- A hitch mounted platform rack capable of supporting two 60 lb bicycles (perfect for ebikes) with optional Add On for up to four bikes total if you get the 2" vs. 1.25" model
- Secures firmly without tools thanks to a hand-tightening cam system, comes with a locking pin and two integrated cable locks to keep the rack and bikes safe and secure
- Bikes are spaced 12" apart in opposite directions to reduce collision, the rack itself can tilt up when not in use for shorter profile or down to make opening a hatchback or trunks easier, new foot pedal mechanism activates tilt hands free
- Swing arm design may interfere with fenders, the rack positions bikes fairly high and may block a rear view or tail lights somewhat, it's pricey at ~$630 and weighs a lot at ~54 lbs
The original Kuat NV has been around since 2010 earning a reputation of strength, reliability and great looks. The NV 2.0 is an updated version, completely replacing the NV, offering several visual enhancements and a foot-activated pivot lever that’s easier to use if your hands are full holding a bike. So far, this feature has been really useful for me because I ride a lot of mountain bikes that don’t have kickstands and sometimes there isn’t a tree or post to lean it up against. I’ve had bad experiences leaning my bike against my car in the past… only to have it slide down and scratch the paint. For electric bike riders, the Küat NV2 is especially appealing because it delivers a platform style tray that is much easier to load than a roof rack. It’s capable of handling 120 lbs total (60 lbs per bike) and can even be extended to carry four bikes with an optional Add On. Note that this only works for the 2″ hitch version of the NV 2 and not the 1.25″ version I got… but that you can still use the 1.25″ version with 2″ hitches thanks to a little adapter.
This is an expensive bike rack, but it’s one of the best I’ve tested. Note that I purchased an NV in 2015 for personal use and that Küat gifted me the updated NV 2.0 because they know I do videos and reviews like this. I want to acknowledge this conflict of interest but reiterate that I paid a lot of money the first time around because I saw the value. The included locking pin is great and I love that the swing arms also lock for security. I travel frequently and often load multiple electric bikes for testing and the additional security cannot be overstated. Still, I use a cable and U-lock with my bikes when mounted to this rack overnight… it just feels safer. I love that when the rack is unloaded you can swing it up to reduce the overall length of the car and I’ve put some reflective tape on mine just to improve the visual footprint considering the darker paint job. The older Küat NV was lighter but didn’t look as professional and the stickers were surface applied vs. painted on with the NV 2.0.
Regardless of the bike or bicycles you and your friends or family have, this Kuat rack is designed to be modular and work with everything from 20″ to 29″ and narrow road bike tires all the way up to 4.8″ fat bike tires. Note however that you’ll need adapters to fit them. The standard setup works with 26″ to 29″ or 700c and up to 3″ wide. I wasn’t thrilled with how heavy the rack was when it arrived (it really surprised me actually) but that translates to strength and the higher load capacity. For those who ride bicycles with fenders, this rack may prove difficult as the swing arm latches down on top of your front tire which means it would collide with a fender. Consider removing the fender entirely or clamping the arm further out front… just be careful as it might not be as secure or theft-proof as if it were mounted properly. This is the kind of bicycle rack that you buy once and keep forever. There’s a reason they didn’t have to change very much going from the original (that lasted six years) to this updated model. It’s one of my favorite racks and one of the the few that can be expanded to accommodate four 60 lb bicycles! This is the go-to rack for people with electric bikes and the one I see many shop owners using for their personal automobiles (many shops ferry bikes to and from customers for sales and maintenance). It can be worth the price and will last but yes, it doesn’t come cheap. Note that Kuat offers a lifetime warranty on their products for the original owner.
- On its own, the Küat NV 2.0 is capable of carrying two bikes with each one weighing up to 60 lbs (27.2 kg) which is more than most electric bikes weigh, it feels solid and sturdy which is important given how much ebikes can cost
- If you opt for the heavy duty 2″ receiver model the rack system can accommodate four bikes with the optional Küat NV 2.0 Add On, I got the 1.25″ receiver version (which has an adapter to work with 2″) but just isn’t as sturdy… it was the only option for my smaller hitch receiver for my Toyota Prius
- The rack comes with a locking hitch pin and locking platforms so you can feel secure leaving your bikes on your car parked outside when traveling
- The platform style is often easier to load than hanging style racks and supports step-thru and full suspension models that don’t have an open triangle area in the frame or a straight top tube
- You can fold the rack up towards the back of your car to reduce length when bikes aren’t mounted to it, this is handy considering how heavy and large the rack is… I tend to leave it on my car permanently
- Extremely versatile design works stock with 20″ to 29″ diameter wheels from wheelbases up to 48″ but there’s a wheel adapter for those who have 20″ and 24″ tires and a phat bike kit for people with fat bike (works with up to 4.8″ wide tires)
- Comes with a bike stand adapter so you can hang your bike and perform maintenance easily on the go, the clamp is also compatible with Kuat’s Tri Doc stand which could be setup in your garage or other work space (it’s included free with the NV 2.0!)
- Special “hand tight” cam system lets you install the rack on your car without using tools, the locking pin secures it against theft
- Gloss metallic powder coat for a clean professional look and protection against weather and road debris, co-molded tire strap secures the rear wheel by pulling down on the rim but is designed to not scratch or damage the wheel
- Each bike tray has a neat integrated cable lock that stows inside! just pull it out then loop around your frame and lock… I love that they the same key as the hitch pin but am not sure about the Add On racks, whether you can get a matching locking core set for those
- In order to secure each bike, there’s a swing arm that pushes down on the tire and sometimes comes into contact with the fork or seat stays, unfortunately it doesn’t work well if your bike has fenders
- The rack itself is very heavy at ~54 lbs, I struggled to maneuver the large box it came in and found myself taking extra time and care moving the rack around so it wouldn’t hurt my back or get dinged up and scratched when setting it down on concrete
- Extremely expensive at ~$630, there are other racks out there… you can even get ~$150 racks on Amazon but they don’t have locks, don’t pivot and aren’t rated for the same weight, they also don’t come with neat accessories like the integrated bike stand
- Because the rack is a bit higher (possibly for ground clearance?) it positions the bike higher and might reduce car efficiency and miles per gallon as well as obstructing your rear view and blocking tail lights, I found that my right tail light was partially blocked when the rack was folded up, consider adding reflective tape for safety
- If one or both of your bikes have longer bars (as my mountain bike did) they may collide with the seat of the second bike and you might need to drop the seat down lower temporarily to make it all fit, the trays are about twelve inches apart center to center