The Best Tailgate Bike Pad

Are you wondering how to transport your bikes in your truck without spending an arm and a leg? You might be in the market for a truck tailgate bike pad. Before spending hundreds of dollars on an expensive truck bed bike rack, consider if a tailgate bike pad will work for you.

Our Pick!

Demon Tailgate Bike Pad

The pad is made with ¾-inch foam and has a heavy-duty vinyl cover on the outside. The inside is soft, so the tailgate itself doesn’t take any paint chip damage. You can also open and close the tailgate normally while the pad is attached.

Our Winners

  • Best OverallDemon Tailgate Bike Pad
  • Boasting a great price point, excellent construction, and easy, secure installation, the Demon United Tailgate Bike Pad is our pick for the best overall tailgate pad out there.
  • Best Budget Option – Himal Outdoors Tailgate Pad for Mountain Bike
  • Short on cash? Don’t panic; there are plenty of cheaper and surprisingly reliable options available. The Himal Outdoor Tailgate Pad quickly emerged as our pick for the best budget tailgate bike pad and can be yours for under $75. 
  • Best for Mid to Full-Sized Truck Beds YAKIMA Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad
  • Trucks come in all shapes and sizes, so there are some tailgate pads that fit better than others. If you have a mid to full-sized truck bed, the Yakima Gatekeeper is our pick for the best bike tailgate pad.
  • Best for Mountain Bikes Fox Tailgate Cover for Mountain Bikes
  • Mountain Bikes are burlier than street bikes and need a little extra space to strap into any tailgate pad. For its thoughtful design and capacity, the Fox Tailgate Cover is our pick for the best mountain bike suitable tailgate bike pad.
  • Best Anti-theft System – Sklon Tailgate Bike Pad
  • If you live in a heavily urbanized area with the potential for theft, check out the Sklon tailgate bike pad. With a patented anti-theft locking system, which includes an integrated lock and cut-resistant steel cable, the Sklon Tailgate Bike Pad is our choice for the best anti-theft tailgate bike pad.

What Is a Tailgate Pad?

A tailgate bike pad is a specialized accessory that helps transport bikes. The pads are made of nylon or polyester with well-cushioned interiors. They are usually mounted with a strap system that wraps around the tailgate. When positioned correctly, a tailgate bike pad can keep bikes stable on dirt roads and in tough environmental or geographic conditions.

These handy devices are large rectangular pads that fold over, cover and attach to the tailgate of your truck. They can be used for a variety of situations when trying to avoid abrasion and friction between your bikes and your truck bed. A tailgate bike pad serves the same purpose as a dedicated bike rack without the high prices. If you’re looking to transport some bikes using your truck bed instead of an added bike rack, this article is for you!

The Demon Tailgate Pad Is the Top Choice

Boasting a great price point, excellent construction, and easy, secure installation, the Demon United tailgate bike pad is our pick for the best overall tailgate pad out there.

1. Demon Tailgate Pad

Demon-Tailgate-Bike-Pad

Item Weight:
3.65 lbs

Dimensions:
54″ x 62″

Padding:
 ¾-inch foam pad


The pad is made with ¾-inch foam and has a heavy-duty vinyl cover on the outside. The inside is soft, so the tailgate itself doesn’t take any paint chip damage. You can also open and close the tailgate normally while the pad is attached.

The padded construction is well-made and durable, meaning you can be a little rougher with your setup and not have to worry about breaking or tearing holes in the pad. This all equates to peace of mind. The pad won’t survive a hurricane, but it can handle downpours, storms, and light rain easily.

The size of the small pad fits most truck beds; all larger trucks can use the large pad size. Thread the straps through your tailgate (when it’s down). Close the tailgate and cinch it all down tight. Just like that, you’re ready to go. With the ability to carry 5-7 bikes, the Demon Tailgate Pad can support an entire family’s worth of bikes easily.

The size of the pad and its position may block a bit of your backup camera. This won’t be a huge concern on lightly trafficked roads, but in an urban environment or with poor visibility, this may be an issue. For newer trucks (2020-current), the pad may slip over the truck bed handle. This may be an issue if you have a backup camera under the tailgate handle.

Liked

  • Premium padding
  • Durable construction
  • Boosted capacity

Disliked

  • May block reverse camera
  • May cover tailgate handle

Budget Friendly, Yet Durable

Short on cash? Don’t panic; there are plenty of cheaper and surprisingly reliable options available. The Himal Outdoor Tailgate Pad quickly emerged as our pick for the best budget tailgate bike pad and can be yours for under $75.

2. Himal Outdoor Tailgate Pad

Himal Outdoor Tailgate Pad

Item Weight:
3.45 lbs

Dimensions:
52” x 8” x 16” (small), 62” wide (large)

Padding:
¾-inch foam pad


The padding is nice and thick, with a tougher outside edge that can handle abrasion from bike wheels and a softer inside to help prevent damage to your truck. The material is weather and waterproof, which is a great bonus.

This tailgate pad comes with two tool pockets as well, so you can carry around screwdrivers and extra hardware for your bikes wherever you take them. Like other tailgate pads, the installation is quick and easy and is a full $20 less than the next cheapest variety, the price alone is a reason to consider the Himal Outdoor Tailgate Pad.

For larger trucks, the tailgate pad doesn’t reach down far enough to cover the whole tailgate. This is more of a cosmetic con since the pad still covers up where the wheels of your bike would impact the tailgate.

Liked

  • Great padding
  • Included tool pockets
  • Affordable

Disliked

  • Not long enough

Fox Tailgate Cover Is Great for Mountain Bikes

Mountain Bikes are burlier than street bikes and need a little extra space to strap into any tailgate pad. For its thoughtful design and capacity, the Fox Tailgate Cover is our pick for the best mountain bike suitable tailgate bike pad.

3. Fox Tailgate Cover for Mountain Bikes

Fox Tailgate Cover for Mountain Bikes

Item Weight:
 3.6 lbs

Dimensions:
54” x 33.5” x 16” (Small) 62” x 34” x 19” (Large)

Padding:
¾-inch foam pad


The pad is thick enough to ward off typical abrasion and soft enough on the underside to protect your tailgate. However, with a series of heavy bikes loaded, the padding may not be thick enough to cover all abrasion points. Like the Himal tailgate pad, the LEEPTIC comes with two usable tool pockets. This is a great way to cart around hardware you may need for bike maintenance or truck maintenance.

Just take note that, if your truck has a thicker or heavier tailgate, the pad may not sit well.

Each bike slot has a channel for the tube and two pads on either side to help lock it in and prevent movement. The pad is weather and waterproof, which gives you added peace of mind for longer transport.

Liked

  • Tool Pockets
  • Padded design for bike slots
  • Waterproof material

Disliked

  • It May does not work with a thicker tailgate
  • Not enough padding for heavier bikes

For Mid to Full-Sized Truck Bed, Get the Yakima Gatekeeper

Trucks come in all shapes and sizes, so there are some tailgate pads that fit better than others. If you have a mid to full-sized truck bed, the Yakima Gatekeeper is our pick for the best bike tailgate pad.

4. YAKIMA Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad

YAKIMA Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad

Item Weight:
5 lbs

Dimensions:
62.25” x 5.25” x 20.25”

Padding:
¾-inch foam pad


The rugged nylon material on the outside is abrasion resistant and appropriately tough. The padding on the inside is nice and soft to protect the paint on your tailgate. The materials are tough and durable. Plus, there are cradles and neoprene straps for your bike. Between the pad thickness, bike cradles, and straps, you start to understand why the pad costs more. The materials are simply better.

Like other tailgate pads, thread the straps underneath the tailgate and attach them to the clips on the other side. Cinch it all down tight to keep the pad secure and, of course, watch your fingers when threading the straps under the tailgate.

The large flap allows for plenty of space to unearth a rearview camera, and your tailgate handle, and show off your truck’s logo. Despite the size being positive, the flap is also a potential negative. When the flap is open, you want to position your bike with the wheel pointing out, or the bike tire can rub off paint through the flap opening. If you’re transporting more than one bike, probably best to close the flap, but then you can’t use your rearview camera.

Yakima quality comes with Yakima prices. It’s durable and well-made, but it’ll cost you nearly twice what a Demon Tailgate Pad will.

Liked

  • Large flap
  • Rugged padding
  • Quick installation

Disliked

  • Expensive

Sklon Offers a Great Best Anti-theft System

If you live in a heavily urbanized area with the potential for theft, check out the Sklon tailgate bike pad. With a patented anti-theft locking system, which includes an integrated lock and cut-resistant steel cable, the Sklon Tailgate Bike Pad is our choice for the best anti-theft tailgate bike pad.

5. Sklon Tailgate Bike Pad

Sklon Tailgate Bike Pad

Item Weight:
10 lbs

Dimensions:
59” x 16”

Padding:
¾-inch foam pad


The pad is well-made with a rugged exterior and soft interior to set gently against the tailgate. The flap design makes it easy to open and reach the truck tailgate handle. The pad is well-made with a rugged exterior and soft interior to set gently against the tailgate.

The anti-theft locking system protects your bikes and tailgate pad with the anti-theft system. It’s a great inclusion and elevates the entire setup.

Installation is pretty easy and straightforward. Using the same strap-under-the-tailgate method as others, you can have this bike pad installed and ready to go within 10 minutes. The pad works well for most bikes except e-bikes which don’t sit as nicely on the pad.

Liked

  • Anti-theft locking system
  • Easy installation
  • High-quality padding

Disliked

  • Short bike straps
  • Doesn’t work well for E-bike

Other Considerations

6. MICTUNNING Rear Tailgate Pad

MICTUNNING Rear Tailgate Pad

Item Weight:
 4.99 lbs

Dimensions:
53” x 7.5” x 20”

Padding:
¾-inch foam pad


Sporting an attractive price and the cradle design of the Yakima Gatekeeper, the MICTUNNING Rear Tailgate Pad is runner-up to our best budget bike tailgate pad. The materials and design help bikes sit firmly in place while limiting abrasion and contact with your tailgate.

Similar to the Yakima Gatekeeper, the MICTUNNING has great cradles for the bikes to fit into. This is a much more secure fit for the bikes. This bike pad also features a large flap, which you can open to get to the tailgate handle and expose a rearview camera.

Like others, the pad is secured via straps that wrap around the tailgate. Installation is easy and should only take 10 minutes maximum. There’s no Velcro strap to hold the flap open, so you have to tuck it underneath the pad.

If you have a thick tubed mountain bike, in some cases, the cradle straps may not reach all the way around the bike.

Liked

  • Easy installation
  • Good padding
  • Frame protection

Disliked

  • Cradle straps too short for some bikes

7. LEEPTPIC Tailgate Bike Pad

LEEPTPIC Tailgate Bike Pad

Item Weight:
5.29 lbs

Dimensions:
 54” x 18” x 16”

Padding:
¾-inch foam pad


This solid buy comes in at a good price point, has two side pads for your bike to sit between, and fits most truck models with average and thinner tailgates. The LEEPTIC Tailgate Bike Pad is our runner-up for best mountain bike tailgate pad.

The pad is thick enough to ward off typical abrasion and soft enough on the underside to protect your tailgate. Like the Himal tailgate pad, the LEEPTIC comes with two usable tool pockets. This is a great way to cart around hardware you may need for bike maintenance or truck maintenance. The pad is weather and waterproof, which gives you added peace of mind for longer transport.

Each bike slot has a channel for the tube and two pads on either side to help lock it in and prevent movement.  With a series of heavy bikes loaded, the padding may not be thick enough to cover all abrasion points. If your truck has a thicker or heavier tailgate, the pad may not sit well.

Liked

  • Tool Pockets
  • Waterproof material
  • Inexpensive

Disliked

  • Not enough padding for heavier bikes
  • It may not work with thicker tailgates

Buyer’s Guide

With a ton of nice tailgate bike pad options out there, it helps to keep a few key points in mind. Consider what’s listed below before purchasing your first (or next) tailgate bike pad.

Bike Carrying Capacity

Ideally, you want a tailgate bike pad that can carry multiple bikes in a way that won’t hurt the bikes or your tailgate. Bike pads with higher capacity can support families or friend groups with wildly-different sized bikes.

Each option selected for this list can carry at least 5 bikes. Some options also come with a larger pad size that can accommodate up to 7 bikes. When you’re shopping around, looking at capacity will help you determine quickly which pad will work for you.

Tailgate Pad Flap

This is a sneaky aspect that many people forget to check until they’ve already bought a tailgate bike pad that doesn’t quite fit. Each tailgate pad comes with at least a small flap that opens up. This is purposely designed to grant easy access to your tailgate handle and let your backup camera work as advertised. 

Check the measurements of the flaps, or read user reviews, to see how big they get. A smaller flap has a greater chance of blocking the tailgate handle or backup camera. Once you’ve checked the size, make sure they line up with your truck bed. If you’re constantly having to reposition the flap, buyers’ fatigue may set in.

The flaps are also potentially problematic if there’s no way to hold them open. You may have to tuck the flap under the rest of the pad and cinch it all down to keep it open. If you do keep the flap open, make sure your bikes are positioned the right way. With the flap open, bike wheels could come into contact with the tailgate paint underneath. Either position the wheel away from the flap or, if you have multiple bikes, close the flap to prevent abrasion damage. Tires on the tailgate will almost certainly result in scratches and chipped paint.

Security Features

Most popular tailgate bike pads do not come with added security features. It is, therefore, up to you to lock down your bikes and your pad to the truck. In most cases, this isn’t a huge deal breaker, but it is something to be aware of. Additionally, there are some pads that come with some security features, like the Sklon Tailgate pad.

The trade-off here is almost always pricing. The Sklon is more expensive than a budget item, but the included security features give you peace of mind without having to buy or attach additional security pieces to your setup. Ultimately, the price/safety trade-off is up to the customer. 

In lieu of included security features, make sure you have extra bike locks and some way of fastening the pad to the tailgate. Another suggestion, although it takes a bit longer, is to simply store the pad in your truck cab once all bikes are unloaded. 

Padding

If you want to get the best tailgate bike pad, padding is a critical element to consider. The padding is what separates your bike from the tailgate. If both of these elements come into contact on rough roads, the paint will be chipped, and your bikes could end with some damage as well.

You want to quickly and decisively figure out if the padding is thick enough to prevent rubbing and damage to the tailgate. Anything less than ½ inch may not do the job. Most tailgate bike pads reviewed here have at least ¾ inch of padding.

Durability

Another important consideration is the overall durability of the pad. Is the pad waterproof? UV proof? Or at least resistant? Transporting bikes to a trailhead may have you going through a few weather issues. Using a truck tailgate bike pad with no weather-resistant features will mean quicker degradation of the pad materials over time.

The durability component is usually where the more expensive models win out because they end up using stronger materials. Each option listed here has stood up to years of abuse, so none of them are of poor quality, but a reinforced padding system with burly straps and hooks will serve you better over time. 

Design

The design of the tailgate bike pad can be important as well. Measure your truck tailgate, and pick the size that best fits. Most tailgate pads come in multiple sizes. Another concern is the included flap. Make sure it is either big enough or centered enough to open and allow you to grab the tailgate handle. A pad that opens well but also covers up your rearview camera is a notable trade-off.

Fancier setups will have grooves, extra pads, or cradles for your bike to attach to. These features offer a better fit with minimal movement. Check the strap quality as well; cheap straps and buckles will break a lot faster.  Lastly, make sure you’re ok with the aesthetic look of the pad. Does the pad look good? After spending money on a product that will be visible to others, you should be happy with how it ultimately looks on your truck tailgate.   

Budget

Spending a lot of money on something that doesn’t work is a recipe for frustration. Cheaper products are nice, but the material may not be as tough as a more expensive model. In either scenario, you’re making sacrifices. The big question is, does the added price offer enough peace of mind to pass up a budget model? With the Yakima Gatekeeper and Sklon, there are plenty of reasons to argue yes.

However, for the vast majority of bike transporting folks, you may not need all the extra features of premium tailgate bike pads. If you already have bike locks and extension cables, then you don’t need a fully integrated security system. Similarly, if you just need a bare-bones pad, you might not need extra padding or more expensive material to get the job done. The Demon Tailgate gets you Yakima quality at a much lower price.

Installation

Last but not least, figure out how easy it is to get the tailgate bike pad securely fastened to your truck. In most cases, you can tie down a pad and have it fit inside for ten minutes. There are, however, exceptions and things to keep in mind.

If you have a smaller truck, you won’t need a bigger pad that can obscure taillights or droop lower than the tailgate. If you have a larger truck, you don’t want a smaller item that won’t cover the whole tailgate or may block handles and backup cameras. 

In general, when installing the strap component, start by fitting the pad around an open tailgate. Thread the straps through or lift the gate slightly to open the window between the tailgate and truck bed. Then, slip the straps through and close the gate. From there, you should be able to climb into the bed and fasten all the straps down to their appropriate hooks. As always, watch your fingers when your threading the straps. The gate under a tailgate is a bad place to get a finger stuck. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Tailgate Bike Pads Safe to Use for Your Bike?

Yes. The whole purpose of a tailgate bike pad is to minimize and, in many cases, completely eliminate the bikes from rubbing against your tailgate. The best tailgate bike pads are not only safe but considerably cheaper than competing bike racks. With a high-value tailgate bike pad, you should be able to safely and gently transport your bikes to whatever trail catches your eye.

Can I Put My Tailgate Pad Through the Car Wash?

Yes. The whole purpose of a tailgate bike pad is to minimize and, in many cases, completely eliminate the bikes from rubbing against your tailgate. The best tailgate bike pads are not only safe but considerably cheaper than competing bike racks. With a high-value tailgate bike pad, you should be able to safely and gently transport your bikes to whatever trail catches your eye.

Can I Use a Tailgate Cover With a Tonneau Cover?

It’s not advised that you do this. Few people have been 100% successful, with most complaints coming from trying to close the tonneau. If you’re determined, you’ll have to adjust and force the pieces to fit together. In most cases, this is not worth it, and you risk causing damage to the bike pad and/or the tonneau. The easiest method is to take the pad off before putting the tonneau on.

Can You Use Tailgate Bike Pads Without a Tailgate?

No. The purpose of the pads is to fit around a truck tailgate. If you don’t have a truck or vehicle with a tailgate, it’s best to invest in a bike rack or some supplementary device that can make your vehicle bike transport capable.

Our Pick!

Thule-598001-Proride

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