We’ve been looking for a new hitch mounted platform rack since last fall. There are a variety of options from many good brands; 2 bikes or 4, steel or aluminum, 1 1/4″ mount or 2″ mount, fat bike compatible or just road and mountain bike, and finally reasonably priced or expensive.
What did we choose? The brand new Kuat Transfer 3. Why? Here’s what we were looking for:
1) The Kuat Transfer 3 and Transfer 2 will fit 1 1/4″ AND 2″ mounts. This is perfect because our cars have both hitch sizes. Most brands are one or the other, and generally you need a 2″ mount to carry 4 bikes. Some brands will fit a reducer so a 2″ rack can be used on a 1 1/4″ hitch and the other way around, but it gets complicated and expensive
2) We didn’t need 4 bikes, but like the idea of 3 bikes, 2 for me, one for my wife. Or, me and 2 friends. The Transfer 3 carries 3.
3) Reasonable weight. Kuat’s aluminum NV comes as a 2 bike rack with an option for a 2 bike add on. However, it is expensive. Saris makes a popular and competitively priced light platform 3 bike rack like Kuat but out of different materials. The Transfer 3 was reasonable, more than a 2 bike aluminum rack, but not as much as a 4 bike steel rack.
4) With the growing popularity of fatbikes, I wanted the option to carry a fatbike if I bought one. Both the Transfer 2 & 3 can carry a 4.5″ wide tire – you will need longer straps for the rear tires at a minimal cost.
5) Reasonable price. The high end Kuat, Saris, Thule, and Yakima racks all come with locks, but most are close to $500 for a 2 bike version and $800 for 4 bikes. The Transfer 3 was $389 and the Transfer 2 is $289 – good prices for all of the value they give you. Neither model includes locks but the Kuat hitch lock was about $25 (ordered directly from Kuat), and a coated cable and Master lock were about $15. I can live with that.
6) Stability and scratch protection. The bikes don’t touch each other, especially good with our different bike sizes, and the rack doesn’t touch the frame.
In summary –
We just returned from a 2,500 mile road trip and were very pleased. In fact, a car that was following us stopped with us at a rest area to ask about it. The driver was excited to see how our 2 road bikes never moved on the rack. I believe one reason is because Kuat has a screw-in locking pin that takes all the wiggle out of the hitch.
For what we needed, this was the perfect rack. Nice job Kuat!