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Product Review: Kuat NV Core Platform Bike Rack

Posted by: Jen Hanks |April 16, 2013 12:06 AM
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Product Review: Kuat NV Core Platform Bike Rack

Written by: Jen Hanks

Mountain bike technology has progressed over the past few years with front thru axles becoming standard and riders running the ultralight Lefty forks on Cannondales and non-Cannondales alike.  While the ultra stiff front end of bikes is great for riding, it is a royal pain having to remove these front wheels to load on a roof rack.  Not to mention finding room for dirty wheels in a jam-packed car.  Because of this and the potential for improved gas mileage, hitch mounted bike racks are becoming more and more popular on passenger vehicles. 

Recently had the opportunity to test out the NV Core hitch-mounted bike rack by Kuat. The NV Core is Kuat’s most affordable hitch mounted platform rack, costing a competitive $439.  Although the NV Core does not have all the bells and whistles of Kuat’s best selling NV, make no mistake, this is still a high-end hitch rack.  Because the rack weighs just 41lbs, it is perfect for use on a passenger car as well as being light enough to easily take on and off the car. Additionally, the hitch neck curves upwards allowing more ground clearance for the average passenger vehicle, which sits lower to the ground.

The Core is easily assembled with the turn of 4 8mm bolts that connect the full length of the trays. All tools needed for assembly are provided with the rack.

The first thing noticeable with the Kuat NV Core rack is the sleek, progressive design.  The NV Core comes in a matte black with silver accents. Unlike other hitch mounted racks, this rack is not an eyesore when attached to the back of your car. 

With the NV Core the bike sits in trays with a ratcheting wheel-lock mechanism attached to the front and rear wheels eliminating the possibility of any frame rubbing.  The rack has common convenience features seen on most high-end hitch mounted bike racks including the ability to fold the rack up when not in use and tilting the rack back when bikes are mounted to access the hatch or trunk.

The NV core has many unique features as well including the ability to adjust it to fit either a 1 ¼” or 2” receiver.  The rack comes able to fit 24-29” inch wheels with tires up to 3” wide and a wheelbase not exceeding 48”.   An adapter to fit 20-24” wheels can be purchased separately if you’re looking to transport BMX or kids bikes.  It easily fits two large 29ers weighing up to 60lbs each with a total carrying capacity of 120lbs; not that the pictured 29ers weigh anything close to 60lbs. 

Once installed, the rack is easy to use and maintenance free, with the exception of occasionally tightening and greasing the center pivot.  A bike can be mounted in seconds and unlike a roof rack removal of the front wheel is unnecessary.

After using this rack almost daily over the course of a couple of months including numerous out-of-town road trips, I have found the rack to be the perfect addition to a passenger vehicle that frequently carries bikes.  The rack allows bikes to be mounted in seconds, is sturdy, looks good, and improves gas mileage over our roof-mounted rack.  The only downside is that when the rack is stored in the folded up position, it is important to remember to fasten the rear tire ratchet to prevent rubbing on the car. 




Looks cool!

Folds and tilts for easy car access

Improved ground clearance

Fits 20” to 29” Wheels

Increases gas mileage over roof rack ~3-5mpg

Adapts for 1¼” or 2” hitch receiver

Eliminates risk of hitting roof-mounted bikes on low overhangs/garages!

None!  With the exception of being responsible and fastening rear ratchet when rack is folded up to prevent rubbing on vehicle



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