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8 Best Tailgate Bike Pads in 2020

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Transporting your bicycles on your pickup truck through rough and unforgiving terrain is a tricky process that can easily cause damage to both your truck and your bikes. So, it’s always wise to have something in hand to keep your bikes securely tethered and prevent this from happening.

There are many different solutions that you can opt for, but the best, easiest, and most inexpensive one is buying a tailgate pad. It’s simply a must have tool in your possession if you own both a truck and a cycling or mountain bike- or any other kind of bike, for that matter.

To help you find the best tailgate bike pads that fits your needs, we’ve taken the time to review dozens of options on the market, and also listed down a helpful buying guide just for you.

Best tailgate bike pads

Take a look at these eight best tailgate pads for bicycles that offer an easy, convenient, and hassle free way to safely and securely transport your bicycles and other sporting cargo for a fun day out in the great outdoors.

We’ve reviewed many different options from various brands for you to choose from, and we’ve also taken the liberty to list down all our favorite features from each one so you can have an easier time choosing which tailgate pad for bikes is best for you.

Yakima Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad

tailgate bike pads choice1

First up is the Yakima gatekeeper tailgate pad, a specially designed bike transport for full sized truck beds that can accommodate up to 5 bicycles. It’s made with SightTight cradles that guarantee the protection of your bikes from shifting and sliding.

It also features a smart design with its velcro cradle closure system and a complementary integrated strap management system that work hand in hand in keeping the pad secure on your bikes while being extra gentle on those delicate painted and carbon frame bicycles.

This tailgate pad is made with a rugged nylon material that is highly resistant to weather and abrasion, as well as an extra soft backing made of felt to protect your truck’s perfectly polished paint job from scratches.

  • Fits midsize and full sized trucks
  • Can hold up to 5 bikes
  • With tuckable hindsight cover
  • Easy to install and use
  • Highly durable
View more by Yakima

Thule GateMate PRO Tailgate Pad

tailgate bike pads choice2

Our second pick is the Thule GateMate pro tailgate pad, a high quality and durable truck bike pad that is sure to offer lots of padded protection for both your bicycles and your truck bed and tailgate. That’s because it’s made with durable and heavy duty vinyl.

It features strategically designed knock blocks that are engineered to prevent your bikes from sliding, and therefore avoid damage to your vehicle and other bicycles. And, it makes use of integrated points of strap anchors to securely hold each bike in place throughout your drive.

What’s more is that the handle hood allows you to conveniently access your tailgate without having to remove the padding. It also securely fastens to your tailgate with the use of nylon straps, and there are mesh pockets facing inside for gear storage.

  • Available in two sizes
  • Fits small to full sized trucks
  • Can hold up to 7 bikes
  • Soft fleece like underlining
  • Durable and easy to install
View more by Thule

Dakine Pickup Tailgate Pad

tailgate bike pads choice3

Taking the third spot is this intimidating looking Dakine pickup pad in a field camouflage print. It claims to be the original solution for shuttling bikes with its signature padded tailgate protection that lets you securely transport five to seven bikes depending on the size of your truck.

You can easily secure each bicycle thanks to individual bike anchor straps, and a thick fleece lined pad protects your truck by creating a forgiving barrier between the truck and the bike. There’s also a tailgate access flap that lets you enjoy the full functionality of your tailgate at all times.

This highly durable tailgate pad is made with high quality polyester that is resistant to harmful UV rays and general wear and tear, and even the camo print is resistant to fading. So, you don’t have to worry about using this pad all year long, as it will hold strong throughout all the seasons.

  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Can hold 5 to 7 bikes
  • Secure even without the strap
  • Durable and easy to install
  • Great value for money
View more by Dakine

Fox Racing Protective Tailgate Cover

tailgate bike pads choice4

In fourth place is the Fox Racing protective tailgate cover, which is a more compact and portable cover for bikes if you want something that isn’t on display on your truck all the time, especially if you don’t bring your bicycles along with you every time you drive.

Even though it’s made with durable and plush padding materials, it’s easily foldable into a small package that conveniently fits your bike bag. When in use, it provides plenty of cushioning for both your bikes and your truck, so you don’t have to worry about dents and scratches.

There are also multiple webbed straps at your disposal so you can easily attach the pad onto the truck, and frame anchor straps to attach the bikes onto the pad. It’s also designed with a flap that allows for a convenient access to the tailgate handle.

  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Can hold 5 to 6 bikes
  • Comes in black and camo
  • Suitable for long travels
  • Compact and portable

Softride 26457 A Pick Up Shuttle Pad Black

tailgate bike pads choice5

Ranking fifth is the Softride A pick up shuttle pad that’s perfect not only for transporting bicycles but other sports equipment as well, such as surfboards and kayaks, and even works with construction materials like lumber, ladders, and tools.

It features four individual soft wraps that are designed to secure bicycles (or other cargo) to your tailgate with the use of an extra strong nylon daisy chain. It’s also equipped with a heavy duty foam padding and rugged nylon straps for maximum protection and cushioning.

With this one, you can securely strap your bikes to the pad without a fuss, giving you the ability to easily carry up to six bicycles in your truck bed without the risk of causing damage to your tailgate. Simply put, it’s cheap, efficient, and well worth your money.

  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Can hold up to 6 bikes
  • Suitable for various types of cargo
  • With velcro access flap
  • Good value for money

Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad Black

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Next up is the Race Face T2 tailgate pad in streamlined black. From the looks alone, you can easily tell that this is an industrial grade mtb tailgate pad that is guaranteed to help you safely and conveniently transport the entire crew’s bikes for your next race, competition, or outdoor adventure.

It’s intelligently made with an updated design that guarantees a much better protection and a secure closure so your bikes not only remain in place while you drive, they also won’t be bumping into each other and causing damage.

What’s even better is that it features a rear camera panel that is fully adjustable in order to accommodate just about any truck with a snug and proper fit, so that not only are the bikes protected, but your truck’s paint job, too.

  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Can hold 5 to 6 bikes
  • Made with PVC tarpaulin
  • Micro brushed inner lining
  • Suitable for long travels

Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad in-Ferno

tailgate bike pads choice7

Another excellent option that you might want to check out, also made by Race Face, is the Race Face T2 tailgate pad in a unique in-ferno design that is equal parts masculine, relaxing, and trendy all at the same time.

No, we’re not talking about a fiery and depressing Dante’s inferno. This is more of a clever play of words, since the design is actually tiny prints of faded green ferns on a grayish black background.

Nonetheless, this tailgate mat is definitely durable and reliable, especially since it’s made with heavy duty PVC tarpaulin with a micro brushed inner lining, so it’s sure not just to keep your bikes and truck protected from damage, but also keep looking good as new for a long time.

  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Can hold 5 to 6 bikes
  • Made with PVC tarpaulin
  • With rear camera panel
  • Suitable for long travels

Dakine Pickup Pad Halfside Black

tailgate bike pads choice8

Last but not the least and also another one from Dakine is the Dakine pickup pad in half side black, a one size fits all tailgate bike pad that works for all tailgates, so you can always have something in hand to help transport your bikes no matter what car you’re driving, including a Toyota Tacoma.

It’s made with 100% recycled polyester, so it’s highly durable and long lasting while being better for the environment, and it’s even coated with a UV resistant finish so the material retains its pristine conditions for longer.

Moreover, it features a simple and no frills design that looks nice against just about anything, and it’s also easy to install and use with straightforward securing mechanisms so you can haul your bikes and get on the road in no time.

  • One size fits all
  • Can hold up to 2 bikes
  • Also available in ashcroft camo
  • Made with extra padding
  • Lightweight and durable
View more by Aosom

Tailgate bike pads FAQs and buying guide

couple of guys on back of a pickup truck with bikes

Mountain biking is a popular recreational and competitive sport that millions of people all over the world have been taking up in recent years. Before jumping on your bike to tackle the steepest mountains, make sure to gear up with these best MTB knee pads. Of course, with this often comes the need to figure out a way to bring the bike to a trail without having to ride from your house to the bike path that can be dozens or even hundreds of miles away.

There are lots of ways this can be done, such as by installing a bike rack on the roof or trunk of your car, SUV, or truck, or by using a trailer hitch. But, this can be quite expensive and even cumbersome.

Nowadays, there are plenty of different sorts of tailgate pads for bikes available, and even so, it can be hard to find one that is really versatile and meets all your needs and requirements. As such, it’s important to do thorough research so you don’t end up wasting your money on a substandard pad that fails to meet your needs.

What are tailgate pads?

To put it simply, a tailgate pad is a thick and foam filled padding that is folded over the tailgate of a pickup truck in order to protect both your tailgate and your bicycle from scratches, dents, and damage to paintwork as you transport your bike from one place to another.

This is important, since as opposed to just throwing your bike onto the truck bed, it doesn’t damage the expensive bike with its delicate frame and pristine paint job. A tailgate pad is simply an economical and effective way to safely transport bicycles.

It’s also accommodating to all bicycle types, from mountain bikes to road bikes and so on, and can even be used for plenty of other sporting equipment and large cargo. Whatever kind of item you are transporting in your truck bed, a tailgate pad is a great protective barrier for all these items and for your truck as well.

Pros of a tailgate pad

There are many undeniable benefits to using a tailgate pad when transporting bicycles and other gear. For one thing, it’s highly useful for people who typically shuttle their bikes when going on gravity runs, since it’s quick and easy to use, as opposed to a bike rack.

It’s also better than a bike rack in the sense that it can fit any type and size of bicycle, which is an important consideration, given that bicycles have largely gotten bigger and fatter in the recent years.

And of course, a tailgate pad is by far the cheapest option you will ever find, costing you just under a hundred dollars for something that can already hold up to seven bikes, as compared to a bike rack that can cost upwards of $600 for the same capacity.

The right fit

The first thing that you should take into account when buying tailgate pads is whether it will fit your truck, meaning, whether it conforms to the size of your tailgate. This way, it can effectively protect both your bikes and your truck from any damage that may occur during your drive.

Generally, tailgate pads come in two sizes- small and large, wherein small pads can usually hold five bicycles and fit in small and mid-sized trucks such as a Toyota Tacoma, GMC Canyons, and a Ford Ranger.

On the other hand, a larger pad can easily fit in a full-size truck like a Toyota Tundra, Chevy Silverado, or Dodge Ram, and can hold up to seven bikes. Now, there are also mini tailgate pads that are designed to be folded over just half of your tailgate, which is a good and cheap option if you’re just going to carry a single bike or two.

Durability

It’s also important to make sure that the pad is highly durable and long lasting, especially considering that it will often be exposed to harsh elements, and will be under the pressure of heavy bicycle frames for a considerable amount of time.

This is especially important if you will often be transporting several bikes during your drives, or lots of other sporting gear and other cargo such as construction materials. You don’t want a pad that wears and gets damaged easily.

The best options are all-weather pads that are designed to withstand even the harshest and ever-changing weather conditions. These are made with premium, heavy duty materials that are often waterproof, UV resistant, and protected against wear and tear.

Of course, you should always remember that the most expensive option isn’t necessarily the best and most reliable. And at the end of the day, proper maintenance is what really makes the tailgate pad (or any other item) last for much longer.

Ease of installation

You should also take into account how easy it is to set up and remove the bike pad from your truck, especially if you don’t want it to be a semi-permanent feature of your tailgate. Not only will it cause the pad to wear out faster, it’s also prone to theft, and it just doesn’t look that good.

As such, you should opt for a pad that is easy to install and just as easy to take off. This will mainly depend on its locking and strapping mechanisms, so common questions should be, where should this be strapped, and how?

Another important thing in relation to being easy to install and remove is whether the tailgate pad features a foldable cover that allows you to access the tailgate handle as well as make use of your rear camera. It’s also nice if the pad can be folded down flat and stored in a more compact manner when not in use.

Padding

This one’s a no brainer. The most important thing about a tailgate pad is its padding. This is what will protect your bikes and your truck from any scratches and dents as you drive. As such, the tailgate pad should be made of heavy materials with a soft inner lining so it does its job well.

Even better are pads made with extra padding on the sides and back that prevent your bikes from falling off and bumping into each other while in transit. This way, you don’t have to worry about potential costly repairs on dented bike frames and ruined paintwork.

It’s best to go for pads that are made of high quality materials such as polyesters and nylons, since these are extremely durable and heavy duty while remaining lightweight. It’s also ideal to opt for a pad that is designed for all-weather usage so it lasts much longer.

Straps to secure bikes

Of course, it’s just as important to take into account how the pads are designed in terms of keeping your bikes securely in place the entire time you are in transit. If you’re still experiencing bicycles knocking against each other during your drive, then you wasted your money on inadequate bike pads.

To prevent this, make sure that the tailgate pad fastens securely onto your truck’s tailgate, and keeps your bikes tethered in the truck bed at a stationary and upright position while being completely separate from each other.

This is achieved by using straps, frames, and anchors on the tailgate pad, so it’s a must to make sure that all of these are made with high quality materials, don’t come off easily, and are also simple and easy to use in terms of effectively securing your bikes.

Summary

Tailgate bike pads are effective and versatile in making sure that your bicycles and other cargo are safely and securely attached to your pickup truck’s tailgate. An excellent tailgate pad should be made with high quality materials, rigid on the outside and soft on the inside, and are durable and long lasting in order to give you the best value for your money. If you are a dedicated mountain biker with a pickup truck that you often use to transport your bike, you will surely love our top recommendations on the best tailgate bike pads for 2020. Happy cycling!