Choosing the best bike rack is not an easy decision, there are many factors which need to be considered and what is best for one person is not necessarily the same for another.
That’s why it’s so important to think about your needs first, this will help you to narrow down the choices. If you’ve decided that a hitch mounted rack is the right thing for you then you should take a look at this review of the Kuat Beta, it’s got a lot of potentials.
Kuat started a business in 2007, its aim is to produce new and innovative ways to carry your bike safely and easily. The fact that it is doing well despite competing with names like Thule and Yakima, is a testimony to the quality of its products.
It should be noted that at this time they are focused solely on bike racks, you’ll need to check out this article if you want the best bike stand.
The great thing about the Beta and other hitch mounted racks is that you keep your roof free, for a cargo box or even your kayak!
Key Features Of The Kuat Beta
- Hanging style Hitch mounted bike rack
- Carries 2 Bikes
- Can carry up to 80lbs
- Weighs 14lbs – made from aluminum
- Choice of Hitch receivers – 1.25” or 2”
- Pearl Color designed to accentuate virtually any vehicle
There are a number of advantages to the Kuat Beta:
The Kuat Beta has a central pole rising up from the hitch and arms that extend out. These arms provide the support for 2 bikes and have anti-sway cradles to ensure your bike is safe when I transit. However, a real benefit of this rack is the fact that the arms can be folded down against the central pole, allowing you to leave the rack on without worrying about reversing into something! You can even release the hitch clamp in a matter of moments and slide the folded up rack into your boot; it’s surprisingly small.
The Kuat Beta is made from powder coated aluminum. This ensures it is both strong and light. Aluminum doesn’t rust, helping to ensure this bike rack will last for many years. In addition, the lightness of this rack makes it much easier to fit your hitch than most other hitch-mounted racks.
Release one pin at the bottom of the central pole and the whole rack will tilt forward at a 45° angle. This can be done with the bikes on and provides easy access to your trunk, an important consideration if you’re heading out on vacation.
Ease Of Use
Most hitch bike racks are exceptionally easy to put on your vehicle and the Kuat Beta is no different. Simply slide the bar into your receiver, if necessary there is an adapter to change the hitch between 1.25” and 2”.
But, the really neat feature on the Beta is the dial at the end of the hitch bar. This is a hand tightening cam, simply turn the knob and a wedge inside the hitch receiver expands, ensuring a perfect fit every time. This effectively removes any wobble in the rack. Once this is locked in position, you can remove the pins at the top of the central bar and pull the arms out. Slide the pins back in to lock the arms in position.
That’s it, you’re ready to lift your bikes on and into the anti-sway cradles. Pull the rubber straps tight over your frame and you’re good to go. The whole process should take no more than 30 seconds with perhaps the same amount of time again to load your bike. What’s really great about this bike rack is that no tools are needed to lock it into position or load your bikes. Simplicity really is the name of the game.
Don’t forget that the cradles can be moved both along and around the bar, helping you to secure to any style of frame easily.
It’s possible to purchase a hitch lock system that will ensure this rack stays fixed to your vehicle no matter where you are. However, it is disappointing to note that there is no lock or locking cable included.
It’s worth noting that, despite the anti-sway cradles, if you’re carrying big bikes on your rack they will still move a little. This includes fat bikes and other ones that have larger wheels and tires. The rack will accommodate their weight but you’ll need to consider adding extra straps to ensure the bikes don’t move and damage themselves or your vehicle.
Full Suspension Bike Issues
This is a weakness of the Beta and most other hitch style racks. The rigidity of the arms makes it difficult to fit a bike with full suspension as the frame won’t fit onto the arms properly. It’s possible to get cradles that correct the angle of the bike but these don’t work for all full-suspension bikes. It’s worth checking this out before you purchase.
In fact, the same could be said if you’re planning to carry a tandem or any type of step-through bike, you’ll need a frame adaptor to make this possible.
The Kuat Beta is a solid bike rack that is worth looking at twice. Although it’s not the cheapest option on the market it is cheaper than many of the top end offerings, yet offers the same experience. It is a well-designed rack, with several nice touches that help it to stand out from the competition. However, it is important to note the lack of built-in security, you’re going to need to purchase a separate hitch lock and locking cable.
Of course, if you’re looking to carry more than 2 bikes this is not the option for you. But, if you only have 2 and are looking for a rack that is easy to install, doesn’t wobble, and should last you for years, then the Beta is a strong contender.