Mounting Ski Bikes to Tray-style Bike Racks

**Tngnt Ski Bikes is not responsible for any harm or accident that may come from securing your bike to your vehicle, including the method discussed in this article.

Many people may want to use a tray-style bike rack to get their ski bike to and from the ski mountain. After trying a couple of approaches on my own bike rack, I feel I have discovered a system that accomplishes the following:

• Fast and easy loading/unloading of bikes
• Bikes stay stable and safe even when traveling long distances
• Safety features that protect against failure points
• No damage to frame or ski

I use an older Thule T2 bike rack in my configuration, but the following methodology should work for most tray-style bike racks.

Protecting the Ski

I started by removing the plastic cages meant to secure bike wheels. This includes the basket-style cage up front and the tie-down style cage in the back. This leaves you with a flat surface to lash your ski bike to. I used home pipe insulation (which can be purchased at just about any hardware store), but you can use any type of closed-cell foam, such as packaging remnants or a pool noodle. This foam protects the ski from the metal rack. I used duct tape to attach the foam to my vehicle because I use my bike rack for bicycles too, and wanted my modifications to be easily removable.

Buy foam here!

Lashing the Ski

Lashing the ski securely and easily to the rack has been a long time problem of mine. I have previously used ratcheting straps and bungee cords to accomplish this, but they both had problems with the sharp ski edge tearing them or losing their elasticity after a couple of uses. This year I found the perfect solution and purchased “G3 Tension Straps”. These straps are made for lashing skis, come in a variety of colors and lengths, and are extremely durable. I would recommend purchasing them in the 650mm length to be more accommodating of powder skis!

Buy G3 Tension Straps Here!

To lash the ski, simply use the strap as described in the packaging. The straps are slightly stretchy, allowing the user to lash the ski tightly to the bike rack. I would strongly recommend lashing the skis quite tightly to prevent the ski from moving around on the rack. For a bit of extra security, I ran my tension strap through my SRS adapter on the front of my ski to minimize slippage. Pay close attention to the bottom side of the ski to make sure the strap is contacting the bike rack with a sufficient amount of space left, just in case the strap moves a little while you are driving.

Securing the Frame

Though this step will differ slightly depending on the type of bike rack you own, the concept should be the same. Most tray-style bike racks have an articulating arm that either attaches to the front wheel of a bicycle or the frame of a bicycle to add additional support. When attaching this articulating arm to the frame of your ski bike, you need to pay attention to a couple of things to ensure your frame is stable and undamaged. First, you need to protect your frame from the contact point of the arm. I used my leash that was included with my ski bike for this, and it seems to do a decent job. Second, you need to make sure the arm is in a position such that it secures the bike completely. What I mean by this is that you must find a point on the frame where the arm rests that it cannot move in either direction. Referring to the picture below, if you were to attach the arm to any of the “X” points, the arm could move, resulting in the bike becoming unstable on the bike rack. The point labeled with the green “O” is perfect because it does not allow the arm to move in either direction, given it is tight enough in place.

If All Else Fails…

I would recommend using the integrated lock on your bike rack if it has one. Run this through a part of the frame where it cannot become unattached. I run mine through the small triangle just below the seat. In the event that the articulating arm becomes unattached from the frame, the lock should keep the ski bike from falling onto the ground.


You might have noticed that I have a large, tray-style bike rack attached to a sedan. I have a 1.25-inch hitch on my Subaru legacy which does not accommodate larger 2-inch hitches. So how did I get this rack on my car? I first used a hitch adapter with a 4” rise. The rise is important as it creates much-needed ground clearance. You can get this item for around $30 on amazon:

Buy the hitch adapter here!

One other problem I was having was the hitch was not stable, meaning it would bounce around when going over bumps or around sharp turns. I used a tightening plate to solve this, which can be purchased from Amazon for around $13.


Buy the tension bracket here!

Thanks for reading this blog post! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or concerns!

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