Kuat NV First Impressions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Kuat NV First Impressions

    I finally broke down and bought my first bike rack. No more taking my bike apart and trying to stuff it in my Jeep. I went with the Kuat NV, though it was a tough choice as the 1up rack looks good and gets rave reviews. I was about to go with the 1up w/ the one bike add on ($500) but then ran across the Kuat NV on ebay for $465 (no tax free shipping, same as 1up) http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=220770661505 I ordered the rack mid morning on Monday and it arrived on Wednesday (from Indiana to Texas). The one big item that sold me was the Trail Doc feature. There have been a number of times where this would have been really handy. The rack was packaged really well and assymbally was simple. Once the rack is together it is a sight to behold. I actually feel like I got my money's worth with this rack. Fit, finish, and features are top notch. It looks just like the pictures on the Kuat website. I was afraid when I got it in my hands it may be cheaply done with thin tubing, etc. Well its not. It's one heavy duty rack. It mounted up nicely on my 2006 Jeep Wrangler. Very solid. My bike cleared the spare tire easily. When tilted down I could get the back door of the Jeep opened 1/2 way (remember Jeep Wranglers the back door is hinged on the side like your car door not from the top like a hatchback). One small complaint I had read was the keys for the provided hitch lock and the keys for the locking bike cables were different (keyed differently). My rack they are keyed the same. So one key will fit both locks. They sent 3 keys for each lock so I have 6 keys total. I put my 29er and my road bike on the rack and was able to run the lock cables thru the rear triangle of both bikes and lock them simple enough. I agree with others who have commented that an extra inch or two of cable would not have hurt. According to the Kuat website the cable length was determined to be on the short side so the cable lock would not flap around and scratch up bikes. I guess that makes sense. Tilting the frack up and down is super easy. I tried out the Trail Doc and it was easy to use and actually works really well. If there was some way to lock the Trail Doc into place that would be nice. It would be easy for someone to steal it. Not a deal breaker though as you can easily pull it out and throw it in the car while unattended. That's about it for now. Just a really nice rack. Heading to Colorado with it in a few weeks and will update this if problems arrise. I just don't see how anything could come up from what I see so far.

  2. #2
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    I like my Kuat NV also no problems so far, and with the hitch locking mechanism it doesnt rack back and forth like my yakima did, and many times i dont even use a hitch pin as it tightens well for short drives! good luck!

  3. #3
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    Yes being able to turn the knob to tighten up the hitch in the reciever is a nice feature all racks should have. Never thought about not using the hitch pin but I guess that is what 1up racks do since they don't have a hitch pin. Loaded up my bikes and drove around town running errands to see how it worked before heading out to Colorado. Bikes and rack were rock solid. It pretty easy to watch them in an open top Jeep.

  4. #4
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    Make sure you take a look at the kuat site as there was a recall on certain NV's. Mine was one of the recalled units, but they were amazing with communication and shipping out parts quickly.

  5. #5
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    Wall of text ftl.

    If they were the same price, which route would you have went?

  6. #6
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    i checked and mine is not on the recall list.

    If the Kuat and the 1up were the same price I am still happy with my decision. In reality they are the same price. Once you hit $500 then $25 either way isn't to big a deal. It was a tough choice as I have never seen either rack in person and went by reviews and pictures. The Trail Doc feature is what pushed my towards the Kuat. Also if I want to expand to 4 bikes the Kuat will be cheaper. Since I am $465 into it and if I pick up a 2 bike expansion for $300 then I am out $765. The 1up I would be out $900.

  7. #7
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    I just received my Kuat NV and like the previous posts, I am quite happy that I did. (and the trail doc sold me too). Love that when you tighten it into the hitch it doesn't move. Great features and great looks! Also thanks to Scott at Cracks and Racks where I purchased the rack from. Great communication, easy to deal with and a nice discount for forum members! Can't beat that.

  8. #8
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    i went with the Kuat Sherpa and am loving it! great rack IMO.
    Try to be good.

  9. #9
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    The Serpa and the NV are very similar.

    I am very impressed that the NV does not move at all. Reading what some people had to write about "other" hitch type racks and to expect to see movement in your rear view mirror, I was pleasantly surprised that there is very little to no movement of the rack. I love the tightening feature of the NV in the hitch.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmiked View Post
    The Serpa and the NV are very similar.

    I am very impressed that the NV does not move at all. Reading what some people had to write about "other" hitch type racks and to expect to see movement in your rear view mirror, I was pleasantly surprised that there is very little to no movement of the rack. I love the tightening feature of the NV in the hitch.
    i also have a Thule T2. when new there wasn't a lot of movement. now that it is old (abused and worn out for sure as it is 5 yrs old, has been used with 4 bikes for about 75000 miles) it has a lot of movement. only time will tell, but it seems to me that the Kuat pivots should hold up as good if not better.
    Try to be good.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme View Post
    i also have a Thule T2. when new there wasn't a lot of movement. now that it is old (abused and worn out for sure as it is 5 yrs old, has been used with 4 bikes for about 75000 miles) it has a lot of movement. only time will tell, but it seems to me that the Kuat pivots should hold up as good if not better.
    Hopefully the Kuat's do hold up better!

    Do you leave your rack on the car all the time?

  12. #12
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    As the OP I figured I would update. I just got back from my trip to Colorado and put around 2000 miles on the rack. It held solid the entire time. The rack is super easy to use and I just don't see anything likely to break on this rack. If there was anything I would like to change about the rack, and could probably easily fabricate something, would be some sort of way to lock the Trail Doc into place. I was a little paranoid somebody would walk by and steal it so I took it off and threw it in the car which it remained the entire trip. Just something to keep honest people honest when at the gas station or parked around town. When at the trailhead it's easy enough to throw it in the car.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brazos View Post
    As the OP I figured I would update. I just got back from my trip to Colorado and put around 2000 miles on the rack. It held solid the entire time. The rack is super easy to use and I just don't see anything likely to break on this rack. If there was anything I would like to change about the rack, and could probably easily fabricate something, would be some sort of way to lock the Trail Doc into place. I was a little paranoid somebody would walk by and steal it so I took it off and threw it in the car which it remained the entire trip. Just something to keep honest people honest when at the gas station or parked around town. When at the trailhead it's easy enough to throw it in the car.
    I agree on the Trail Doc. I also keep mine in the back of the car and take it out as needed.

  14. #14
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    More info on movement while in motion. The part of the rack inserted into the reciever hitch has a tightening mechanism (just like 1UP racks). So the foundation for the rack is very solid. There is a little movement that comes from the bracket that tilts the rack platform up and down. Not much movement but in theory after 75K miles it could become worse like the poster above experienced with his Thule. Only time will tell.

  15. #15
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    I snarfed an NV 2 up from coloradocyclist.com for $399 this weekend (they still have stock on the 2" receiver version if someone's interested).

  16. #16
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    That's a great deal. I searched all around for more than a week and $465 (no tax, free shipping) was the best deal I could find. One thing about my NV2 is that everyone that sees it just stands there and stares at it. I get lots of compliments. It is a great looking rack.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brazos View Post
    That's a great deal. I searched all around for more than a week and $465 (no tax, free shipping) was the best deal I could find. One thing about my NV2 is that everyone that sees it just stands there and stares at it. I get lots of compliments. It is a great looking rack.
    +1 same here. Lot's of compliments on the looks of it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmiked View Post
    Hopefully the Kuat's do hold up better!

    Do you leave your rack on the car all the time?
    yes. i do not remove the racks. too much hassle. that is why i buy ones that fold up!
    Try to be good.

  19. #19
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    Got mine the other day. It is totally awesome- a friend of mine has a Thule T2 which looks mighty utilitarian now

  20. #20
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    Before I begin I do want to point out that I've found the Kuat company to definitely stands behind their product as even though I've had more than my fair share of issues with their product they have always been quick to send me replacement parts.

    When I purchased the rack it was missing the plastic sleeve that holds the trail doc in place so I had to get that piece mailed out which wasn't a big deal as I admit I haven't used the trail doc as much as I thought I would.

    I then began having problem where the arm that holds the wheel in place would not disengage. That made for some fun times where I'd have to deflate my front tire to allow for enough room to get the bike out. After some research online I discovered it had been recalled and a quick email to Kuat they were able to send out new parts to fix my arms.

    My next issue I had was while driving with the bike the lever that you flip to move the rack up towards your car or down and away to access the hatchback came off. This caused my rack to drop into the down position while doing 70mph down the highway. Talk about getting your hear going to see your rack getting awfully close to hitting pavement. Fortunately I was able to load the bikes into the car on an off ramp. Another email to the Kuat guys and they sent me the replacement parts.

    My final frustration came this week when one of my arms no longer engages, instead of the clicking noise you should hear as the arm moves closer to your wheel it just slides up and down so it can't be locked into place. Fortunately I have a friend with a spare arm that he can give me so I can replace it.

    After all this I've begun to get a little paranoid of having the bikes on the rack and I plan to switch back to the Thule T2 even if it is heavier, rusts faster and doesn't have the super slick expanding bolt that allows you to take it on and off your car in a snap.

    I very well could have just gotten a lemon and like all products you need to take the good reviews with the bad reviews while making your decision. I've read enough good reviews of Kuat products that based on their customer service I'd still recommend them to others but for my personal use and experience it is time to part ways.

  21. #21
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    Hitch done the other day... here's the end result (totally awesome!).

    Last edited by edubfromktown; 07-01-2011 at 09:28 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    I snarfed an NV 2 up from coloradocyclist.com for $399 this weekend (they still have stock on the 2" receiver version if someone's interested).
    Damn the price went back up.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWorms View Post
    Damn the price went back up.
    Can't be on sale forever!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmiked View Post
    Can't be on sale forever!
    Did not realize it was a sale price. But you are correct.

  25. #25
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    Brazos,
    What size tires do you have on your Jeep? I'm considering the NV but don't know if I will have enough space for it to fold up b/c of the size of the spare on the back. thx

  26. #26
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    My tires (Including the spare) are the stock 30x9.5x15 that came on my 2006 Jeep Wrangler. Hope that helps. I do have a Ranch Hand bumper on the back of the Jeep with a built in reciever hitch. My reciever hitch starts about where the outedge of the tire sits.

  27. #27
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    Just got my NV rack today (1 1/4" version). Looks great, functions great. Very glad I did the research and chose this rack.

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