Keen to use your ute for shuttles? Or just need to haul bikes for you and your mates?
Words: Mike Blewitt | Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Throwing your bike flat into the tray of a ute is sketchy at best, but with the simple addition of some padding over the tail gate, you can transport plenty of bikes securely. The Dakine Pickup Pad differs to some others we have used, in that it has straps to secure your bike to the pad. The pad is obviously secured to the tailgate, so all in all it's more solid than just having bikes slung over the tailgate.
Fitting is easy, with three straps to hold the Dakine Pickup Pad onto your tailgate. It's lined with some very soft material so the chance of damage and scratching to the paint of your car is minimal. Dakine do two models, one is a standard size which we tested, and it can take 5 bikes. There's also a larger one for 7 bikes. If you own a Ford 350 or larger you might need that one. But most vehicles on our roads will be fine with the regular size, which is 137cm wide. There is also a longer model for really tall trays, to offer further protection lower down the tailgate.
With a flap on the back to access the latch cut out of the tough polyester material, we tested the camo colour which is a lighter grade material than the plain black models.
Loading up 5 bikes was a cinch. Just decide which way you are turning the bars and keep it matched up. The straps were long enough to work with the range of bikes we had onboard, and they didn't budge. This has got to be the cheapest way to transport this many bikes securely in the tray of a ute.
On that though, there is no option for added security for your bikes on a pitstop to the trail or stopping for a feed or drink on the way home. It might be worth getting a long lock to thread through frames, or something more substantial depending where you're visiting – and where you're stopping.
The straps on the Dakine Pickup Pad stop the bikes from moving around. We've had a bike shift off a pad before and do some pretty horrific damage to the frame and vehicle. That can't happen with this design. But if your bike isn't clean, there's every chance that trail grime will act like sandpaper on your downtube, fork crown and fork legs. This is exacerbated with gritty and sandy bikes and long trips. The work around? Wipe them down or even use some foam padding against the touch points. It might look naff, but it saves the heartache of your frame or fork worn down to the raw materials.
As it is, this is a cinch to use for short trips, and shuttling, especially for the price and ease of use and fitting. But we prefer a different system for long trips on the road, where there is an ability to securely lock your bikes, and take away the risk of damage.
Great construction and price
Easy to use
No locking option
Bikes can still get damaged