We are now on our third Kuat NV rack. We used the first NV bike rack, loved it. Then it came out in black and had to have that. Now the NV 2.0 comes out with new features that we were all asking for. We just had to write a Kuat NV 2.0 review to include our experience and comparison to other racks. The updated version builds on the success of the coveted Kuat NV. It was hard to find many bad things to say about it other than we noticed our lock keys fit just about every other Kuat NV we tried them in. The Kuat NV is defiantly the Mercedes Benz of bike racks. It’s extremely heavy, but that’s trumped by it’s functionality and looks. The rack builds on the original Kuat NV, but added a new lock system, wider trays to accommodate fat bikes, an updated trail doc work stand and a hands free tray adjuster.
The features on the Kuat 2.0 are top notch. The hands free (use your foot) to lower the rack when your holding your rack, and also the extended lever make it a lot easier to adjust the rack when holding a bike. The rack has been on many list as a top pick and editors choice award for many outdoor gear websites. It performs well, in many environments. We have had it in snow, rain, mud, and the high quality build keeps the parts moving and functional.
The rack comes in a 2 inch and 1.25 version. The 2 inch version is up gradable to add an additional 2 trays for a total of 4 bikes, but talk about a heavy rack! The upgraded NV 2.0 has a smaller adjustment nob that gets out of the way a lot better. Without fail on the NV, we ended up scraping the nob up all the time on rocks, gutters and sidewalks.
We would choose a hitch mount rack over any other style 100 to 1. It is so easy to ride right up to the rack throw the bike on, sinch it down and be on your way in a few seconds. Also, the fear of loosing a bike part from trunk mounted bike racks is gone. You will smile when you look in your rear view mirror and don’t see your bike bouncing all over the place as your cruise down the road at 70 mph.
The locks are a nice feature but don’t trust your new 5k bike to them. An issue we had with the original NV was that almost every NV rack we tried our keys in, we were able to open. Kuat states that they do reuse some keys and locks, but that it shouldn’t be every rack you find. The new cable lock system is meant to wrap around the rear triangle and tire of each bike. The first version was meant to lock both bikes together through the frame. It is much nicer to lock bikes up with the new system.
The trays have been widened to allow for fat bike tires to fit in them. It also makes it a little easier to load your bike now. As a side note, they look pretty cool too.
The ratches have been updated on the new NV 2.0, they have protective coating on the underside so they won’t scratch those carbon wheels. They also have a new buckle system, that we messed up a few times. The design allows for two slots for the buckle to slide into, one next to the tray, and one in the ratchet. On a couple occasions we inadvertently push it down the wrong slot and it gets stuck in there pretty bad, let this be a warning.
Assembling the Kuat NV 2.0 seemed a little easier, but it might have been that we were experience after putting together 2 other NV racks. It’s not difficult, and you don’t have to thread the lock through the rack any more. This decreased the time it took to assemble it the first time. I could say it took us a total of 30 to 45 min to assemble the rack with an allen key and a helping hand.
One gripe about the NV that didn’t get fixed is where the tire support rest against the shock. On a fox shock it usually rest right on the cable attachment. This slowely wears a large hole in the soft rubber of the tire support. I don’t know the solution for this, but I hope they come up with something. On our last rack it wore all the way through the soft rubber. The new button on the rack dosn’t seem to perform as well as the button that was on the top of the old rack. When the button was on top it was easier to push down and close in one motion. With the button on the side it takes some extra work to push the button in, make sure you are pushing straight down so the support smoothly slides into the housing.
The durability of the rack beside the soft rubber around the tire is top notch. This is one heavy duty rack. The downside is that it’s really heavy to move around it your take your rack off and on a lot. The upside is that you don’t feel like your going to loose your bike off the back of your car, truck, or suv when cruising down the freeway. The powder coated finish offer an easy to clean surface that looks amazing. It doesn’t scratch easily, and is easily washed along with your vehicle.
The Trail Doc Bike Work Stand
Don’t plan on turning this into a mobile work station. While it works in a pinch, it’s not extremely reliable. It’s hard to clamp down hard enough to keep the bike from easily rotating even from a strong wind. Also, the adjustable angle knob on the back is a little tricky to get tighten just right to avoid it from moving.
With a retail price of $650 it’s one of the most expensive 2 bike racks on the market. While you are paying for high quality build and a great looking rack that will last you for years, there are racks with similar features for far less. If a high quality build and looks are important to you that the Kuat NV 2.0 is the rack for you.
The NV 2 is an amazing rack, and you are paying for it in the price. It made a lot of really great upgrades from the original NV rack. It is a top notch rack with many pro style features. If you are looking for a similar rack without the hefty price tag, we suggest looking at the Kuat Sherpa or the Thule T2 Pro.