Looking for a top of the line bike rack that does it all? Consider the Kuat NV 2.0.
This high-end bike rack makes loading (and unloading) bikes incredibly easy. It’s also super stable, will last forever, and has cool extras like a workstand. Didn’t even know you needed a workstand on your bike rack, did ya?!
May 2023: Updated with information on long-term durability, updated pricing, and additional purchasing options.
Review In A Nutshell
- Incredibly easy to load and unload
- Includes a work-stand
- Tilts backward to allow rear hatch access
- Folds forward when not in use
- Works on wheels as small as 20″ with adapter
- Awesome customer service and warranty
- Doesn’t fit wit fat bike tires without modification
- Challenging to assemble
Price & Where To Buy:
- $849 List
- Buy at Kuat.com
- Buy at Amazon.com*
- Buy at REI.com
Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack Detailed Review
Incredibly Easy to Load And Unload
Let’s start with the #1 reason you should choose the Kuat NV 2.0: it’s super simple to use. The Kuat NV 2.0 is the easiest rack I personally have ever used, even when compared to other high-end racks like the 1UP or the Thule T2 Pro XT).
To load bikes, you simply lift your bike onto the tray, use the ratheting arm to clamp down on your front tire, and then use the rear strap to fasten down your rear wheel. It’s really that easy.
When it’s time to remove your bike, you simply reverse the process.
This is so much easier than many other hitch racks, where you have to adjust the trays to fit bikes with different wheelbases, or figure out how to fit two differently sized bikes on the same rack.
When using two bikes, it’s really easy to get them both loaded. The only adjustments I’ve had to make are with the seatpost/brake lever interference. Depending on the bikes, you may need to drop a seatpost to get the bikes to fit together. If you have a dropper post, this is no big deal.
Bikes Don’t Move While Driving….At All
Before the Kuat NV 2.0, I was using a cheaper Swagman rack on my Ford Escape. The rack totally worked, but it would sway side to side while I drove.
The Kuat NV 2.0 stays incredibly solid and still while driving. In fact, I no longer feel obligated to check my rear view mirror every few minutes, because I know those bikes aren’t going anywhere.
There’s no sway, or up and down motion. Bikes stay put.
Works On Wheels Of Different Sizes and Tires Of Many Widths….But You May Need An Adaptor
Part of the reason I initially chose the Kuat NV 2.0 is that our family has LOTS of bikes and they all have different wheel and tire sizes. We frequently ride with our son who has 20 inch wheels, and both my husband and I like to fat bike in the winter.
The rack will accomodate wheels as small as 20 inches, and tires as wide as 4.8″. However, you MAY need an adapter if you have a bike at the extremes of one of the sprectrums.
For 20″ and 24″ wheels, you need an adapter which you can order on the Kuat website.
For fat tires, you’ll also need the Kuat Phat Bike Kit (or a Voile strap). This was dissapointing to me since the product description specifically stated that it would work with tires as a wide as 4.8″ with no mention of any need to order an accessory.
The first time I tried to load my Framed Minnesota, with 4″ tires, I was bummed to discover that the rear stap wouldn’t work. It was easy enough to retrofit with a Voile strap, but I don’t feel like you should have to retrofit a $600+ rack.
Tilts Backward And Folds Up To Get Out Of The Way
The Kuat NV 2.0 tilts backward (via a lever) so that you can access a hatch back. Since my Ford Escape has a rear hatch, and I often store bike gear and/or camping gear back there, it’s really nice to be able to open it while bikes are still loaded.
Additionally, when you don’t have bikes loaded, the rack folds forward and out of the way. I like this because I always worry about someone not seeing the rack in a parking lot and hitting in.
Assembly Is A Bit Challenging
Of course I bought the rack a day before I wanted to take it on a mountain bike road trip. So there I was at 6 pm at night, trying to assemble the rack before getting dinner started. Swearing.
As far as I’m concerned, the rack is totally impossible to assemble by youself. I had to call in reinforcements (aka my husband) to help allign peices and hold them in place while I fastened everything together. It’s definitely a two person job.
That said, once you have the thing together, you’ll never have to do it again. And you’ll stay be glad you have the rack.
After assembling the rack, the next step was loading it on the car. It’s heavy enough that it would be challenging for me to put it in the hitch alone.
If you plan on taking the rack on and off frequently, this might be something to think about. For me, I rarely take the rack on or off since I bike year-round, so this isn’t much of an issue.
Includes A Hitch Lock
Considering that this rack costs a pretty penny, it’s nice that it comes with a lock that secures it to your hitch. I locked it months ago, and haven’t removed it since. Now here’s to hoping, I remember where the key is!
You Can Also Get An Integrated Lock For Your Bike
Where I live, you can’t run into the gas station for a post-ride ice cream Snickers, without someone stealing your bike off the rack. Locking your bike to the rack (or your hitch) is key!
Kuat does offer an integrated bike lock as an add-on accessory. I have NOT tried this lock since I like using something a bit more robust than a cable lock.
(If you’re wondering what I do use, I lock my bike to the hitch itself using a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit lock. It’s bomb-proof).
Includes A Work Stand (Ours Broke But Got Replaced)
I didn’t buy the Kuat NV 2.0 for the “Trail Doc” work stand, but it is kind of the cherry on the top. Is it a must-have? No! But it’s definitely a nice-to-have.
When folded up, the rack can be used as a workstand. This is nice for those quick parking lot fixes, or for lubing your chain before a ride.
Unfortunately, my work stand broke after only a few months of owning the rack. Not sure if this is common (I haven’t heard complaints from others), but it was dissapointing.
The good news is that Kuat has a great warranty and they replaced the “Trail Doc” work stand. Within minutes of sending a warranty claim, I had a response. And about 15 minutes after that, they’d agreed to ship me a new one.
That’s some superior customer service. And makes the intital investment a little bit easier to stomache when you know that the warranty will be honored.
Can Fit Up To Four Bikes With The Extension
The Kuat NV 2.0 is a 2-bike rack, that can be extended to carry 4 bikes with the extension. (Of course, like the rack itself, the extension is pretty costly).
Still, if you are looking for a rack to carry bikes for the whole family, this one is a good option.
Long Term Durability
I first wrote this review in May 2020 so we have more than three years of use with it now. How has it held up?
Pretty dang well! The rack still looks new, I use it several times a week, and have zero regrets about choosing this rack.
That said, we have had a couple of issues. One of the arms quit working. It wouldn’t ratchet down anymore. We ended up ordering a replacement for it. I appreciate that that’s an option.
The other issue is with the work stand. In addition to our original work stand issue (that I mentioned above), it recently broke for a second time, and this one can’t be fixed.
The stand cracked and is now hanging off the rack at a strange angle. I don’t know if it just spontaneously cracked on it’s own or if somebody hit it while the car was parked. Either way, if I had it to do over, I would just by the Kuat Envy Base rack without the work stand.
Bottom-Line: A Quality, Easy-To-Use Bike Rack For Those Who Can Afford It
Is the Kuat NV 2.0 going to be the right rack for everyone? Definitely not.
It’s prohibitevely expensive for most riders, but for avid riders who use a bike rack on a near-daily basis, I think it’s worth the extra money. It’s incredibly simple to use, and well-made so it will last you for years.
I’ve tried a lot of racks, and this one is hands-down my fave.
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About The Reviewer
Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.
An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.
Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life. Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son. If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.
Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.