Bike racks for pickup trucks come in three types; in-bed, tailgate hitch, and roof/cab top. The reasons for the different styles are as different as your needs. If you are transporting multiple bikes for a family outing, or a single bike that you wish to stow and go, there are different choices to make. If you are pulling a fifth wheel and need a roof/cab top, or camping with a full truck bed and need to use a hitch type, other choices need to be made.
Before making a choice, there are a few properties that need researching on any bike rack, with the number one being its safety aspects. The rack must keep the bike, your truck and others safe during transport as well as protecting against theft of both the bike and rack itself. Many racks only offer locks as accessories, but there are newer models of racks that offer integral locks for both the racks and the bikes.
Other properties are ease of use and installation. Many people prefer not to remove their front wheels to transport. There is a new rack on the market that fits in the beds of both compact and full size pickups, which transports bikes both safely and securely with their front tires on. It is fast and simple to load, and the rack easily installs each time it’s needed.
Another new model does remove the tire and attaches by the forks, but this rack fits snug against the rear window of the cab, opening up the rest of the bed for extra gear. This secure rack can fit three to five bikes across depending on the size of the truck bed. Loading five bikes on this rack takes under three minutes, and since it doesn’t obscure the rear window and allows full use of the bed, it can be installed permanently or in the beginning of the season. In addition to these types, there are also new hitch styles that either swing away or fold down to allow easy access to the tailgate.
Most importantly, identify your needs, the space you have to work with, then research and review the racks available in your price range, choose the one that fits, and you’re on your way.