Are you looking for a sleek bike rack to add to your vehicle? A bike rack that won’t look out of place when folded up against your trunk or tailgate? If so the Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack was built with you in mind.
The first thing you will notice about this rack is the struts / pistons that are used to operate the tire arms. The technology Kuat is using is called Hydropneumatic. If it sounds familiar this tech was borrowed from the automobile industry. It has been used by brands like Rolls-Royce, Maserati and as of late Mercedes-Benz.
This self leveling technology means the Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack can open and close automatically simply by pushing on the lever which can be done with one hand.
On a normal bike rack, you would lift the levers back into place. On the Kuat Piston Pro you actually push the piston lever down and the arms start to return to their normal position. At this point you can take over and help push the arms up the rest of the way.
Attaching to Vehicle
Kuat made the Piston Pro X Rack incredibly easy to install on your vehicle. There’s actually no additional tools needed to add the rack onto your hitch. Instead Kuat added a hex key that’s built into the rack that works to secure the system in place.
Once the hex key is free it gets inserted into the bottom of the rack near the receiver to tighten in a clockwise motion. You then add in the hitch pin and then instead of ratcheting the rack down you simply turn the hey key, turn it a few more times and walla. The rack secures wobble free to your trailer hitch without having to get on the ground.
This system is simple, quick and for me I saved a lot of time and back strain as I’m constantly taking the rack on and off my vehicle for different test. Not having to get down on the ground to lock the rack in place is a huge huge plus.
Speaking of back strain this is not the lightest bike rack out there. The Kuat Piston Pro X 2-Bike Rack has a weight of 63 lbs. So when you are moving this on and off your vehicle be mindful as your moving around dead weight most likely lifting it off the ground.
What the added weight does is allows user to transport e-bikes up to 67 lbs. per bike.
One of the cool features of this rack is it’s ability to haul just about every sized bicycle tire out there regardless of height or width. For taller tires the top of the tire rack has two little knobs that slide up and down. This makes sizing the rack to your tire quick and easy, and without having to use any tools.
I rarely have the same bike on the rack back to back days so I’m always fumbling with rack arms to get the correct length. Kuat makes this process a breeze. Same works for smaller tires, simply push the knobs in and slide the arm down till it touches your tires and lock into place.
What’s neat is there is even a red bar on the inside of the arm that shows if the arm is not locked into place correctly. If you see the red your not secure, when the red goes away you are. It’s a nice secondary safety feature as surely there have been people that have mounted bikes to racks where the arms where not fully secured in place.
Fat Tire Compatibility
The Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack has the ability to carry fat tire bikes and e-bikes with tires with a diameter to 5″ or 53″ wheelbase. Which allowed us to transport all of the bikes we tested.
Although we did run into an issue breaking one of the pistons when trying to secure a fat tire bike. A really fat tire bike with 51″ wheelbase.
Most likely this was a user error with us pushing too hard down on the tire arms. Trying to get that one last click in.
Kuat was great about getting a replacement piston in the mail. One thing to note the unit we tested had been used at tradeshows over the summer so most likely it was opened and closed a ton. And perhaps it was done the “correct” way. As this is the first bike rack that you actually need to pay attention to what your doing at first.
The Kuat Piston Pro X ($1,389) is one of the nicest modern looking bike racks on the market designed around transporting heavier bikes. The company even has an Add-On that converts the Piston Pro X into a 4 bike rack so you can bring additional people along including family and friends.