Review: Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack: The Things We Carry – by Adrienne Taren

How do you write a review about what is arguably a luxury product when it feels like the world is burning?

If you’re reading this in the year 2030 (which you probably won’t be. The Kuat people will have innovated electric-rocket-powered-robot-bike-carriers by then. I look forward to taking a nap while being transported to my desired bicycling location by an AI machine powered by energy harnessed from my taco consumption.*), I hope you’re living in a world without hate, without internet fights, without a novel viral pandemic, without sexism, without racism. It’s a tall order, I know. But I hope that it’s as hard to imagine the world of 2020 then, as it is to imagine that world now.  

* real innovation suggestion. Thanks, Kuat people!

Everyone around the world is carrying a lot of things. Much more so now than a year ago. What are you carrying? Have you looked around and asked what your friends and neighbors are carrying?

Maybe this doesn’t seem to be the right time to be talking about a physical item that carries bikes. In the literal sense. But for a lot of this probable audience, bikes and the things that carry them feel like more of a necessity. It’s likely what lets you process and maybe let go of some of the weight you’ve been holding up. 

So here’s this bike rack. I ordered it right before Covid-19 hit, and then it sat in my garage for five months, because I kept thinking my significant other would be able to come and help me de-bumperize** my car and put the hitch on, which I was admittedly lacking in energy and motivation to do myself. Although you totally could. It turns out it’s not that difficult. Just, you know. The world exploding.

** word I just made up

Maybe there was a more subconscious reason I set it aside. The concept of a two (expandable to four) bike rack carries social connotations, at least to me. Taking bikes, maybe of multiple people, to other communities to ride. To group rides. To group races. Things that are all on pause, for some more than others. 

So I put the rack on my car. Not because things are magically getting better. But because now when I walk out to my car before a shift and see a 2-bike hitch rack, there are a couple of seconds when I think about a future where I can load it up and go on an adventure with all my friends again.


Actual Information about the bike rack that you probably came to this page looking for:

Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack review
De-bumperized car
  • My life partner/emotional support mammal/fixer of all things/single speed MTB’er extraordinaire put both the hitch and rack on my Subaru Crosstrek (see above.) The whole thing took him about an hour. I helped by making sure he was alive from time to time and saying “that looks good” and “that’s going back on my car eventually, right?”
Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack review
Re-bumperized car
  • It’s very easy to get bikes on and off. My upper body strength has, um, waned since I tabled distance swimming for bikes. I can get my 30lb mountain bike on it without making dying-animal noises or otherwise sounding like I’m going into labor.
Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack review
Party parts
  • The little pushy thing to tilt the rack up and down is also very easy to use (technical name: “Pivot Lever”.) Lifts or lowers your rack to access your trunk, or more easily take your bikes on and off (some of us are short.) You can push it with your foot if your hands are full (chances are you’re holding a bike.)
Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack review
Awaiting bikes
  • Also easy to tighten bikes down. Have I said the word easy enough times yet? For comparison, I’m still bad at ratcheting down my bike on the above-mentioned partner-man’s other brand hitch rack after two years of trying to use it. I swear I’m smart, my brain just doesn’t work well after riding, and if you tell me to “pull here then push this then pull the opposite direction and spin around clap your hands” well I’m going to forget all that in about 10 seconds. 
Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack review
Folded up. Sad face, cuz no bike
  • Integrated cable bike locks. Keeps your bicycle children from walking away while you’re at rest stops, post-ride festivities, etc. Magically disappears into the rack when not in use.
Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack review
Bikes!
  • It’s durable as heck. Solid aluminum construction with pretty much no plastic except on part of the workstand attachment.
  • Oh yeah, workstand attachment, aka “Trail Doc.” Because I’ve definitely never gunked my bike up with so much mud it stopped rolling. Or suddenly discovered I needed to put new brake pads on like right now. Nope, don’t know anything about that. I imagine a workstand attachment would be handy if one did those things, though 😉
  • It comes standard to fit nearly any bike, including an accessory to fit fat bike tires. We haven’t attempted to put our Craigslist penny farthing on it yet, but I’m sure you could make it work. Right?
  • It doesn’t block my license plate when folded up.
  • It just looks nice.
  • Save the trees: Kuat partners with the National Forest Foundation by supporting their Future Forest Initiative. Bike rack = trees planted. 

Optional Thingamajigs that I will probably eventually add:

  • Two Bike add-on: more bikes! This does not require an explanation. More bikes = more happiness.
  • Pivot v.2: swings your rack away from your car for even easier trunk access.
  • RackDock: wall mounty thing that easily holds your rack for storage

You can find more details on the Kuat website here.

3 comments on “Review: Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Rack: The Things We Carry – by Adrienne Taren

  1. This is by far one of the best purchases I have ever made. (albeit expensive) I’ve had mine for about two years and it is bulletproof in construction, and ease of use. Two minutes’ time and I can have two bikes ready to roll out on an adventure. This is what great engineering looks like. If there is any weakness it is the cable lock for securing bikes to the rack, but it is a minor quibble. With the ability to add the extension to carry 4 bikes you got all you need. But wait! That Pivot 2.0 you mentioned is darn handy. Its only flaw is that it pushes you bikes back farther behind your vehicle in a noticeable way, but it just means you need to be more careful when you back-up (or unload first, when you are home). Kuat gets my highest praises (and this after been a lifelong Yakima owner- never going back).

  2. Any feedback on rear cameras with the rack folded up? I know that varies vehicle-to-vehicle, but I think the Crosstrek might be similar in placement to my RAV4.

    I’ve got a Transfer 2 that I’ve been happy with, but it is wearing out after putting in a solid effort. I’ve thought about the NV or Sherpa. One benefit of the U rack is that it seems less likely to block the camera…

    1. I have almost all the rear camera vision with the rack folded up, it’s pretty great. There’s a relatively small portion of the bottom of the camera field that’s obscured by the rack that would likely obscure objects low to the ground, but easy to see cars and everything else you really need to when backing up. It was a pleasant surprise because I was also worried about this.

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