Küat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack first look

Major updates to the revolutionary NV rack

Gear
Küat NV 2.0 on a Toyota 4Runner.

Küat NV 2.0 on a Toyota 4Runner.

We hung out with the Küat crew at Northstar Resort, CA and they proudly showed us all their improvements on the new Küat NV 2.0. The original NV was quite an attractive rack with a bike repair stand but they’ve learned a lot since then. At first glance, it looks similar to the outgoing model but a deeper look reveals some significant improvements.

First and foremost, the pivot system has been significantly beefed up and improved. It is the heart of the system as it is tilted up, down, with bike and without bike all the time. It is the main load-bearing moving part of the system and so play is amplified over time which results in a wobbly rack. This new system is smooth and wiggle free. Moving it up and down reveals very smooth pivots with the tightest tolerances. A new release mechanism has been designed and it can be accessed under the rack by hand or with the foot. Or it can be accessed above the rails as well giving the user an easy option when bikes are not present. The lever is not quite at the outermost point of the rack for easiest access like Thule or Rockymounts but having different access points improves usability a lot.

Küat NV 2.0 folded up with lever at an easy to reach position.

Küat NV 2.0 folded up with lever at an easy to reach position.

Next up are the rails. They are now big and wide, ready to accommodate fat tires, 29 Plus tires or road tires. The tire cradles even tilt up and down to solve load-time interference between saddles and wide handlebars by lowering or raising one of the bikes.

Küat NV 2.0 cradle lowest position.

Küat NV 2.0 cradle lowest position.

The finish on the rack has been improved too to give it a durable luster that is worthy of most automobile finishes. It will stand the test of time too as the rack is subjected to sun, rain, salt and road debris. Interestingly enough, the look of a rack is not often mentioned but it is a significant part of the experience as well, specially if the rack stays on the vehicle 100% of the time. A rack that’s easy on the eyes and complements the vehicle’s looks is always a plus.

Küat NV 2.0 Trail Doc.

Küat NV 2.0 Trail Doc.

Finally, the Trail Doc stand has been updated as well. It is sleeker and sturdier at the same time. There is also an optional tripod that receives the Trail Doc head to provide a stable bike stand in the garage or in the parking lot.

Features
  • Adjustable front tire cradle system
  • Re-designed pivot with optional foot assist
  • Fully integrated cable locks
  • Trail Doc included
  • Front tire ratchet design with intuitive release
  • Rear tire strap features co-molded strap to protect wheels
  • No-tool install with hand tight hitch cam system
  • Premium gloss metallic powder with water transferred logos
  • Hitch lock included
  • $629.00 msrp

For more information visit kuatracks.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • BlackBean says:

    Kuat racks are the best looking racks out there. Also better quality and feel than Yakima and Thule. Thule and Yakima racks are bolted together and looks like the whole rack is an after thought.

    I had an original Sherpa which I sold because it could not accommodate + wheels/tires. The only weakness with that rack was the mechanism on the arms that gripped the front wheel. It had a spring inside which gets wet and corroded. I had to treat mine with WD-40 every few months to ensure it kept on working. My rack was only on my car when I went out for rides on the weekend, otherwise garage kept. And it still was an issue.

    The arms on the new Kuat Transfer works like the Thule racks (at least one thing they got right) which is a better design IMO. However it is so loose in the hitch that the rack sways sideways and up and down at the slightest touch. That’s with the hitch bolt tightened all the way. It does not change the sway AT ALL. I like the concept of the new rack, but the sway is something ridiculous. I preferred the old shim built into the Sherpa to the new bolt method.

  • ctinflag says:

    Still think the Northshore rack is the superior rack. Simple, bomber, doesnt stick out far behind car and carries bikes up high. Love it!

  • Perfectbike says:

    It’s still 1UP all the way. I’ve owned a Sherpa and have friends with an NV. The stability, construction and US production of the 1UP crushes everything else. I’m not convinced this US-designed and offshore production paradigm is a good one. Too fiddly, complicated, fragile plastic bits, etc.

  • Cholla says:

    As @Blackbeans mentioned it above, the sway issue is a real thing with Kuat. I have it installed on 2 different hitches and that play is still there, no mater how tight the split nut goes. The weight of the rack is he other thing that really bothers me, I was expecting an Aluminum profiled construction for considerable weight saving. Adding extra width to already wide rack might gain extra mass, I’ve no issue with the older NV and my Fatty tires. I really was hoping for more compact and light design in the next generation racks.

    • Mike Smith says:

      Not sure where you guys get that the racks sway. I have had multiple Kuat racks over the years and never had an issue with sway. I have had the original Sherpa model, the NV with the 2 bike Add-On, and just purchased the new NV 2.0, and none of them sway compared to the Thule T2 or the Yakima Hold-Up that I tried.

      Also if I am not mistaken, the rack is entirely aluminum. If you want a lightweight rack, look a the Sherpa rack. I think the overall weight is right around 30 lbs.

  • mopartodd says:

    Like Cholla, I really hoped Kuat would have trimmed the weight and come up with a way to eliminate the sway. I’ll look at other racks when the time comes.

  • Mike says:

    Not even one picture with a bike in the rack.

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