Kuat has a new platform hitch rack out today and it has some new tricks up its sleeve, like LED taillights and Kashima-coated arms, just like the priciest Fox options for mountain bike suspension.
The Kuat Piston Pro X debuts as the brand’s first rack that ditches the wheel hook and straps in favor of four arms on both sides which close on the wheels. The Piston Pro X has some valuable specs, like a generous 67lb per bike weight limit, a 53″ max wheelbase, an 18-29″ wheel size range, with a max tire width of 5″. The Piston Pro X also has a 1-2 bike add-on, but comes as a 2-bike rack that fits a 2″ hitch. Like the Saris MTR we tested a few years ago, the Piston Pro X has offset trays for easier bike stacking, and it has a semi-integrated 12mm-thick cable lock.
Kuat’s new OneTap feature will open the cradle arms automatically with a hydro-pnuematic lever, which the brand says will make for an easier time loading. The new rack also implements integrated LEDs which should be a nice feature since wheels can often block the tail lights on a vehicle.
Does anyone need the gold-coated suspension standard on their bike racks? The answer is of course no, just like no one needs Kashima-coated suspension. But it is there for those who can shell out for it. Rack designers usually make high-end racks like this for their customers that are paying for high-end vehicles and want something that will match their vehicle’s aesthetic. The Piston Pro X now sits as the most expensive and feature-some bike rack in their lineup. It’s cool to see some fresh ideas, whereas most brands have basically been making their own 1up competitors.
Most of these tray-style, platform hitch racks have been hovering around the $800 price mark. But those racks don’t have electronics and friction-reducing materials. As such, the Piston Pro X rings in at $1,389. Availability is spring 2022, and Kuat is planning a pared-down model for the fall of 2022 for $989.