clamp assembly on the side of your truck, via the clamp arm, and the clamp on your bike. The second bike is held into position with an additional shorter clamp that is attached from the first bike.
The Top Line UG2500-2 Uni-Grip rack can be expanded to hold four bikes by adding an extra two clamp arm assemblies. These can be bought separately at a very reasonable price.
Included in the rack is a lock to protect yourself against any opportunist thieves. Additionally, there’s a nylon strap that ties the front wheels to the frame to stop them from moving around.
- Easy installation.
- Modular design.
- Fits most trucks.
- The clamp may not fit all top tube shapes and sizes.
- Bikes are not locked onto the truck bed.
2 Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks for 2 in. Hitch – Most Versatile Truck Bed Bike Rack
The Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack attaches to the rear of your vehicle via a 2” receiver hitch. It can be connected easily in just seconds without the need for any special tools. Once it’s in position, the rack is rock solid, and you won’t suffer from any wobbling when you’re on the move.
The rack is made from heavy-duty powder-coated steel, so it’s highly durable. Allen Sports seems to think so too as they offer a lifetime warranty on their product. Keep your receipt safe and hold them to it in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.
The rack has two arms, each with four pairs of clamps. It’s quick and easy to load up the bikes and secure them on to the clamps. Each clamp has a strong nylon buckle and strap to hold the bike in place. With your bikes properly tied down, they’ll stay put even when the going gets rough.
The clamps are well padded and are designed to be used with most sized frames. They will accommodate just about any type of bikes, including mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes, hybrids, and cruisers.
Get some extra webbing…
When loading the bike, it’s advisable to load the heaviest first and the lightest last. Unfortunately, there is nothing to prevent the front wheels from moving around and no webbing or strapping to tie them to the frame. We think it wise to invest in some webbing to stop the front wheels rattling about when you’re on the move.
If you want to gain access to the rear of your vehicle with the bikes in situ, it’s possible, though hardly an elegant or easy solution. The rack can be angled down; however, it’s hard to do, and depending on the way your rear door or trunk opens, you still might not be able to gain access.
Racks that angle to the side provide far superior access.
Packs away nicely…
More happily, when not in use, the rack folds away into a very small and neat profile. A very handy feature that saves you having to repeatedly take off the rack when not in use.
- Good quality construction.
- Easy to install.
- Suitable for all sizes of bikes.
- Bikes don’t wobble.
- Folds away when not in use.
- Difficult to gain rear access when bikes are loaded.
- No webbing provided to tie front bike wheels.
3 Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack
The Swagman can hold two bikes and is suitable for use with either a 1¼” or a 2” hitch receiver.
Although there are no special tools required, it takes a little while to put the frame together. It’s nothing too complicated, though, so don’t worry. There’s also an excellent video and written instructions if you get stuck.
It can carry in any make or kind of bike. It can also carry any bikes regardless of tire width. Though if you have a fat bike, you’ll need to buy a fat tire wheel tray accessory, by separate purchase. It should be noted though that regardless tire sizes must fall between 20” to 29”.
You are also restricted in terms of frame size. You cannot use the Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack with any bikes with frames over 23.2” (59cms). Now, this we don’t get at all.
Any cyclist over around 6’ is likely to have a bike with a frame over 23.2”. There are plenty of cyclists over 6’ tall, so why such a low limit? This is quite poor in our eyes and makes very little sense.
Not quite sure what’s going on?
The weight limit of 35lbs a bike is also stretching things a little. Although you can fit a fat bike onto the rack (with the fat bike tray accessory) it’s likely to still fall foul of the weight limit. A lot of cruisers and some mountain bikes are also likely to be north of the 35lbs weight limit.
The bikes are held on the rack by both wheels and the frame by a padded U clamp. So, the good news is that if your bikes do fit, they’ll be guaranteed to be held tightly, without wobbling or coming into contact with each other.
Loading the bikes is easy and simply a case of pulling down the large padded U clamp to hold the bikes in position. The clamp is very well padded, so won’t cause any damage to your frame or paintwork.
However, once your bikes are loaded, it’s impossible to gain access to rear of your vehicle without unloading the bikes. It’s just as well they’re so easy to put on and take off!
- Easy to load.
- Wheels do not move during transit.
- No wobbling.
- Well-padded clamp.
- Takes a little time to assemble.
- Cannot accommodate all sizes of bikes or wheels.
4 YAKIMA – Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad for Full-Sized Truck Beds, Carries Up to 6 Bikes – Best Truck Bed 6 Bike Rack
This is the best truck bed bike rack if you need to haul six bikes at a time.
There aren’t many options if you need to transport this many bikes. Trying to fit them either on a rack or on the bed of the truck is not easy. The Yakima Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad overcomes this problem by providing a system that allows you to hang the bikes over the tailgate.
The YAKIMA – Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad is made from hard-wearing nylon that will stand up to the worst of the weather. However, it has a soft felt backing to prevent any damage to your truck’s paintwork. Plus, the Hindsight cover is designed so as not to obstruct the view of any rear-facing cameras.
It’s available in two sizes, so be sure to make sure you get the right size.
Absolutely no damage…
The YAKIMA – Gatekeeper fits over the rear of your truck and is secured in place by a series of straps. Once in place, it covers all the contact points between your truck and your bikes. This means that there’s no need to worry about damaging your paintwork.
The bikes are secured to the pad via the Velcro closure system. The Velcro works well at first though it does tend to lose some of its strength over time. We’d prefer to have seen either stronger Velcro or a nylon strap and buckle system.
A little movement…
The YAKIMA – Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad does an OK job. However, the bikes will still move around a little, and there is the possibility of some bike on bike contact over rougher ground. Also, there’s nothing to stop the wheels clattering around into the back of the truck and each other. We think the best option is to take a trip down to the hardware store and buy some webbing so you can tie the wheels down properly.
The bottom line is that this is a reasonable way to transport multiple bikes. This is providing you’re not going over poor roads or have expensive or vintage bikes that you need to haul. For mountain bikes going out on a bit of an adventure, it would be fine.
- Suitable for most trucks.
- Can carry six bikes.
- Easy to install.
- Easy to secure the bikes in the cradles.
- Velcro could be stronger.
- Bikes may move around a little.
5 Hollywood Racks T970 Fork Block 1 Bicycle Fork Mount – Best Custom Fit Truck Bed Bike Rack
The Hollywood Rack will secure a single bike only. If you go for this option, you’ll need to prepare to get handy with your tool kit. This rack will need some planning and some drilling, at the very least.
The rack can be mounted onto any solid surface. It can be screwed into a truck bed, wall, or home-made rack. It has precut holes on both sides, so there are plenty of places to attach it.
The rack is made from high-quality materials. It has a powder-coated 6061 aluminum body with 9mm heavy duty quick release skewer built-in. The rack fits wheels with a 100mm over locknut dimension.
Although it’s suitable for all modern bikes, it may not be suitable for bikes dating back to the ’80s and beyond. The width of the fork dropout may be too narrow. If you have an older bike, you’ll need to check.
Fit up to four…
These racks are a tried and tested system that offers a high level of stability when properly mounted. When the front fork is secured, even on rough ground, you’re unlikely to get much if any movement. If you have multiple bikes, you could easily fit four of these onto your truck bed without a problem.
One of the biggest pluses of the Hollywood Rack T970 Fork Block is that it allows you to custom fit it to your exact requirements. Regardless of the size of your truck or how many bikes your hauling, you can get a bespoke fit. This is a huge advantage over most alternatives.
Superb value for the money…
Finally, another rather nice advantage is that it also happens to be the best affordable truck bed bike rack if you’re on a tight budget. It’s the most affordable rack on our list, which is something we can undoubtedly get behind!
- Suitable for most bikes.
- Versatile mounting options.
- Installation time.
- Skewer way is too wide for some older bikes.
Best Truck Bed Bike Rack Buying Guide
Wheel Mounted Racks
In many ways, a wheel-mounted rack system is one of the best alternatives for transporting your bikes. Most wheel mounts, like the Hollywood Rack, come in single bike variants. However, it is, of course, possible to construct a mounting block and use as many wheel mounts as you need.
The advantage of wheel mounts is that they do a great job of minimizing your bike’s movement, they can be used for any kind of bike, plus they can be mounted and tailored to your specific needs.
The disadvantage is that they don’t come with a ready-made solution to bolt them on to your vehicle. You have to be prepared to spend time and energy to make your own. This will, therefore, appeal more to cyclists with a reasonable amount of DIY know-how.
Hitch mount bike racks, as the name suggests, fit into you’re existing hitch. They are a very stable way to transport your bikes. You get very little, if any, movement or wobbling, once they’re secured. Hitch mount bike racks are also the best for reducing the chance of bike to bike contact.
Another positive is that since they don’t fit directly on the truck bed, they free up more room for carrying your gear. One big negative that they generally reduce access to the rear of your truck.
Tailgate Pads can carry the most bikes. You can fit up to six bikes on the bed of your truck with something like the YAKIMA – Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad. The pads are quick and easy to install. Additionally, it’s also easy to clamp the bikes in place.
Disadvantages are that the securing clamps onto the bikes’ frames are not always the strongest. Also, the front wheels hang-over the rear tailgate of the truck without being tethered. This can lead to contact and potential damage.
On smoother roads and for shorter journeys they’re a good option.
Side Clamp Racks
Side clamps are easy to install and uninstall when not in use. They hold the bikes either by the top tube or the seat tube. A big advantage is that they can be used for any kind of bike, any size, and any weight.
Side clamps, like the Top Line UG2500-2 Uni-Grip Truck Bed Bike Rack, work on a modular design. This means you’re able to haul between one and four bikes on the floor of your truck.
Side clamps are an affordable solution for transporting bikes. Although there is some movement when in transit, this is minimal, and unless you’re traveling large distances, or over rough ground, they’re a good option.
Looking for more superb accessories for your bike?
If so, check out our reviews of the Best Bike Racks, the Best Bike Mirrors, our Best Bicycle Seat review, our Best Bike Chains review, and the Best Bicycle Tool Kit currently available in 2022.
So, what is the Best Truck Bed Bike Rack?
So, there you have it — a choice of the 5 best bike racks for truck beds with four different kinds of systems.
With the racks catering for between one, two, four, and six bikes, it’s likely that your choice, in part, will be dictated to by how many bikes you’re likely to be transporting at any one time.
Partly because of this we chose the…
Top Line UG2500-2 Uni-Grip Truck Bed Bike Rack
…as our top pick. This is because it’s a modular side clamp system that can be configured to haul between one and four bikes at a time. That gives it a lot more flexibility than most of the other racks.
Enjoy your bikes, and enjoy your rides.