Price: $349 (1 bike); $449 (2 bike); $549 (3 bike)
Rack Weight: 1.25″ 1-Bike: 28 lbs; 1.25″ 2-Bike: 35 lbs; 2″ 2-Bike: 37 lbs 2″ 3-Bike: 51 lbs; 1-Bike Add-On: 11 lbs
Carrying Capacity: 1-Bike: 60lbs/Bike; 1 Bike Add On: Weight capacity drops to 40lbs/bike with 2 bike setups; 2-Bike w/ 1.25”-2” Ball Cam: 40lbs/Bike; 2-Bike w/ 2” Flatlock Cam: 60lbs/Bike; 1 Bike Add On: Weight capacity drops to 40lbs/bike with 3 bike setups;3-Bike: 40lbs/Bike; 1 Bike Add On: Weight capacity remains at 40lbs/bike with 4 bike setups
Holds wheels: 18″-29″
Fits wheelbases: Up to a 50″
Rated for RV use: – 2″ 2-bike version only, weight capacity drops to 40lbs per tray
Security: Semi-integrated bicycle cable lock; Tamper-resistant hitch security
Shipping Weight: 1-Bike: 33lbs; 2-Bike, 2”: 44lbs; 3-Bike: 63lbs; 1-Bike Add-on: 16lbs
How Obtained: Company sample
Availability: Online or retail
RBR Advertiser: No
Kuat Improves on an Already Excellent Hitch Rack
In January 2019, I reviewed the Kuat Transfer hitch rack. I liked the rack then but felt the company could improve on a few features. Fast forward, and Kuat addresses many of my suggested improvements, plus more in version 2. For a full rundown of features, view Kuat’s video, but a few of the key enhancements include:
- Increased the wheelbase length from 47″ to 50″
- Holds a wider selection of wheel sizes from 18″-29″ (previously 20″-29″)
- Accommodates more fat bike models with tires up to 5″ with accessory strap (previously 4.5″)
- Increased length of J-arm for better clearance of the hook that holds the front tire
- Semi-integrated bike cable lock
- Flatlock hitch cam used to secure the rack with an 8mm security Allen wrench needed to remove it
Unboxing and Assembly
Like in 2019, I tested the two-bike version, which arrived from Kuat in a single box. I’m in awe of the package designer who kept the packing materials to a minimum, yet everything arrived in perfect condition. Assembly was straightforward and took under an hour, with the company including all the tools in the box. The instructions were easy to follow, except it would have been helpful to have some torque specs. I didn’t know if the bolts should be hand tightened or torqued to a specific nM.
Quality, Modular Design, and Price Make Kuat Racks Appealing
Kuat racks are so appealing because they are affordable, compact for easy storage, and don’t weigh a ton. Ranging from $349 (1 bike) to $549 (3 bikes), the Transfer v2 is an affordable option for those riders looking for a quality hitch rack. When not hauling bikes, the rack folds down and close to the vehicle (take measurements to ensure the wheel cradle won’t hit the bumper). Also, when off the vehicle, the Transfer v2 stows up against the garage wall taking up minimum space. Or use the optional Rackdock ($89) to stow it. Also, as a woman with lower back problems, I appreciate the lightweight—at ~40 lbs for the 2-bike version—the rack is easy to maneuver on and off the car.
Another feature to point out for those with back issues or heavy bikes, the Transfer v2 has an open design, making it easy to load and unload. The center of the rack is an open format allowing you to stand close to the bike when lifting it on or off the rack, thus reducing back strain.
The Transfer v2 has a modular design for 1, 2, 3, and 4 bike options. And as with the first version, it hinges down to enable accessing the vehicle’s hatch/trunk easier.
New Features of the v2
One of the new features of this version is a semi-integrated bike cable lock. It’s is about 7.5′ long and uses a locking pin to secure the cable to the rack. The cable is a deterrent to a thief looking to grab and go but easily snipped with cable cutters. Personally, I don’t leave my bike unattended for very long since I’ve had mine stolen a few years ago while on the rack.
The cable is “semi-integrated,” meaning there’s nowhere on the rack to store it when not in use. Instead, Kuat provides a burlap bag for the tools and cable, but I’d prefer to see a retractable cable making it one less thing to worry about losing.
Kuat provides two keys that come on a keychain that doubles as a bottle opener, always a handy item to have around for post-ride libations.
Another new feature is the flatlock hitch cam that expands with the turn of a special Allen key. As the flatlock expands, the hitch becomes stabilized in the receiver. Double-check the flatlock on long trips, as I found it tends to loosen over time. The 8mm security Allen wrench has a unique head, so a thief can’t remove the rack unless they have the same head. Just don’t lose it, or you won’t be able to get it off your car until Kuat sends a replacement.
It was strange that the instruction manual stated to tighten the flatlock hitch cam to 24 nM. But without the same security Allen head for your torque wrench, you’re guessing at the amount of force to use.
Kuat also lengthened the J-arms on the new version to allow for more clearance with bigger tires. This is something I called out in my initial review as a problem. The longer arm is a much better design and easily clears a mountain bike and 5″ fat tire.
There are accessories available for the Transfer v2 rack:
Pivot v2 – For $398, 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 Pro Hitch Extension – At $119, the HiLo is a 2″ hitch providing 10″ of extension.
Phat Bike Kit – for $15, the kit provides a rear tire extension strap and a Velcro front tire strap
Kuat’s modular design, affordable price, and new Transfer v2 features make this hitch rack a good option. It accommodates a variety of bikes from kids to road to fat tire, and 1, 2, 3, or 4 bike options. Kuat racks can get you and your gear there no matter where the next adventure takes you.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women’s cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri’s full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.
Big Ring Bob says
Recently purchased the 3-bike version and have used it on several trips. Chicago – N Georgia – Chicago with excellent results. Hitch is very stable in the 2″ receiver when tightened down, easy loading and unloading of 3 road bikes, no movement of the bikes during transit. Very solid. My model is the Transfer 2.
Doug Kirk, Madison, WI says
If you ride with fenders you’ll want a rack similar to this one https://saris.com/products/freedom-2-bike.
Plus, it is made right here in Madison, WI
I used to own the Kuat Transfer that held 2 bikes. I liked it, but one of the problems for me was how awkward it was to put the rack on my Jeep and then take it off of it as well. There was no way to neatly store it in my garage either and I have a gigantic garage with plenty of space. It’s just an awkward design for that. I had no fear of any situation that would cause my bikes to fall off or anything like that. Definitely secure.
The reason I got a different one from Thule (single) was that it was lighter and more compact. It was also a lot more expensive, but I have limits for my upper body due to injuries and had to take that into consideration. When I purchased my Kuat from my LBS I purchased the accessory kit that had the 19 mm wrench and the cable locks that actually stored inside the arms. The locking bolt was also a joke. As the author notes, these are only going to deter grab and go, opportunistic thefts. It’s a laughable situation for somebody who really wants your bike/s.
I think the feature I liked the most was that I could fold the support arms out and actually walk into the U-shaped of the frame rather than trying to fiddle around positioning/lifting my bikes over bars that are on many tray racks. I definitely liked that, but that was the highlight for me.
I have no regrets on the time I briefly owned it, but I don’t think I could recommend many I know given our ages over 50 for the reasons I described. Thankfully, my friend who owns the LBS was very anxious to purchase it from me when he found out I wanted to get something different. I wouldn’t deter anyone from purchasing this, but I would highly recommend trying to find an LBS that has it there so you can actually try one out. Again, it’s a fabulous rack for some people, but for others it’s just a bit too cumbersome and I am unfortunately in that club. On the plus side I know it went to a good home and each time I go to the LBS I can see it on my friend’s vehicle and I know he enjoys it – but he’s also 30 with no physical limitations versus me at 51 years old with many physical issues.
Evaluate your bikes, your vehicle, and your physical abilities and purchase accordingly.