Pickup Truck Bike Mounts

Pickup Truck Bike Mounts

How To Mount Bike Racks Using Truck Bed Rails.

Since you are taking your dog mountain biking you probably aren’t going to be able to ride to the trail-head. You’ll need to drive there.  If you have a car, we really love the Thule T2 Pro XT hitch mount rack.  But if you have a pickup, there are a few other options for carrying a bike.

Tailgate Pads

Yes, tailgate pads are wildly popular and incredibly convenient, but they are not without some flaws. First, tailgate pads come in at about $100, are highly desirable, and frequently stolen. (nothing will warm your heart more than to return to your truck only to find your tailgate pad has been liberated from your possession). But problems really arise when you leave them in place, dirt gets underneath the pad and will mar the paint on the tailgate, or if you drive on dirt roads for any distance, dirt/sand gets everywhere and will mar the paint on your tailgate and the downtube of your bike. This is exacerbated by any bumps or jostling that may occur.
mountain bikes on a pickup truck taiilgate pad
To be fair, tailgate pads work great for when you need to shuttle or move a bunch of bikes a short distance, which is what ours gets used for most of the time, but any kind of distance and the pad may damage the paint on the downtube of the bike or damage the decals on the downtubes of the fork. This is why we opt for an alternative method.

Hot Rod Mounts

Rocky Mounts Hot Rod Thru-Axel Bike Mount is our favorite! Designed to bolt to pretty much any surface like any other fork mount, but what makes the Hot Rod unique is that it’s modular. There are just so many fork width standards and axel sizes anymore. Road bikes, Boost and even Fat Bikes are all different.

The Hot Rod comes with three sleeves that can be swapped out, plus you can order a fourth for your fat bike.

Rocky Mounts Hot Rod with Adapter Sleeves

How To Attach the Mounts?

There are lots of reviews online that show people using washers and bolts and all crazy jinky methods to attach the mounts to the rails that come on pretty much every modern pickup. We tried several methods and it can become super frustrating trying to hold the bolt still while tightening the nut. Not to mention trying to find washers that are big enough and strong enough to handle the tension. We also had the washer/bolt method fail while carrying a heavy townie bike.

But there is a better way, oh yes, there is a better way.

T-Slot Nuts
T-Slot Nuts are designed to slide right into your existing bed rails, and thread into any standard 3/8″-16 bolt (very common). A pack of five (you only need four) will run you about $15 on Amazon.

Unfortunately, the Rock Mount Hot Rod Mounts need to altered slightly to accommodate the necessary 3/8″ bolt, so you’ll need a drill and a drill bit. You’ll also need some washers and some lock-washers to prevent the bolts from backing off over time.
Mounting Rocky Mounts Hot Rod bike racks

After re-drilling the holes, assemble the entire mount together, but loosely, so you can slide the mount into the bed rails.
Rocky Mounts Hot Rod Assembled
Keep the silver Adapter Sleeves out of the mount for now. You can’t tighten the bolts with them in place. Also, be careful not to overtighten the bolts. It doesn’t take much pressure to crush the bed rail and the lock-washers will keep constant tension on the bolt/nut to keep it from working its way loose anyway.
Rocky Mounts Hot Rod in a truck bed rail
Now, just reinstall the Adapter Sleeve for your specific bike and snug down the two grub-screws to keep it in place. Again, be careful not to make them too tight. If you go for glory you’ll end up stripping the heads on the grub screws.
Rocky Mounts Hot Rod attached to truck bed rail with bike
Incidentially, you can mount most bikes sideways if you attach the Hot Rods near the back of the truck, behind the wheel wells. This makes it easier to get the bike in and out, but you are limited to only carrying one bike. We mount ours facing forward.
mountain bikes in the back of a pickup
Learn more about the Rocky Mounts Hot Rod and find additional thru-adapters.

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