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#RackLove: KUAT NV 2.0

KUAT’s NV 2.0 sets a high bar for hitch mounted racks.

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Heading to a big ride – the Solvang Century, the Belgian Waffle ride – it’s always fun to see comrades in arms driving the freeway with you and inspect their hardware. But just as often as seeing a full Campy Pinarello or Di2 S-Works, we see a hitch mounted rack that looks like it’s been made out of left over pieces from an Ikea bookcase, rattling and clattering along over the bumpy highway, doing who knows what damage to the bikes entrusted to it. For many riders, it’s time for an upgrade, and in the hitch mount world there is no upgrade greater than the Kuat NV 2.0.

PELOTON

The NV 2.0 is a total overhaul of the original NV, yet maintains that rack’s incredible highend fit and finish. The result is a rack with premium materials and finishes that won’t detract from your car’s looks, even if it’s a new Range Rover. It’s also the most stable rack we’ve ever used, cradling bikes with confidence on a rock solid platform, without touching the frame. At 52lbs it’s no lightweight, but for its build quality it actually feels pretty light.

During our long term test we did some very serious 4×4 driving, at way too reckless speeds. The rack, even attached to Kuat’s Pivot unit, was rock solid, day after day, thanks to the hand tighten locking cam system and exceptional build. The front tire cradle is wide enough to comfortably take a 3.0 tire, with an internal channel for road bike tires. The front tire hook is simple to use and easily puts enough tension on the tire to keep the bike put, while still being easy to unload when it’s time to ride. The rack, with two bikes mounted and attached to a Pivot, moves as a single unit with your car. There is zero rattling and banging to damage to your bikes.

So the Kuat NV 2.0 crushes it when it comes to a rack’s reason for being – getting bikes safely from point A to B with ease. But its extra features help it set the bar even higher for every other premium rack out there. It has dual, retractable cable locks mounted in the rear tire cradle. No rack is easier to lock your bikes too. It even has a work stand built into the rack, which can extend when the rack is in the ‘up’ position providing a legitimate, pro-mechanic ready work stand.

But our favorite feature has to be the hands free folding with the foot assist lever. We don’t know about you, but it seems like our hands are always full, whether its a pre-ride americano, a helmet, cell phone or water bottles the hands free lever is key to fold the rack up or hinge it down to gain access to the back of the car. We also love that the rack’s bike cradles are so wide you can safely put your helmet or cell phone down on them while you remove your bike from the rack. It’s these little touches that make the rack such a joy to use day after day.

Speaking of access, the optional Pivot system is a key upgrade. It lets the entire rack swing away 90degrees from the car. It allows for unfettered access to the rear of the car or truck and since it swings out to the right, it puts your bikes right over the sidewalk for easy and safe removal. It’s also an indispensable item for any camping trip with bikes, allowing you to leave the bikes locked and safe in the rack and still get set up for camp. Like the NV 2.0, it’s rock solid with premium build quality. It will extend the rack out from the rear of car another 12” so just account for that while parking.

It actually seems wrong to call the Kuat NV 2.0 just a premium rack. What’s beyond that? The new NV 2.0 hasn’t just raised the bar for the much maligned hitch rack, it’s basically created a new category – the Ultra Premium hitch mount rack. Now, it does come with a premium price tag of $650. Include a Pivot and two bike extension and the total hit is $1383. That’s a lot . . . or is it? When the average carbon road bike is almost $5000, how much is its safety worth?


KUAT NV 2.0: $649
Two bike NV 2.0 Add-On: $439
Pivot: $295
kuatracks.com