Exploring new trails to ride your bicycle away from urban areas could help you get some much-needed cardio and adrenaline rush. For instance, mountain biking provides opportunities for off-road riding in most areas. The benefits of biking off-trail have made it a favorite form of exercise and sporting activity. No less than 40 million in the USA participate in mountain biking annually. Not to mention connecting with nature and its beauty. But it’s crucial to transport your bike safely.
The good news is, from roof racks to tray bike carriers, there are various options for bike mounting systems to ensure that your vehicle and bicycle stay safe and protected on your adventures.
Here are seven tips for carrying your bike on a UTE:
A Roof Rack
If you don’t mind lifting bikes on your vehicle, a roof mounting system is ideal for serious outdoor enthusiasts. This method is versatile and can be cost-effective. You can get roof racks from $200-$500. Keep in mind that the cost could get higher when adding multiple cradles.
Many UTE vehicles feature factory-fitted rails, crossbars, or mounting points. If your UTE doesn’t have this feature, you can build a whole rack system from scratch using rack manufacturer specifications.
The only disadvantage of this method is the effort you put into lifting and reaching the rooftop to secure bikes. In addition, wind resistance and wind noise are noticeable while driving.
Trunk Bike Carrier
If your UTE lacks a hitch, you can only use a trunk bike carrier. The main advantage of this is that they’re easy to install, lightweight, and affordable. You only have to fasten the carrier to your vehicle with hooks and nylon straps. This makes trunk racks one of the best options for a bike carrier for ute.
One disadvantage of trunk racks is that you won’t be able to open the back of your vehicle with the bike attached. In addition, the lightweight trunk racks aren’t ideal for holding heavier bikes or loading multiple bikes. With a trunk rack, two or three bikes are the maximum. Lastly, the bikes might shift or sway while driving if not fastened properly.
The first positive of using a hitch Rack is that you don’t have to get your bike up and down from the rooftop. It can be tiring to load up your bike after just completing hours of adventure.
Hitch racks are more expensive than rooftop racks–$150 to over $500. They are, however, an excellent option for frequent users and those who have to carry more than three bikes. Hitch racks can haul two to five bikes.
Hitch racks are simple to install and incredibly sturdy than the trunk-mounted rack. They are great for frequent users as you can easily remove them if not in use. Many hitch racks also come with locks to secure them to a hitch with a cable lock for more security.
Truck Bed Bike Racks
Trucks make great bike haulers. You only have to toss your bike in the bed of your truck. The method is not the best as the bike might shift around and get damaged. But by using a truck bed rack, you can easily, securely, and safely transport bikes in the bed of your truck.
Truck bed racks offer more protection than hitch racks in many ways. The truck bed wall offers protection, and the sturdy standing surface enhances overall security. It reduces the likelihood of bike damage during transport, deters theft, and minimizes the chances of cosmetic damage by road dirt.
A pocket-friendly way to secure your bikes to your vehicle is to use straps or bungee cords. When using this option, it’s best to avoid ratchet-type straps as they make it tricky to find the maximum tension to hold down your bike. It’s essential to secure the front and back of the bike, as the rear can get bouncy. Although this is a reliable and popular method for transporting bikes, it’s always best to opt for a professional car rack.
Spare Tire Mount Racks
The spare tire mount is similar to a trunk mount. It’s easy to mount, cost-friendly, and an excellent choice for any sport-utility or off-road vehicle with a spare tire mounted on its rear. These racks typically rest on the tire–you screw it in securely to the tire mount.
Spare tire mounts are easy to install, their cost is moderate, and they are not affixed to your vehicle permanently. But they’re not without a few disadvantages.
Transporting Your Bike Inside Your Car
Even if you don’t have a truck, you can still transport your
in your small vehicle or SUV. It’s usually the best option to protect your bike from road debris and thieves. Spacious SUVs or cars with large trunks or adjustable back seats often have enough bike space. You might, however, have to remove your bike’s front wheel. You may also have to remove both wheels and even the saddle in a smaller space.
Note that the method isn’t convenient for transporting more than one bicycle. It also won’t work if you need your back seat or trunk for luggage. Besides, grease stains could hurt the resale value of your vehicle. You can prevent this by placing a sheet or tarp in your car to protect the upholstery.
While it’s easy to fold up your rear seat and throw your bike in your trunk, there are better ways to transport your bike. However, before choosing a bike rack for your UTE, it is essential to consider the frequency of use, vehicle compatibility, and the number of bikes you want to transport.