There’s hardly a better convenient and minimal choice for transporting bikes with a truck. With a tailgate pad, there’s no need to take a wheel off or fiddle with rack mechanisms. Just throw the bike over and you’re good to!
As a mountain biker, I use my tailgate pad regularly.
So what makes a good tailgate pad?
There’s 4 things I find that make a good tailgate pad.
- Has good padding at the frame contact. I don’t want any more scratches than necessary on my bike. Thin tailgate pads can let the rigid edge of the tailgate scratch the bike.
- Doesn’t scratch the truck. I like to keep my truck nice.
- Stays in place and holds the bike. I’ve used tailgate pads that seemingly rotate during use. and then become wonky. They never allow the bikes to fall out but I have eventually the frame of the bikes starts resting off the padding as the tailgate pad itself moves around.
- Can access the backup camera. When not in use, a flap (that is correctly aligned) that allows you to use the backup camera is nice.
My Tailgate Pad of Choice
After using many tailgate pads over the last decade, my current favorite is the Yakima Gatekeeper which I use on my Toyota Tacoma. The Medium size holds 5 bikes, which is more then I’ll ever use.
The Yakima Gatekeeper basically checks all the 5 points I outlined above.
The padding that makes contact with the bike is rather resilient and has worn down much protecting the bike and bike from scratches on the downtime.
The underside of the cover is a microfiber material that has kept the truck scratch free. Before put the tailgate pad on I do clean the tailgate very well, and I take it off to wash every few weeks.
No matter how I drive, it stays in place and when I don’t have bikes on it, I can tuck flap in for access to my backup cam.
Bottomline: I am very happy with this tailgate pad and have no quelms recommending it to anyone. If I needed to buy a new tailgate pad, I would buy another one.
Other Tailgate Pads.
As previously mentioned, tailgate pads are essential because they help you carry your bike in your truck’s bed without damage. While I love my Yakima pad, there are many others on the market you might consider. Here they are with details.
Price Range: $149.95 to $174.95
First on this list is the Dakine DLX Pickup Pad, which is designed for modern tailgates equipped with backup cameras.
It has two sizes to accommodate both mid and full-sized tailgates. So if you’re looking to spend a whole day with your friends… Then this is a great choice to consider!
Tailgate pads from the Dakine brand remain a leading crowd-favorite pick for a reason, especially as they offer one of the best-quality Mtb tailgate pads in the market today. Each purchase is a testament to its durability, proven features, and cost-effectiveness.
Average Price: $99.95
Another reliable tailgate pad for bikes is the evo Tailgate Pad, which makes it a breeze for you to ferry your bikes around.
With its signature burly (heavily built) appearance, you can count on this tailgate pad to protect your bike and truck from inevitable clanks. It’s also notably easy to use, even for beginners.
Simply attach the bike in place using velcro straps, and that’s it! Pretty straightforward, right? Lastly, it’s bomb-proof and a great choice that won’t have you breaking the bank.
Price Range: $159.95 to $184.95
This next tailgate pad recommendation is a great contender if you have a Ford or Dodge truck! The Dakine DLX Curve Pickup Pad is known for its easy usage and durability. In fact, you can even fit up to seven bikes at once!
Your crew can race around lap after lap to your heart’s content, or at least until your forearms decide it’s time to take a rest.
This tailgate pad is ideal for big trucks with curved tailgates, as it will firmly hold it in place like a glove!
Price Range: $109.00 to $219.00
What I love about this tailgate pad:
- It is designed with an adjustable handle flap
- The grommets can lock the pad to your car
- It is made from highly-durable and weatherproof materials
The T2 from Race Face is their most advanced Tailgate Pad on the market today. If you compare it to the original Race Face tailgate pad, it’s easy to observe the notable improvement!
For instance, it is constructed with weatherproof PVC tarpaulin material that won’t quickly fade from constant sun exposure. It can also withstand mud and grime.
With six extra straps on the top of this bike tailgate pad, it enables convenient adjustment depending on your tailgate’s thickness or curve.
It is also designed with raised bumpers inside the pad that can cradle the frame, with large pads on the exterior to protect the fork stanchions.
The only downside? It comes at a price compared to its other counterparts. But if you’re seeking to transport several bikes simultaneously, this purchase will be worth it.
Average Price: $127
What I love about this tailgate pad:
- It is made from durable, high-quality construction
- It ensures a secure hold of your bikes
- This tailgate pad is notably resilient against mud and moisture exposure
It’s hard not to be continually impressed with the quality line of products from EVOC, so this tailgate pad is another significant consideration to check out.
The 600-denier material not only features a hefty feel but is also proven to withstand wet, muddy climates with its PU coating. Take note that it may be slightly heavier than other options but still highly durable.
Based on my research, it is available in two sizes: medium/large and extra-large. Its tailgate handle opening is a bit smaller than the others. But, you can count on its stable, secure hold thanks to the molded separation blocks that work hand-in-hand with the down tube straps.
Important Note: One thing to remember is to avoid leaving the down tube straps open when not in use, as they may fall off once you drive on the highway.
The last consideration is the bold graphics on its design, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea (I’m sure!)
Average Price: $209.95
The Thule Gatemate Pro 54″ Tailgate Pad is efficiently designed to easily carry your bike (and the rest of your squad’s) to the trailhead. It features a combination of knock-block dividers and downtube straps to hold everything securely in place.
Additionally, it has a stylish and attractive access panel, so you won’t need to take the pad off just to use the tailgate.
If you’re looking for durable bike pads for tailgates, this may be what you’re looking for! It is highly durable with innovative features such as storage pockets and practical, all-year-round tailgate access.
Price Range: $229 to $239
The RMU brand takes on an exciting twist on your regular tailgate pad, with secure stow-age that can handle up to five bikes. Where’s the twist? It has an insulated beer pocket.
Here’s what Gear Junkie has to say:
“…if you spend based on quality construction, expected durability, and a few premium features, the RMU Tailgate Locker 2.0 packs it all.”
Now that alone is enough to give you an idea of how amazing the RMU Tailgate Locker 2.0 is.
Even if you’re not an avid beer fan, you have storage for all your favorite frosty drinks so you can instantly grab your post-ride beverages.
Nothing beats the peace of mind with your purchase, especially with its generous lifetime warranty. There’s even a window to hold your rig’s backup camera. All excellent, premium features!
So if you spend long hours shuttling, this high-quality bike tailgate pad will ensure the most bang for your buck.