How to Transport An E-bike

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The budget-friendly way to transport an e-bike is to fit it inside the car. This requires some unassembling and re-assembling that can be cumbersome. However, it protects it from dirt and water during travel. When it doesn’t fit inside the car, an e-bike, or multiple ebikes, can be transported on a hitch rack as its extra weight rarely suits roof-mounted bike racks.

Tip: Use a hitch rack

A hitch rack helps you transport 2 ebikes, or more ebikes, with fat tires up to 5 inches. Follow the included instructions to attach it to the back of your car.

An e-bike weighs anywhere between 30 and 66lbs. It weighs twice as much as a regular bike. This is why adding this extra weight on the roof of the car is sometimes not recommended, as per the vehicle manufacturer’s maximum load recommendations.

This means e-bikers need to consider alternative transportation methods. Since an e-bike is often an expensive purchase, it’s best to protect it as much as possible during transportation. The best way to protect it is to simply transport the bike inside the car. Here are all the main transportation methods with their pros and cons.

how to transport an ebike

How to Transport An E-bike – 3 Best Methods

1. Using Hitch mount racks

Hitch mounted bike racks are one of the most common methods of transporting an e-bike. Attached to an existing hitch, these racks can carry anywhere between 1 and 6 bikes, depending on their sizes.

One of the main benefits of using this transportation method is the space-saving design inside of the car. The trunk remains useful and the backseat can be used for other passengers when you carry the e-bikes outside of the car on a rack.

Pros

  • Best for easy lifting
  • Ideal for saving space inside the car
  • Quick-mount design

Cons

  • Some trunks can’t be opened when a hitch mount rack is installed

2. Trunk racks

Bike racks mounted on the trunk of a sedan, hatchback, or SUV are known as trunk racks. These are practical and typically easy to install. Most importantly, trunk racks are made for vehicles without a hitch, which makes them the only reasonable method to transport an e-bike without lifting it on the roof of the car.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Practical design
  • Not made for heavy lifting

Cons

  • Not best anti-theft transportation method

3. Transporting the e-bike inside the car

Type of vehicle

You also need to consider the type of vehicle you plan to transport the e-bike with. The larger the vehicle the easier the task becomes.

Van

Vans are some of the largest vehicles for easy e-bike transportation. Some vans allow bikers to easily get their e-bikes loaded and unloaded without the risk of scratching the frame.

Pickup

Pickup trucks come with dedicated bike racks that can fit e-bikes. While the bike sits outside of the car, it’s generally easy to load and unload from a pick-up.

SUV

SUVs can carry e-bikes on hitch racks. These vehicles are too tall when it comes to lifting a heavy e-bike above the head. While they come with higher rooftop load capacity, SUVs are mainly useful for hitch or trunk-mounted racks.

Hatchbacks and sedans

Smaller cars are generally used with hitch and trunk-mounted racks when it comes to transporting bikes. Some of these cars can also fit an e-bike inside. This is ideal for those traveling by one bike only. Bikers who want to transport 2 or more e-bikes at a time typically need a dedicated bike rack.

The inside of the car is the safest place to transport an e-bike in

This is where the car is sheltered from bad weather and potential damages such as scratches from small rocks on the road. This is also the place where the bike is the safest as the inside of the car is the almost theft-proof method of transportation compared to carrying the bike on a rack.

Remove the battery

The battery of the e-bike needs to be removed regardless of the transportation method. Since you want to avoid damaging the battery it’s best to place it inside the car on a soft surface where it’s safe from bumps and other potential damages.

Remove one or both wheels

You might need to remove at least one of the wheels to fit the e-bike inside a car. Removing the wheels is easy but it still leaves out a few potentially exposed parts of the bike to sort. Pedals can be troublesome when both wheels are removed as they get in the way of the frame of the bike laying flat on the bottom of the trunk.

Remove the rear derailleur

The frame of the bike pushing against the rear derailleur is a common problem when transporting the bike inside of the car with its wheels removed. You can eliminate potential damages to the rear derailleur by removing it from the bike. 

Remove the pedals

At least one of the pedals needs to be removed if you want to limit all potential damages during transportation. You can pack all the right tools or a simple bike multi-tool to take the pedals off and put them back on once your reach your destination.

What are the pros and cons of transporting your ebike inside the vehicle?

Pros

  • Best weather protection
  • No investment necessary
  • Relative anti-theft safety

Cons

  • You need to fold down the backseats 

Cost of transporting an e-bike

Transporting an e-bike requires investment for a good bike rack. Since e-bikes are heavier and bulkier, they need stronger bike racks. 

Trunk-mounted racks are the cheapest

Trunk-mounted racks cost up to 5 times less than a hitch-mounted bike rack. These are the ideal budget option for all e-bike fans that can’t fit their electric bikes inside of the car. They can be removed easily for storage when not in use. Keep in mind the weight capacity is usually lower than a hitch mounted rack, at around 70lbs. So, do a check of your ebike’s weight and the trunk-mounted rack’s weight capacity.

Hitch mounted racks are the best but not the cheapest

Hitch mounted racks are sturdier but more expensive. Their biggest benefit is that a good hitch mounted rack can carry up to 4 bikes!

They provide the best platform for transporting the bike without having to remove the wheels, pedals, or the rear derailleur. While the most expensive option, the hitch-mounted rack is also the most comfortable. It doesn’t require too much heavy lifting and it can be one of the best methods to transport the bike for cyclists with back problems.

Transporting the bike inside of the car is free

There’s no investment needed if your car can already fit an e-bike. However, this limits the amount of inner storage as well as the use of the backseats for extra passengers.

While free, transporting the bike inside of the car requires many alternations which take time. 

You need to remove the wheels of the bike and even the rear derailleur to avoid damages. You also need to cover the bike’s frame with a blanket or other protective materials to avoid scratches during the transport phase.

Final words

Transporting an e-bike is considerably more difficult than transporting a regular non-electric bike. Since it’s bulkier and heavier, an e-bike can rarely be lifted comfortably on a roof rack by a single person. This means cyclists need to explore alternatives.

Large cars can sometimes fit an e-bike. However, cyclists still need to remove the wheels to easily place the bike inside of the car, mainly through the trunk.

A dedicated bike rack is a more comfortable e-bike transportation solution. While trunk-mounted racks are easy to install, they aren’t the most professional method of carrying e-bikes.

A hitch-mounted rack offers more load capacity and a lower load tray which means no heavy lifting is needed. This is also the best way of transporting an e-bike without taking it apart, except its battery which still needs to be removed.

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