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Old 06-01-2012, 06:50 PM
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Default Kuat Sherpa Bike Rack Review

There’s no question that the best place to carry your bikes are on a hitch rack. Count me in as a huge fan. I’ve been stoked to have the Kuat Sherpa rack in the fold for testing and have really appreciated it’s easy function and light weight.

Kuat Sherpa Hitch Rack Features
  • Carries 2 bikes (up to 40 lbs. each)
  • Total carrying capacity of up to 80 lbs.
  • Folds up quickly for storage
  • Tilts down for easy vehicle access
  • External cable lock and hitch pin included
  • Front and rear tire ratchets make loading and unloading a breeze
  • Hand-tight cam system – no need for additional tools!
  • Sherpa is not recommended for Downhill or Freeride bikes
  • Available in Black Chrome or White powder coat finish
  • Anodized aluminum accents
  • MSRP: $449

Kuat Sherpa Bike Rack Review
The Kuat Sherpa quickly made its home on the back of our family hauler (2005 Honda Odyssey) as my wife’s go-to rack of choice. I’ve been perfectly OK with that as she has enjoyed its lightweight design and ease-of-use. Like most tray hitch racks, the Sherpa features a locking arm that tucks between the front fork and the wheel while the rear wheel is locked into place using a ratcheting wheel strap. On the surface, it seems simple, right? Lets dive into more of the features that make the Sherpa shine.

Let me start first with its lightweight design. While 29 lbs of awkwardness can hardly be “lightweight”, the Sherpa is surprisingly easy to juggle. My wife can easily install and remove the rack by herself without giving herself a hernia. I’ve completely agreed as I’ve taken it on/off in comparison with my Thule T2. The Sherpa carries its weight well.

Overall construction is superb. The one-piece H-shaped trays offer simplicity and strength.

Mounting mountain bikes (both 26 and 29ers) and road bikes are super-easy. The rotating rear wheel cup simply pivots to accept smaller or larger wheels. This process allows the trays to be shorter, which translates into a lighter rack. Their pivoting action also eliminates the need to slide the strap back-and-forth on the tray (which can sometimes be awkward while holding a bike).
I appreciate that the Sherpa comes standard with both 2″ and 1-1/4″ receiver compatibility. It’s nice to have that flexibility (though we only used the 2″), should you have vehicles with both sizes. The 2″ adapter stays put and the hand tight cam system takes up most of the play between the hitch and receiver for reduced rack wiggle down the road.

I love the looks of the rack and there’s nothing easier to use on the market. The positive action on the ratcheting arm instills confidence and the bombproof construction will keep it looking good for years to come.

It does come with a separate lasso cable that wraps around both frames and connects to the included locking hitch pin. Don’t leave home without it and use it anytime you park your vehicle. I learned my lesson as my wife and I stopped for a bite to eat and I had to catch a would-be thief as he was making off with my bike. Luckily, the bike was not stolen and one young man is now facing felony charges for stealing a $5000 bike. I wish I would have brought the cable lock and the whole experience would have been avoided. So, just bring it along and use it.

When not in use, the rack folds neatly up towards the bumper. It’s small enough that it doesn’t get too much in the way, but it’s also easy enough to take on/off that we typically just remove it. The pivoting trays also pivot rearwards to allow access to the rear hatch while the rack is loaded up — it clears both road and mountain bike handlebars with ease.

Good Sherpa
  • Lightweight design makes for an easy dance partner
  • Works with both 2″ and 1-1/4″ receivers
  • Ratcheting arms are a piece of cake to use
  • Arguably the best looking hitch rack on the market
  • Lifetime “No Worries Warranty”
  • Rearward pivot facilitates access to the rear hatch

Bad Sherpa
  • Requires an adapter for wheels smaller than 20″
  • 2 bike maximum
  • Limited weight capacity of 40 lbs each tray (sorry old school freeriders)

Bottom Line: Kuat Sherpa Hitch Rack
Sexy good looks and light weight make the Sherpa a rock-solid choice for a simple hitch rack. My wife absolutely loves it and I’ve appreciated using it extensively. The Sherpa makes putting bikes on and taking them off an easy task.

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