Simple Way to Secure Bikes in a Truck Bed

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About: I like to design and build random things.

I like to go trail riding with my son. Living in suburbia, we needed a way to easily transport bikes in my truck. I looked at various racks and hitches sold online as well as a few DIY projects on Instructables. The purchased versions were costly ($100+) while the DIY versions were somewhat clunky and would need to be stored when not in use. This technique uses the existing hooks in my truck (Toyota Tacoma) and two ratchet straps. The multi-purpose straps can be purchased at any big box store or online for around $10.

The steps shown below include single and dual bike options. Watch this video if something isn't clear.

Supplies:

2018 Toyota Tacoma (6 foot bed)

Bike 1: 27.5" Wheel

Bike 2: 29" Wheel

Ratchet Straps (x2): 1" Wide x 8' Long

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Step 1: Remove the Seat

Although not necessary, I felt like the bikes fit better without the seats. This takes about 10 seconds with the quick release mechanism.

Step 2: Place Bike in Truck

Flip bike upside down and place the back tire against the front of the truck bed. Note that with the seat removed, the back tire will contact the floor and the front side of the bed.

Step 3: Strap Back

I hooked one end of the strap to the driver's side D-Ring and then looped in around the seat tube of the bike. I connected the other hook of the strap and ratcheted it firmly against the front wall of the bed.

Step 4: Strap Front

Using the rear D-Rings, strap the front of the bikes as shown. I used the excess strap to secure the front tires to prevent free-wheeling while on the highway.

Step 5: All Secure

Single and Dual bike options shown.

Step 6: ​Shut Tailgate

Note that this truck has a six-foot bed which left me with about 16" of bed before the tailgate. Although close, I think this technique should work on a five-foot bed as well.

Step 7: Ready for Transport

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for viewing!

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    17 Discussions

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    nickfank

    2 months ago

    We do something similar, with the addition of a piece of scrap wood between the rear wheels because our bikes are different enough that the axles don't quite line up. If you run into that problem, give wood piece a chance.

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    Dr Will 304

    2 months ago

    Excellent technique. You may want to put something down in the truck bed to prevent the seatpost from scratching the bed. something that won't slide around. We are going to use foam mats that we have lying around. The kind you put under exercise equipment. You could also use a welcome mat or something like that. Piece of old carpet remnant maybe.

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    mtairymdDr Will 304

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks. Good point. I haven't tried this technique on my 26" bike yet. These bikes (27.5" and 29") have a few inches of space between the seat post and bed. Instead of adding the mat, you might want to just leave the seat on the bike.

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    Dr Will 304mtairymd

    Reply 2 months ago

    I assumed that the post touched the bed. I am 6'6" and rode a larger frame bike.

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    tytower

    2 months ago

    I think it could be improved by tying a clove hitch on the bike frame instead of just passing over it .

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    mtairymdtytower

    Reply 2 months ago

    I'm sure I'm missing something but how do you make a clove hitch work for the two bike scenerio?

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    tytowermtairymd

    Reply 2 months ago

    Whatever you feed it over you clove hitch it aas you go . try it . I strap all my stuff that way .They can't move up top then.

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    69tr6r

    2 months ago

    I've always used a moving blanket over the tailgate. Hang the bikes over the closed tailgate. Just a suggestion. Nice Instructable though.

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    mtairymd69tr6r

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks. I saw the blanket option online but didn't feel comfortable that it wouldn't slide around. I'm all for easy so I will try it once the truck gets a few scratches on it :).

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    fbooth

    2 months ago on Step 1

    I like the concept of tie down, except for the seat removal. I have quick-release clamps on the side edge of the truck-bed. I remove the bicycle front wheel with quick-release then place the fork drop outs into a clamp quick-release. It's faster than the cargo strap technique.

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    mtairymdfbooth

    Reply 2 months ago

    I agree with you on the seat removal. Please post of picture of your setup.

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    NightFire

    2 months ago

    I think this is a great solution for a lot of people. A lot of trucks now have much shorter beds than they used to and this makes it easier and safer to transport them for most people.

    The straps are convenient and my preference for tie downs, but rope would be just as effective, not everyone has straps.

    On some bikes, when they are placed upside down without a seat, the seat tube will touch before the tire, those bikes should keep the seat installed.

    I would think side to side movement would be more important to control than front to back motion with this setup and would use the straps to control for that.

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    mtairymdNightFire

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks. It seems like most Tacomas are 4 door and have the 5 foot bed. I'm curious if the strap technique would work for those.

    I prefer straps as well since I never learned to tie a nice knot :(.

    These bikes are 27.5" and 29" so that gave us a few inches of space between the bed and seat post. I bet my 26" bike would be close to touching. I agree - leave the seat on for that case.

    I'm happy with how secure the bikes are in the truck. I've taken them over some nice bumps without any movement.

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    BakerBoy7

    2 months ago

    Love this idea. I have struggled to fit my bike in my truck and this seems so simple. thankyou

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    mtairymdBakerBoy7

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks. I actually searched for a while and almost bought an expensive truck mount. I'm very happy how this hold the bikes.