The Bottom Line
The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 offers an outstanding weight for carrying capacity ratio and great value all-round. Its neat, ergonomic design and heavy-duty materials make it stand out against the competition. Compared to similar products by other brands, it’s in the same price range but definitely feels to be constructed of better-quality materials. Most importantly it locks into the hitch tightly meaning, no wobble.
At a Glance
45 x 15 x 12 Inches
There have been some complaints with regards to compatibility with different models of cars, so it’s important to look at the measurements of the rack prior to purchasing. The integrated security features are good enough, but I wouldn’t get too excited about it. Despite these few complaints, the Sherpa 2.0 is a high-quality hitch-mounted bike rack for someone who prioritizes weight and ease of use.
Kuat provides a range of transportation solutions for all the outdoor activities you love. Whether it’s snow, water, or trail related, they have a rack or carry system designed especially. The Kuat mission, simply put, is to help outdoor enthusiasts get out more. So, by developing high-quality, easy-to-use racks and accessories, they’ve removed one factor limiting your ability to get outdoors.
Their commitment to the outdoors goes one step further than just helping you hit the trails on your bike. Kuat has partnered with the National Forest Foundation in their goal to restore fire-damaged forests in the US. With every purchase from Kuat, a donation is made to the foundation. So, you can also feel good about your purchase from Kuat.
The company has really cut its teeth on bike racks, with far more bike rack options than kayak or ski racks available. The Kuat Sherpa 2.0, just like the name suggests, is designed to be lightweight but tough.
A Closer Look at the Kuat Sherpa 2.0
Kuat offers a range of bike rack systems, including a simplistic hanging rack, the Beta, or various tray-style racks from the Pivot v2 to the Transfer v2 and the NV 2.0. It’s clear that over time the company has been adapting and improving on its original designs based on customer feedback.
While there are pros and cons to both styles of the rack, the tray system is generally preferred for ease of use and stability. Their tray-style racks have moved on from a 90-degree swing out (Pivot v2) to a 45-degree angle tilt (NV 2.0) out from the back of the car. Kuat has also improved on the wheel cradles designs and the front wheel tire ratchet system, as well as adding some ‘nice to have features over time. They have certainly done their homework.
Each bike rack appears to focus on a particular challenge that customers need to address. The Sherpa 2.0 bike rack is specifically designed to be heavy duty, but not heavy. Being made of aluminum is the key to this success. It can carry two bikes, up to 40-pounds each, but on its own, it weighs just 32-pounds. Will take bikes with a wheelbase as large as 47-inches and a range of bike types, including fat bikes as long as the tire width doesn’t exceed 3-inches. The rack is compatible with a 2-inch and 1.25-inch hitch.
I haven’t forgotten their lifetime warranty either. The warranty covers repair, replacement, and a refund for a defective product. Kuat provides reliable customer support and they certainly have faith in their products when they offer a lifetime warranty.
Ergonomic and Innovative Design
You can forget about any rattle or wobble from the hitch point. Kuat has come up with a hitch connection design that keeps the rack incredibly stable whilst in motion. Once inserted into the receiver an internal mechanism can be tightened and is very effective at holding the hitch firmly in place. The hitch pin is then able to be locked so that no one can walk away with your rack, with bikes onboard.
While I didn’t take to the wheel cradle design at first, the way it folds down to a flat profile when not in use is nice. It does also have some grooves in the plastic to help keep the wheel from moving around if you do have a road bike with thin tires in there. The bike is held into position primarily by the adjustable hook which can be firmly secured over any bike type. The hook doesn’t go over the frame but over the front wheel. Which removes any risk of the hook rubbing on the frame.
Once assembled the Sherpa 2.0 is really user-friendly. Unfortunately, the assembly process is a little mind-boggling and the instruction manual included is a bit overwhelming and confusing. I definitely recommend watching the assembly video available on the Kuat website to avoid some stress-induced hair-pulling.
Sherpa 2.0 Security Features
Securing your bikes is a high priority for everyone. Kuat has included a semi-integrated bike lock however, it feels a little like an after-thought in terms of design and isn’t as sleek as the rest of the rack features. One braided steel cable is included with the rack and should be long enough to go around both bike frames and lock into the plug point. If you want it to go around the wheel and frame, you probably won’t have enough length for two bikes. In this case, you’ll have to add your own lock as an extra. It offers a reasonable level of security, but I definitely wouldn’t trust it overnight.
Concerns Around Car Model Compatibility
It’s certainly well advised to see if other people with the same model of car have had difficulty fitting this rack. With some cars, there is a problem regarding where the exhaust hits the rack. People have reported the placement causing melting and irreparable damage to the rack. Triple-check the dimensions before purchasing if you’re concerned.
Is It Value for Money?
Despite the few concerns I have and others have reported with this rack, I do think it presents excellent value for money. The price is in the same ballpark as another similar tray style, hitch-mounted bike racks, and the quality is of a high standard. It’s clear the developers have thought about the appearance of the rack as well as its functionality. It doesn’t come with any fancy extras, just the features you need carefully thought out.
Comparing the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 to the Kuat NV 2.0
In comparing two similar Kuat products the Sherpa 2.0 and the NV 2.0, there are some key differences that might change your feelings towards the Sherpa. They are both designed to carry two bikes, but there is an add-on option with the NV that the Sherpa doesn’t have. The Sherpa is the lighter of the two but that also means it’s smaller in general and doesn’t have the same weight carrying capacity as the NV 2.0.
There are also some nice additional features of the NV 2.0 that I really like. For example, it comes with a built-in repair stand which is definitely a ‘nice to have feature. Essentially if you need the ability to carry more than two bikes, larger or heavier bikes (e-bikes for example), then you may be better off spending a little more for the NV 2.0.
|Kuat Sherpa 2.0||Features||Kuat NV 2.0|
|2 bikes||Capacity||2 bikes (possibility to add an extra bike attachment)|
|3 inches||Maximum Tire Width||5 inches|
|20 to 29 inches||Wheel Size||20 to 29 inches|
|45 x 15 x 12 inches||Dimensions||36 x 23 x 8.5 inches|
|32 lbs||Weight||52 lbs|
What’s in the Box?
When you purchase your Kuat Sherpa 2.0 rack you’ll receive:
- A partly assembled hitch rack (the tray/packaging doubles as a workstation for assembly)
- Hitch pin and hitch pin lock
- Lock cable and three lock keys (so you’ll have two spare keys)
So, Should You Buy the Kuat Sherpa 2.0?
Overall, the Sherpa 2.0 is a very sleek, ergonomic design and rides incredibly well on the back of the car. The rack isn’t heavy so it’s easy for anyone to connect up and go, and the foot-activated pivot to angle the rack when you need to access the trunk is helpful. While it doesn’t have the flexibility of extra bike add-ons or additional features, I think it is really good value for money. However, I could be easily swayed by Kuat’s other model the NV 2.0.
If you can handle the additional weight of the NV 2.0 and have the extra cash to spare. Then the flexibility to add an extra bike attachment and carry heavier bikes with wider tires does appeal to me. In terms of quality of construction and materials, both are on par, you simply need to weigh up your requirements and which features you really need.