If you like to mountain bike or street bike, a truck can be the perfect way to carry your gear. Finding the right truck ruck can take a bit of time though as there’s many different types available. And if you’re like me – you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the best option for you and your bike.

Yes, there are some people that will just throw their MTB into the back of the truck itself, but that isn’t really the best option. For one, your bike can get damaged or even stolen if left unattended. It could also get airborne a lot sooner than intended if you hit bumps or need to brake suddenly.

Let’s take a look at some more sensible solutions in the form of truck bike racks. We’ll discuss some of the different types available and the important features to look out for.

Types of Truck Bed Bike Racks

Truck bed bike racks come in many different styles but their main function is to secure your bicycle onto your truck or in the bed itself. There are many types of bike racks and each one has its own benefits.

Hitch Rack

Hitch racks are one of the easiest ways to get your bike onto your truck. The hitch rack installs easily, using your current trailer hitch receiver. Simply slide the bike rack into the receiver, lock the pin and you’re good to go.

Some of these racks will have locking functions so you can secure your bike as well. Hitch racks are made to hold anywhere from 2-4 bikes at a time.

Stand Up Slot / Slot Style

A slot style bike rack looks more like a traditional rack that you’d see on the street. Like the name implies, the rack has slots for you to place your tire into.

This rack fits into the back of your truck’s bed and will either wedge between the wheel well and the cab or fasten down.

It is a very secure option and it is especially useful if you have several bikes to carry.

Brackets & Braces

Bracket racks or brace type racks allow you to bolt the frame into the bracket itself, usually by the front “arms” that hold the wheel.

This type usually requires you to remove the front wheel and attach the bike directly to the rack. The good thing is that this rack is extremely secure but it does take a little bit more time to load and attach the bike.

The Benefits of Truck Bike Racks

Hauling a bike around in the back of your truck is far from ideal. It can slide or shift or even fall out if you hit a bump in the road. A sliding bike can also damage your truck bed or scratch it. You may even damage your bike if you let it move around too much.

Secure Hauling

It can be easy to lose cargo when it is just tossed into the back of your truck. A surprise pothole here and there may even bounce a bicycle right out of the bed. It can also damage your bike so having a rack is the best way to keep it secure.

Safety

Hauling your bike across town or even across states can pose risks if they’re not carried properly. When you’re driving, a loose bike could cause distractions, if it bounces out of your truck, it could potentially cause an accident as well.

A truck bike rack is the safest way to transport your bicycle. It doesn’t matter how far you’re going, if you’re taking your bike, put it in a rack. It’s a whole lot safer.

Prevent Theft

A bike rack also reduces the chance that your bike will be stolen. Many bike racks come with locking features that enable you to securely attach the bike to your truck. Some racks will have holes for cable locks and other security features.

Locking your bike on a rack is the best option for transporting your bike around town and you don’t have to worry about someone making off with gear. A truck bike rack gives you peace of mind in many ways, security and theft prevention is just one of them.

Prevent Damaging Your Truck

A bike sliding around the back of your truck bed is just asking for damage. It could be that you damage your truck or scratch your paint. Maybe you take a turn too sharply and the bike slams into the side of your truck bed. It could result in dents, dings, and scratches that lower the value of your truck itself.

A bike rack will tie down or hold your bike down while you travel. You won’t have to worry about unexpected cargo shifts and what’s more, it will even protect your bike from damage too. It is a win-win situation!

Installing A Truck Bike Rack

Truck bike racks have a range of installation from easy to more advanced. For example, a hitch bike rack merely installs by sliding into your existing trailer hitch. Pretty darn easy! All you have to do is lock it in via a pin and you’re set.

Slot style bike racks will fit into the back of your bed and they’re also pretty easy to install. Many will wedge between your cab and toolbox, using the wheel wells to brace the rack in. The weight of the bike will keep the rack in position and you can also secure these via tie downs.

Brackets will require some drilling or bolts to attach to your truck bed itself. These are slightly more complicated and require you altering or penetrating the sheet metal of your vehicle. This particular rack is preferred by those who are enthusiasts. If you’re more the casual user, the previous racks should work just fine.

An exception to this is the Thule Truck Bed Rider which doesn’t require any drilling. You can see how easy it is to install in this video.

Choosing The Perfect Bike Rack

Finding the perfect truck bike rack depends on a lot of factors. For one, how many bikes do you plan on carrying at any one time? Also, do you have a trailer hitch? Will you be towing or using the hitch at the same time you’re taking the bikes?

Find a bike hitch that meets your needs and also consider how it’ll be used. With a little research, you’ll find the ideal rack for you and your truck.