Model: Kuat Alpha Rack
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.