When it comes to safe bike transportation, one name that pops out is ‘tailgate pad.’ But let’s face it; are tailgate pads bad for bikes? Are they worth it?
Tailgate pads are not bad for bikes. On the contrary, they allow you to securely transport multiple bikes on your truck’s tailgate, thanks to their secure straps. Moreover, they cushion your bike frame and truck, owing to their heavy padding.
The best part is that tailgate pads are portable, and a majority have a universal fit.
Their biggest challenge, however, is that the straps and buckles can break if they deteriorate and they are susceptible to thieves.
Of course, there are a few other concerns, but they are minor.
Before we can go further, let’s talk about the point of getting one.
In a rush? Check out the safest tailgate bike pads from amazon below:
6 Best Tailgate Pads For Bikes
1. Yakima –Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad: Best for Carbon Frames
2. MICTUNING Rear Tailgate Pad: Best for Mountain Bikes
3. Evoc Bike Tailgate Pad: Best for 6 Bikes
4. Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad: Most Portable Tailgate Pad
5. Demon Tailgate Pad: Most Weatherproof Tailgate Pad
6. LEETPIC Tailgate Bike Pad: Best for Backup Camera
Do You Need A Tailgate Pad For Bikes?
If you have a pickup truck that you would want to use to transport a bike, a tailgate pad is a worthy purchase.
You even need it more if you intend to transport more than one bike. These pads allow you to haul up to 6 bikes, which is impressive.
The good thing is that they secure your bike on transit.
Are Tailgate Pads Safe For Bikes? (The Good & The Bad)
Are Tailgate Bike Pads Good? (The Good)
Generally, tailgate pads come with these advantages:
1. High Capacity Carriers
Depending on the tailgate pad and the size of your truck’s tailgate, you can load up to 4-6 bikes at a go.
An option like the Evoc Tailgate Pad (amazon link) allows you to carry up to 6 bikes on your truck, making it one of the strongest tailgate pads on the market.
With such an advantage, tailgate pads are a fantastic choice for families with trucks.
2. Secure Straps
Tailgate pads usually come with a stronger cradle strap system that allows them to hold your bike on the truck’s tailgate securely. Such systems prevent the cycle from moving sideways and scratching your vehicle.
Provided the straps are high-quality and secure, you won’t worry about them breaking and scratching your bike or truck.
3. Universal Fit
The good thing about tailgate pads is that they accept almost all trucks and bikes. Note, however, that they are better suited to mountain bikes than road bikes as MTB frames are more rugged.
An option like the MICTUNING Rear Tailgate Pad (amazon link), for example, is universal on mountain bikes. You can use it to transport just about any MTB.
Even better, the mountain bike tailgate pad offers you a 5-bike capacity.
4. High-Quality Materials
Tailgate pads are all about quality. They come in the strongest fabrics to withstand aggressive usage. Some come in rugged nylon materials that resist scratching and weather damage and protect your car’s painting.
Others feature heavy-duty PVC, which is just as reliable as rugged nylon. Some come in heavy-duty vinyl, which resists harsh weather on the outside and feels softer on the inside.
That’s the case with the Demon Tailgate Pad (amazon link). This tailgate pad comes in a UV-resistant and waterproof fabric that protects it from the harsh summer and unforgiving winter.
Tailgate pads are a throw-in-and-go kind of bike transportation solution. What is more, they are pretty lightweight and allow you to fold and carry them with ease.
So, you can go with them on all your road trips. That’s the case with the Race Face T2 Tailgate Pad (amazon link).
This Raceface Tailgate Pad enjoys a secure closure system that enables you to transport your bike safely and hold up to 6 bikes. The best part is that it’s readily portable, thus an excellent travel choice.
6. Heavy Padding
A tailgate pad not only allows you to secure your bike on the tailgate but also offers some form of cushioning between the truck and the bike. As a result, it becomes easier to transport your bike on the truck safely.
Are Tailgate Pads Bad For Bikes? (The Risks)
Here are the risks that come with using most tailgate pads:
a) Blocked Camera Access
The problem with most tailgate pads is that they come with narrow openings for the backup camera. That becomes a safety risk since you cannot see the truck’s rear end.
So, you must pick a tailgate mat with wider camera access, as it’s the case with the LEETPIC Tailgate Bike Pad (amazon link)
This truck tailgate bike pad features a broader camera access point that seamlessly allows you to access your backup camera.
b) Possibility of the Buckle or Straps Breaking
With time, the buckles and straps deteriorate, more so after prolonged usage or overloading. If that happens, then the risks of them breaking is much higher.
Also, note that this is more common when you go for low-quality tailgate pads.
c) Can Be Stolen
Tailgate pads are not theft-proof. Just like your bike, they can be stolen if not attended to.
Luckily, some are lockable, and that minimizes the risk. You can do that with a lock option like the Master Lock 8418D Cable Lock (amazon link).
This 6-feet cable is enough to lock the pad on the tailgate and even lock the tailgate.
There are two sources of scratching which you should be aware of.
For starters, tailgate pads can scratch your bike frame paint or the truck if loose. Secondly, tailgate pads can scratch the bike frame if they trap dirt, more so sand.
Tips for Getting the Most Out Of Tailgate Pads for Bikes
Here are things you can do to get the most out of tailgate pads:
a) Go for Quality Material
A tailgate pad is a heavy load carrier. So, you cannot settle for low-quality material.
Everything from straps to the outer pad material should be weather-resistant and scratch-proof.
That’s why I recommend rugged nylon, heavy-duty PVC, and heavy-duty vinyl. They are a durable and reliable choice.
b) Keep the Tailgate Pad Clean
One way to avoid scratching the bike frame with dirt is to keep the tailgate pad clean. So, ensure you do that after every use.
You can use a degreaser such as the Finish Line Citrus Bicycle Degreaser (amazon link) to keep your tailgate pad dirt-free.
c) Consider the Safety Features
You have to look at the tailgate pad to identify its security features. For example, is it lockable on the tailgate?
If yes, then you should lock it.
Also, consider options that allow you to securely strap them on the tailgate to prevent the bike from wobbling and scratching your truck.
It’s also essential to go for options that let you access your backup camera.
d) Prioritize Thick Padding
Remember, it’s also the role of the tailgate pad to cushion your bike frame and protect it from scratching. For that to happen, the pads should be thick enough. So, consider that.
Are Tailgate Pads Safe For Road Bikes?
Tailgate pads are generally safer on mountain bikes than road bikes. That’s because road bike frames are more susceptible to damage.
Note, however, that some tailgate pads come with carbon-friendly closures, which makes them best for carbon road bikes.
That’s the case with the Yakima –Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad (amazon link)
This tailgate pad succeeds where most tailgate pads fail. Thanks to its Velcro cradle closure, the tailgate pad allows you to place your carbon bike frame on the tailgate securely.
Plus, it features an integrated strap system that keeps it tight on the tailgate and, more importantly, secure.
1. Are Tailgate Pads Worth It?
Tailgate pads come in high-quality fabrics and straps to securely hold your bike on the truck. Most of them allow you to load 5-6 cycles, which is impressive. So, provided you secure them on the truck, tailgate pads are worth it.
2. Do Tailgate Bike Pads Scratch?
Tailgate bike pads can scratch the bike frame’s paint if they trap dirt. That happens if you don’t clean them often, especially following regular usage. Additionally, tailgate pads can scratch if they are not secure on the tailgate.
3. But What Can I Use Instead Of A Tailgate Pad?
Here are some things you can use instead of a tailgate pad:
- Regular towel
- Cardboard box
- Throw blanket
- Tacoma bed
- Moving blanket
Note, however, that even though the above options cushion your bike and tailgate, they are not secure. As a result, they cannot replace tailgate pads.
4. Do Tailgate Pads Get Stolen?
Tailgate pads together with bicycles can be stolen if not locked or left unsupervised. So, don’t leave your tailgate pad or even your bike unattended or unlocked in an unsafe place.
Are Tailgate Pads Bad For Bikes? Closing Thought:
Tailgate pads are generally not bad for bikes when securely strapped on the tailgate and come in high-quality material.
Overall, they are a convenient means of transporting multiple bikes on your pickup tailgate.