I Tested and Ranked The Best Tailgate Pads

Transporting bikes using a pickup truck becomes effortless and safe with the right tailgate pad. These essential accessories offer not only stability during transit but also critical protection for both your bicycles and vehicle. However, the variety of tailgate pads available can be overwhelming. This guide is dedicated to demystifying the choices, spotlighting top-rated tailgate pads for bike transport. We delve into their features and benefits, equipping you with the knowledge to make a well-informed decision.

Through in-depth analysis, rigorous test and review of leading market options, the Yakima Gatekeeper emerges as the premier choice for bike transportation. Its robust construction, reliable fastening system, and user-centric design stand out, catering excellently to pickup truck owners who frequently transport multiple bikes. Recognizing the diverse requirements and preferences of riders, our comprehensive review covers six distinct tailgate pads. Each is scrutinized to assist you in selecting the perfect match for your specific biking and transportation needs. With an ideal tailgate pad, journey with confidence, assured that your bikes are secure and protected from any transit-related damage or instability.

Top Rated Tailgate Pads for Bikes: A Comprehensive Overview

  1. Yakima Gatekeeper
  2. Demon Tailgate Pad
  3. Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad
  4. Himal Outdoors Tailgate Pad 
  5. Dakine Pickup Truck Tailgate Pad
  6. Evoc Bike Tailgate Pad

Yakima Gatekeeper: Leading Choice Among Best Tailgate Pads

Best Tailgate Pad for Bikes

Key Features

  • Sizes for Every Need: Available in Medium (53″ wide) and Large (62″ wide).
  • Capacity: Medium holds up to five bikes, large up to six.
  • Secure Fastening: Features a Velcro cradle closure system for stability.

Our Review: Why the Yakima Gatekeeper Tops Our List

The Yakima Gatekeeper stands out as a top-tier, user-friendly tailgate pad, designed for effortless installation and maximum utility. Offered in two sizes, it caters to various transport needs: the medium size accommodates up to five bikes, while the large model can handle up to six. Ideal for pickup truck owners, its robust design and durability make it a smart investment.

Installation is a breeze, involving a simple drape over the tailgate and secure strapping. The innovative Velcro cradle system is a highlight, ensuring each bike remains firmly in place during transit, thus mitigating the risk of damage to both the bike frames and truck bed from movement or friction. The Gatekeeper is not just a tailgate pad; it’s a commitment to safe and efficient bike transportation, making it a must-have for pickup truck owners with a passion for biking.

Fellor Rider Review: “When considering the options for a bike rack to place on our truck, I was surprised to discover this tailgate option. We loved its simplicity and ability to remove it when not in use. Basically, we place it over the tailgate and tighten the straps by looping it underneath the tailgate…a process that takes maybe 5 minutes. Though my husband can do the entire process by himself, he often places the bikes into the truck and I latch them in. The bikes (we own cruiser and road bikes) are secure and don’t shift around once you place them tightly in. After we unload I choose to remove it from the tailgate and place it in the locked truck only because I don’t trust people not to steal it! We did look at cheaper options but they seemed, well cheap! This one had a nice soft back so it wouldn’t scratch the truck, a flap (which is so awesome because it allows us to use the backup camera even though tire spokes may be over it) and the curved place where you put the tire just looked more solid. Worth the money!” CeLake

Advantages of Choosing the Yakima Gatekeeper

  • Ease of Use: Simple installation process and user-friendly design.
  • Durable Material: Crafted with nylon, offering excellent resistance to abrasions and adverse weather conditions.

Considerations

  • Camera Visibility: Depending on your truck model, it might obscure the rear camera view.



Demon Tailgate Pad: The Ultimate Choice for Bike Transportation

Best Truck Bed Bike Rack for Bike Capacity

Key Features of the Demon Tailgate Pad for Enhanced Bike Safety

  • Varied Size Options: Available in small (54″ wide) and large (60″ wide) to suit different truck sizes.
  • Capacity: Small size accommodates up to five bikes, while the large size can handle up to seven.
  • Robust Construction: Features a 3/4” foam pad with a heavy-duty vinyl cover for superior protection.

Our Review

The Demon Tailgate Pad, our top contender in bike tailgate pads, offers versatility with two size options – small and large, catering to various pickup truck sizes. The small variant is perfect for small to medium trucks, holding up to five bikes, whereas the large variant is ideal for full-sized trucks, accommodating up to seven bikes.

This pad stands out for its exceptional padding quality, providing unparalleled protection for both bikes and truck beds. It’s not just about capacity; it’s about delivering a secure and damage-free transportation experience. The heavy-duty vinyl covering over the foam pad ensures durability and resistance against harsh weather conditions, making it a reliable choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

The ease of use is another significant benefit. Installation is straightforward – simply drape the pad over your tailgate and secure it with the provided straps. The adjustable hook and loop straps offer additional stability for the bikes during transport. Whether it’s a biking adventure with friends or a solo trip, the Demon Tailgate Pad proves to be an excellent value for its price.

Advantages of the Demon Tailgate Pad

  • User-Friendly Design: Effortless installation and practical usage.
  • Durable Materials: Crafted to endure tough weather while protecting your gear.
  • Cost-Effective: Great value for its robust features and durability.

Cons

  • Camera Obstruction: Be aware that the pad may cover the rear camera in some truck models.



Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad: Superior Protection for Your Biking Adventures

Key Features

  • Two sizes: small (57″ wide) and large (61″ wide)
  • Small holds up to five bikes, large holds up to six bikes
  • PVC tarpaulin, micro-brushed inner lining

Our Review

The Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad is an excellent choice for anyone who frequently transports bikes in the back of a pickup truck. This tailgate pad is well-designed, durable, and easy to use. It comes in two sizes – medium and large – and both sizes can hold multiple bikes securely in place.

One of the standout features of the Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad is the padding it provides. The thick foam padding ensures that the bikes are protected from scratches, dings, and other damage while in transit. The pad is also easy to install and stays securely in place thanks to the adjustable straps.

Key Features

  • Available Sizes: Choose from small (57″ wide) or large (61″ wide) for varying truck bed sizes.
  • Bike Capacity: Small size can secure up to five bikes, large up to six.
  • High-Quality Materials: Constructed with PVC tarpaulin and a micro-brushed inner lining for ultimate bike protection.

Our Review

The Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad stands out as a premium choice for cyclists who regularly transport bikes using a pickup truck. Thoughtfully designed for durability and ease of use, it comes in two sizes – catering to different truck dimensions. Both the medium and large options ensure that multiple bikes are held securely during transit.

A key highlight of the Race Face T2 is its exceptional padding. The robust foam padding is adept at shielding bikes from potential scratches, dings, and other transit damages. Installation is user-friendly, with the pad remaining firmly in place, thanks to its adjustable straps. This makes the Race Face T2 not just a protective accessory, but a reliable partner for transporting e-bikes and traditional bikes alike.

Investing in the Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad means choosing unparalleled durability and ease of use, ensuring that your bikes are safeguarded during every journey. While it may come at a higher price point compared to other pads, its superior protection and build quality offer excellent value, providing peace of mind and long-term reliability.

Advantages of the Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad

  • Resilient Build: Weatherproof material for enduring protection.
  • Protective Padding: Designed to prevent any contact damage between bike and truck.
  • User-Friendly: Simple to install and compatible with various bike types, including e-bikes.

Cons

Price Factor: Slightly more expensive, a worthwhile investment for premium protection.




Himal Outdoors Tailgate Pad: Optimal Bike Transport Solution for Pickup Trucks

Key Features

  • Versatile Seating Options: Accommodates 7-5 fixed seats for flexible bike placement.
  • Added Utility: Comes with 2 tool pockets for extra storage.
  • Convenience Feature: Includes an open window for easy access.

Comprehensive Review of the Himal Outdoors Tailgate Pad

The Himal Outdoors Tailgate Pad presents itself as a cost-effective and dependable solution for transporting bikes using a pickup truck. Universally designed to fit most truck models, it boasts the capacity to secure up to seven bikes reliably.

A notable aspect of the Himal Outdoors Tailgate Pad is its robust padding. Crafted from high-density foam, it ensures comprehensive protection of your bikes while in transit, effectively preventing scratches and damage to the tailgate of your truck. Its user-friendliness is another key benefit, with straightforward installation and adjustable straps that maintain the pad’s position securely. The adaptable webbing system is a significant feature, allowing accommodation of various bike sizes and styles.

While its durability is impressive, it may not parallel the longevity of higher-priced counterparts. Additionally, the webbing system, while functional, may not offer the same level of security as specialized bike racks, posing a slight risk of bike movement during transport.

In summary, the Himal Outdoors Tailgate Pad is an excellent choice for budget-conscious consumers seeking a reliable and user-friendly solution for bike transportation. Offering significant protection and the ability to carry up to seven bikes, its value proposition is hard to overlook despite some considerations regarding ultimate durability.

Pros

  • Exceptional value for money.
  • Simple and efficient installation process.
  • Capacity to transport up to seven bikes safely.

Cons

  • May not be as durable as more expensive models.
  • The webbing system’s security may not match that of dedicated bike racks.



Dakine Pickup Truck: Tailgate Pad Excellence for Bike Transport

Key Features

  • Optimized Tailgate Protection: Features padded protection ideal for bike transit.
  • Compatibility: Designed to work seamlessly with traditional tailgate designs.
  • Bike Anchoring System: Equipped with individual bike anchor straps (7 for large size, 5 for small).
  • Secure Fastening: Includes four web cinch straps for added security.
  • Convenient Access: Provides an access flap for tailgate handles.
  • Additional Safety Features: Cable lock compatible with a reflective logo for increased visibility.

In-Depth Review: Dakine Pickup Truck Tailgate Pad

The Dakine Pickup Truck Tailgate Pad exemplifies top-notch design and quality, ensuring unparalleled protection for bikes during transportation. Tailored to fit most pickup trucks, it boasts the capacity to securely accommodate up to seven bikes.

Its standout feature is the high-density foam padding, offering exceptional protection against scratches, dings, and other potential damages during transit. This makes it a reliable choice for safeguarding both your bikes and truck’s tailgate. Moreover, the pad’s versatility shines through its adaptable webbing system, capable of fitting various bike sizes and styles, thus catering to a wide range of riders. The ease of use and quick installation process further enhance its appeal.

Crafted from rugged nylon material, the Dakine Tailgate Pad is built for longevity, effectively resisting wear and tear from regular use and environmental exposure. While its price point is higher than some competitors, the quality and features it offers justify the investment, especially for those who frequently transport bikes.

Pros

  • Adaptable webbing system for different bike types.
  • Effortless installation and handling.
  • Capacity to secure up to seven bikes.

Cons

  • May be pricier than other options.
  • Fit issues reported for some truck models

Evoc Bike Tailgate Pad: Advanced Protection for Your Cycling Adventures

Key Features

  • Superior Tailgate Protection: Specially padded for secure bike transport.
  • Ideal for MTB Enthusiasts: Perfectly suited for shuttling mountain bikes.
  • Convenient Design: Quick access to the tailgate release handle.
  • Camera Compatibility: Features a fold-away flap for rear camera access (available in Olive/Black and Black/Olive).

Detailed Review: The Evoc Bike Tailgate Pad

The Evoc Bike Tailgate Pad stands out as a sophisticated and highly functional accessory, offering top-notch protection for bikes on the go. Designed to fit most pickup trucks, it has the capacity to hold up to six bikes securely, making it an ideal choice for cycling enthusiasts.

A key highlight of the Evoc Tailgate Pad is its substantial padding, crafted from high-density foam, which provides excellent protection against scratches, dings, and other potential damage during transit. This feature is crucial in safeguarding both your bikes and the truck’s tailgate.

In addition to its protective qualities, the Evoc Pad boasts an adjustable webbing system, allowing for the accommodation of various bike sizes and styles. This flexibility makes it a versatile choice for different riders. The system’s ease of use and adjustability mean you can quickly secure your bikes, ensuring they remain stable throughout your journey.

Another innovative feature is the pad’s built-in flap, designed to cover the bike’s top tubes and prevent friction damage during transport. This flap is secured with strong velcro, providing added stability even on rough roads.

While the Evoc Bike Tailgate Pad is a premium product with a higher price tag, its superior protection, versatile fitting options, and additional features like the rear camera flap justify the investment, particularly for those who frequently transport bikes.

Pros

  • 24-month warranty
  • Compatible with a wide range of truck sizes, from mid-size to full-size models.

Cons

  • Higher price point than some competitors.
  • Potential fit issues reported for certain truck models.



Ultimate Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Tailgate Pad for Your Bike

Bike Securing Straps

When buying a tailgate pad, one important feature to consider is the bike securing straps. These straps are designed to keep your bike securely in place while it’s being transported on the tailgate pad.

There are a few different types of bike securing straps available, and the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

One common type of bike securing strap is the hook-and-loop strap. These straps use a loop of fabric that wraps around the bike frame and attaches to the pad using a hook-and-loop fastener. They are easy to use and can be adjusted to fit bikes of different sizes and shapes.

Another type of bike securing strap is the buckle strap. These straps use a metal or plastic buckle to secure the bike to the pad. They are typically more durable than hook-and-loop straps and provide a more secure hold, but can be more difficult to adjust.

Some tailgate pads also include additional straps or tie-downs for extra security. These straps can be used to secure the bike to the pad or to the truck bed, providing an extra layer of protection against shifting or sliding during transport.

When choosing a tailgate pad with bike securing straps, it’s important to look for a design that is easy to use and provides a secure hold. Make sure the straps are adjustable to fit your bike properly, and consider additional straps or tie-downs for added security

Additional Padding

A good tailgate pad should provide enough cushioning to protect your bike from any potential damage during transport.

The padding of a tailgate pad is usually made from foam or other soft materials that help absorb shocks and vibrations during transport. The thickness and density of the foam will vary from one pad to another, and it’s important to choose a pad with sufficient padding for your specific needs.

When it comes to padding, the thickness of the pad is an important consideration. A thicker pad will provide more cushioning and protection for your bike, but it may also be bulkier and more difficult to store when not in use. A thinner pad, on the other hand, may be more compact and easier to store, but it may not provide as much protection for your bike.

In addition to the thickness of the padding, the material used for the padding is also an important consideration. Look for a tailgate pad made from high-quality foam that is dense enough to provide adequate cushioning, but not too heavy or bulky.

Some tailgate pads may also feature additional padding in strategic areas, such as around the bike frame or handlebars, to provide extra protection for your bike during transport. This can be particularly helpful for rough or bumpy roads.

Tailgate Handle Flap

Another important feature to consider when purchasing a tailgate pad for your bike is the tailgate handle flap. This is a flap or cutout in the pad that allows you to access the tailgate handle and open the tailgate without having to remove the pad.

The tailgate handle flap is an important feature because it allows you to easily access the contents of your truck bed without having to remove the entire pad. This can be particularly helpful if you need to grab something from your truck bed while on the go, or if you’re using your truck to transport other items in addition to your bike.

When choosing a tailgate pad with a tailgate handle flap, it’s important to make sure that the flap is positioned correctly and is easy to use. Look for a pad with a well-placed flap that allows you to easily access the handle without having to move the bike or the pad.

Size

Tailgate pad size is an important consideration when purchasing a tailgate pad for your bike. The size of the pad will determine how many bikes you can transport on your tailgate and how securely they will be held in place.

When choosing a tailgate pad, it’s important to measure the width of your truck’s tailgate to ensure that the pad you select will fit correctly. Most tailgate pads come in different sizes to accommodate various tailgate widths, so be sure to choose a pad that is designed to fit your specific truck model.

In addition to the size of the pad itself, the number of bikes that the pad can accommodate is also an important consideration. Some tailgate pads are designed to hold only one bike, while others can hold two or more bikes. If you plan to transport more than one bike at a time, make sure the pad you choose has enough space and straps to hold each bike securely.

Materials

The material of a tailgate pad is an important consideration when purchasing a tailgate pad for your bike. The right material can provide the necessary cushioning and protection for your bike during transport, while also being durable and easy to clean.

One of the most common materials used in tailgate pads is foam. Foam provides a soft, cushioned surface that can protect your bike from scratches and dings during transport. Look for a tailgate pad with a high-density foam that is thick enough to provide adequate cushioning, but not so thick that it makes it difficult to store or use the pad.

Another important consideration when it comes to tailgate pad material is the outer layer or covering of the pad. Some tailgate pads are made with a durable, water-resistant material like nylon or polyester. These materials are great for protecting the pad from the elements, and they are easy to clean and maintain.

Other tailgate pads may be made with a more heavy-duty material like vinyl or PVC. These materials are extremely durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear, making them a good choice for frequent use or for more rugged outdoor activities.

Back-Up Camera Compatability

Back-up camera compatibility is an important consideration when purchasing a tailgate pad for your bike, especially if your truck is equipped with a back-up camera. If you want to be able to use your back-up camera while the tailgate pad is in place, it’s important to choose a pad that is compatible with this feature.

Not all tailgate pads are compatible with back-up cameras, so it’s important to choose a pad that is designed specifically with this feature in mind. Look for a tailgate pad that has a cutout or opening in the center that allows the back-up camera to function properly.

If your truck’s back-up camera is located on the tailgate handle or near the top of the tailgate, it’s important to choose a pad that does not block the camera’s view. Look for a pad that is designed to fit around the camera, or one that has a cutout specifically for the camera to ensure that it is not obstructed.

It’s also important to note that some tailgate pads may interfere with the operation of other safety features on your truck, such as blind spot monitoring or parking sensors. If your truck has these features, make sure to choose a tailgate pad that is compatible with them to ensure that they continue to function properly.

Warranty

Most reputable tailgate pad manufacturers will offer some type of warranty, although the length and terms of the warranty may vary. Look for a warranty that offers a reasonable amount of coverage and protection, typically at least a one-year warranty, although some manufacturers may offer longer warranties.

Make sure to read the warranty carefully and understand what is covered and what is not. Some warranties may only cover defects in materials or workmanship, while others may offer more comprehensive coverage. Additionally, some warranties may require that you register your product within a certain timeframe or that you follow specific care instructions to be eligible for coverage.

It’s also important to note that not all warranties are created equal. Look for a warranty from a reputable manufacturer that has a good track record of honoring warranties and providing good customer service.

Overall, a warranty is an important consideration when purchasing a tailgate pad for your bike. Look for a warranty that offers reasonable coverage and protection, read the terms carefully, and choose a manufacturer with a good reputation for honoring warranties and providing good customer service. With the right warranty, you can be confident that your tailgate pad will provide the protection and performance you need for years to come.

Can you use a tailgate pad with a canopy?

Absolutely, you can use a tailgate pad with a canopy on your pickup truck. The key is to ensure that the canopy doesn’t interfere with the pad’s placement on the tailgate. Most tailgate pads are designed to fit snugly over the top edge and down the back of the tailgate, so as long as your canopy doesn’t extend too far down the back of the tailgate, you should be good to go. It’s always a good idea to measure and check for any potential obstructions before making a purchase.

How do you strap a bike to a tailgate pad?

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Position Your Bike: Place your bike so that the front wheel and fork hang over the outside of the tailgate, while the rear wheel sits inside the truck bed.
  • Use the Straps: Most tailgate pads come with integrated straps or anchor points. Thread these through your bike’s frame and secure them snugly. Ensure the straps are tight enough to hold the bike firmly in place but not so tight as to damage the frame.
  • Double-Check Stability: Give your bike a gentle shake to ensure it’s securely attached. The bike should not wobble or move excessively.
  • Additional Security: For added security, especially on bumpy roads, you can use additional bungee cords or straps to further anchor the bike.

People also asked

What is a Tailgate Pad?

A tailgate pad is a type of protective cover designed to be used on the tailgate of a pickup truck, providing a cushioned surface for transporting bicycles. It is a soft, padded mat that attaches to the tailgate of your truck, creating a stable surface for your bike to rest on during transport.

Tailgate pads are designed to protect both your bike and your truck during transportation. When you place your bike on the pad, the soft surface prevents scratches, dents, and other damage to the tailgate, while also providing a secure platform for transporting the bike.

Tailgate pads come in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials, and can be easily attached to the tailgate of your truck using straps, velcro, or other securing mechanisms. Some tailgate pads are designed to accommodate multiple bikes at once, while others are made for a single bike.

Most tailgate pads also come with additional features such as straps for securing the bike, pockets for storing gear, and access to the tailgate handle, so you can easily open and close the tailgate without removing the pad.

Tailgate pads are a popular choice for transporting bicycles, especially for mountain bikers who need to transport their bikes to trailheads or other off-road destinations. They are easy to install, affordable, and provide a simple and effective solution for protecting your bike and your truck during transport.

In summary, a tailgate pad is a protective cover that attaches to the tailgate of a pickup truck and provides a soft, padded surface for transporting bicycles. It is designed to protect both your bike and your truck from damage during transport, and is a popular choice among mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Why do I need a tailgate pad for my bike?

A tailgate pad is essential for protecting your bike and your truck when transporting bicycles. The pad prevents scratches, dents, and other damage to the tailgate, and it provides a secure platform for transporting bikes.

What features should I look for in a tailgate pad?

When shopping for a tailgate pad, look for features such as durable materials, secure attachment points, and a soft surface for protecting your bike. Some pads also include additional features such as straps for securing your bike, pockets for storing gear, and access to the tailgate handle.

Can I use a tailgate pad with other types of equipment?

Tailgate pads are designed specifically for transporting bicycles, but you can use them to transport other types of equipment as well, such as kayaks or surfboards.

How do I install a tailgate pad on my truck?

Tailgate pads are easy to install and typically attach to your truck using straps or velcro. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model to ensure a secure and safe installation.

Can I still access the tailgate handle with a tailgate pad installed?

Yes, most tailgate pads are designed to provide access to the tailgate handle and latch so you can open and close the tailgate without removing the pad.

Are tailgate pads suitable for all types of pickup trucks?

Tailgate pads are designed to fit most standard-sized pickup trucks, but it’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications before purchasing to ensure a proper fit for your particular make and model of truck.

How do I clean and maintain my tailgate pad?

To clean your tailgate pad, simply wipe it down with a damp cloth or sponge and mild soap as needed. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives that could damage the surface of the pad. Store the pad in a cool, dry place when not in use to prevent mold and mildew.

Our Verdict

After reviewing some of the best tailgate pads for bikes on the market, it’s clear that the Yakima Gatekeeper is the top choice. With its sturdy construction, high-quality materials, and versatile design, the Yakima Gatekeeper provides excellent protection for bikes during transit, while also being easy to install and use. However, all six of the tailgate pads we reviewed in this article offer unique features and benefits that make them great options for different types of riders and truck owners. Whether you prioritize price, padding, adjustability, or durability, there is a tailgate pad out there that can meet your needs. Ultimately, by taking the time to choose a high-quality tailgate pad, you can ensure that your bikes stay safe and secure during transit, no matter where your adventures take you.

About the Author

About the Author

Hey, what's up? Ali here. EDM addict, gym rat, and Tame Impala fan of the Cycle Simply Team.