Kuat NV Core Rack: Wrap-up- by Grannygear

We assembled and installed a Kuat NV Core and wrote about it here and here and since then we have used it to haul bikes hither and yon on the back of a Mazda 3 hatchback.  In each case I have used it with two bikes on the rack and the bikes themselves have varied, although all of them have been 29″ers.  Of course.  And so far I have been very, very pleased.  So while it takes some time…like a year’s worth of use…to really know how things like straps, surface finish, or hardware holds up over weather and hard use, I do have some impressions that I think will last the distance.

The good:

  • Solid rack.  So at parking lots where bike folks are gathered, I would go around and wiggle other racks I would see on cars.  I was never caught doing this, but I was sneaky.  I obviously did not get to fondle all models and brands of racks, but a good sampling showed me that the KUAT compares very well as far as shake, rattle and roll issues.  Some racks were just awful that way.  The only real movement I get in the rack is some play at the pivot ‘divots’ where the quick release detents are (to allow it to tilt).   And that is a vertical movement that I could see when grabbing the rack and pulling on it, but never when it was in use on the road.  I did have one bolt work loose, the one that is under the bottom of the receiver section, but that was easy to deal with.  I would make it a habit to check all fasteners now and then.
  • Flat out easy to use.  I can have a bike or two on and off that thing in no time at all.  I have folded it down to get hatchback access with two bikes on there and it was easy to do, but you want to get a good grip on things as the weight of two bikes and the rack deserves more than a casual hand on things both on the way down and up.
  • I have been told by an owner of the NV Core that a Fat Bike will work on this thing and I can see that being true.
  • It looks good.
The not so good:
  • Hmmm…not much, but one thing I noticed is that there is no way to adjust the side to side placement of a bike so when you have two on there and your handlebar ends up in conflict with the other bikes saddle, as an example, then you need to work around that by removing or adjusting bike parts, not rack parts.
  • It is not light so installing it on a low mounted hitch like the Mazda 3 has takes some low back caution.  My wife would most likely not be able to do this (or would hate the process) based on her size, strength, and body mechanics limitations.
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All in all I think it is a very solid product and so far has been everything they said it is.  I also added the locking hitch pin option from Kuat just to add a bit of security although I do not care for all the exposed pin shaft that makes it easy to get in there with a sawzall or such thing to cut the lock off.   Still, it would keep the casual opportunist with a wrench in his pocket from walking away with your rack.  I never used a cable lock, but I would just grab one from home and loop it though the safety chain area of the receiver hitch if I was to go that route.

We will continue to use the Kuat NV Core and will report back if anything changes!

Kuat’s website.

Note: Kuat sent the NV Core for test and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being bribed, nor paid to do this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.