Kuat NV 2.0 Rack

Kuat NV 2.0 Rack

Words & Photos by Drew Rohde

It’s been a long time since I’ve used a platform rack on a vehicle, so I didn’t know what to expect when a new Kuatt NV 2.0 showed up. I’ve been driving my faithful Ford Econoline “Vandito” since 2008, and have grown used to my internal transportation system. Realizing that not everyone drives a van or pickup truck, I was excited to see how far hitch mounted platform racks had come since my old Thule T-2. Right off the bat I was impressed with the craftsmanship of the Kuatt. The finished product is truly something impressive and a great leap from the racks I used to see from the brand many years back. Kuatt clearly makes the aesthetics just as much a priority as the function.

The Lab

Assembly was pretty straightforward and easy to handle. I learned a lot about the redesigned NV 2.0’s features as I perused the manual and installed the rack to my receiver hitch. This rack is loaded with more features than any other rack I’ve seen and they are well thought out.

Some of my favorite features include: fully integrated cable locks, included hitch lock, durable powdercoat, a hand-tightened cam system and a redesigned pivot handle. The handle allows you to easily lift or lower the rack to access your trunk, load bikes or stow it up and out of the way. A very neat bonus of the easy to grab handle is the foot assist lever. If you’re hands are full you can press the lever easily with your foot and the rack will be unlocked and ready to move. One of my other favorite features is the integrated work clamp, called Trail Doc. Simply fold the stand up and extend the clamping arm and you have a work stand everywhere you go. It’s been handy on more than a few occasions!

The Kuat NV 2.0 is a versatile 52-pound rack system that can hold bikes up to 60 pounds (each). The adjustable front tire cradle helps the rack accommodate bikes up to 48 inches long and tires from 20-29 inches and up to 4.8 inches wide (with adapters). We had no problem holding 27.5 DH bikes and 29-inch eBikes during our test period. Kuatt offers the rack in two hitch sizes and also offers a two bike add-on or the Pivot swing-away hitch adapter.

Kuat NV 2.0 Rack

The Dirt

I’ve had the NV 2.0 on the back of my van for a few thousand miles now and have been nothing but happy with it. I do prefer the all black version, but in terms of functionality, durability and keeping my bike in place, it’s been great. It didn’t start out great however. When I first installed it, the rack it sat too close to my van and I couldn’t use the inside position without turning the handlebars of the bike almost 90 degrees.

If you’ve got a hatchback or sedan, this probably won’t be an issue, but it’s definitely worth noting for anyone with a square vehicle (think vans or Honda Elements). Kuat does offer a HiLo hitch extender for $49 that will give you enough clearance. If you want to go baller style, you can spend the extra $295 for Kuatt’s Pivot hitch accessory. I got one and love it! It holds up to 250 pounds and looks like it’ll last forever. The welds, latch system and pivot work very smoothly and allow me to access the rear of the van with bikes loaded on the rack.

Once I got my clearance issue sorted, I began to use the rack more often than I used the back of my van. The rack goes up and down easily making it less of an inconvenience than many other racks I’ve used. The front tire cradle is large and easily captures tires and the arms move easily up and over the front end and lock securely down. They’re also easy to release once you get to the trail. The rear ratchet system works smoothly and doesn’t bind up.

I used the locking system several times and while it’s not something I’d trust my bikes with for an extended period of time, I felt better getting a post-ride burrito. Along with locking the bikes for security the hitch lock is a nice feature and the hand-tightening cam system worked surprisingly well! I never had the rack come loose or rattle around, even on rough roads or long road trips.

Lastly, the Trail Doc…I wasn’t sure how valuable this would be, but wow. In my line of work, it was an incredibly valuable asset. We’ll often travel to trailheads or bike parks and bring several parts with us to swap between riders to compare performance. We normally lean bikes against the van and do our thing, but now I’ve got a mobile workshop and I love it. It allowed us to do 4 fork swaps in a day of testing at the Mt. Bachelor bike park.

Kuat NV 2.0 Rack

The Wolf’s Last Word

The Kuatt NV 2.0 is a refined and solidly built unit that functions very smoothly and is packed with features. The integrated lock, work stand, wheel size compatibility and anti-rattle system are all highlights of the Kuatt NV 2.0. The additional Pivot system makes it even handier as I can load large items like a dirt bike into my van without having to constantly take the rack on and off.

Bike racks have always been expensive investments and it seems that over the last few years they’ve only gone up in price. After comparing prices and checking out some racks at a local retailer, I can say the NV 2.0 is an impressive piece and is priced accordingly. The finished rack looks and works nicer than several other units on the market. Buy right, buy once may be the way to look at the Kuat NV 2.0 as it’s certainly an investment that will last.

Price: $649, Pivot $295;
Weight: 52lbs
Website: kuatracks.com

We Dig

Holds Bikes Well
Integrated Features
Built-in Work Stand
Pivot Swing-away Add-on
Anti-Rattle System

We Don’t

Bike Rack Pricing
Not Our Favorite Color


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