Tester: Karl Rosengarth
Price: $289 (two bikes), $389 (three bikes)
More info: Kuat Transfer
Küat racks have always impressed me with their intelligent design and solid construction. The company recently added the Transfer to its hitch rack lineup. At $289 for the two-bike rack and $389 for the three-bike version, the Transfer models represent Küat’s most affordable hitch-mounted offerings.
The Transfer 2 tips the scales at just under 44 pounds, which is heavier than the lightweight 29-pound Sherpa model ($449) but 5 pounds lighter than the two-bike version of Küat’s NV rack ($549). The Transfer’s per-bike weight limit is 40 pounds, the same as the Sherpa and 20 pounds less than the NV.
The large steel tubes used on the main body give the Transfer a burlier look than Küat’s other hitch racks that integrate aluminum bits into their design. Compared to its siblings, the Transfer uses more plastic in its construction—on the wheel trays as well as the pivoting collars and ratcheting wheel-grabbers of the upright arms. Living in an area where road salt leads to metallic corrosion, I believe plastic could be a wise choice. I’ve had rack components fail due to corrosion.
Just like the metal main frame, the plastic components appear burly and well-built. They’ve proven themselves sturdy—with no flex, flop or play detected. The bike felt securely locked onto the trays by the ratcheting strap at the rear wheel and the ratcheting wheel-grabber on the upright arm.
The trays fit wheel diameters from 20 to 29 inches and road to plus-size widths. I found that 27.5×3 tires fit fine. For fat bike tires (up to 4.5 inches wide) you’ll need to cough up $24 per bike for an optional kit that includes an extender for the strap that holds the rear tire and a Velcro strap for the front tire.
One of the most convenient features of the Transfer is the spring-loaded foot pedal that allows you to actuate the rack’s tilting feature, hands free. While holding the rack (or an attached bike) with your hands, you can unlock the pivot latch with your foot. This allows the rack to either flip upward, into the upright and locked position when not hauling bikes, or tilt downward for access into a hatchback or tailgate when bikes are on the rack.
The rack fits directly into 1.25 inch receivers, and comes with an adapter to fit 2 inch hitches. The threaded bolt snugged up the rack nicely inside my 1.25 inch hitch. I noticed no independent rack/bike movement when driving over washboard dirt roads. Küat offers an optional locking hitch pin for $25.
The budget-minded Transfer does its more expensive siblings proud. This is not some crappy rack that’s designed to lure you in with a lower price point, only to disappoint you later with poor performance. It’s been trouble-free and easy to use. I expect to get years of reliable service out of this rack. Both thumbs up.