- Economically priced for platform hitch rack
- Carries road to fat tire bikes
- Secures bikes without contact with frame
- Fits both 1.25” and 2” receivers
- Easy and quick to assemble, attach to car and load/unload bikes
- High quality assembly tools included with rack
- Spring-loaded foot pedal pivots rack up or down
- Excellent customer service
- Covered for life by No Worries Warranty
- Fat bikes fit but seems to be an afterthought
-Contacted Kuat for instructions to secure fat bike
-Ratchet arm should be 1” longer for easier fat bike loading/unloading
-Requires kit sold separately
- Not recommended for use on recreational vehicles
Price: $219 (1 bike), $298 (2 bikes), $398 (3 bikes)
Receiver: Fits 1.25” and 2” (1.25” 3-bike cannot be used on Class1 hitches)
Tire size: Fits 20-29” tires. Holds up to 4.5” tire with Phat Bike Kit sold separately.
Max Wheelbase: 47”
Max weight/bike: 40 lbs
Rack weight: 1-Bike – 33 lbs; 2-Bike – 37 lbs; 3-Bike – 52 lbs
How Obtained: Company sample
Availability: Online or LBS
RBR Advertiser: No
Tested: 2 months
One Rack for all Your Bikes
I’m sure most of the RBR readers have more than one bike and probably different types of rides. In my garage I have several road bikes, a cross bike and a fat bike. Finding a hitch rack that could transport all types of bikes securely, easily and not brake the bank was my objective when I set out to write this review. I came across the Kuat (pronounced koo-at) Transfer and requested a sample of their 2-bike rack to test. Since I wanted to include fat tire bikes in the mix, they sent me the Phat Bike Kit which is sold separately for $10/bike.
I was very impressed with both the assembly instruction booklet and the tools that were included with the rack. First, the instructions were very easy to follow and understand. They were not written like some manuals where you know each word is English but string the words together and it makes absolutely no sense. The step by step instructions were both in pictures and words. The tools included were high quality and included a 19mm wrench, as well as 8mm, 5mm and 4mm hex wrenches (see picture below). The only tools not supplied that I used were a rubber mallet to tap in end caps and a pliers. Kuat also included a burlap bag to keep store the tools.
It probably took about 30-40 minutes to assemble the rack. There were 16 pieces for the 2-bike rack version, not including hardware (nuts and bolts).
Loading and Transporting
Attaching the rack to the hitch was simple and at 37 pounds for the 2-bike version, it is easily a one-person job. I have a 2” receiver on my SUV and used the supplied hitch bolt, cotter pin and the 8mm wrench to secure it to the vehicle. Once attached to the vehicle, stepping on the spring-loaded foot pedal lowers the rack parallel to the ground. Once the bikes are loaded, the foot pedal can be engaged to lower the rack further to access the vehicle’s hatch/trunk. For shorter people or with heavier bikes, pivoting the rack to the lower position could help with loading/unloading. When not using the rack, it folds up and out of the way. I liked that the Transfer sits close to the car and out of the way when not in use. It’s especially nice when parallel parking or in a tight space.
Since it is winter in Chicago, I wanted to first test carrying two fat bikes. My Trek Farley has 3.8” tires and Mitch’s LaMere has 4.75” tires. Our first attempt was not successful. We couldn’t figure out how to swing the ratchet arm over the huge tires. After several attempts I contacted Kuat for some tips. Their customer service rep was friendly and knowledgeable. He immediately knew what I was talking about and emailed a link to a 7 second video. That tells me that I wasn’t the first to have an issue. Once viewing the video, it was a no brainer and we were able to secure the bikes easily.
The Transfer uses a cradle to hold the tires in place and a ratchet arm (J-shape) that secures the front wheel. This holds the bikes in place without anything touching the frame. A plastic strap is used to secure the rear wheel into the cradle by threading the strap through a ratchet lock. For fat bikes the strap is too short to go around the rear wheel, so the optional Phat Bike Kit comes with a strap extender and a Velcro security strap for the front. The Velcro strap wraps around the cradle and the wheel. The cradles are not wide enough to fit the fat tires, so the straps are needed to keep the bikes secure.
Kuat designed the Transfer rack to keep the bikes from touching each other avoiding scratches or damage to the frame. The ratchet arm hits the tire but nothing on the frame. I found the bikes to be extremely secure in the rack while driving on the highway, taking a tight corner or hitting bumpy railroad tracks.
Fits a Variety of Bikes
The Transfer fits tire sizes 20-29” (up to 4.5” with Phat Bike Kit) and a maximum wheelbase of 47”. The PerfectFit adjustment on the cradles let you swivel the cradle to match your setup. I tested my 60cm road bike, a 56cm road bike, cross bike, MTB and a kid’s bike. All fit securely, with the kid’s bike needing a little adjustment on the cradle angle. As mentioned earlier, the fat bikes fit fine using the Phat Bike Kit. However, the fat tires didn’t sit down in the cradles, hence the additional straps.
Kuat states the Transfer rack can handle a maximum weight of 40 lbs per bike, which covers almost any bike in your garage.
There a few accessories available for the Transfer rack. The company only sent me the Phat Bike Kit, so I can’t speak to the quality or usability of the other items except what I read in online reviews.
- Lock Kits – At $39 for the 2-Bike rack, the lock kit provides a cable for each tray, a lock for the hitch pin and 3 keys. There’s also a kit available for 1-bike ($29) and 3-bike ($49). The hitch pin is designed with a built-in bottle opener to get the post ride party started. Reading some of the online reviews, a common complaint is the cable length is too short and users would like them longer.
- Pivot – For $295 the pivot arm lets you swing the rack away from the rear of the car for even easier access to your hatch or trunk.
- Hi-Lo – At $49 the HiLo is a 2” hitch providing 7” or 10” of extension and 2 1/8” of rise/drop.
- Phat Bike Kit – for $10 the kit provides a rear tire extension strap and a Velcro front tire strap
If you have a variety of bikes you need to haul and/or a tight budget, the Kuat Transfer is an excellent choice. This budget-friendly rack is well made and keeps your bikes securely in place when traveling. The ratchet arm only comes in contact with the front tire, avoiding any scratches to the bike’s frame. A spring-loaded foot pedal allows you to rotate the rack for unloading/loading, access to your hatch or store when not in use. I was also impressed with their friendly customer service rep when I called with a question on loading my fat bike. Definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a hitch rack.
I assume this would not be a useful rack if you have fenders on your bike.
Sheri Rosenbaum says
Chris, you make a really good point. I have a fender on the down tube and rear of my fat bike but no front fender. I reached out to Kuat’s customer service and here’s what they said. Hope that helps.
Bikes with fenders can be put on our racks. Since the hook has to be near the fork we recommend putting something between the tire and fender for support. A piece of dense foam will do the trick. I like to use a piece of rolled up tire tube. The idea is support the fender so it doesn’t get dented by the hook.
Did I miss the explanation for why the Kuat is not recommended for SUVs?
Sheri Rosenbaum says
The rack is fine for SUVs, but not recreational vehicles like campers. I tested the rack on my Toyota Highlander pictured in the review and it worked great.
Jim Langley says
Chuck, I couldn’t tell if you were asking about whether it could be used on an RV. In case that’s what you’re asking, I tested another model, the Kuat NV rack a few years ago. Here’s a link to that review: https://www.roadbikerider.com/kuat-nv-hitch-2-bike-rack-d1/
Kuat told me they did not recommend it being used on an RV. You can see in the review that I wanted to put the rack on my Roadtrek Sprinter van RV (considered a “Class B” RV).. My Roadtrek had a 2-inch hitch on the back as do most Class B, Class C and Class A RVs.
So I called Kuat and asked why they don’t recommend it. What they explained was that many RVs have a long overhang behind the rear wheels. It depends on how long the RV is. The longer it is, the more the overhang is.
What the overhang does is put the rack and bikes at risk to a kind of whiplash force created when you hit rough roads. So, while I got the green light to put the rack on my 20′ Sprinter RV, if I had a 27 footer, it would not have been encouraged. Kuat isn’t the only rack company with this restriction.
I have the Kuat Transfer 2 and absolutely love it. What I like best is that when I’m transporting 2 bikes I can “walk” the first bike into the U shaped frame rather than having to lift it over anything or squeeze myself and the bike between the vehicle and tray. This drastically reduces the chance of banging the bike on the rack and/or strain due to moving awkwardly. When I first saw it I didn’t think it would keep the bikes stable over old RR tracks, but neither bike moved an iota. I no longer obsessively check to ensure they’re stable, though if I’m stopping somewhere anyway I’ll do a quick check. I have the lock kit, but it isn’t for serious theft prevention. Best where you’re making a quick stop in a low crime area. The tools that come with it are better than I would have expected, esp. the 19mm wrench. Highly recommended! Kudos to Kuat.
Joseph Przybylski says
I just bought 2 townie ebikes with fenders on I know if I put holder’s on fenders there will be no paint left on fenders after driving from wis to Florida any suggestions I just purchased from bike shop.