Aftermarket bicycle carriers from companies like Yakima and Thule are hugely popular with cyclists. Unless you have a large car or want to remove one or both wheels from your bike every time you take it somewhere, owning a bike rack is necessity. While aftermarket solutions work well, each style has drawbacks. It seems that Ford agrees, as a recent patent filing discovered by Reilly Brennan and FPO shows the automaker is at least investigating a build-in rack system.

There are three typical styles of bike racks, roof mounted, hitch mounted, and suction cup or vacuum mounted. Ford's patent is most like the rear hitch mounted systems. Like the tailgate step that's available on the F-150, the retractable bike rack is fully integrated into the vehicle. The patent images show a Mustang, which is great as traditional bike racks don't always work well with sports cars.

Sloping roofs make top-mounted racks awkward and uneven while the low body, rear suspension and exhaust make tow hitches difficult to mount properly. The big benefit is never having to mount or remove the rails while not in use. Just slide the pieces back into the body. Roof-mounted racks can cause issues with height restrictions. Any non-permanent system also invites thieves, as this author can thoroughly attest to.

If this makes it to production, we hope it receives less unnecessary flak from the competition than the tailgate step. It seems like a simple and elegant solution that's sure to appeal to cyclists everywhere.

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