<p style=”text-align: left;”>I use tie downs to secure my bike. The ones I use have a “soft hook” like these http://www.mooseracing.com/products/?productId=166634</p>
I like that style because I can avoid placing a metal hook over my carbon handlebars. Even scratching aluminum handlebars is not a good idea.
A friend of mine has one of those Dakine pads (similar to the Yakima one you posted) and it actually has tiedowns built in to hook over the frame for added protection. Not sure if the Yakima version has the tiedowns (I don’t see them in the photo) but it seems like a nice touch to keep the bikes from shifting or bouncing around.
It’s hard to beat this solution for simplicity and ease of use.
As my local trails are only about a 15 minute drive, I lay the bike down in the truck bed without a tie down. I try to drive carefully in a way that would prevent the bike from moving around too much, but I can’t imagine shifting around would hurt a bike at all, considering the terrain we go rolling over while riding. If the bike was being thrown around that’s different, but I’ve been doing it with a cheap Trek hardtail for almost two years now with no issues. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a hitch mounted bike rack. My truck, Chevy Silverado, has clips at the corners of the box so you could just use rope to secure the bike if you’re going long distance.
I’m a little squeamish about throwing the front wheel over the tailgate. It looks like it could scratch the frame or mess with your cables and brake hoses. I’m also not sure about the wear on the headset.
My nephew has one on his truck (not sure which brand), and we travel with it often. Surprisingly, there is no issue with scratching or bike movement because there is a thick pad there and your bike fits very snug on it. The only real drawback I’ve noticed is you can’t leave your bike unattended for any length of time unless you craft a DIY type of locking system to prevent theft. Otherwise, I find my bike sits on the truck pad more securely than it does on my Thule bigmouth roofrack tray.
I just lay the bike down and throw one bungee around it to keep it from sliding back and forth. But I have a hard locking tonneau cover on my truck so it is not going anywhere. I can put two bikes and all my gear in the back and close and lock the tailgate and tonneau.
I had the SMALL/MED Raceface tailgate pad for my Toyota Tacoma and it was perfect, no complaints. Has velcro straps that connect to the downtube for really bumpy forest road shuttles, but the pad fits the bikes so securely, there’s no need to strap them down on paved roads. I recently purchased the new Ford Superduty, and got the LARGE Raceface pad. It’s amazing. There’s a velcro flap to access your tailgate latch and I cut that off so my rear facing camera still works perfectly. I haven’t tried yet, but I could easily carry 8 bikes with the LARGE pad. I did have six in the Tacoma on several occasions. It also has padded dividers so the bikes don’t fall into each other in sharp turns.
Typically I’m just taking 1 bike, so I just lay it down under the tonneau cover of my pickup truck. If I’m hauling more bikes I built a rack out of spare lumber that fits in the bed of the truck that the tire sits in and securely seats 3 bikes, so they don’t bounce around. Tailgate cover is another good option but I don’t like leaving it on when it’s not in use.
Tailgate covers are best IMO. However, if your tailgate has that spoiler type lip to it, don’t even bother. The bike won’t rest fully under the headtube and will just be unstable. Single bike transport, just running a strap around your seat-tube part of the frame to one set of D-ring/hooks on the corners of your bed and then turn your front wheel 90 degrees and the other strap wrap around the upper head tube and secure to the other lower d-rings/hooks has always worked well for me. Even going off-road, desert, mountain, NEVER and issue when secured this way.
Multiple bikes is when you need to consider making a rack with either PVC or lumber. Because my Titan Pro-4X has the cleat system all over the bed, I just run the cleats where I need them and I have secured 5 mountain bikes while on an 8+ hour trip (one-way). I’ve also seen people who purchase skewers and fabricate and/or weld them to the front bed rail, sometimes the side to secure the bikes.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and I think that depending on your particular truck, could be a fun project to experiment and see what works best for you.