Yakima Tailgate Pad Bike Rack | GateKeeper for Truck Bed

Published by Bike Scientist on

Yakima was founded in 1973 as a small machine shop in Yakima, Washington. It was later bought by Steve Cole and Don Banducci in 1979 and moved to California.  Since then, Yakima has worked intending to put the gear on the cars so the consumer can travel in comfort. It has produced the best car rack products making them the best roof rack seller in only five years.

Yakima’s journey took it from a small machine shop to sponsoring the cycling teams in the Olympics. Today it continues to produce cargo and off-road products in the sister companies, Yakima USA and Yakima Australia. The company has factories in Taiwan and mainland China and caters to people interested in biking, camping, hiking, and water sports. Yakima has premium as well as budget-friendly products with good value for money.

The Yakima tailgate pad is a bed bike rack that rests perfectly on the tailgate and saves the truck and bikes from any scratches or harm to the paint. This pad bike rack does not require additional equipment such as a hitch or rails.

Yakima tailgate pad
Yakima Gatekeeper tailgate pad

Yakima Gatekeeper Tailgate Pad Summary

Best Six Bike Rack for Truck Bed

  • Maximum Bikes: 6
  • Rack weight: 11 (lb)
  • Hitchless
  • Price: $199
  • Material: Nylon


  • Can accommodate most bikes such as mountain, road, and fat bikes, e-bikes, kids’ and women’s bikes
  • Takes only a few minutes to install and remove from the tailgate
  • Tool-free installation
  • Super light in weight
  • Can hold up to 6 bikes
  • Car hitch not required
  • HindSight flap allows back camera clearance
  • Cradles have a space of 5 inches between them
  • The pad is durable and about 1/4 inch thick
  • Waterproof and easy-to-clean exterior
  • Can also tow a trailer while carrying bikes in Gatekeeper
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Does not scratch the tailgate


  • No way to lock the Gatekeeper or bikes
  • Some bikes wobble around
  • Some customers mentioned that velcro wears out in a few months

The Gatekeeper comes in two sizes:

  • Medium (accommodates five bikes)
  • Large (accommodates six bikes)

You can choose the size based on the length of your tailgate and the number of bikes you have. Gatekeeper can accommodate almost all types of bikes held in position with the help of bike cradles. This article contains everything you need to know about the Yakima tailgate pad bike rack. 

Yakima Gatekeeper Models

Gatekeeper (2018-2021)YAKIMA, Gatekeeper (New model)
Yakima tailgate pad oldYakima tailgate pad new
Sub-TypeTailgate PadTailgate Pad
Maximum Bikes66
Rack lock NoNo
Bike lock NoNo
L 53.25 x W 5.25 x H 17.25 in
L 53.00 x W 5.00 x H 17.00 in
CradleVelcroG hook
ColorBlackBlack, Cascade blue
Bike rack weight8.15 lbs.8.00 lbs.
Load CapacityNo limitNo limit 
Hitch requiredNoNo
Customer Happiness89%92%
PriceAround $160Around $200
Rack Score (Overall)8.158.3

Features of Yakima tailgate pad | Gatekeeper 

Two models of this tailgate pad are available. Both models come in two sizes i.e., medium and large. The medium tailgate pad accommodates a maximum of five bikes while the large tailgate pad accommodates a maximum of six bikes. The 2018 model uses Velcro for closing the cradles around the down tube of bikes. The tailgate pad has an outer covering made of nylon which makes it durable. The inner lining comes in contact with the tailgate and is made of soft felt that protects the paint on the truck. The new model comes in black and cascade blue color with a reflective silver logo whereas the older one is only available in black and has a red logo. 

Yakima Gatekeeper (2018) in large size
Yakima Gatekeeper (new model) cascade blue in large size

The Gatekeeper is a good option for people who want to carry multiple bikes at once. It is super easy to install and remove from the tailgate. It can be fastened to the tailgate thanks to the integrated strap management system. These straps keep it tightly secured to the tailgate.

This tailgate pad can be used to carry a range of bikes such as mountain bikes, road bikes, fat bikes, beach cruisers, e-bikes, and women’s bikes. It can also carry kids’ bikes such as BMX. The bikes are first put on the truck bed and then fixed on the Gatekeeper cradles by fastening in the Velcro straps. The front wheels of bikes hang outside the truck.

Now you might be thinking that the hanging wheels would halt the rear view of the backup camera. But the Yakima tailgate pad has HindSight flaps that can be tucked out for the back camera to do its job.

The major flaw in the design is the Velcro. Most users point out that the Velcro wears out in a few months and there is no way to replace it making the pad bike rack useless. One way to tackle this problem is to make use of the two-year warranty. Or you can buy new Velcro from a store and attach it to the cradle straps. The good thing is that Yakima has come up with a new model which has G-hooks instead of Velcro. 

Velcro strap on the cradle of Gatekeeper 2018 model

G-hook on the cradle of Gatekeeper’s new model

Also, the straps are poorly-stitched so you might have to handle them carefully. Moreover, the 2018-2021 model comes with a warning that it may contain phthalates which are cancerous compounds. Since the product contains many useful features we give the older model an R score of 8 and an R score of 9 for the new model. 

How satisfied are the existing customers of the Yakima tailgate rack? 

The tailgate pad has a rating of 4.6 with 1,057 global ratings and is Amazon’s choice. Most customers are happy with the easy tool-free installation of this product. They are satisfied with the fact that it hardly takes 5 minutes to install the rack and mount the bikes. But many users have complained about the low-quality Velcro straps. For customer satisfaction, the tailgate pad gets an R score of 8.

Is the Yakima tailgate pad at a good price?

The 2018 model of this truck rack is priced at around $160 whereas the new model with added G-hooks costs around $200. Considering the Gatekeeper accommodates 5-6 bikes, it is a highly cost-effective choice for bike racks. The price per bike is quite economical. Also, the product comes with a two-year warranty, so you will not have to worry about its repair cost for at least two years. This gives it an R score of 9 out of 10. 

Aesthetics of Yakima Gatekeeper tailgate pad

The Yakima tailgate pad is lightweight and comes in two colors, black, and cascade blue. You can choose according to the color of your truck. The good thing about this pad bike rack is that it doesn’t have a gigantic look like other bike racks. It just rests on the tailgate and the bikes are placed on it. Unlike trunk or hitch bike racks, it does not add more length to the vehicle. The nylon exterior gives it a refined look which earns it an R score of 9. 

Is Yakima a good brand for bike racks?

Yakima designs a variety of useful products to carry maximum gear securely. It aims to design innovative products that are user-friendly and long-lasting. Yakima takes customer satisfaction in high regard. This can be seen from the fact that it upgraded the older version of the tailgate pad when customers complained about the weak Velcro. The new model is now available with an improved cradle closing system having G-hooks. The brand value of Yakima gets an R score of 8. 

Capacity and Compatibility

The Yakima tailgate pad has a maximum capacity of six bikes. It is available in two sizes. It is only compatible with vehicles that have a truck bed and tailgate. Depending on the size of the tailgate, you can either purchase a medium or large tailgate pad. This decision should be based on the length of the tailgate of your truck. It fits most trucks including,

  • Silverado 1500
  • Dodge Ram truck
  • 2016 Ram 2500
  • 2019 Ram Rebel
  • 2020 Ram 2500
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator
  • 2015 Ford F-150
  • 2017 Ford F-150
  • 2019 Ford Ranger
  • Titan XD
  • Nissan Frontier Short bed
  • Honda Ridgeline

The above-mentioned trucks are only a few compatible vehicles. All vehicles have a unique tailgate so before purchasing measure the length of your tailgate and buy the medium or large size accordingly. For example, the large size is the best suited for the 2016 Ram 2500 and 2017 Ford F-150. While for others it can be too big and might run out of the length of the tailgate. You can get the medium size for these cars. For the 2021 Jeep Gladiator medium size is best suited but it blocks the back view camera. Moreover, since the Gatekeeper can fit into the 2016 Ram 2500, it means it can fit trucks with a convex tailgate.

The Yakima tailgate pad bike rack is compatible with most bikes including mountain bikes, road bikes, e-bikes, beach cruisers, carbon frame bikes, women’s bikes, and kids’ bikes. It has been used for various bikes with wheel sizes ranging from 20 to 29 inches. Although for an e-bike you might have to remove the battery from the down tube before fastening it to the limited-length Velcro strap. The pad bike rack is also compatible with tandem bikes but you must consider the length of the truck bed. Since the Gatekeeper is compatible with most trucks and bikes, it gets an R score of 9 out of 10.

Are the rack and bike safe? 

As far as the security of bikes is concerned, the pad bike rack contains cradles with either Velcro or G-hooks. These cradles hold the bikes from the down tube and keep them still in a position. There are no locks available for locking the bikes. You can either add a separate lock to the cable lock loop or lock the bikes onto the truck bed. The back wheels of bikes are held in the grooves of the truck bed. In short, there is no reliable built-in system for the security of the tailgate pad bike rack or the bikes. Thus we give it an R score of 6.

Rack Score 

The process of searching through hundreds of products to find one perfect fit to purchase can be grinding. If you are going through it too for buying a bike rack, we have got you covered. We do intensive research on the different types of bike racks and present them to you in a way that can help you out in making the right decision. Thus we have created a Rack score (R score) rating system for various factors such as the features, aesthetics, value of money, capacity, and security of a bike rack.

Conclusion for Yakima Gatekeeper

The bottom line is if your vehicle has a truck bed and you intend to carry multiple bikes on it, the tailgate rack is the most convenient option. It ranks in the top three of our best truck bed bike racks. The soft felt inner lining protects the vehicle while driving on rough roads and ensures a smooth journey. You may have to compromise on the Velcro straps and find a way to lock the bikes. So, if you are planning a road trip with friends or family, you can consider buying the Yakima tailgate pad bike rack. 

FAQ for Yakima Tailgate Pad

For whom is the bike rack best suited?

This bike rack is best suited for people who have to carry multiple bikes. It can be used during family tours, a trip with cycling friends, or tour companies. The good thing about this bike rack is that you can also tow additional gear because the bikes on the tailgate do not hinder the use of a hitch trailer.

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Bike Scientist

S Chaudhry is the founder and the first writer for BikesRacks. He covers almost all the bike reviews after doing a lot of secondary and primary (hands on) research on the products. Apart from that he is the author of a number of how to do articles as well on the website. He is an avid road bike cyclists who is dealing in a lot of areas related to biking. Currently he has gained experience fixing bikes to retailing accessories related to them as well. His eventual goal is to build an authority site on cycling and also become a profession bike fitter.