Here's a quick guide to where to put your bike when you hit the open road to head to new trails.
Put your bikes in your ute tray
This is a popular choice as it's easy and cheap. You might just throw a blanket over the tray and call it good. But a few brands make products to make it a little smoother.
We have used the Yakima CrashPad a number of times. It fits well and has a strong construction. A blanket or picnic rug can slide around, and take your bike with it. The CrashPad stays put but it doesn't hold the bikes down. You need to be careful of bumpy roads, and even dirty bikes. It's easy to scrape off all the paint from your fork legs and down tube if you put bikes in without wiping those areas down. The grit acts like sandpaper.
You could also look at a try based secure mount. We tested the Yakima BikerBar, which you can add mounts to for the right front axle. It is super solid, but works best in a long tray, unless you're happy to have the tailgate down. We'd love to play with something like the BeddyJo, another option from Yakima.
Thule make the GateMate PRO which can carry a whopping 7 bikes! It is really solidly padded, and has a flap to access your tray handle, and let your reverse camera still do its job. It sells for $299.
The Dakine Pick Up Pad comes in two sizes, and the model we tested fitted an Isuzu Dmax perfectly, while also letting us fit upto 5 bikes!
With any tail gate pad, it is worth wiping your frame and fork down if you want to reduce the chances of rub marks from trail grime. It's called shuttle rash by many, and in the long run it does get pretty bad.
- These options are usually really cheap. Maybe even free if you use an old blanket
- There's a reason why this is a common choice for shuttling
- Packed well, you can fit 4 or 5 bikes in the back of a ute - and upto 7!
- If it's got a fork and downtube - it fits.
- Security on long trips isn't so good unless you have a big lock
- Is the bike attached or can it bounce out?
- The risk of damage is significant