When it comes to transporting mountain bikes in pickup trucks, many people choose to place the bikes with their front wheels hanging over the tailgate. The just-released Latchit Rack takes this idea and runs with it, reportedly allowing for both more secure and more efficient transit.

Created by auto body technician Sean Himle, the Latchit is designed to address several problems associated with the use of existing tailgates.

First of all, thanks to recent innovations such as tailgates that incorporate fold-down steps, the things are getting wider than ever – in some cases, they're too wide for bike-carrying. Additionally, it can be difficult to keep the bikes from jostling around while in transit, plus their frames and/or fork stanchions may rub against the tailgate, and there's no simple way of locking the bikes up when leaving the truck unattended.

That's where the 15-lb (7-kg) aluminum Latchit Rack comes in.

To utilize it, users start by folding down their pickup's tailgate. They then attach the Latchit's top end to the truck bed's tailgate pins, fold the rack down, then attach its bottom end to the latches within the tailgate. Up to six bikes can next be loaded onto it, with two straps per bike securing the frame to the padded top bar, and the front wheel to the bottom bar.

When users are subsequently making pit stops on their way to the trailhead, they can pull a steel cable out of one end of the top bar, run it through all of the bikes' frames, then lock it into a receptacle on the other end. The rack itself can reportedly also be locked to the truck, using the vehicle's existing electronic tailgate-locking system.

Gloves, shoes and other gear are also accounted for, as they can be stowed in cargo pockets built into the rack's cover. And as a side benefit, because the bikes are being carried farther back than they would be if they were just hooked over the tailgate, there's more room in the bed for other cargo.

If the Latchit Rack sounds like your cup of tea, you can now preorder one through the company website (linked below), where you can also check for compatible truck models.

Buyers can choose between a large six-bike model for full-sized pick-ups, and a smaller five-bike version for mid-sized trucks – both are priced at US$400, and should ship in mid-May. If you want to see the thing for yourself before then, you can check it out when it debuts at the Sea Otter Classic cycling festival, taking place in Monterey, California from April 11th to 14th.

The rack is demonstrated by Himle, in the following video.

Source: Latchit Rack

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