Kuat came into being in 2008 and is the brainchild of a small group of dedicated cyclists, dreamers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The vision was to create a better way of transporting bikes than is currently available.
The result is a range of products that are extremely high-quality but affordable.
If you’re looking for value for money then you can’t beat the Kuat NV 2.0, it has just about everything you need with no discernable downsides!
But, if you’re a little more cautious with your funds you may wish to consider the Sherpa 2.0. This is also hitch mounted with a tray and shares some of the NV characteristics, but it is much cheaper and definitely the right option if you’re on a budget.
If hitch mounted is not your thing then you’re going to need to take a look at the Highline, its trunk mounted, affordable and surprisingly practical.
Kuat are working hard to ensure they are able to offer a wide range of bike racks, there is certain to be something that will fit your needs. However, at present, they have several hitch offerings, but only one trunk mount and one suitable for truck beds.
While this may sound limiting it’s important to note that the Kuat bike racks are well designed and robust. They are also working hard to improve their range and remain true to their central objective, creating Kuat bike racks that do the job better than any other product currently available.
The 5 Best Kuat Bike Racks:
Let’s not waste any time, here are the top 5 Kuat bike racks on offer:
The Kuat NV 2.0 is the latest offering from Kuat bike racks, designed for your hitch to support 2 bikes in complete safety.
At first glance, it looks like something out of a science fiction movie but that’s because it is a futuristic option.
The Kuat NV 2.0 rack is approximately 50 pounds in weight and measures 30” x 23” x 11”. You can choose between black metallic or grey metallic, depending on your preference.
You’ll be pleased to discover it is very easy to install, simply slide it into your hitch and then turn the integrated knob to ensure the hitch is a snug fit. This is innovative and useful as it dramatically reduces wobble in the rack as you drive. You can also lock the hitch mount, to ensure the rack cannot be removed without your consent.
A simple tilt of the lever will lower the rack from upright to horizontal and present you with 2 cradles. Pull the clamp lever up and then lift your bike onto the one closest to your trunk. You’ll then be able to slide the clamping lever back down onto the top of your wheel, effectively locking the bike into position. The other end of the bike is locked using a simple zip strap, simple but very effective.
Once this bike is in, add the second and then make use of the integrated bike cable lock to secure the bikes to the rack, preventing an opportunist theft.
A great new feature on this Kuat bike rack is the tilt lever, simply pull it up and the rack will tit away from your trunk, giving you complete access. The really great thing about this lever is that it can be operated with your foot, that means less bending down you can do it even if your hands are full.
It’s worth noting that the rack sits 3-4 inches away from your boot and the bikes are securely locked into their cradles. The result is it’s virtually impossible to damage your bikes or your vehicle.
The Kuat NV 2.0 will accommodate almost any tire size, even fat tire bikes with tires as wide as 5.8! Thanks to the clamp system it is also comfortable with a wide range of bike frame sizes.
It is worth noting that this is a new version of the NV and is better in every way, the cable locks are longer, the tilt mechanism is easier to operate, and the bikes themselves will be more stable in their cradles.
The rack is heavy because it is made from steel, this is to help it ensures for many years even with the odd bump. The steel has a gloss powder-coat to protect it from the elements and give the entire rack a high-quality finish.
It should be noted that you’ll need a number plate board as your license plate will not be visible, even when the rack is empty and you fold it up.
The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 is another hitch mounted bike rack from Kuat but it is a different style and well worth considering. The first thing to note is that this rack is lighter, it is also designed to carry two bikes and weighs in at 32 pounds, that’s significantly lighter than the NV 2.0.
The Sherpa is smaller in dimensions and price, making it one of the best Kuat bike racks on a budget.
This is another tray style rack and actually uses the same clamping arm as the NV 2.0. However, one of the differences is that the trays actually fold close. This is unusual as many hitch mounted racks have fixed trays; you’ll need to remember to unfold them before you lift your bike up.
However, this can actually work in your favor as the wheel straps actually pivot to accommodate your bike, regardless of what wheelbase it has. This makes it better at carrying different wheelbase bikes.
Mounting this rack is as simple as sliding the bar into your hitch. You can then slide the locking pin into position and secure the hitch rack, ensuring no one can remove it unless they have the key. Again, an adaptor is available if you need, depending on the size of your hitch.
As with the NV, the Sherpa also has a foot operated lever that allows you to tilt the rack away from the vehicle. This is convenient and stylish, especially as it is not a common feature on most bike racks yet. Needless to say, this is much easier to operate than the old Sherpa design that took two hands.
Mounting your bike is, again, really easy. Simply lift the cradle up and place your bike onto the cradles. Strap the rear wheel in place with the ziplock and slide the cradle arm down to secure the front wheel in place. That’s it!
Perhaps one of the biggest let downs is that the Sherpa is only designed to take bikes with tires up to 3” wide, this rules out many of the larger bikes on the market that is becoming so popular. You may also be frustrated by the impressive spacing on the trays, at 14.5” there are few bigger. Unfortunately, there is no lateral adjustment which can make it difficult to get some bikes onto your new rack.
With fat bikes and plus-sized tires becoming increasingly popular this is a serious issue and one you’ll need to consider carefully.
While any type of locking system is good, it is disappointing to see that the Sherpa relies on a separate cable lock and that it hasn’t been integrated into the frame. The frame itself is powder coated to help ensure it lasts for many years.
Overall this is a well-designed rack with just a few areas of improvement, it’s a great option for those on a budget or those who don’t use their rack that much.
The Kuat transfer is yet another hitch mounted option that is worth considering.
It is completely different in look to the NV or the Sherpa but this actually adds to the appeal. The Transfer is designed to take up to 2 bikes without clamping them on their frames. This is important if you’ve spent a small fortune on your bike, you don’t want to arrive at your destination and find all the paint is missing.
It is worth noting there is also a 3 bike option if you need it.
The Transfer is compatible with both 1.25-inch receivers and 2-inch ones, again, an adaptor may be needed to get the right fit. As with the Sherpa, once the hitch has been slid into the receiver you can use a locking pin to secure it, allowing you to safely leave your bike rack on your vehicle.
The rack itself weighs 40 pounds and is designed to carry 2 bikes of 30 pounds each. It is capable of carrying road bikes and those with fat tires providing the wheelbase is no longer than 47”. Wheel sizes of between 20” and 29” are fine but it should be noted that the largest tires it can take are 4.5” and you’ll need the extra Phat bike kit to accommodate this size of tires. This kit is sold separately.
Assembling the rack is surprisingly easy, the instructions are good and all the tools you need are included. The fact that the wrenches are all high quality reflects the quality of the product.
Once you’ve installed the rack you can use the foot pedal to lower the rack to the ground, this is as easy as stepping on it. Not only will this give you access to your trunk, but you’ll also find it is very easy to load the bikes as there is virtually no lifting to do.
Your bike is held in place with a cradle and ratchet arm, this can be a little confusing on your first attempt but is straight forward once you have the hang of it. The wheel sits on the cradle while the arm I extended out of the way. You can then slide the cradle back down until it clamps snugly on the wheel.
Your rear wheel also sits on a cradle but has a simple plastic strap to hold it in place. The result is a bike loaded in a matter of seconds and secure enough to travel anywhere. The sitting of the bikes ensures they don’t hit each other or your vehicle while in transit.
One feature that is important to note is the perfect fit cradles, these swivel to ensure you have the perfect fit for your bike, regardless of what size it is. It is worth noting that the rack locks to your vehicle with a hutch pin but there is no locking mechanism securing your bikes to the rack, you’ll need to purchase a cable lock for this.
You should also be aware that the end caps on the screws can vibrate loose. This doesn’t affect the operation of the rack but it does affect the look a little.
There have also been several comments regarding the lining up of holes when assembling the rack, this doesn’t seem to be an overly common issue but it is something to be aware of. Although the customer service team are friendly and efficient it can still be frustrating.
The Kuat Highline is the only trunk mounted Kuat bike rack on offer but it is the perfect option for anyone looking to carry two bikes without using their hitch or even roof. You should be aware that this is also available in a 3 bike option.
Both the 2-bike and 3-bike option have folding arms to ensure you can fit it in the trunk when not in use.
The rack is surprisingly easy to fit your vehicle, although you will have to verify that it fits your type of vehicle. It weighs just 15 pounds which is light compared to most racks but enough when you’re balancing it in position. You’ll need to offer it up to your boot and slot the hooks on the end of the straps over the edge of your trunk lid.
The trunk will need to be open to do this and it can be a little tricky to balance everything as you get the hooks in position. Once these are done the bottom of the rack, which has integrated hooks, should slot over the edge of the base of your trunk.
You’ll then need to adjust the tightness of the top straps to get the perfect fit for your vehicle.
It’s worth taking your time to get this right as the fit is brilliant when done properly and the rack doesn’t move at all. You should need to adjust these nylon straps unless you’re doing huge amounts of driving, simply checking them every 2000 miles will be fine.
You’re now ready to mount the bikes. Simply lift the first one onto the cradles that extend from the rack. You’ll see two mounts on each bar, these are anti-sway to stop the bikes moving while in transit. But, the really clever feature is not that these move to suit the style of your bike frame, it’s the fact that the arms can actually move, allowing you to accommodate virtually any shape bike.
Of course, with a trunk mounted rack you don’t need to worry about wheel size or tire width, any size will do. The mounts are big enough to handle most bike frames but if you do have one too large you can purchase extra large mounts to handle the issue.
It is worth noting that the rack is not locked to your vehicle, although it would not be easy to remove without damaging it as you would need to cut the nylon straps. Equally, the bikes are not locked to the rack but you could purchase a cable lock to achieve this.
Thanks to the lower security associated with this Kuat bike rack, it’s a good idea to purchase this one if you’re an occasional user and don’t generally stop with your bike on the car.
If you have a truck you still need to consider carrying your bikes safely. After all, just throwing them in the back invites damage and makes it surprisingly easy for someone to take them.
Considering your bike is not the cheapest thing you own it’s a good idea to invest in a truck bike rack that will protect your bike and your truck. The Kuat Dirtbag is just the thing you need! Alongside that this rack is probably the cheapest one you’ll ever buy.
In many ways, it is more of a bike mount than a rack. It measures just 2” x 4” x 3” and you can mount as many as you want in your truck. It is also available in different sizes, to fit the size of the axle on your bike.
Installing does require you to drill a hole in your truck. There are pre-drilled holes in the powder-coated steel base of the Kuat Dirtbag. Use these as a template and drill the holes in your truck, then bolt the Kuat Dirtbag in position.
The bolts for doing this are not supplied and you should test out the best position with your bike before fitting it.
Once it’s bolted in you’ll need to remove the wheel from your bike. The skewer that holds your bike wheel on is used in this mount, simply place the axle over the mount, lining it up with the holes in the raised section.
Then, slide the axle skewer through and bolt it tight, as you would with your wheel. That’s it, your bike is now bolted into the back of your truck and, although there is no security on the rack, it’s unlikely that anyone will try to remove your bike. They would need a spanner to do so.
The great thing about the Kuat Dirtbag is that it can actually be used anywhere. If you don’t want to bolt into your truck then try mounting these to a piece of wood and wedging that into your truck, hydraulic rams can help with this.
Or, you can simply bolt the mount to your garage floor and use it to keep your bike safe when you’re at home. You can even attach it to the crossbars on your vehicle and convert the Dirtbag into a roof bike carrying system.
Combine these factors with the exceptionally attractive price and you have the perfect bike rack for anyone who doesn’t mind a little work to get it into position and can handle taking the front wheel off every time you want to transfer or store your bike.
It may not be the first thing you think of when you mention Kuat bike racks, but it is a viable and affordable option.
Guide To Purchasing A Kuat Bike Rack
When looking for a bike rack you’ll probably consider Thule, or perhaps Yakima, as these are two of the best-known manufacturers in the world and with good reason. But, they are not the only ones that are worth considering, there’s a new kid on the block in the form of Kuat.
Types of Kuat Bike Racks
Put simply, this type of rack has a bar that slides straight into the tow hitch on your vehicle. Most racks will come with an adaptor to ensure they fit all sizes of hitch.
The beauty of these is that they will usually tilt away from the rear of your vehicle, allowing you full access to your trunk even when the rack is loaded.
If you need your hitch then you may want to consider a roof mounted option. You’ll need crossbars on your roof which the rack will mount to. You can then secure your bike onto the rack and drive away, leaving your trunk and hitch fully accessible.
However, it should be noted that you’ll have to lift your bike onto the roof and ay need to remove the front wheel.
This style of rack is generally the cheapest. It straps onto or around your trunk, reducing visibility. The best versions of this use locking straps to ensure it stays solid even when you drive long-distance.
These are great for occasional use and if you don’t have a tow hitch.
Spare Wheel Carrier
Some vehicles have spare wheels mounted to the rear of them. You can purchase a carrier that sits over and bolts through the spare wheel. This type of rack is usually car specific as it will depend on the location and fastening of your spare wheel.
If you have a truck you can throw your bikes in the rear but they may get damaged along the way. Instead, you can opt for a truck bed bike rack that secures your bikes easily using the bed space you already have and will prevent them from falling over.
Number Of Bikes
One of the first things you need to consider is how many bikes will you be carrying on a regular basis? There are Kuat bike racks designed to take 1, 2, 3, or even 4 bikes, you need to make sure that the rack you pick will be big enough for your intended use.
If you don’t you’ll be choosing another one pretty soon.
It is also important to consider your budget. The price of a high-quality Kuat bike rack can vary depending on its style and how many bikes it is supposed to carry.
You need to decide how much you can afford to spend on a bike rack and then look for racks under that value. If your heart is really set on a more expensive one then it may be worth waiting and saving the extra, unless you need it in a hurry.
It is also worth considering how often you’ll use the bike rack. Hitch mounted racks are very easy to mount and leave on your vehicle while roof-mounted racks usually fold down and can also stay in situ.
Bu, they will add length or height to your vehicle which you may not appreciate on your daily drive, especially if you only use the rack a couple of times a year.
That’s why you need to think about usage and subsequently storage.
Most bike racks will come with comprehensive fitting instructions and a guide regarding which vehicles they fit. However, along with checking tht your vehicle is on the list, it’s a good idea to try and fit the rack before you buy.
This will ensure it really does fit your vehicle and will give you an idea regarding how easy, or difficult, it is.
Size Of Your Bikes
It’s worth considering a 3 bike rack if you want to carry 2 bikes but they have large frames. This will give you the extra space you need to ensure the bikes are safely secured, it will also make it easier to get them into position and get going.
Don’t forget that if you’re planning a big trip then you may want to carry a cargo box or a kayak rack, you’ll need to plan for these when you purchase your bike rack. If you were thinking about a roof-mounted bike rack and you need a cargo box the two systems may not fit next to each other!
It’s worth checking first!
When you’re not using your Kuat bike rack you’re going to need to store it somewhere. Although racks will often fold into themselves this doesn’t mean they don’t take up any space. Consider the amount of space you have spare before you choose the best Kuat bike rack for your needs.
It is also important to spare a few moments to consider your future use of any bike rack. If you have children that are becoming interested in cycling or are likely to go longer distances with a club, then you need to think about which bike rack is likely to serve your needs best today and in the future; it could save you the considerable cost of having to replace your Kuat bike rack before it needs to be.
Finally, it is worth looking at the reputation of a specific product online. You’ll find there are plenty of forums where people are happy to offer their advice and experience on a specific product.
It’s worth taking a look at what people have said about any bike rack you’re thinking of buying.
But, don’t forget that there will always be some negative comments, no business can keep every customer happy. What is interested is how the business has reacted to an issue. If this is good, along with the majority of the reviews, you’ve picked a good one!
Choosing any bike rack can be a difficult decision but, if done well, you’ll get a product that will last you for many years while fulfilling your needs perfectly.
The best Kuat bike rack is the NV 2.0 but this doesn’t mean it is the only option you should consider. Check out the other options on this list and consider what points really matter to you when buying a bike rack.
This will guide you to choose the best Kuat bike rack for your needs, a decision you shouldn’t ever need to regret.