Kuat NV Core; initial impressions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Kuat NV Core; initial impressions

    I recently bought this and thought I'd share my initial impressions for those who might be considering this rack. I wont go into a lot of detail for assembly but suffice to say if you are even somewhat mechanical you should be able to figure it out. I had mine together in about an hour.
    I bought it through Cracks and Racks because I'd seen Scott from C&R responding to a lot of peoples inquiries on this board and figured I'd throw some business his way. Turns out it was the best deal I found too because he gives a 10% discount for MTBR members and has free shipping. The rack with locks (which are additonal) wound up costing me $412. Another online store had it for $415 and free shipping but no discount so if I had bought the locks it would have been over $450.
    As you can see from the pics I own a 2000 CRV and previously had a Thule XT hitch mount for several years. I liked it but it rusted over time and was a beast to carry.
    The Kuat mounts to the hitch just like the Thule using a threaded bolt and lock washer to tighten it down. This system worked good with the Thule so I don't forsee any problems here. One nice thing they have done is included a 2" adapter so you can use the rack with either a class 1 or 2 hitch. How sturdy the adapter is I cant say because I have a class 1 but its nice to know I can swap it around if needed.
    Once on my CRV I noticed I could fold the rack up and it didn't bump into my spare tire, nice. The Thule would hit so I had to remove one of the rear wheel trays to get it locked in the folded position. Conversely when folded down for rear vehicle access the Kuat doesn't get low enough to allow to me to open the rear door more than a couple inches. The Thule did. This may be partly due to my tire being an oversized AT but the rear door makes contact too. Not a huge deal to me and the advantage is that the rack sits higher off the ground in bike carrying mode than the Thule which allows more clearance when shuttling logging roads (not that I'd ever take it off-road ) Also due to the lighter weight I plan to take this one off more which is something I didn't do with the Thule.
    One other fit issue is the tray closest to my spare tire. I have to remove the pedal from the bike in that tray or it rubs my spare. I'm looking into a way to modify the fit to push it out a bit at the hitch and this would take care of the problem and possibly the above mentioned clearance problem as well. But that is one disadvantage to a fixed tray design like the Kuat. With the Thule I could move the trays on the bar back to front and side to side.
    Stability between the bike and rack seems as good as the Thule so far but I've only used it on paved roads, its a late spring here around Seattle...I will update once I get some more time on this rack but overall I am happy with it. Its light, stable and has a nice stealth black appearance.


  2. #2
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    Get yourself an extension with an anti-wobble/extension lock. This will solve your access issues as well as provide clearance for the spare and your pedal.
    Softride 25219 Tightening Hitch Pin Anti-Wobble for Towing
    7" Hitch Extension for 2" Receiver Hitches and Bike Racks

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    Get yourself an extension with an anti-wobble/extension lock. This will solve your access issues as well as provide clearance for the spare and your pedal.
    Softride 25219 Tightening Hitch Pin Anti-Wobble for Towing
    7" Hitch Extension for 2" Receiver Hitches and Bike Racks
    Thanks Mr Bacons. I do have a 2" extension and was considering using it but was not aware of the "anti-wobble" pin. Seems like a good idea. Cheers.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, any extension you use you will want it to lock to the receiver as well as bolt down to rid yourself of the dreaded wobble.

  5. #5
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    Nice review...thanks. Glad we could help you on this.
    one thing i noticed about your install is that you have the ratchet arm towards the inside of the vehicle rather than the outside. it doesn't really matter from a functional standpoint, but it is designed to be on the outside, away from the car, for easier use. but before switching it, I would check to make sure you don't have any spare tire/compatibility issues.

    If you use an adapter/extension on your 1 1/4" hitch, the softride 25219 won't work well. typically the male portion of the 1 1/4" that goes into the existing receiver is constructed of solid steel which wouldn't allow you to insert the nut to get it tight.
    you can look for one that has an "open" back but that could be a long search. let me know if you do find one...i'd be interested to see it. the other option is to have someone tap threads into the solid piece and get a corresponding nut. a good tap/die kit could do that probably.
    that way, you can screw it down and tighten it up and take out the wobble.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    Yeah, any extension you use you will want it to lock to the receiver as well as bolt down to rid yourself of the dreaded wobble.
    I've got a friend who is pretty handy with a welding torch, I think he could achieve a nice wobble free fit

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cracksandracks.com View Post
    Nice review...thanks. Glad we could help you on this.
    one thing i noticed about your install is that you have the ratchet arm towards the inside of the vehicle rather than the outside. it doesn't really matter from a functional standpoint, but it is designed to be on the outside, away from the car, for easier use. but before switching it, I would check to make sure you don't have any spare tire/compatibility issues.

    If you use an adapter/extension on your 1 1/4" hitch, the softride 25219 won't work well. typically the male portion of the 1 1/4" that goes into the existing receiver is constructed of solid steel which wouldn't allow you to insert the nut to get it tight.
    you can look for one that has an "open" back but that could be a long search. let me know if you do find one...i'd be interested to see it. the other option is to have someone tap threads into the solid piece and get a corresponding nut. a good tap/die kit could do that probably.
    that way, you can screw it down and tighten it up and take out the wobble.
    Scott, thanks for pointing out the obvious, "duh" to me. I just went out and looked at the rack and yes I can swap the trays around and put the arms to the outside....will give that a shot. Also have you had any problems with the ratcheting mechanism? There seems to be a bit of play at the top between the chrome arm and the black housing......

  8. #8
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    Scott after having the rack for a season, how do you like it? Also, do the lock cables retract back into the rack? If not, how do they stay in the rack when not in use?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by montag View Post
    Scott after having the rack for a season, how do you like it? Also, do the lock cables retract back into the rack? If not, how do they stay in the rack when not in use?
    Its been a good rack for me. I haven't had a lot of opportunities to test it out on logging roads loaded up with bikes (sadly priorities were elsewhere this summer) as that is the true test of durability for me but for getting to the trailhead and back it works well. A few things I've noticed; paint is already sort of faded or just washed out looking but not chipping so not a huge thing for me, ratcheting mechanism seems kind of cheap but so far continue to work, locks are handy but a PITA to get to go back into the rack....let me know if you have other questions.

  10. #10
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    I've had one of these since the spring and overall like it. The two areas that I'm not overly impressed with are how quickly it shows it age and that it rattles like a spray can. For comparison I also have a Thule T2 on our second car as well as a SportRack 2EZ platform rack I've held onto over the years.
    The Core NV was very impressive new out of the box. Nice, light, much easier to fold than the Thule. Quality seemed pretty good. Even though this is at the lower end of their line it's still what I would consider a premium rack given the price. For this kind of money I would expect a bit more. Overall it's a solid rack but they seemed to drop the ball in the details. After only a month of time on the car it started showing wear, paint fading, stickers peeling off, and paint rubbing off. I typically leave my racks on all summer but I find myself removing this one more than either the Thule or the SportRack just because of how much it rattles. Seems to be a flaw in the design and/or a trade off for the smooth action when folding or unfolding the rack. I was using a long cable lock to lock the bikes to the rack but recently decided to purchase their lock kit. My disappointment in their execution continues with the lock kit. First off the lock ends don't seat firmly in the tray end caps. Probably not a big deal now but I see it as another source of a future rattle. Also, they include a rubber boot to protect the lock cylinder from the elements. The issue I have with it is once you remove it (to lock or unlock the bikes) you have no place to stow it. Why not have a leash or something that secures it to the lock itself? My fears were realized literally the first time I drove with the cover on the lock. Just a trip to the store and back and it had fallen off the rack and was lost. Strike two on the lock is the hitch lock itself. When it's installed on the pin and locked it just hangs there very loosely. It doesn't snug up on the pin so as you drive it bounces against the hitch rack and creates more noise. My fix for this was to use a rubber band to secure it against the side of the hitch. Again, not well thought out.
    My reason for buying the Kuat rack over another Thule was because I wanted something lighter and something that would hold up longer than our Thule did. The Thule is showing it's age big time but given that it's age, 4 years, I have to think it has held up better than the Core NV would in that same time. Time will tell. I don't mean to come across like I'm bashing the rack. It works as intended and hold my bikes very securely. My disappointment in it is 100% in the details. Maybe these issues are addressed by their higher end racks but to me it seems like poor engineering.
    Egg

  11. #11
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    Was looking at the same hitch, has the nv core been discontinued? It does not look to be available in most outlets. And a double check, you can fold it up on the crv with that tire?

    I was also wondering if it required an attachment for 16 inch wheels?

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