Roads Less Traveled
Nifty new Küwat NV Bike Rack.
The bike rack folds flat against the back of the truck.
The bike rack is folded down and ready for bikes to be mounted.
A strap is cinched over the rear
wheel to hold the bike in place on
A lever arm folds up and down to hold each bike in place.
The lever arm can extend and
retract with the press of a button.
The lever arm holds the bike in
place on the rack.
Mounted and ready to go.
There is a built-in, retractable bike lock.
The two ends pull out and can be
snaked through the bike(s) to lock them
to the rack.
This image shows the locked lock without a bike.
One end of the lock inserts into the other.
Bike is mounted and locked to the rack.
Two bikes mounted and locked.
An clever feature is the bike stand.
Insert the stand into this quick release
The bike rack is folded flush to the back
ot he truck/trailer, the bike stand is
inserted into it and clamped down with a
Magic!! A bike stand!! The bike's wheels and
pedals are free to spin and you can do
whatever bike mechanic work you need to do.
Two bottoming-out episodes and the round
knob was beginning to look square.
Jack of JM Welding comes to our rescue.
He draws the design on the floor using parts he had
available that day.
The pieces are laid out.
The hitch extension is welded
and has gussets for added
Jack powder coats the whole thing.
"I think it's gonna work!"
Perfect - the bike rack is raised 8" or so off the
We lock the bike rack to the hitch
extension. An internal bolt/nut
attaches the hitch extension to
the hitch receiver and would be
very difficult to undo.
Ahhh… the bike is well off the ground.
Two bikes mounted and ready for their next adventure.
This is a review of the Kuat NV Bike Rack, a high quality, extremely
easy-to-use bike rack that mounts on a trailer hitch.
For several years we lugged our bikes around on the back of our
trailer using a cheap Swagman bike rack that held 3 bikes. It held the
bikes by gripping the top tubes in metal jaws. To mount a bike on the
rack or to dismount it you had to screw or unscrew two long screws
that cinched the rack's jaws closed around the top tube. There were
several frustrating problems with this rack:
• It was time consuming to mount and dismount the bikes
• The rack's gripping jaws gouged the bikes' top tubes and
chipped off the paint
• The whole rack jiggled wildly in the hitch receiver as we drove,
especially on rough roads
• If the trailer bottomed out in a ditch, the bikes' tires dragged on the ground
• There was no way to lock the bikes onto the rack
• We had to use bungee cords to keep the wheels from spinning as we drove
At the 2011 Interbike bicycle trade show in Las Vegas Mark checked out every bike rack manufacturer for a better solution. He
finally settled on one made by Küwat, a small company out of Missouri. This is a slick bike rack. It is simple, easy to use and
solves almost all the problems we had with the Swagman (see note below).
RACK IS HELD TIGHT IN THE HITCH RECEIVER
The rack cinches into the trailer hitch using a clever expansion
mechanism you control with a round plastic knob at the back of the
rack. Set the rack into the hitch receiver, tighten the knob until very
tight (or use an allen wrench to get it super tight), and the inner
expansion mechanism holds the rack rock solid in the hitch receiver.
The rack doesn't move at all.
The rack can be folded flush against the back of the trailer (or car/
truck) when not in use.
Then fold it down when you are ready to load some bikes onto it.
EASY MOUNT / DISMOUNT
The rack holds two bikes that face in opposite
directions. Each bike's wheels rest on a tray. The front
wheel goes into a rounded tray that keeps it from
rolling. An adjustable strap loops over the rear wheel to
hold it in place. Then an adjustable lever-arm is
tightened onto the front wheel next to the fork to keep
the whole bike in place.
So to mount a bike there are three quick steps:
1. Place the bike's wheels on the rack's tray
2. Tighten the rear strap around the rear wheel.
3. Move the lever arm into place on the front tire in front
of the fork and apply pressure to cinch it down.
The bike(s) can be locked using
retractable built-in plastic shielded
cable wires. One wire comes out of
each end of the rack. Snake the two
wires through the wheels and frame(s)
of the bike(s), and insert one
connector into the other to lock the
bikes to the rack. Easy!
To dismount the bikes simply release the rear wheel strap,
press the thumb button on the front wheel lever arm to extend
it and lower it, and lift the bike off the rack.
KUAT NV BIKE RACK BECOMES A BIKE STAND!
As a bonus, the rack includes a built-in bike stand for working
on your bikes.
Simply fold the bike rack up so it is flush with the trailer (or
back of your car/truck). Insert the bike stand unit using a
quick release lever.
Mount the bike into the stand by its top tube using the quick
Now the pedals and wheels can spin freely and you can do
whatever maintenance your bike needs, from lubing the
chain to replacing the bottom bracket.
ONE PROBLEM - AND A GREAT FIX
Side note: Kuwat does not recommend putting their bike
racks on the backs of trailers due to the long distance
between the rack and the rear wheels of the trailer. That long
distance puts extra force on the bike rack as the trailer goes
over bumps in the road and makes it possible for the rack to
hit the ground when the trailer bottoms out going through dips
in the road.
The only problem we had with this rack -- one that was
easily remedied -- is that the rack sat quite low to the
ground because the hitch receiver on the back of our
fifth wheel is fairly low, and the rack sticks out quick far
from the back of the trailer. When the trailer bottomed
our (for instance, entering/exiting some gas stations),
the outer end of the rack dragged on the ground. We
had two episodes like this, one going in and out of a gas
station and the other doing a u-turn at a National Park
parking lot. These mishaps scraped the rubber right off
the rack's expansion knob in two places.
While driving through Blanding, Utah, we asked at the
Visitors Center if there was a good welder/fabricator in
town. We were sent to see Jack Montella of JM
Welding, and in a few hours he created the
He built an S (or Z) shaped hitch extension that
fits into our trailer hitch receiver and provides a
new higher receiver for the bike rack.
Things like this are available commercially, but when we
priced it out, the cost would have been similar and would
have required waiting for the part to be shipped. So Jack
made a custom one for us on the spot.
After drawing a picture of the hitch extension on the floor, he quickly cut the
pieces and welded it together. He put two gussets in the corners to provide
extra strength and powder coated it. Our only concern with the design was
that this new extension wouldn't fit tightly in the trailer's hitch receiver,
making both the rack and bikes jiggle as we drove.
Jack had a perfect
solution. He welded a
nut into the inside of the
new hitch extension
where the hitch pin goes through the hitch receiver and the
hitch extension. Then he fabricated a long bolt that would go
through both the trailer's hitch receiver and the hitch
extension. As the bolt was screwed into the nut on the inside
of the hitch extension, the hitch extension was cinched up
tightly against the inside of the trailer's hitch receiver. This
made a rock solid connection.
At the other end of the hitch extension, our bike rack fits into the hitch
extension receiver just as it did into the original trailer hitch receiver,
using Küwat's expansion mechanism inside its tubes.
This has raised the bike rack 8" further off the ground. Now when we
go through a deep dip in the road, the hitch cable rings (a part of the
hitch receive we don't use or care about) drag on the ground rather
than the bottom of the bike rack.
After we installed the bike rack on the new hitch extension I walked behind the trailer
as Mark drove it over a very rough dirt road. The rack and the bikes followed the motion of the trailer and nothing more
-- no jiggling whatsoever.
You can purchase the Kuat NV Bike Rack here.
If you have more than two bikes and are mounting the rack on a car or truck (not recommended for an RV),
you can purchase the Kuat NV bike rack extension here.