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  1. #1
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    Kuat NV vs. Thule T2 vs. Saris CycleON Pro/Thelma

    Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny?


    I have a 2009 prius and am going to be having u-haul install a 1.25" receiver on it in the next week or two so I can attach a hitch mount bike rack.

    The main bike I'm going to be transporting is a 2010 extra large Reign 0, but maybe occasionally another bike like if I can find a cute bike riding girl to join me every now and then

    So I'm trying to decide which rack to get. Figure it's better to get a decent one now then a cheap one and then a nice one later on.


    So i've been doing a bunch of reading and checking out the threads on here (particularly wingnutt's reviews) and have narrowed it down to the Kuat NV, the Thule T2, and the Saris racks.

    My top two though are the NV and T2 with the Kuat NV coming out slightly ahead of the T2 but the T2 is still in the running and I'm still looking at the Saris to keep my options open

    I'm having a really hard time deciding which one is the best though. The price on all three is within 80 bucks or so of each other so that's not an issue and I would rather go with the one that is the best.

    Things that are important to me:

    1. Stability (how well it holds the bike without damaging it and without the rack swaying or bending)
    2. Build quality, reliability & warranty ( how well the rack is built, how rugged it is, how long it should last, maybe this should be included in the above)
    2. Security features (how well it keeps my rack and bike from getting stolen, I will not leave my bike unattended for any long periods of time, but if i run into a 7/11 real quick which one has better security features to keep someone from doing a fast snatch and grab)
    3. Weight (all seem to be relatively close in weight with thule being the heaviest, but the others not being that much lighter)


    Anyways so I wanted to know what peoples experiences with these racks has been, how do they compare to each other, is one significantly better than the other?

    Also are there other racks that are really good that I should be looking at.

    Thanks for the help.

    Is etrailers the best place to order these things from, anyone order from http://www.backcountryracks.com/
    Last edited by J the J; 07-29-2010 at 01:55 AM.

  2. #2
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    Do not order from etrailer. I ordered a Kuat Sherpa from them a few weeks ago. It said it was in stock, I got an email the next day saying that they needed to wait to get it from Kuat before sending to me, it would take 5-7 days. I was annoyed that it said in stock when it clearly wasn't, but whatever, I didn't complain. 10 days later it hadn't shipped yet so I called. They told me that Kuat hadn't even shipped it to them yet. I asked why I was never informed of this and told her that my previous rack had broken and now I was stuck with no rack for longer, hoping she would offer me a discount on a different rack or something, but nothing. I just canceled my order.

    Just another note, as of last week, both the NV and Sherpa were backordered every place I called. I was told by my LBS that their distributor would have more NVs in today but no Sherpas until the middle of August, but I'd call places before ordering it just to verify.

    Now to answer your questions: The T2 is heavy, 54lbs to be exact. The NV is about 10lbs lighter, not sure about the Saris rack. The NV also comes with the repair stand, that can probably be removed if you don't use it to save a few more pounds. One thing I have always disliked about my friend's T2 is that there's not much space between the bikes, we always have to lower or raise our seats so they don't interfere with each others handlebars. I had a Yakima Hold-Up before and never had this issue, and Kuat says on their website there is a "posh" 13" between bikes, so it shouldn't be an issue with that rack either. The security on the T2 never impressed me either, the arm that secures the wheel locks, but someone could just remove the front wheel and take off with the rest of the bike. My buddy who has one uses a long cable lock and locks it to his trailer hitch, extra work you shouldn't need to do. Lastly, the NV is aluminum so rust won't be a concern if you leave it on your car when you're not using it, like me.

  3. #3
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    Must be the time of the year....I tried ordering a 1Up Quik-Rack...card charged...no word from anyone. I found an out of stock notice on the web page. Tried calling them, emailing them and no returns. Finally I emailed and said that I wanted a refund or I was disputing the card charges. He emailed me with a refund and then said my rack was going to ship the next day...yeah, right.

    I'm looking at the NV but it is heavy and can only do 2 or 4 bikes - I only want 3 stations. The Saris Thelma 3 is my choice, if one can be found. I like the Raxter but they are 2 or 4 as well.
    Wally

  4. #4
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    I have a Thule T2:

    > 1. Stability (how well it holds the bike without damaging it and without the rack swaying or bending)

    rock solid. bikes don't move, rack doesn't move. i can stand on the rack while attached to the car and it doesn't move at all.

    > 2. Build quality, reliability & warranty ( how well the rack is built, how rugged it is, how long it should last, maybe this should be included in the above)

    very well build. it's been very reliable. i've had it 4+ years with no issues.

    > 3. Security features (how well it keeps my rack and bike from getting stolen, I will not leave my bike unattended for any long periods of time, but if i run into a 7/11 real quick which one has better security features to keep someone from doing a fast snatch and grab)

    zero - the t2 has slots for barrel locks, but the only thing they're good for is to prevent accidental release of the handle. plan on getting a nice big chain or cable lock to loop through the bikes and lock to the hitch safety chain loops.

    > 3. Weight (all seem to be relatively close in weight with thule being the heaviest, but the others not being that much lighter)

    it's heavy, but that's related to 1 & 2. it's kind of big when storing in the garage.

    overall, the t2 is a fantastic bike rack.

  5. #5
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    Quote Originally Posted by Straz85
    Do not order from etrailer. I ordered a Kuat Sherpa from them a few weeks ago. It said it was in stock, I got an email the next day saying that they needed to wait to get it from Kuat before sending to me, it would take 5-7 days. I was annoyed that it said in stock when it clearly wasn't, but whatever, I didn't complain. 10 days later it hadn't shipped yet so I called. They told me that Kuat hadn't even shipped it to them yet. I asked why I was never informed of this and told her that my previous rack had broken and now I was stuck with no rack for longer, hoping she would offer me a discount on a different rack or something, but nothing. I just canceled my order.

    Just another note, as of last week, both the NV and Sherpa were backordered every place I called. I was told by my LBS that their distributor would have more NVs in today but no Sherpas until the middle of August, but I'd call places before ordering it just to verify.
    I just emailed bothe Kuat and etrailer. Kuat said they were out of stock on the black-chrome Sherpa but have restocked and shipped. Both Kuat and etrailer said they were in-stock and ready to ship. I ordered a Sherpa from etrailer and have received two emails stating it will ship in 24-48 hours.

    BR

  6. #6
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    I own the Thule T2. I like it and have used it a lot to haul up to four bikes.

    I wish it was made of aluminum. It is quite a load to carry from my shed to either the hitch on my truck or the hitch on my camper.

    Mine swayed from side to side and up and down, a lot. So much so that the number four bike was shaken off the rack while driving outside of Zion. The bracket that secures the cross beams the bikes sit on just slid off the heavy duty main beam. There was no stop bolt to prevent this and the bolts on the bracket were all tightened properly. The bracket simply stretched as a result of the heavy bikes bobbing and swaying as we drove the road to Gooseberry Mesa. I have since added a stop bolt to prevent it from happening again. Other stories similar to mine were posted here last year, including a serious accident in the Houston area where a bike and the tray fell off a T2 and a driver swerved to miss it and there vehicle was struck by a tractor trailer rig.

    Also, the device that slides down onto the front wheel is touchy. You have to slide it down and giggle it while applying presure to get it to seat properly. Otherwise you will experience a fair amount of play. It will also take the paint off a small portion of your fork, due to the foam rubbing against it as it wiggles slightly during transport.

    About the sway and up and down movement I was troubled with. I purchased a device that stabilizes the rack and it has removed 95% of all the swaying that led to the accident on the highway when my wifes bike fell off the rack.

    Anti-wobble device
    [IMG][/IMG]

    To address the issue of getting bikes loaded without having to lower seats, I usually load 3-4 bikes and if I place the bikes in a certain order, they don't interfere with each other. This is important because the movements of each bike can rub a lot of paint off or even wear through a cable or seat.

    Even if you can remove most of the play in your receiver hitch, the bikes will still shake side to side while in transport. I use a bungee cord to pull them together a bit and keep them more stable.

    The T2 rack will accommodate a 29er, but just barely. I have to extend the arm out fully and also squeeze my front tire under the arm with a sturdy shove. They should have designed the arms to be an inch or two longer. Perhaps they have already addressed this issue on newer models.

    I own three of the strongest locks made, along with hardened steel chains between six and seven feet long. Twice there have been attempts to steal my bike. Both failed because I am using the best security lock and chain made. My friends Pugsly was stolen while secured with a thick cable lock. They cut it like butter and after barely scratching my quadra-chain, they left my bike unharmed. Cable locks that often come as an accessory on racks, are to keep honest people away. They do nothing to deter real bike thiefs. Invest in a quality rack and then do the same for bike security.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    T2 rack ( 2" receiver )

    1. Stability - poor

    2. Build Quality - fair

    3. Security Features - none

    4. Weight - Very Heavy (4 Bike Setup)



    I am unfamiliar with the other racks you are considering. I would take interest in any rack that is made of aluminum, if it is built strong and is easy to load and unload bikes from. Again, despite being critical of my T2 rack, I am enjoying it and have adapted to it, and made upgrades to improve it's existing features.



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  7. #7
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    I picked up my NV from the LBS yesterday. He gave it to me for $419! He asked me how much I had seen it for online, I told him everywhere that sold it was $475. Only thing I'm unhappy about is the box got a little beaten up during shipping and one of the pieces has a big dent and scratch in it. I'm going to contact Kuat to see if they'll replace that part, otherwise I'll go back to the LBS and see if there's anyway I can just get that part, I don't want to have to assemble a whole new one. Anyway, I put it on my car tonight and will be using it for the first time in the morning. I'll let you know how I like it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straz85
    Do not order from etrailer. I ordered a Kuat Sherpa from them a few weeks ago. It said it was in stock, I got an email the next day saying that they needed to wait to get it from Kuat before sending to me, it would take 5-7 days. I was annoyed that it said in stock when it clearly wasn't, but whatever, I didn't complain. 10 days later it hadn't shipped yet so I called. They told me that Kuat hadn't even shipped it to them yet. I asked why I was never informed of this and told her that my previous rack had broken and now I was stuck with no rack for longer, hoping she would offer me a discount on a different rack or something, but nothing. I just canceled my order.

    Just another note, as of last week, both the NV and Sherpa were backordered every place I called. I was told by my LBS that their distributor would have more NVs in today but no Sherpas until the middle of August, but I'd call places before ordering it just to verify.

    Now to answer your questions: The T2 is heavy, 54lbs to be exact. The NV is about 10lbs lighter, not sure about the Saris rack. The NV also comes with the repair stand, that can probably be removed if you don't use it to save a few more pounds. One thing I have always disliked about my friend's T2 is that there's not much space between the bikes, we always have to lower or raise our seats so they don't interfere with each others handlebars. I had a Yakima Hold-Up before and never had this issue, and Kuat says on their website there is a "posh" 13" between bikes, so it shouldn't be an issue with that rack either. The security on the T2 never impressed me either, the arm that secures the wheel locks, but someone could just remove the front wheel and take off with the rest of the bike. My buddy who has one uses a long cable lock and locks it to his trailer hitch, extra work you shouldn't need to do. Lastly, the NV is aluminum so rust won't be a concern if you leave it on your car when you're not using it, like me.
    I agree. Do not order from etrailer. They have terrible customer service.
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  9. #9
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    I used the NV several times over the past 5 days, including on a 1+ hour drive and on some bumpy roads. I really like it so far. Seems more stable than the T2 or Yakima Hold-Up (which I owned previously). I really like how it attaches, no tools necessary for the anti-sway feature, unlike the competition. The only thing you need is the key for the hitch pin lock. I do not like the lock that retracts into the rack though, it's not even long enough to get through the frame of one bike, it might as well not even be included. I use a much thicker cable lock and attach it to the hitch itself. I would do the same thing with the T2 though, so no advantage/disadvantage there, but the Hold-Up had a cable lock system that I liked. The weight is slightly less than the Hold-Up (46lbs) so it's definitely less than the T2 (54lbs). Overall, if I were spending the money again (and hadn't run into the issue with the pin backing out several times), I'd probably go with the Hold-Up again. For $75 less and the better locking system, I am sold. But I can't justify keeping it when I, as well as others, have had the issue with the pin backing out and the rack falling to the "tilted" position. I would give the NV a solid B, points mainly lost for the half-assed lock.

  10. #10
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    I got my Saris Thelma 3 and promptly installed it on my car/truck, loaded some bikes and took it for a spin. Load and unload time is very quick. The bikes are stable, the hitch lock I ordered extra is robust and works well. I'm just going to use the same 8 ft 3/8" thick cable and Kryptonite lock I've used for ever. Best of all the rack weighs next to nothing. I'm going to weigh it with my Park scale but its under 30 lbs for sure.
    I looked hard at the NV but the 4 bike version was 80 lbs; thats from Kuat and is the combined weight of a 2 bike NV and the 2 bike add-on. Wow, thats a lot to lug around.

    I'm pretty happy so far with the Thelma. Well thought out, well made and reachable to answer questions. Rack, lock and all was <$350.
    Wally

  11. #11
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    Kuat NV!!!!

    I was in your same position. After alot of reading and reviews of the T2 and there problems I bought the NV. Grant it not everyone has had problems with the T2. For me the deal breaker was, light weight, aluminum construction (won't rust), integrated bike lock, repair stand, and it also has the ability to add the extra rack to carry 4 bikes just like the T2. Very sturdy design, quick and easy to put on your vehicle. Also if I where you go with the 2" receiver versus the 1'1/4 thats if your car can be equipped with one. The downer is the price and the integrateed lock could be alittle longer. Good luck with your decission
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  12. #12
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    Any updated info to these racks? I have a Forester and am torn between the Kuat NV and the Thule T2. Right now I am leaning towards the NV due to the advanced features as well as bike workstand attachment, on the other hand, the Thule has more locking points than the Kuat. Any feedback to help me make a decision?

  13. #13
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    Get a 1up it will be the last rack you will ever have to buy

  14. #14
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    Not really a fan of the design. I am looking at the Thule or Kuat.

  15. #15
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    Kuat NV vs. Thule T2 vs. Saris CycleON Pro/Thelma

    I think the Kuat design is a little bit more functional than the t2. My biggest complaint is the rear wheel strap on the Thule rack had a tendency to "lose itself".

  16. #16
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    You talking the ratchet strap? I just found the Kuat is 19lbs lighter than the Thule as well. Really leaning that way now until proven differently...

  17. #17
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    Kuat NV vs. Thule T2 vs. Saris CycleON Pro/Thelma

    Yes. The rear ratchet strap. I believe that the Kuat is lighter but not 19 lbs lighter - I wouldn't even say 10...regardless of what you might see printed from Kuat. It's a 59 lb box to ship compared to a 60 lb box from Thule.

  18. #18
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    Kuat NV vs. Thule T2 vs. Saris CycleON Pro/Thelma

    Good call, just checked again, that was the Sherpa.

  19. #19
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    You can lose the rear strap on the Thule T2 but only of you are doing it wrong. Never undo it from the ratchet mechanism, only undo the "ball" side. I would choose the Kuat NV over the T2 but only if I was only carrying two bikes. If you think you'll ever carry 4, the NV is the worst of the bunch. It puts the bikes way too close together.
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  20. #20
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    I don't plan on being the shuttle ever so 2 is probably the most I will do.

  21. #21
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    NV is great. I loan the repair stand to people all the time, and the lock is perfect.

  22. #22
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    Now it has the cable lock system as well as a locking point at the 2" hitch receiver right?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Island20v View Post
    Now it has the cable lock system as well as a locking point at the 2" hitch receiver right?
    Yes. Cable lock that stores in the tray, and comes with a hitch lock. Same key for both.

  24. #24
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    Awesome. Going to go with the NV. Lets see how long it takes to ship.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock dude View Post
    Get a 1up it will be the last rack you will ever have to buy
    Best rack on the market bar none...nothing else comes close to the 1up.

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