Kuat Hitch Bike Racks Review - 2021 Subaru Outback Wagon

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Review of the Kuat Hitch Bike Racks on a 2021 Subaru Outback Wagon


Ryan: Hey everybody. I'm Ryan, and today on our 2021 Subaru Outback wagon, we're going to be taking a look at the Kuat NV 2.0 Platform-Style Bike Rack.So right off the bat, there is going to be a couple of different configurations of this rack. There's a two-bike version, like we have here today on the back of our Subaru, but there's also a four-bike version available as well. And both of those are going to be available in three different colors. There's gunmetal gray, like we have here today. There's also a gloss black as well as a matte black, so definitely have a few different choices to pick from.

That way you can match it up to the back of your Subaru or just choose whatever color is your favorite. With that being said, let's dive into some of the details about the rack itself.When it comes to these Kuats, these things are top notch as far as the construction quality goes, very well built and super easy to use. So you should definitely get a lot of years of use out of this rack. Now, one of the big questions that we get asked all the time is if you're still going to be able to have access to the back of your Subaru. And with this setup here, we still are able to maintain that access, even when we have bikes loaded up on the rack, so super convenient.

And the way you would do that is, again, really simple. There's going to be a lever right here. So when you push down on that lever, we can fold the rack down, and that's going to give us enough space to open up the back of our Outback and get whatever gear we might need in and out of the back.There's a nice little feature I do want to point out, and that's the fact that Kuat actually put locks integrated into the wheel trays here. So, that way when you have your bikes loaded up, you can keep them secure. That way, say if maybe you go to the gas station or maybe you want to get a bite to eat or a cup of coffee before or after the trails, you're not going to have to constantly kind of peek outside and make sure no one run off with your bikes.

So something that just kind of puts your mind at ease a little bit more. Now, the way the rack is going to actually secure your bike is by a wheel hook up here in the front, and then just a strap here at the back tire, so no frame contact. That'll work out real well. For those of you that have carbon bikes, you're not going to have to worry about damaging them.The way to get the bike off, again, super simple. You always want to start here at the back.

You just got to push down on that button there, move the strap out of the way. And then you want to make sure you got a good grip on your bike because once we undo the wheel hook, you don't want it to fall over, hit your Subaru or fall off the rack and damage your bike. You're just going to push down on this button and kind of swing the wheel hook up, push it down. That's going to give us more than enough room to be able to easily grab our bike and go have some fun. Now, whenever you're not using the rack, I do suggest taking the wheel hook and just retracting it all the way down and kind of flipping it back into the stored position.Something that we need to think about is the rack is going to extend the overall length of our Subaru whenever we have it on the back. To find out exactly how much, we go from the bumper to the very edge, looks like it's going to be right at 32". So with these Outback wagons being somewhat long actually, definitely something you want to keep in the back of your head whenever you're pulling into your garage or maybe even a tight parking spot. However, this does fold up to free up some space when we're not using the rack. You can just come here to this lever, push down on it, and this will flip up, and it actually makes it pretty compact now. The furthest spot would be this knob here and that's where I'll measure to. From the bumper to it, that looks like it's right at about 15". So in this position, really don't see it giving you any trouble when you do go to pull into your garage or that tight spot.Something that I think is pretty cool, as the rack actually has an integrated workstation almost, if you will. If you flip open this lever, you're actually able to kind of pull this arm up about chest height, can rotate it any which way you want and lock it down. If you open up this knob, it actually gives you quite a bit of space here. You can set your bike in here and lock it down, and that's just going to get it up off the ground a little bit. You can do your maintenance to it. Say you need to tighten up your chain or maybe change a tire or something like that. It's just a really convenient way as opposed to having to maybe flipping it over on the seat and on the handlebars upside down and trying to do everything that way. So just a cool little feature that I wanted to mention. When you're all done with it, simply just lock it back in, open it up and put it back into that stored possession.This rack is going to work with those 2" x 2" receiver tube openings like we have here today on our Subaru, and it's also going to come included with a locking hitch pin. So pretty nice, one less component you're not going to have to worry about picking up separately, and definitely gives you a little bit of extra security as well. If we kind of follow this out to this knob right here, once you put the rack in your hitch and lock your hitch pin, you can tighten this knob down. That's going to act as an anti-rattle device, so it'll eliminate any slop or play there in that connection point. So to kind of give you an example how it's going to work, say for going down a bumpy road on the way to the trails, you could see that the rack is going to move with our Subaru and not on its own.At the end of the day, one of my favorite platform-style bike racks, super well-built, so you know it's going to last a long time, and I think it looks really good too. It really does match that adventurous look of our Subaru Outback. And if you're anything like me, you always want to see the product you're interested in actually working or in action. So let's go ahead and load this up with some bikes, take it out on the test course and see how it performs.This is our test course. Let's start with the slalom. This shows side-to-side action, such as turning corners or evasive maneuvering. And then, onto our alternating speed bumps. This shows twisting action, such as hitting curbs, potholes road, debris, or uneven pavement. Last of all, the solid speed bumps. This shows up-and-down action, such as driving through a parking lot or parking garage or driving in and out of a driveway.And that'll finish up our look at the Kuat NV 2.0 Platform-Style Bike Rack on our 2021 Subaru Outback wagon.


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