Hey—it’s just a bike rack. It’s not supposed to make you excited. It’s just supposed to attach to your car and carry your bike(s) without drama, fear, or rattling from one place to another. If it comes off and goes on easily, that’s great. If you can drive for miles and miles down rutted dirt roads with bikes weighing the rack down without it wobbling itself practically out of the hitch receiver, that’s even better. If it can handle everything from thin-tired roadies to fat bikes, now we’re onto something. If it looks cool and isn’t something you’re loathe to attach to your car, heck that’s awesome. If it does all of those things, it’s probably the Küat NV 2.0.
Also, it probably costs a near fortune, which the NV 2.0 does, at $690. That’s a lot of money for a bike rack, but it doesn’t take a ton of use before that figure seems perfectly reasonable. This is an elegant, sturdy, hassle-free, very well-engineered piece of equipment. Best-in-class when it comes to hitch-mounted bike racks.
I’m a heavy user of bike racks, driving nearly every day to trailheads with one or two weighty full-suspension rigs on the back, occasionally one mountain bike and my 60-pound e-bike. For more than four months I’ve given the NV 2.0 plenty of reason to develop a squeak, a worrisome wobble, an annoying clank. So far, nothing. It’s as smooth and quiet as the day I put the sucker on.
If you’re familiar with platform and tray-style bike racks, there isn’t much here that’s revolutionary (save a couple of neat tricks—we’ll get back to those). That simplicity is actually a selling point. This is an intuitive rack. Assembly aside, which had me pacing my garage, beer in hand, frown on my face a few times—until I thoroughly read the manual, everything works exactly as you’d want it to. The platforms for the rear tires are nice and wide and flat, you don’t have to line up the tire with a groove or anything. The front trays are spacious and burly. The locking arms move smoothly and ratchet down to hold the tire with a pleasing confidence. Same with the thick rubber ratchet straps for the rear tire.
Raising and lowering the rack is butter smooth with a foot pedal/lever, which doesn’t require brute strength to operate, nor does the internal spring mechanism ever get hung up on anything. It works perfectly fine, every time.
Carrying two bikes and don’t want to worry about handlebars and seatposts getting hung up on each other? The front wheel trays can raise and lower between three different positions, changed with a hex key that lives permanently in the rack. Easy peasy. If you have a fat bike, they make a “Phat Bike” kit that extends the rubber strap for the rear tire and includes a velcro strap for the front. With this kit, the rack will accept tires up to 4.8 inches. Each platform has a long cable lock, but I wouldn’t trust them to lock up a bike you care about—somebody cut through mine while I was in a shop for five minutes and made off with one of my bikes. But that was my fault, not the rack’s. The rack locks to the hitch with a pin, by the way, an added security measure I appreciate.
Besides the fit and finish, the best part of the NV 2.0 is the Trail-Doc, an integrated bike repair stand that is permanently fixed to the rack. Flip a lever, extend the stand, and it clamps with a couple twists to a bike’s top tube or seatpost. This is such a well-designed and appreciated feature. While it doesn’t take up a ton of space to toss a folding bike stand in the car, it’s far more practical to have one built into a rack.
Even without an integrated repair stand or adjustable front trays, this would still be a rack worth the expense, simply because of how well it’s put together, how much confidence it inspires that your bike won’t bounce off the rack if you hit a pothole at 60 mph, and, unlike the spindly, all-black racks that look like a curled-up dead spider is glued to the back of your car, the NV 2.0 is elegant and aesthetically appealing.
Yes, it’s expensive. But it only takes one trip off-road with bikes on a rack that’s so solid and smooth you forget it’s even there to justify the cost.
Weight: 52 pounds
Capacity: 2 bikes; can get extender for 4 bikes total
Max weight per bike: 60 pounds
Rear hatch access: Yes, swings down
Hitch sizes: 1.25 or 2.0 inches
Tire size: Up to 4.8 inches
$690 • BUY