Kuat Alpha Hitch Bike Rack Review

Pro Reviews

Model: Kuat Alpha Rack
MSRP: $329
Weight: 15 lbs.
Manufacturer Link: http://www.kuatinnovations.com/

Kuat is is a refreshing name from a company with new ideas about bike racks. Notice that in the specs above, I mentioned that the rack weight is 15 pounds. Why should we care what a bike rack weighs? Well sit back and listen to my story.

I’ve always thought that tray racks are the best. These are the hitch racks where the wheels sit on two trays. This allows the user to just place the bike into the tray, drop a clamp that presses on to the tires and voila, all done. Sportworks (now part of Thule) revolutionized this segment with their racks derived from public transit models.

So I have a couple of these tray racks. They are big, heavy and sturdy. I like them and I put on the family minivan for the bike excursions. Well, I found a couple of serious problems. The first is it’s always in the way. It’s in the way when it’s down, it’s in the way when it’s up. The kids trip over it and I can’t access my stuff in the back of the van easily. So when we’re not using it, we take it off the van. Herein lies the second problem. It’s kind of heavy at 35 pounds! My wife can’t muscle it around so I’m always called in to take it off. Take it off, put it on. After a while I decided to look into those ‘other’ type of racks.

The good news is a company called Kuat has recognized my problem and tried to address it with a quality bike rack. This is a ‘hanging’ type of rack where the bike hangs on the rack by its top tube. Normally, these racks are good for recreational riders and the normal weaknesses are:

  • it cannot accomodate full suspension bikes or kids’ bikes with a small front triangle
  • bikes get scratched and hit each other
  • bikes are not secure and move around a lot
  • mounting the bike takes more time

But, I saw the video below and noticed it was 15 lbs and I decided to give it a try.

Ok, the review already
So I’ve been using the rack for about a month and I am extremely pleased. This rack solves most of the problems I stated above. It’s not as quick-mounting or as accomodating as a tray rack but it is easier to live with on a day to day basis.

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  • Sonny says:

    Hi, have you tried loading 3 full suspension bikes on the rack? How was the fit? I’m sure 3 road bikes will fit but what is the max on FS MTBs? Thanks.

  • Francois says:

    >>have you tried loading 3 full suspension bikes on the rack

    It’s a tight fit and it’s going to be hit and miss depending on the bikes. With three FS bikes, there is not a lot of wiggle room and sometimes, the handlebars are going to hit the saddle etc.

  • Sonny says:

    Ok, thanks for the info. See ya at Interbike!

  • Akathisia says:

    Nice review Francois,

    I emailed the company too, but I’m wondering if you know what the carrying capacity (lbs) of the Alpha is? Besides the MTBs we carry old Schwinns too.

  • hogmogger says:

    if you already have a alpha rack with 2in receiver can you replace just the reciever part with a 1.25 receiver.

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