Published on July 3rd, 2013 | by Greg
Kuat NV 2: One Awesome (Bike) Rack
It’s the season for road trips. When we head out on a journey by car- whether for camping, a weekend jaunt for wine tasting on Long Island, or a cross-country voyage for a longer vacation- we like to take our bicycles. And unless you have a folding bicycle, like the Tern Eclipse P9 that we reviewed earlier this year, it’s essential to have a way to carry them. This means purchasing a bike rack- and you can certainly find a cheap model. But if you’ve tried installing, re-configuring, or using bicycle racks for your automobile, then you know what a pain they can be.
Luckily, the Kuat NV 2 is here to make your life much easier. It might not lift the bike for you, but it will carry even large bikes with ease, securely holding them during your travels, and folds nicely away when you don’t need it. It’s fairly easy to install as well, and even looks great- people will definitely look at, and ask about, your rack. The company has thought of just about everything, all in the name of protecting and transporting your wheels.
On one hand, bike racks seem simple enough. All they need to do is hold your gear after all! But, much like backpacks or any technical gear, the design is everything. Some racks will handle only smaller bikes, others will work fine until it rains and then rust, and still others are pretty great in most other respects… until you try to fold them away when not in use. The Kuat NV 2 avoids all of these pitfalls and more, capable of hauling bikes with 20-29 inch wheels and up to 60 pounds each. It takes up a bit more space behind your vehicle, but it’s worth it, leaving a bit more than a foot between two bikes to avoid having them damage one another. Even in gusty winds, our bikes held fast, thanks to both front and rear tire locks with a ratcheting design that is fairly easy to use and keeps your bikes tightly fastened. It doesn’t even take much longer to get your bikes in place or pull them down (under a minute even if you’re new to the process), and it’s well worth it.
Another common complaint we’ve had with other bicycle carriers is that they can really restrict trunk access. This one doesn’t- you can tilt it downward and out of the way. In addition, there is not only an integrated cable locking system (that feels capable even when you’re dealing with your prized rides), but also a nifty extra that makes this easily the best bike rack we’ve seen. If you’re on the road, you’re likely to face some mechanical trouble with your bike- need to change a tire, or simply do some routine maintenance. Everything is easier by far with a repair stand, and the Kuat NV2 includes a really nice built-in option that they call the TRAIL DOC. Bikes rest on rubber, neither the rack nor our bikes ended up with even a ding after some long rides, and there is a lifetime warranty on the rack.
Kuat also makes an extension, if you want to carry four bikes instead of two on your platform rack. The NV2 solid frame never felt wobbly, even over some bumpy roads and with two fairly heavy bikes riding along, and didn’t make noise like many racks will. The manual could be a bit better; expect to puzzle it out a bit and spend maybe half an hour or 45 minutes getting it all setup the first time. Available in two hitch sizes (1.25 and 2 inches); make sure you choose the right one! The Kuat NV2 is a top-of-the-line rack, and feels incredibly durable, putting most other racks (and perhaps even your car itself) to shame. With a look that stands out, the whole package feels space-age. It might not quite be perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. Purchase the Kuat NV2 online or in stores- expect to spend around $500, well worth it for one of the best bike stands on the market.