About 3 months ago, I was driving casually heading back home and then one not so fun thing happened. Smoke coming out of my car’s engine. Thankfully, I was driving slow enough and close to a Wawa that I was able to pull up into the parking lot and, with a ton of questions in my head, I called a very good friend of mine to see if he can tow my car and maybe provide some answers. Long story short, cracked engine block.
Apparently, it is an issue for 2007 Honda Civics, and Honda even has a recall on the engine, however, it only covers if it happens in the first 7 years of the car. My car was 13 years old when it happened so, all of a sudden I owned a piece of junk instead of a car. (Thanks Honda!)
After a good amount of frustration and a big reality check on my finances, I became kind of obsessed with electric bikes. I did not drive that much and did not want to buy a used car that might die on me in a couple of years.
After a lot of research and watching a ton of videos, I found the electric bike review channel on Youtube, called elecktricbikereview. These guys are not only very friendly and have a ton of reviews on a whole a lot of different electric bikes, but they also provide a lot of in-depth review videos on every topic that needs to be covered about owning an e-bike. From actual test rides to safety, price, maintenance, and yes bike racks.
That brings me to this review, I watched a 30 minute review on Kuat 2.0, the hitch mount bike rack that can carry up to two bikes. Then I remembered, “Hey, I have a blog that I write about how to store bikes, why not summarize the video there, so maybe I can save someone some time if they do not want to watch the whole video?”
Who is Kuat?
Founded in 2008, Kuat is based in Missouri and produces high-quality bike racks, and parts for the racks. The one that I was specifically interested in was Kuat 2.0 that can carry two bikes that are up to 60 pounds each. Because electric bikes are usually heavy, anywhere from 50 to almost 70 pounds in some cases, you cannot just use a regular old bike rack. You need something sturdy that can handle the load.
As of today, Kuat NV 2.0 has about over 170 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5. That is a good sign for a product that is not cheap.
However, I am not suggesting it is expensive because that is subjective if you think you are getting the value for what you paid for, it is not expensive for you and at least 170+ people agree with that statement.
What impressed me about it?
Let me start with something that should be very obvious and standard with any product that needs some sort of installation. The instruction manual is quite detailed and easy to understand. It includes numbered instructions for each piece and where everything goes, which makes it very easy to follow. This is a major plus because we have all dealt with confusing and frustrating instruction manuals. I am a board game geek, and I have even read board game manuals that made me go “what????” 🙂
It has a cam system that makes it easier to attach it to the hitch without a tool, and you can tighten it with a handheld tightening tool that is included.
Each platform has an adjustable swing bar that goes over the front tire to secure the bike. The swing bars have some kind of heavy plastic in order to protect your bike from getting scratched, however, if you have fenders that the front fender gets in the way, so you are going to have to adjust the position of the swing bar, so it does not sit right on top of the fender. The swing bars are easily adjustable, so for most bikes, it should work fine.
For the rear tires, there is a heavy rubber strap that secures the rear tire to the platform. And the straps are on an adjustable slider, very convenient.
It folds out, so you can open the trunk of the car and get to your stuff without having to get the bikes off the rack. As a matter of fact, NV 2.0 includes a foot pedal that makes it possible to tilt the rack down by just pushing that pedal with your foot.
If you are carrying something with one hand this makes it fairly convenient to fold the rack out of the way. Don’t use it if both hands are full though, Kuat 2.0 is heavy and you need at least one hand on the rack to be safe when you are folding it or pushing it back in position, especially with bikes on it.
There is a locking cable for each platform you can pull out and wrap around each bike to secure them even more. However, these are cables and if you are going to use them, wrap them around in a way that they don’t end up scratching your bike.
Each tray can accommodate up to 60 pounds and wheelbases up to 48 inches.
It comes with a tri-dock and an extra work stand bar that you can attach directly to the bike rack if you need to work on your bikes while on a camping trip if you get a flat tire or need to fix something. The work stand bar can either directly be attached to the bike rack or to the tri-dock.
It is available for both 1.25 inch and 2-inch hitches, and if you get the 2-inch model you can buy an add-on to carry up to 4 bikes. I am assuming that it is only going to work if you have a truck or a SUV that can carry that load.
Sure there is a couple, just like with any product. I mentioned the price above, it is not a budget item that’s for sure, although again it depends how much use you are getting out of it.
It is heavy, about 54 pounds without the bikes on it. That makes installation a bit of a challenge for most people, meaning you may want to ask a friend or your significant other to help you out.
It sits a little bit higher, so it may create a bit of a drag. Although, in the video, he mentions that he did not realize a big mpg impact. (He drives a Prius.)
If you own a fat bike, which was my second reason to watch this video, other than being able to use it for an e-bike, a couple of users on Amazon mention that they use it for a 4.8 inch and 5.8-inch fat-tire bike. You will most likely need an extension strap for the rear tires though.
The bottom line
First, a big shout out to elecricbikereviews. I don’t know them personally, but I am truly impressed by the amount of quality content they put out there both on Youtube and their website. If you are interested in learning more about e-bike make sure you check them out.
Here is the link for the Kuat 2.0 review video if you would like to watch it. From 3.30 to 9.30 mark, he mostly talks about the other rack he had before trying Kuat (I believe it is called ProRack), so if you want to watch to the actual review when you get to the 3.30 mark, just skip ahead to the 9.30 mark. He even drives around with two bikes on the rack and demonstrates (not on purpose) what happens if you forget to secure the rear tire with the strap.
Here is my take on it. I think if you are in the market for heavy-duty, sturdy, dependable bike rack for an e-bike, or any bike that is on the heavy size, Kuat NV 2.0 seems like a very legit contender.
For me it is not an option because of the price point at the time, (and the fact that I don’t even own a car or my ideal fat tire e-bike, Rad mini 2019), because I am writing this article during the virus outbreak that shall not be named. There are literally millions of people around the world being affected by this thing one way or another, and economically I am not in a position to buy anything at the moment.
However, if and when things get back to normal, and after I have my Rad mini, if I happen to need a bike rack, Kuat will be on my list of racks to seriously consider. Well, after I buy my tiny home first. 🙂
We all can dream, right? Stay safe, stay healthy and live free 🙂