Transporting bicycles is a necessity. Every day people take their bikes to the trailhead, shuttling, or to the bike shop for service or pick up. There are some ways to transport your bike that are better than others. With dozens of different rack setups out there, it is hard to know which is best and what keeps your bike in the best condition. We have made this guide for how to transport your bike.
Different types of vehicle mount bike racks
The different types of vehicle mounts help determine which rack you can purchase. Most bike racks that are best for your bike, attach to the vehicle via a 2-inch trailer hitch. These racks slot into the tow hitch and come in many bike-holding configurations. Some have the bike upright, holding onto the fork crowns or front wheel. Others leave the bikes as they would stand on the ground keeping the bike level requiring less lifting. Last, there are skewer racks that put two prongs through the front triangle to rest on the toptube.
Racks that attach to the trunk of a car via clips are another option. They only carry bikes on the prong system, regularly using bungee cords to hold the frame on the rack. Then there is the tailgate pad. Riders use the tailgate pads to rest the bike on its downtube on a truck’s tailgate, hanging the front wheel off the back. A popular method for carrying lots of bikes and shuttling.
Best Carrying Methods
As mentioned above, there are multiple configurations of bike racks. The best racks for your bike and your RideWrap are racks that attach with contact on the tires. Horizontal racks that connect with the tires prevent damage to the frame or your protection kit. Tires are a wear product that is replaced multiple times a season and aren’t damaged by racks. Racks that clamp on the frame or fork crowns can gouge your protection kit or frame. This is not a warranty. Other racks that hold the front tire putting the bike in a vertical position also work, as long as they don’t contact the fork crowns. If you are using a pickup truck, it’s best if you use a rack to stand the bikes up in the bed. But, if you are using a tailgate pad, installing a shuttle armor will ensure your downtube has extra protection.
Racks to Avoid
Some things to avoid when shopping for a bike rack are features that will repeatedly rub on the frame or fork. The minor bumps in roads can shake the bike in the rack, scuffing, tearing, or bunching your frame protection. On extra hot summer days, the adhesive of your frame protection can become softened and more malleable creating an opportunity for bike racks to shift the film or bunch it up. When this happens it can result in the need for a replacement piece. This is not a warranty or product defect, the film has done its job and has protected your bike.
How to protect your bike from racks
If you already own a rack that can be damaging to your frame, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure your protection film is not damaged unnecessarily or the frame isn’t scuffed. The best way to prevent these damages is to use a microfiber cloth underneath the contact points on the frame. If you put a cloth around the prongs that hold a fork or under the arch that contacts your frame it will minimize harsh rub on the bike.
Wrap Before You Drive
All signs point to the same finish. More than likely, if you have a bike you should have it covered with at least some frame protection. Protecting your bike is crucial when transporting it. You never know what can be kicked up off the road, what bumps you will hit, and the damage small vibrations can cause. No matter what type of bike rack you use, you should ensure your bike is protected.