Any mountain biker who owns a truck knows the struggle of figuring out how to transport your bike from Point A to Point B without doing any damage to the truck. Car and SUV drivers get trunk and roof racks for bikes, but trucks are left with minimal options. You might resort to sliding the bike in and out of the truck bed, risking scratches and gouges on both the bike and the truck’s paint. What you need is a tailgate bike pad.
It might not solve all your problems, but having the best tailgate bike pad will certainly make mountain biking trips a lot less stressful.
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What is a Tailgate Pad and Do I Need One?
Precisely as the name suggests, a tailgate pad is a long rectangular cover that attaches to the tailgate of the truck, creating a barrier between the bike and the paint. Furthermore, the tailgate bike pad will secure your mountain bikes, so they don’t bang together either.
One of the reasons you want a tailgate pad is to protect the paint. You do a lot to protect your vehicle from damage and theft, like using a key fob signal blocker, so you don’t end up scratching the door or having it get stolen. After all, the cost of fixing a deep scratch in car paint will make your jaw drop. It is much better to save your vehicle from damage by getting yourself a mountain bike tailgate pad.
Best Tailgate Bike Pad Reviews
You will notice that there is a broad selection of tailgate protectors available. There are always going to be more suited to your truck, though. Some will have better durability or a more precise fit for your vehicle. Others are budget-friendly without subtracting quality. We are going to help you find the tailgate pad that is best for you, your bike, and your truck.
When looking to buy a tailgate pad, it comes down to three outstanding options. We rated our selections based on the cost, sizing, materials used, included features (securing straps, handles, etc.), and overall durability.
A quick note on sizing: Most tailgate pads come in either standard or large sizes. A standard (or small) pad will fit any midsize pickup truck, such as a GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, or Ford Ranger. Larger pads are meant to fit the full-sized tailgate on a Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tundra, or Dodge Ram. We included the dimensions of the tailgate pads to help you find the best fit.
Now, check out the best tailgate bike pads below:
Overall Best Tailgate Pad: Demon Tailgate Pad
What does it take to be the best tailgate bike pad? Demon United, the makers of the Demon Tailgate Pad, has the recipe for success. The one thing we love most about the Demon Tailgate Pad is the affordability. Without sacrificing any of the quality for such a budget-friendly price, Demon has managed to create a tailgate bike pad that is versatile, durable, and chock full of features.
Unlike other products we reviewed, the Demon Tailgate Pad has extra built-in pockets where you can store equipment. Above the Demon United logo is an access flap for either backup cameras or the latch to the tailgate, so you don’t have to remove the pad every time you want to open the gate.
The foam padding’s underside is coated with super soft materials and is ¾ inches thick. Your bikes (up to 7, depending on the size) are fastened into place using a hook-and-loop design. Those with full-size trucks should purchase the 62-inch long large tailgate protector, while small to midsize trucks do best with the 54-inch long small.
- Reflective logo
- Durable vinyl cover that is weather and heat-resistant
- Velcro straps secure mountain bikes of all sizes, including some e-bikes
- Tailgate latch handle flap
- Has awkward sizing
Runner Up: Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad
The T2 is the updated version of the well-regarded Race Face Tailgate Pad, and many updates have certainly been made on the design. This tailgate pad has been made all the more durable with a 600D PVC tarpaulin outer that is fade-proof, weatherproof, and resistant to mud and dust. Within the pad are foam bumpers that protect the fork stanchion and downtubes. Four straps fasten to the tailgate, keeping it secure on bumpy roads and trails. Along the top edge of the tailgate, the pad has six additional adjustable straps.
Another Velcro panel can be removed to enhance the view of a backup camera, should your truck come with one. It also makes the latch more accessible. Grommets on the inside anchor the tailgate protector to your truck, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding around. Overall, it is a streamlined design that holds up well over time. The downside of such quality is the price.
The Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad comes in two sizes. The small/medium (57-inch) pad holds 5 bikes, and the large/extra-large (61-inch) holds 6.
- Grommets lock the pad in place to the tailgate for more security during transport
- Weatherproof material
- Features an adjustable hand flap and top edge
- Has an out stanchion bumper and an inner downtube bumper
Best Curved Mountain Bike Pad: Dakine Pickup Pad DLX Curve
If you do mountain biking regularly, you are most likely no stranger to the Dakine brand. They introduced one of the first tailgate pads and have a reputation that speaks for itself. At the top of their tailgate protector line, the DLX Curve is considered the best of the best—and for good reason. The pad is held in place with ladder lock buckles and nylon straps, as well as metal grommets to lock your bicycles in place.
Every single bike can also be secured with a Velcro strap that prevents movement and bouncing. The best part about the straps, however, is that they are constructed extremely well. Each strap is sewn directly into the padding rather than using Velcro.
Tailgate protection is also amplified by the interior microfleece lining. You won’t have to worry about scratches, that’s for sure. Furthermore, the exterior polyester is 1000D and weather-resistant. You can choose either the standard DLX or DLX Curve. The Curve accommodates backup cameras by adding a flap to the front of the pad.
The Dakine Pickup DLX Curve Tailgate Pad has two sizes: small (54-inch) and large (62-inch). The small has a 5-bike capacity; large, 7-bike capacity.
- Affordable price for the quality
- Grommets securely attach the pad to the truck
- Incredibly durable outer materials
- UV coating
- Microfleece interior liner
- Curve fits the thick, curved tailgates on modern truck models
- Not designed for older trucks or thin tailgates (purchase the older Dakine Pickup Pad instead)
Tailgate pads might all look the same at first glance, but when you start investigating, you find features that you like and dislike. That is why we have recommended three of the best tailgate bike pads around. Whichever one you choose, it’s going to be a great choice. Make sure you are prioritizing the protective elements and durability since you want your investment to last you a long time.