With a front and rear ratchet system, hitch lock, integrated cable lock, and a built-in repair stand for pre-ride prep or post-ride cleanup, it is a fully loaded stunner. And you’ll look smooth loading and unloading with its easy-to-use hand-tight cam system. Storage is simple with the lever action pivot for rapid folding, tilting, and hiding.
While I was wandering around in the desiccating heat of the Outdoor Demo portion of InterBike 2009, I came upon the kuat Innovation’s booth, in which they were showing off their very trick NV bike rack. Of course, what also caught my eye was the female mannequin, which was overtly well endowed, Brick House! The kuat marketing scheme was something more along the lines of ‘Nice Rack’. Continue reading →
Strengths: Ease of use. Design. Lightweight. Integrated locks and repair stand.
Weaknesses: Rack has developed a lot of "play" after six months - moves in the transport and storage positions. Also a bit of play in the receiver hitch. High price.
I had a Thule T2 and it did not play nice with my Niner Rip9. It also took a lot of adjusting to get bikes to fit properly without rubbing on each other. Also, my wife could work the Thule and it was heavy and ugly. Two owners of the Enve recommended the rack. At first, I was extremely happy. I get a lot of compliments. I even bought the add on. The problem is that it is now very loose after six months. The bikes are bouncing all over the place. The problem is the metal they use is too soft and it has rounded off, so the rack has a lot of sloppiness the vertical (storage) or horizontal (transport) positions. It also shakes like a jonesing crack addict when I move it from one position to the other - pretty embarrasing and does not instill confidence. I've contacted Kuat and waiting for an answer. For this price, I shouldn't have these problems.
a Cross Country Rider
from Raleigh, NC
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2012
Strengths: Sturdy, durable, weather-resistant. Bikes go on & off extremely quickly and easily. Fits big wheels & long wheelbases. No wobbling in the hitch.
Weaknesses: Built-in locking cable is short, can be tricky to get both wheels + frame secure. With two bikes I can't secure the front wheels.
I have rarely been so completely impressed with a piece of equipment. It does its job very well with no annoyances, feels solid and secure, and looks good too.
I was initially interested in a Kuat rack because I liked the aluminum Sherpa model, figuring it would be easy to move around, etc. I read though that long wheelbase bikes are not recommended for it, and my XL 29ers are all over the recommended max for it. Enter the NV. I had used a roof rack for a few years and I wanted a hitch rack instead. My priorities were that it be easy to load, survive being left on the car outdoors, and not get in the way of opening the hatch or seeing out the back. I use it 2-3 times a week, mostly with 1 bike.
It's super easy to load & unload. Swing the arm open, put the bike on, push the arm down, thread on the rear wheel strap... done. Unloading is just as easy. Locking it is really easy since the lock cables stow in the trays, secured by magnets. Slide them out when you need them. The cables are pretty short, and it can be a tight fit getting all of the parts of a bike locked. It took a few tries to work out the right way for one bike. Two bikes, you probably can't get the cable through all four wheels and both frames, so another cable would be handy if you were leaving bikes on for a while. For me, it's easy enough that I do it every time I park in public, and it gives me enough peace of mind. When I bought it, Thule and Yakima were charging extra for cables and locks on their equivalent racks, so it was a bonus.
The hitch bar has a built-in snugging device that keeps it from rattling. Works great, I would have bought something to do this separately if it wasn't included. The bar for the 1.25" model I have has an S-curve in it to get the racks up above the muffler and out of the hot exhaust. There's plenty of clearance on my Subaru.
It has survived the weather with little or no discoloration and rust. I'd seen this on other brands of hitch racks, and on the plastic parts of my roof rack, so I was concerned about leaving it on the car outside all the time. No problems at all.
It does not obstruct the out-the-back view (like some of the hanging-style hitch racks do). I can just see the top of the work stand so I can tell that I didn't leave it down. I do have to tilt it open it to open the hatch, but it looks like I could move the hitch back about 1/2" and it would clear. With bikes on, it tilts down and the hatch opens fine. Of course, this is going to depend on car & trailer hitch, but it works on my Impreza. The quick release lever to open it is nice. I would like to see something like a foot lever so it could be opened & closed one-handed.
I have found the work stand useful trail-side. It's cool to have it and it works. I don't use it every ride, though.
The whole package is well thought out and goes together nicely. I recommend it highly. I was willing to spend towards the higher end, but I was concerned that it would stand up to regular use and weather, and keep my bikes safe. I haven't been disappointed and I think it was money very well spent.
4 chilis for value: let's be honest, there are cheaper racks out there. However, there are several features that I would have bought separate tools for that work better because they're integrated (anti-wobble, lock).
5 chilis for functionality, I love it.
Similar Products Used: Yakima roofracks, Saris + sportworks hitch racks
Bike Setup: I have the 1 1/4" rack mounted on a 2006 Subaru Impreza hatchback.
a Cross Country Rider
from Moab, UT
Date Reviewed: November 24, 2011
Strengths: Very solid and well engineered hitch rack. Took twenty minutes to build and install it. Fits nice and tight in my 2" hitch. Takes about 15 seconds to put a MTB bike on the rack. I would have no problem taking this on any road-dirt or pavement. Hitch and security locks are very good. The quality of workmanship and materials is quite impressive.
Weaknesses: Not really a weakness..the work stand has no way to lock it in place to prevent theft.
Shopped around quite a bit for a new rack and found the NV is really impressive. The cost is a bit steep but the stand is such good quality it's worth it.
from San Francisco
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2011
Strengths: Great finish, fit and design and great customer service.
Weaknesses: The 1 1/4" option that i have is a little flexy with 2 downhill bikes on it, but totally fine and the best option based on what is available today. If the option is there on your vehicle definitely go with the 2". Other than that the product is excellent.
Definitely a great rack, I was suspect of the bike stand but it has actually been pretty useful. Rack is much lighter than Thule T2 and getting bikes on and off is a breeze. Customer service is very responsive and helpful.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 30, 2011
Strengths: Fit finish and design
Weaknesses: None they found all the neg with t2 and holdup racks and made it 10 x better plus extras
If ypu spend good money for ggod products than there is no other option.
If you can afford to buy $ 3-10k bike you can afford to spend a hundred or 2 dollars more for a superior bike rack. Its stable solid and secure . The locking system and optins are awesome.
Bikes dont move at all!
Strengths: Light, solid, great fit and finish, lifetime warranty, responsive customer service (via e-mail and telephone), built in cable lock security (that passes through the rear wheels and triangles of my two 29er's), trail dock is great for wrenching outside/away from home, no creaky noises or whistling air flow when driving with rack folded up or in use, easy to put bikes on and take off and easy to understand assembly instructions.
Similar Products Used: Thule T2 (hitch rack), Yakima roof rack & Mega Joe 3 trunk rack among others.
Bike Setup: '09 Turner Sultan 28#, Reba Team Maxle fork, RaRa/Flow/King
'09 Fuji Tahoe SL 25#, Reba SL fork, RaRa/355/King
a Weekend Warrior
from Stillwater, OK USA
Date Reviewed: June 25, 2011
Strengths: Well made. Holds bikes with authority and the wheel clamp protects paint and CF frames. Solid attachment to the hitch. Smart engineering to create the tilt providing access to the hatch without removing bikes. Great locking feature for both hitch and bikes. No wind noise/diminished mpg (roof rack) and much better quality that your typical hatch rack. Folds up to give the driver more room when traveling without bikes.
I can't say why the previous reviewer had finish problems. I have mine for more than a year and taken a couple of cross country trips that put well over 2K miles and see no problems with the finish whatsoever. That reviewer never states whether he/she sought advice or redress from the manufacturer to determine whether it was a flawed unit.
Weaknesses: It's well-built and heavy, which can make it a bit of work connecting it to the hitch. I recommend help for that part. Otherwise no complaints. It is expensive, but the build quality is very high in my opinion. Only carries two bikes.
Having used it for over 1 year and several thousand miles I consider this to be a top notch product. I'll soon be taking it on another long trip and hope that it continues to function as well as it has thus far. The only better approach would be owning a large enough vehicle to store the bikes inside and away from the elements--which is considerably more expensive and fuel inefficient than attaching a hitch rack.
Weaknesses: HORRIBLE Powder-coating! I have only used this rack for a few months, but the coating is already blasted off of the main stringer which is inserted into the hitch receiver. Obvious steel corrosion. Horribly disappointed.
I ... REALLY ... wanted to like this rack. I was excited to see a new company offer something unique and different. Unfortunately, I am now left with a virtually brand new rack that looks like it's been abused for a decade or more. I will NOT support Kuat again.
Similar Products Used: Yakima Full-Swing, Thule T2
Bike Setup: Scott Spark 30, Specialized Stumpjumper.
a Cross Country Rider
from Aurora, On
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2010
Strengths: Very light, excellent engineering, internal lock, bikes are fastened by clamping of the wheel not the frame (I have a carbon road bike in addition to my mtbs) and this was a top selling feature for me. Like how there is a screw handle to tighten the connection of the hitch to the rack. Also like the fact that all locks are INCLUDED with the rack unlike Yakima and Thule.
Weaknesses: Took a little while to put the thing together. A cardboard jig/tray would have helped to align the bolts between the trays and the main hitch...not really a big deal but trying to balance the hitch while screwing the trays in can be a little tricky.
I am so glad I bought this rack. Shanyne at MobileHitch in BC was excellent to deal with. Free shipping, no provincial tax and a great price made this a no brainer. Still waiting for an Ontario dealer to get back to me with the price of the unit (6 weeks ago!). Looked at the 1UP USA rack which was a similiar concept but the import costs (they don't have a Canadian distributor) made this prohibitively expensive.
So far the rack has exceed my expectations and I would highly recommend it.
a Cross Country Rider
from Kalamazoo, MI
Date Reviewed: July 19, 2010
Strengths: Light weight, quality build, built in bike lock, bike repair stand, and the built in hitch tightener. Works very well with a 29er. Aluminum construction which makes the rack light and it wont rust like the other steel racks.
Weaknesses: The intergrated bike lock cables could be alittle longer. Price is aliitle steep. But so are my bikes.
If your looking for a good quality rack thats built to with stand the elements the Kuat NV is the rack. Constructed from aluminum makes the rack light weight for easy installation and removal. The built in sevice stand is a very nice feature to have when repairs might be needed at the trail head. The bike lock is also a nice feature for locking up your investments. The rack also comes with attachments for the arms to accomodate a 20" tire as well. And it comes with the hitch lock. And the rack is backed by a LIFETIME WARRANTY. Overall the rack is very nice and it looks good!!!