Kuat NV Base 2.0 Bike Rack
Stated Weight: 51 lbs.
- Space between bikes: 11.5” center to center
- Length from end of hitch (folded up): 15.25”
- Length from end of hitch (unfolded): 28.25”
- Width: 55”
Vertical clearance: 8.75” above center line of hitch
- Holds wheelbases up to 48”
- Fits 20”-29” inch wheels (wheel adapter needed for 20”-24” tires) up to 4.8” wide tires
- Capacity: Two bikes, up to 60 lbs. each (40 lbs. per bike with the 4-bike add-on)
Hitch Size: Both 2” and 1.25” hitch sizes available
- Adjustable front tire cradle system
- Re-designed pivot with optional foot assist
- Fully integrated cable locks
- No-tool install with hand tight hitch cam system
- Premium matte powder coat
- Hitch lock included
- Dedicated 2” model is able to carry up to 4 bikes with optional NV Add-on Base 2.0
- MSRP: $549 (2-bike base unit); $389 for 2-bike add on
Test Duration: 7 months
Kuat has been one of the go-to brands for premium hitch-mount racks for the past several years. Their original NV was a head turner with its orange accents and clean look, and after three years of development, the new “NV 2.0” offers some new features and refinements to Kuat’s top-of-the-line hitch rack.
I have a lot of experience with the original Kuat NV rack, so I was interested to see how the version “2.0” compared.
Options and Compatibility
The Kuat NV 2.0 comes in two models — the NV 2.0 and the NV Base 2.0 — that are each available in 2” and 1.25” hitch sizes.
It’s worth noting that if you get the 2” hitch on either rack, you can purchase an add-on that will allow you to bump up the carrying capacity from 2 bikes to 4 bikes.
The top-of-the-line model is the NV 2.0, and it goes for $629. The NV Base 2.0 goes for $549, and it is the model I tested.
The primary differences between the NV 2.0 and the NV Base 2.0 are:
(1) Their color and finish — the NV 2.0 comes in a glossy gray, while the NV Base 2.0 comes in matte black.
(2) The NV 2.0 comes with Kuat’s Trail Doc repair stand, while the NV Base 2.0 does not.
Which to Get — Kuat NV 2.0, or NV Base 2.0?
The main difference between the NV 2.0 and the NV Base 2.0 (other than the $80 price tag) is that the regular model comes with the Trail Doc work stand. Personally, I don’t find the Trail Doc stand to be that useful. At the trailhead, I’m prepared to fix a flat or adjust my suspension without a stand, and for more in-depth repairs, I’d prefer to take the bike home and use my regular bike stand anyway, instead of a rack-mounted stand. Plus, the Trail Doc doesn’t extend very far from the rack, so if you have wider flat pedals on your bike, you can’t cycle through the drivetrain.
Having said all that, if you want to have the ability to do some thorough maintenance at the trailhead and your pedals are fairly narrow, you might consider going with the regular NV 2.0.
One last thing: the NV Base 2.0 rack comes in matte black, while the higher-end NV 2.0 comes in a glossy finish. This is entirely subjective, but I personally prefer the more subtle look of the matte-black Base 2.0 to the shinier NV 2.0. But you should follow your heart on this one.
Other than those differences, the NV Base 2.0 and NV 2.0 are very similar in how they are designed and how they perform, so my notes on the NV Base 2.0 also apply to its more expensive sibling.
A feature that sets the NV 2.0 apart from other racks on the market is its ability to carry fat bikes with Kuat’s “Phat Bike Kit” which includes a ratchet strap extension and a strap for extra security on the front wheel. The front wheel cradle easily accepts even the chunkiest 4.8” tread, but personally, I found the Phat Bike Kit’s plastic straps a bit of an afterthought, and I would have liked to see the rack’s stock straps be just a bit longer to accommodate the bigger tires without the need for an extension.
In the end, I found a large Voile ski strap to be the quickest way to secure the rear fat tire.
The NV 2.0 racks can handle 20”-29” tires, but you’ll need a tire adapter kit for 20”-24” wheels. I didn’t use this kit on the rack, but I’ve seen them in use on the original NV, and they work well enough to not worry about losing your bike off the rack.
Kuat states that NV 2.0 racks can accommodate wheelbases up to 48” and bikes up to 60 lbs. each (40 lbs. each if you’re using the add-on to carry four bikes). I didn’t get to test out anything longer than an XL Specialized StumpJumper that has just under a 48” weel base, but that bike fit just fine. There are some newer, long XL models out there (e.g., the Kona Process), that will go over the length limit. So if you have one of these trail monsters, I recommend testing out fit before purchasing.
NEXT: Features, Stability, Etc.