A truck bed or roof rack is often considered the safest way to transport a bicycle, but you can use soft tie-downs effectively to keep your bike equally secure.
A good set of bungee cords is also a great option when it comes to keeping a bike in place while you travel. Plus, these types of tie-downs are versatile. How do you tie down a bicycle in a truck bed?
The best way to tie down a bicycle in a truck bed is using soft straps or bungee cords. Ratchet straps are great for some jobs, but a bike requires a more delicate touch since too much tension can bend the thin metal parts. Likewise, too little pressure and the bicycle will slide around or fly out of the bed.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
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Best Way To Strap Down A Bike In The Back Of A Truck
Arguably the best way to strap down a bike in a truck bed is with a moving blanket wrapped around it.
The additional insulation will prevent damage, including accidental scratches from flying road debris.
Plus, you can easily wrap bungee cords around a moving blanket to attach to the sides of your truck bed.
When wrapped, you can lay the bike on its side for a lower profile. However, some riders prefer to skip the extra steps and secure an uncovered bicycle.
If you aren’t using a moving blanket as a buffer, I do not recommend transporting the bike on its side.
Simple Way To Secure Bikes In A Truck Bed
The simplest way to secure bikes in a truck bed is with bungee cords. All the fancy racks and drill-mounted carriers in the world aren’t as fast and straightforward ad the bungee technique.
Follow the steps below to tie down your bike in your truck bed:
- Stand your bike up and center it with the front wheel against the cab.
- Attach long bungee cords to both front corners of your truck and wrap them around your handlebars. To ensure they are secure, I suggest picking a bungees style with a head that can clip.
- Repeat the process midway down the bed but attach the bungees to the sides of the frame this time. Most trucks have square or rectangular holes in the top of the truck bed body for connecting things. You can use these for bungees, but I recommend either getting coated metal topped bungees or using Tool-Dip if you want to prevent accidental scratches.
- (Alternative Option) Instead of using two cords to secure the middle and back of the bike, get one extra-long bungee and go around the saddle instead. Make a loop around the post and connect both ends in the same spots you would for the two-bungee method listed above.
Some riders recommend only using the front two tie-downs.
However, as Velosurance points out, “When using straps, beware that securing only the front of the bike might not be sufficient as the rear can get bouncy.”
How To Tie Down Mountain Bike In Truck
Mountain bikes can easily be tied down using the methods listed above.
Although this bicycle style is uniquely helpful in ascending and descending inclined roads, the differences in the gears and frame are not sufficient to warrant special treatment in this case.
Ultimately, a bike is a bike when securing it in place in a truck bed.
From tie-downs to racks and tailgate pads, there are plenty of great ways to secure your mountain bike in the back of a truck.
I recommend checking out this great video about the top five ways to transport your mountain bike.
Bicycle Tie Down Straps
The best option for bicycle tie-down straps, especially in the back of a truck, is bungee cords. You will see ads for ‘bike’ straps with ratchets on them, but they aren’t the correct type.
The ratchet straps are for motorcycles and more heavy-duty bikes like some e-bike models. The thicker frames won’t bend, but most bicycles will.
On the other hand, a bungee cord has a little bit of stretch so the bike can wiggle slightly with the truck’s motion while staying in place.
That tiny bit of flexibility and lesser pressure is key to securing a bicycle in a pickup. Plus, bungee straps come with hooked ends that are great for attaching to the sides of a truck bed.
I recommend Super Smithee Securing Straps from Amazon. The scratch-resistant, steel snap latches on these bungee cords help you secure as many bikes as you need to fit in your truck.
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Mountain Bike Tie Down Straps
Mountain bike tie-down straps are the same as other bicycles. Although many mountain bike frames, like BMX frames, are ultra-sturdy, they can still bend under the pressure of ratchet clamps.
Use soft straps or bungee cords to keep your bike safely attached to your truck bed.
Grab a set of Strapright Carabiner Bungee Cords from Amazon to tie your mountain bike down in the back of your pickup truck.
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Helpful Tips To Know About How To Tie Down A Bicycle In A Truck Bed
Once your bicycle is secure, it may move slightly as you drive, but it should never be loose.
It’s essential to give your bike security without so much pressure that it gets damaged, so the ties must be tight yet slightly flexible.
Here are more tips to know about how to tie down a bicycle in a truck bed.
- Some people prefer to transport their bikes upside down. Setting the bike on its handlebars and saddle instead of its wheels is not the easiest method, and it generally requires more tie-downs and more steps such as securing the wheels, so they don’t spin as you drive.
- Tying your bike down is fine on its own if you’re only moving it a short distance. However, if you plan to travel long distances with a bicycle in the back of a truck, I recommend stopping periodically to check that it’s still secure.
- You can secure different types of bicycles the same way with tie-downs. Since almost all bicycles’ general shapes and layout are similar, the method is relatively universal. Even balance bikes with no pedals and trikes with their two back wheels use tie-downs the same way. The only notable exception is the penny farthing. The oversize front wheel and the general height of these bicycles make them a bad candidate for upright transport in a truck bed, and they often won’t fit laying on their sides. Instead, I recommend using a rack or other secure method because of the high profile of this old-fashioned style.
Securing a bicycle to a truck bed is more straightforward than it seems. You don’t need fancy gear to keep your bike tied down, and the ratchet-style tie-downs favored for motorcycles will put too much pressure on an ordinary bicycle.
The best option for securing a bike in the back of your truck with tie-downs is a set of high-quality bungee cords.
Bungees will hook into the sides of the bed quickly and securely, and the stretchy rubber inside will hold your bike in place, allowing minimal movement without bending the frame or other parts.