Are you a mountain biking extraordinaire and own a truck? If so, then this review is for you. Ditch the hitched bike rack for a new and easy way to transport your bikes by using the Yakima Gatekeeper tailgate bike pad. I mean, after all, the bed of your truck was designed to haul things, so why not capitalize on this space.
Yakima Gatekeeper Tailgate Bike Pad Review
The mountain biking scene has continued to grow in popularity as both a recreation and sport.
And while transporting a mountain bike has historically been done by a bike rack, either mounted on the roof or by a trailer hitch, innovators have created a new way to transport your bike to the trailhead…insert Tailgate pads.
Tailgate bike pads have been around, but have recently started to gain in popularity. The ability to toss your bike in the bed of truck by simply hanging the front tire over the tailgate makes loading and unloading easy and simple, giving you more time to hit the trails.
It also eliminates elongating your vehicle even more when using a hitched bike rack…which takes up less space in the parking lot!
The Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Bike Pad comes in 2 different sizes; medium and large. The medium is designed for smaller to medium-sized trucks while the large is for the full-size pickup trucks. Also available here on Amazon:
Yakima GateKeeper Medium
- Weight: 6.00 lbs.
- Dimensions: L 53.00 in x W 5.00 in x H 17.00 in
- 5 bike capacity and fits mid-size & some older full-size trucks with tailgates 53″ to 61″ wide
- Limited Two Year Warranty
Yakima GateKeeper Large
- Weight: 8.00 lbs.
- Dimensions: L 62.00 in x W 7.00 in x H 20.00 in
- 6 bike capacity and fits most full-size trucks with tailgates 62″ or wider
- Limited Two Year Warranty
The Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate bike pad has a durable nylon exterior protecting your bike from your truck’s tailgate. The inside of the pad is a soft felt backing keeping your truck’s paint protected.
The tailgate pad has bike cradles that add extra stability and protection while transporting your bikes.
The Yakima GateKeeper has also incorporates a tuck-away cover, allowing to be opened up for full view of you back-up camera…a nice subtle touch to ensuring use of your vehicles technological features.
Yakima Gatekeeper Review (Cont.)
First, I need to say that I was on a tight time crunch when I made this purchase.
My wife and I put an order in for the 2021 Trek Roscoe 7, which I wrote a review about here, and I needed a way to transport them back from Denver as we live in Colorado Springs without just throwing them in the bed of my truck.
I conducted research on Dakine and Race Face, but many of their products were sold out. I also wanted something simplistic looking.
I called around to all the local shops and low and behold one store in town had a tailgate pad in stock…the Yakima Gatekeeper Tailgate bike pad.
I quickly began searching out all the reviews online and while it was 50/50 I decided to take the plunge as it was one of few options I had available locally.
For reference, I have a 2017 Toyota Tundra, and went with the large size of this pad. The first thing that stood out was the simplistic nature of the Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate bike pad.
The black nylon exterior feels very durable and looks weather resistant. Ironically, we just had a rare snow storm roll through Colorado Springs last week where this pad was put to the test on the weather resistance and it held up nicely.
The inside felt was nice and soft and I knew I would not have to worry about anything scratching the pain on my Blue Pearl (yes that’s the name of my truck).
If it does get wet though, you will need to remove the tailgate pad from your truck and allow to dry. This should not be a huge concern as the exterior of the pad is quite durable and should prevent any rain or melting snow to be absorbed by the felt under lining.
The Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Bike Pad is very user friendly and easy to install. Simply lay the pad over your tailgate, open your tailgate slightly, run the three straps through, close the tailgate, and attach the straps into the buckles and you are done.
The three straps to secure the pad to the tailgate are relatively wide and do not move around.
You can tell Yakima did not try and reinvent the concept of this bike carrying option.
The handle opening on the Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate bike pad is gigantic…I’m still a little torn on whether this is a good or bad thing.
The large opening is great to ensure your backup camera is not obstructed, but at the same time it does leave a portion of truck bed exposed.
The ability to hold up to 6 bikes was a great selling feature for me. While I only have 4 bikes of my own (mine, wifes, son, and daughters), we can easily add 2 more bikes for anyone wishing to tag along on a mountain bike excursion with us.
The molded downtube crates help keep the bikes separated and secured with the integrated securing strap.
One area that Yakima went cheap on with this tailgate bike pad is the elastic webbing that secures the excess webbing straps that secure the pad to the tailgate.
On day one of installing the Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate bike pad, these elastic keepers already started having issues with the stitching fraying and I can already tell that these will not last long. This is a little disappointing considering this pad is on the higher end of the market at $169.
Yakima did not make any show-stopping features that make this a must-buy tailgate pad. There are other cheaper options that I feel offer the same level of protection, but Yakima is a well-known brand that has been a staple in the biking industry.
They have been making quality products for years and their name alone led me to believe the Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate bike pad will hold up to the rigors I am going to throw at it and provide a safe transport option as the family and I make our way to the trailheads.
While I have only had this pad for a couple of months, I will update this review as time goes on with anything that may change my opinion, but for now I am happy with the purchase.