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Kuat Piston Pro X 2 Bike Rack Review

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Review of the Kuat Piston Pro X 2 Bike Rack


What's up everybody, it's AJ with etrailer.com Today, we're gonna be checking out the Kuat Piston Pro X. It's gonna be a platform style bike rack made for your inch and 3/4 hitch. It's also gonna hold two bikes. Let's check it out. First thing you might notice is the bike racks got built in lights on there. That's definitely a cool feature.

You got a four pole that runs from the rack all the way to the four pole in your vehicle. It attaches there. And then your lights on the bike rack are gonna mirror your taillights on your vehicle. So when we hit the brakes or a left turn, right turn signal. It's gonna do the same thing back here, which is cool so that at night people can still see your taillights if they're blocked by the two bikes as you can see them here.

Now, if you remove the bikes and pull the bike rack up towards the vehicle, you can still see the lights, and it'll still work too. Look how it holds the bikes on the platform rack. It's gonna be these wheel cradles that's push up into place. So they're pushing against each other to hold the bike nice and tight. Now it's got the one tap system here to release it.

So I'll show you how that works. Just hit it. It releases and pushes out. I'll do that on both sides to easily remove the bike. You just lift the bike up and pull it right off.

I like that 'cause it's quite a bit easier than some other platform style bike racks that might have that center mast there that makes it a huge pain to unload or load the bikes. You have to kind of go around it, move the hooks and get those set up. This makes it far easier just to either put the bike on there or take it right off. Now you can adjust the cradle to fit different tire sizes. Goes all the way up to 29 inches. We had it set at 27 and 1/2 because that's what that last tire was. So it has a better hold on there. I like that it's just got the two push buttons on the other side that you slide that up or down wherever you need to adjust it. That's better than some of the other bike racks out here that have this kind of similar style to where you either have to unscrew it and move it around or just pop it out and move it. This seems more secure. And I like how easy it is just pushing those two buttons in to slide it down or up where you need it. The arms can each go back a little bit further too if you need more clearance, this helps it keep outta the way when you're loading up that bike. If you just don't wanna move around one while you're setting up the other one, you can go down a little further too and that's when it starts to ratchet back in. It can all go all the way the ground if you need it to but then you're gonna have to use the one tap system to release it to be able to bring it back up. So it starts ratcheting against the tire about there. The arm is held in place and able to operate because of the hydropneumatic system that's built in right here. So that's gonna allow you to push that arm up and apply the tension to the bike on both sides, holding it in place onto the platform rack. Another thing that sticks out right here is gonna be the Kashima coating on this portion. You can see it's a different color but that's gonna help it hold up to the elements. You don't have to worry about it being damaged or just wear it out on you or any of these teeth out here and not be able to ratchet when you wanna go add that tension. With the bike removed, we can take a better look at the tray here. You can see it's got plenty of grooves in there for different size tires. We have the road bike channel right there. It opens up a little bit more for mountain bike tires or even e-bike tires. The tray can handle a max wheel base of 53 inches. And just keep that in mind of what kind of bike you wanna throw up on there. With that in mind though, let's throw another 29er up there and see how it handles two of 'em right next to each other. I just wanna point out some points that we had issues on. You can see the seat is making contact with our brake here. Now we could go a little bit higher with the seat and go above the rails, but that's also something you have to adjust every time you go throw your two 29er bikes on here. Now another thing we can do is try and shift the bike forward back for a little bit but it's just the seat. It's too much. We can't adjust that much forward it or backwards. Another option we had with this bike rack, which is kind of unique is you can actually flip the bike with the handlebars on the same side and you might be able to get some clearance back and forth that way too. We we're able to get that done and it looks a little different. You don't usually see bike racks carry bikes like that down the road, but it works. Something else to keep in mind is how close the bikes do sit together. There's not a lot of space in between them. You see with the two 29ers on here, the pedals come really close. Now one of 'em has the smaller snap in pedals and it has regular pedals you saw on the other bike. The two big pedals kind of got each other's way but luckily you're able to maneuver them out of each other's way. It's just something to look out for when you're loading up your bikes. Another feature of the bike rack that it can tilt away from the vehicle with both bikes loaded, which is handy if you forget to throw something back in there or you just need to get in the back hatch and you don't wanna unload both bikes. So what you do is you got the handle right here. You can pull on and that's gonna allow it to go down. So I'm gonna put one hand here on the arms to help lower it down. I'll pull on that lever and then we can just bring the bike rack down. Now I suggest doing it by the arm here because it's kind of it's cumbersome if you're going down here at the base to go hold that handle and then you're kind of underneath it when it lowers down. And that's a little bit of an issue just because it's hard to pop back up and not hit your head on a handlebar or anything that's around me right now and the angle to get away from it. But it is nice that it tilts away. So I can come back here and get to the back of the vehicle. There's no problem clearing it. So I don't have to worry about the handle bars or the pedals being in the way. So I like that. To bring it back up, I suggest using the arm again, just because getting down there and to grab the base and pull it up is a little cumbersome. It'll latch into place. You hear it latch. Let me do that one more time so we can maybe see or hear it. I see the latch going to place. I hear it. So I know that it's latched and I don't have to worry about it falling back down when I let go. We'll talk about some pros and cons of the bike rack. So I threw the e-bike back on there. Let's go out the parking lot and see how it handles. Coming back from our drive, it was a bit of movement with the bikes, which happens with most bike racks when we're going through a test course especially hitting those speed bumps, but I'll show you me shaking the bike rack or the bikes back and forth. That's about as much moving it was. It wasn't coming loose on the wheels. That's what I was worried about was these because when we we're pushing in, it did seem that you push one and get it nice and tight. And the other one turns out it's loose over here. So I was worried that they we're gonna hold up. They did. That was not an issue. The biggest other concern would be how close they sat together on the bike rack. Clearance is already an issue. So it wobbling back and forth like that. There's a high likelihood there could be contact somewhere with the handlebars in the seat. When not used, you can fold the arms in. Really easily. Take up less space that way. And when you want to go to put your bike back on there and load it and you just hit that one hit system again. One tap and it's opened up and you do that for all those to load your bike. I talked about the lights earlier in the video, but just wanted to show you the four pole we we're talking about. It has one magnetic end and the other end that has a four pole. So what we're gonna do is come back to the backside of your bike rack. This is where the plug's located. So you just put the magnet in there you see how easily it goes into place. I almost don't even push it in there at all. I like that. So you don't have to force that plug in to worry about bending the ends. There's not really any ends to bend there. Watch and just let go. Snaps into place. That magnet's gonna hold it. I was skeptical of that, but this is me pulling on it a little bit. Just seeing as you go down the road is it gonna pop out on you. Looks like it's gonna stay put. So I like that. You'll plug it in on the vehicle side, run it to the inside there and make sure it stays on the weather strip, avoid the latch here so you don't snap that wire. Let's get some measurements real quick. We go from the center of the hitch pin to the end of the bike rack. So looks right about there, maybe about 33 inches it adds the back of your vehicle. Just remember that it's back there. It's probably gonna interfere with the backup camera when you have both bikes loaded up there. So you'll know it's back there when you go to throw and reverse, but it is one of those things you don't wanna forget, especially if you're new to a bike rack. That's your first one you're grabbing. You don't want to accidentally pull in your garage maybe close the garage door on it, or just back into something in a tried spot. Just remember that it's back here. And when you don't have the bikes load up there you can fold it up against the vehicle, to save some space. So you just pull that same lever you used to tilt it away. That's the same one that you just push up and fold it up. It latches into place just like before. You see it clips in. So you know it's gonna stay there. Now we'll measure again. See how much it adds with it folded up. Looks to be right about there, that's 17 inches it adds to the back. So that's quite a bit less, but again, just remember it's back there. You don't wanna have any issues. So measuring from the center of the hitch pin to the furthest point out with it folded up it's gonna be about 16 and 1/2 inches. And then the closest point looks like it's about eight inches. There's gonna be three locks and they're all keyed alike. This one is gonna release the tool that you need to attach the bike rack to the hitch. So with that undone, let's go down and see how that works. We got the tool that was built in to the bike rack. I like that because that way the tool's always gonna be with you when you have your bike rack. I would like a hand knob instead to have 'em use a tool but this also makes it more secure so nobody will come around and mess with anything. So you come and use your tool. You got the adjuster that's built into it. So I like that as well. We do have a pin and a lock up there. You can use this. So loosen it up in your hitch and I'll show you how much shake and play is added when it isn't tightened down. See all that movement in your inch and a quarter hitch. That's with it loose. When I go to tighten it down, it's gonna take all that out. It's a shame you don't get a full turn out of this, but again, the built in tool with a spot on the rack is nice. The tightened there, I can see shaking back and forth. There's hardly any movement at all. Looking up here at the barrel lock, it's included. I like that it has another way of adding a security feature to the bike rack. So you can lock the pin in place which locks the bike rack to the hitch. So that in combination with the cable lock and then even locking the hand tool. It's just nice to know that with the bikes on there this is your rack where you leave it. Nobody can mess with it when you're not around. Overall, it's definitely a premium bike rack. The additional lights do look really cool. I gotta admit that I like that they work with the vehicle. So whether it's folded up or you got load up with bikes and it's folded down, you can still see it. You can still see the blinkers. I really like that addition. There's just some other things that fell a little short for me. I didn't like how close the bikes sat together. I didn't like that there was a hand tool added on. So when you go to take it on and put it off you have to have an extra tool. And I like that it had a place to stay here. That was pretty cool. And if you buy something like this, that with the lights you're probably gonna leave it in your hitch all the time. Anyway, this is just something on me. I think about the Thule Helium. It holds the bikes the same way but it has a hand knob down here. And I like the hand knob was there to tighten up in the hitch where I didn't need an extra tool or even worry about losing the tool. Another thing I liked is that the handle on the Helium was up here. So I'll do that to lower it down or fold it up. I didn't like how far back this pedal was. They say it's a pedal, but I still had to reach to do that with my hand and be under like the bike rack. Wasn't a big fan of that style either. Other than that, I think it comes down to style and this bike rack definitely has style. Those lights really just speak for themselves for how cool they are. Well, I think that does it. Thanks for hanging out and hope this helped..


Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
Installed by:
Andrew K
Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Jonathan Y
Video by:
Jonathan Y
Employee Thomas T
Video by:
Thomas T
Employee Conner L
Test Fit:
Conner L

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