kuat nv 20 tray style hitch mount bike rack

The original Kuat NV bike rack debuted way back in 2008 and brought a new style sensibility to the otherwise utilitarian world of bicycle transportation. It also introduced clever features like a built in workstand. Now, after three years in development, the Kuat NV 2.0 updates literally every aspect of the rack to make it better, prettier, easier to use and more capable.

Starting with the modernizing touches, the NV 2.0 works with mountain bike tires up to 4.8″ wide, which covers most everything out there except the ultra fat bikes. The rest is refinements, making it all work better than ever…

kuat nv 20 tray style hitch mount bike rack

The aesthetics are as good as ever and keep the clear-coated powdercoat finish with orange anodized details and streamlined panels that build in the tire tray with a concave extrusion. The NV 2.0 borrows the new tool-free installation knob from the lightweight Sherpa 2.0 rack that debuted at Sea Otter, letting you twist-to-tighten the rack into the hitch.

kuat nv 20 tray style hitch mount bike rack

It also gets the foot release lever to lower the rack…

kuat nv 20 tray style hitch mount bike rack

…which will tilt beyond parallel to provide better access to lift gates and SUV rear windows.

kuat nv 20 tray style hitch mount bike rack

It rotates on a redesigned, more durable pivot that they say will last a lifetime of use. The front tire tray’s angle is adjustable to help prevent handlebar/saddle clearance issues when loading two bikes. It uses a varied shape to work with road/cross, mountain and fat bike tires all in one. For the rear tire, they’ve created a co-molded wheel strap that places a softer material against the rim so it won’t scratch them.

kuat nv 20 tray style hitch mount bike rack

The retention arms were also redesigned to glide more smoothly and reduce twisting so your bike stays more stable. Once it’s in place, the integrated cable locks are now longer, more durable and also easier to slide in and out.

kuat-nv-2-premium-tray-hitchmount-bike-rack-7

It comes with the Trail Doc repair stand built in as a standard accessory, and that is updated for easier use, too. They’ve added an aftermarket base that turns the Trail Doc into a standalone workstand, too.

It’s available now for $629 in a two-bike configuration for either 2″ or 1-1/4″ hitches. A two-bike add on will be available that’ll let you carry four bikes, pricing and availability TBD.. Max capacity is 60 pounds (27.2kg) with a wheelbase of 48″.

KuatRacks.com

30 comments

  1. Tyler Durden on

    As a new owner of a 1UP rack, I was worried when I clicked on this article. However, this just looks gimmicky. Given the Kuat is at a similar (or greater) price point, there is an obvious decision between the two (luckily it’s the one I made!).

    Reply
      • Tomas on

        Same thing I was thinking. I am super happy with my Saris Platform Rack Made in the USA. Strong, supportive, and much lighter in weight. I’ve also had Thule hanging style and have been very happy, also Made in the USA.

        Reply
  2. Flatbiller on

    If you’re the guy who lambasts Made In Asia bikes, shoving your Intense or Foes in everyone’s faces, then you best better have a 1UP rack on your F350 truck.

    Don’t be the skinhead wearing Levi’s.

    Reply
      • Chader on

        Absolutely correct, Royston.

        Complete operator error by the owner when that happens, and I have seen it.

        Instructions on mine were clear to follow and got my text oriented correctly when built.

        Reply
      • John on

        I don’t have one, but there are 3 in the parking lot at work and one down the street from my house and all of them have the “Kuat” uwop episdn. LOL

        Reply
        • Dirty Sanchez on

          That;s not Kuat’s fault, LOL. And as much as I’ve tried to embrace Saris and made in the USA, I hate my Superclamp. It’s fine for one bike but the second one is “a pain in the ass”. It works….I’m switching to this rack or the Thule T2 pro soon. The 1up looks like my kid made it out of an erector set in the basement.

          Reply
          • John on

            If it’s easy to put together backwards, it’s absolutely the manufacturer’s fault. Specifically the engineer.

            Reply
  3. Bob on

    Tyler – thanks for mentioning 1UP. I’ve seen one around town but could not figure out what it was, now I know. Exactly what I wanted, just ordered one from their site.

    Reply
  4. mech9 on

    Once you have a made in USA 1up nothing else cuts it. No wobble B.S. No crap. 1up’s straight up hold your bike more stable than any other rack. I’ve done everything short of autocross my car with my 1up and bike on the rack and never worry that it’s going to wobble, break, drop off.

    Reply
  5. RAB Share on

    It never ceases to amaze me that fierce brand loyalty that comes out on any article for a hitch rack.

    Having said that, 1UP rules. The idea that the Kuat costs more, yet is made overseas, doesn’t come pre-assembled, and contains several plastic parts attached by rivets is farcical. I’ll admit that workstand is pretty cool, though.

    Reply
  6. Bob on

    John, 1UP has a cushion to go over the cross piece to protect the fender. Could go to your local hardware box store for some pipe foam and do the same thing.

    Maybe BR should review a 1UP.

    Reply
  7. don on

    Great review, Built in the USA is an excellent motto. When someone comes in the shop which rack do you think I will recommend, unfortunately not Oneup. Why because they don’t support the IBD network who have “built in the USA” employees/staff. Actually wanted to try a Oneup (emailed them yesterday as a result of this review), but will use and sell something else as a result of the direct only sales model. Weathertech figured this out years ago. Better to have a slightly reduced margin with two channels then shut once off entirely.

    Had the same discusson with Power2max a couple months ago (as a result of a Bikerumor review), we sell a ton of power cranks, wheels, pedals, but zero of their product.

    Many shop owners are super visible in their local racing/riding scene, some like us 25+ weekends a year. The products we use are the products we sell. The products we use, are the products other consumers buy.

    Product differentiation has to be fairly significant to make the direct-only model make sense. On this one the Kuat and new Thule are very close, if not better in some aspects. We just sold a very old Thule T2, thing was bomber, even got rear ended once and it won the battle punching a hole in the grill of the car that hit us, the only reason we sold is corrosion after many years of new england winters. New versions of all 3 vendors in this space are pretty darn good. Hoping Oneup reconsiders their sales channel.

    Reply
  8. Chris on

    I bought a Sherpa three years ago and with not a heck of a lot of use (and not leaving it on the car for extended periods) the arms have almost seized up. I haven’t been able to use it with fat bikes for the last two years either because it is incomparable.

    A bike rack is not something that I want my hard earned money going towards for a second time after only three years. I really don’t know what to purchase next. The 1up doesn’t seem to have a 2 bike fat bike compatible rack with a 1-1/4 receiver. I’m annoyed.

    Reply
  9. Dday on

    Have the Sherpa 2.0 and it absolutely blows everything out of the water. These racks have automobile paint and clear coat and the new Sherpa has a slight curve to it that just looks smooth as hell. More rigid, better hinge point and foot pedal are a few other features that I love. Had people wait at the trailhead for me to ask about it and give me compliments. IMO the 1 ups look cheap and bland, I thought they came from the car dealership or something, not to say they don’t work, just ugly. Kuat FTW, customer service hooked it up too when someone hit my NV with a snow plow!

    Reply
  10. Matt on

    It’s a nicely built rack, but the retention arms aren’t adjustable. As a result it is impossible to address handlebar/seat interference. Even with dropper posts. Also after a year of use, the stability isn’t there. Mine shakes as much as the $200 swagman I had before. The trail doc stand is nice though.

    Reply
    • Zach Overholt on

      Matt, if you’ve had it for a year, you must not be talking about the 2.0 as it just came out. The trays are adjustable by changing the pitch of the front wheel cradle. We just got one in and will have a full report on the improvements soon.

      Reply
  11. Adam on

    I’m pretty happy with my Kuat NV rack, purchased it about 6 months ago (it’s not the 2.0 version but I really like it. I’ve had similar from Thule (Apex Swing), and an old school Yakima 2 bike tray mount. I didn’t like the Apex swing away model it was heavy, awkward and required purchasing a horizontal bar to accommodate the non traditional shape of the bike frames I have (kids bikes, 29er triangle frames, etc.). I was kinda pissed that after buying a $500 rack I had to spend $50 per bike on a bar to hold the frame on the rack. For me, I wanted a bike rack to be solid, not wobble, be super easy to get the bike on and off, and also fold out of the way so I could get into the trunk easily. The NV although expensive, does all those things.

    I didn’t know about 1UP at the time, but just looking at them, I think the 1UP racks are better for certain kinds of vehicles — something more burly like a truck, a sports mobile or an SUV. For what I personally wanted, the NV was a better match. I believe the 1UP would just look funny on my little car. I had my local rack dealer encourage me to get the Thule T2 which has the handle and is rock solid also, but again for what I wanted, aesthetic mattered and I didn’t like how the T2 looked. I have to look at the thing every day.

    One thing I’ll say, I used to take my other racks on and off the car a lot. In 6 months, I’ve taken the NV off once and a day later I put it back on. It’s on my car all the time and I use it 3 or 4 days a week to ride local trails or to take a ride with my 9 year old on bike paths. We live in the city and I can’t ride local streets with him, it’s too chaotic.

    The NV rack is completely solid in my opinion, AND I like how it looks. I have a 2″ hitch model on a Volvo V60 that is a smaller car, and not as big and burly as my 4Runner. so I wanted a rack that matched that aesthetic a bit more. The NV does that, works like a champ and I get stopped all the time people asking me about it. I live in N. California so weather is not much of a concern, but so far I’ve been extremely happy with it. If I were shopping for one now, I’d get the same rack because it meets my needs. You have to decide what matters most to you. Just because the shop owner likes X rack, doesn’t mean you will. Get what you want.

    Sorry for the long reply, but I was on the fence for months about what rack to get, especially since they are so expensive. Hopefully this will resonate and help someone else make a decision faster.

    Reply

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