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Küat NV Rack

Kuat NV, Blister Gear ReviewKüat NV Bike Rack

Manufacturer Specs:

  • No Worries Warranty
  • Weighs 49 lbs. assembled
  • Accommodates up to a 48″ wheelbase
  • Fits 20″ – 29″ wheels
  • Accommodates 2″ OR 1.25″ receiver options
  • Fits up to a 3″ tire

Manufacturer List of Features:

  • Carries 2 bikes (Up to 60 lbs. each)
  • Total carrying capacity of up to 120 lbs.
  • Folds up quickly for storage
  • Tilts down for easy vehicle access
  • Integrated cable lock system AND hitch lock for maximum security (locking hitch pin included)
  • Includes built-in TRAIL DOC ™ repair stand for quick fixes on-the-go
  • Front and rear tire ratchets make loading and unloading a breeze
  • Hand-tight cam system – no need for additional tools!
  • Increase bike capacity to up to FOUR bikes with available NV-Add On (sold separately, 2″ model only)
  • Black Chrome powder coat finish
  • Anodized aluminum accents

Test Duration: Four months

MSRP: $549

The Küat NV Rack is creating quite a buzz in the world of hitch-mount bike racks this year. Besides its eye-catching charcoal grey frame and orange anodized accents, the NV touts some nifty features, perhaps most notably an onboard bike stand for trailhead and campsite repairs and maintenance. Right out of the box, I was stoked to accent my rig with the NV.

Assembly

Assembling the NV was easy enough, comparable to, say, putting a new BBQ together—a total pain in the ass until you start actually reading the perfectly clear directions and see that it’s quite simple. (They also have a short assembly video on the Küat web site.) Küat even supplies the needed hex keys in case you don’t have them. I did it in a rush to squeeze in a bike ride around a busy schedule, and it took about 30 minutes.

Affixing it to my Toyota Tundra (current body style) was fairly easy as well, and the cam tensioner takes up the extra play in the hitch receiver for a rattle-free ride with no noise. Simply crank on the knob opposite the rack from the receiver mount until the wiggle room is gone, and you’ve got a movement-free rack.

Kuat NV, Blister Gear Review

The Küat NV Rack.

The NV also comes with a locking hitch pin to keep the rack itself safe from theft, but I did have to buy an adapter sleeve from the hardware store to make the supplied hitch pin fit the larger diameter hole of my truck’s receiver.

Bike Loading

Loading the bike is positively effortless, which seems pretty par for the course with modern, high-end tray racks these days. Similar to the Yakima Holdup and the Thule T2, a front-wheel ratcheting arm locks the bike down securely, and the rear-wheel strap keeps the rear wheel in the tray. There was a slight bit of handlebar-to-seat interference at first when loading two bikes of similar size, but it was easy to sort out. Eventually I just slammed down the saddles on the bikes before loading (which demonstrated yet another advantage of dropper seatposts).

Küat NV - Rear Latch, Blister Gear Review

Küat NV Rear-Wheel Lock-and-Ladder Strap.

The rear-wheel strap lacks a ratchet-style lock, which first looked like a cop-out, but on further thought, appears to be an intelligent choice. The urge to over-tighten can be hard to resist with ratchets, and Küat skips this headache entirely by using a simple lock-and-ladder system, making the possibility of either breaking a ratcheting mechanism or stripping a ladder impossible. (A smart move on behalf of the customer and their warranty department.) It does its job of keeping the wheel in the tray perfectly, without requiring a herculean amount of tension.

The entire system easily accommodates 26″, 650b, and 29″ wheels, as well as road bikes, and even comes with an adaptor that helps fit 24″ and 20″ wheels. When underway, I saw absolutely no wiggle of the bikes, either from the trays or at the hitch, even on some super bumpy roads.

The NV rack comes with trays for only two bikes, but Küat does sell an Add-On ($349) to increase the carrying capacity from two bikes to four. While I didn’t use this option, the attachment appears easy: take the end-cap off the center beam of the rack, insert the NV Add-On, and tighten two thru-bolts.

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