It’s not that I’m an expert in bike racks. I’m just a car fanatic who loves to go bike riding when I’m bored. I do not expect people to look up to me when they need a new bike rack.
My whole life, I’ve bought a lot of bike racks. Because of this, I had to do a lot of research before I made a decision, which gave me some sort of… what they say in modern times… some kind of… experience.
KUAT Sherpa 2.0 and NV 2.0 are two products I have used in the past. These two products have some of the best features that a bicycle rack can have. However, they both have their own shortcomings too. Since I’m not an expert, I’m in no position to cancel out one and raise one so high that you would call it a “Better” one.
So, what should we do now?
There is a difference between the two products. I have used both products, and I am familiar with their specifications, performance, and other necessary details. The only option I have is to select one side of the product and describe it from the point of view of a user.
In order to decide which one’s ahead in each section, we will describe all aspects of each of them. Once we have explained all aspects, we’ll count the points and determine which one’s the winner. Let’s see how it goes!
Design and Build
I don’t know about you, but I think that looks are important to me. My car is very important to me, and I don’t want anything to be attached to it that looks unattractive. That’s why my first parameter in choosing any component (that goes into the car) will always be DESIGN. I also believe that the BUILD factor is crucial, because who doesn’t want “Beauty with Brains.”
It must be said that both the Sherpa 2.0 and the NV 2.0, at first glance, look dope. KUAT has a reputation for making premium-looking bike racks. These two products are examples of that. However, we’re here to compare them. So let’s see which one takes the lead in terms of “Design and Build”.
I would say that both of the products are available in the same color range. Which is pretty much black, grey, or pearl with silver or orange anodization. They both look pretty similar, except for one thing: NV 2.0 features funky-looking wheel cradles, while the other does not.
As a result, NV can hold a bigger wheel-base, as well as look a bit bigger than Sherpa when it is viewed from a safe distance. Hence, it is bigger in every way.
The Sherpa 2.0 is constructed of aluminum while the NV 2.0 is constructed of metal. Aluminum is a lightweight option, but when it comes to durability and strength, metal is far ahead. This means that NV 2.0 provides more power and the ability to dodge damage better than Sherpa 2.0.
A gloss black powder coating protects them from adverse weather conditions and ensures they remain rust-free for many years to come.
This is pretty much everything you need to know about the section. So, who do you think is ahead according to you? Can’t decide? Let me help you to make a decision.
It is a known fact that both NV 2.0 and Sherpa have vibrant looks. Therefore, no points to either. However, NV 2.0’s metal construction gives it an advantage over Sherpa’s aluminum build. This is because metal is known to ensure more power than aluminum. Therefore, this round goes to NV 2.0.
Weight and Shank Size
This time around, let’s focus on KUAT NV 2.0. We already know that it contains a metal build, while the other contains aluminum. Metal was the reason behind NV’s victory in the previous round. However, metal can be the reason behind NV’s loss in this round. Let’s find out how.
There is no doubt that aluminum is a light material, which is why Sherpa 2.0 only weighs 32 pounds. As metal is heavier, the NV 2.0 weighs 52 pounds. It was 20 pounds, not 2 pounds. Thus, it is quite heavy. Not everyone has the strength to lift 52 pounds effortlessly. Because of this, installing and removing the NV 2.0 will not be an easy task.
In most cases, you will be able to install the Sherpa without any sort of assistance, whereas the NV requires assistance in most cases, so Sherpa takes the point here.
In other words, it is important to choose the right shank size when installing a bike rack in a trailer hitch because a bike rack’s shank size must match the receiver size of the hitch. Usually, trailer hitch receivers come in two sizes: 1.25-inches and 2-inches.
Neither product comes without a hitch adapter. A hitch adapter is a handy device that allows an unmatched rack to be attached to a trailer hitch. As a result, you are able to attach both products to both 1.25 and 2 inch receivers. Since both offer the same feature, it is a draw.
We must calculate the points in this section. Sherpa won a point because it weighs less than the other one. Less weight means more ease of handling, installation, removal, and storage. Later on, there was a draw in terms of shank size, or compatibility. Therefore, Sherpa takes the lead in this round with one point.
The result of the match between KUAT Sherpa 2.0 and KUAT NV 2.0 is 1 – 1.
Let’s see who gets to laugh at the end of this battle, doesn’t it? Hmmm… Seems quite a battle, does it not?
Strength and Durability
NV has already stated in the first section that metal is more rugged than aluminum. While aluminum may be light and all, it is also more powerful. Now, the question is whether metal will be able to make NV strong enough to beat Sherpa in this section? Let’s see how this goes.
The original version of the NV 2.0 is a 2-bike rack, while the two other types can carry up to three and four bikes simultaneously, respectively. On the other hand, the Sherpa has only one type of bike rack which can only transport two bikes at a time.
The strength of NV is determined by the type of rack it is. Since Sherpa is a 2-bike rack, I’ll focus on the original NV variation here.
NV can carry 120 pounds of weight and sixty pounds per tray in this case, however, my bikes have a maximum weight of 45 pounds, so I am never going to be able to make the most of this rack to its full potential. To keep things simple, I recommend believing in the manufacturer.
It is important to note that KUAT says that the Sherpa 2.0 can carry only 80 lbs. This means 40 lbs. per tray. Again, it took my 45-ers. There is no doubt that the rack can carry more than its “Suggested” weight. Still, I am going to believe the manufacturer in this case as well.
In conclusion, the ultimate result is that the NV 2.0 can carry more than the other one (40 lbs.). That is a huge margin. I know it can go some places in real-life scenarios, but I also know that there is no way that Sherpa can beat NV. The point goes to NV in this case.
In terms of durability, you already know that metal is much more powerful than aluminum. Yes, aluminum is lightweight, but it won’t be able to protect your product from bending, reshaping, or leaking.
I think this is the reason that my Sherpa rack was more beat up after one year of use than the other. I had NV for about three years and if it had been painted, no one would be able to say it was an old rack. For me, NV gets the point here too for its durability.
What is the result of the experiment?
NV 2.0 won this round by both two points.
Rear Accessibility and Compactness
It would be difficult to choose a winner in this round due to the fact that the rear accessibility and compactness is determined by how much foldability the bike rack has. Since the two products come from a high-end rack family, both of them have these capabilities.
When a car is equipped with a bike rack, it becomes harder to park in tight spaces because it becomes longer in length. It is also a hassle to remove and re-install the bike rack repeatedly. That is where the tray-folding feature comes into play.
If this function is already included in the product, you can move around as usual with the product on since it allows you to fold up the whole platform upwards so that the car’s length becomes shorter.
In addition, quality bike holders offer the option of tilting the bike. Whenever I go on family trips, I like to take my bike with me. And I have to put stuff on and off between my trips. Therefore, I need something that will allow me to get to the rear part of the rack without having to remove the rack. That is where the tilt function comes in.
With tilting, the whole bike rack will fold away from the vehicle as a whole. This way, it won’t be necessary to remove the bikes or the whole platform in order to access the trunk of the vehicle.
We have both tilt as well as tray-fold functions on our products. Both of our products feature these two functions for your convenience. I have not measured how much tilt they can do, but I think they can tilt somewhere between 60 and 90 degrees.
Both racks come with horizontal hook arms, which are foldable as well. In addition to these features, the horizontal hook arms on both racks are also foldable, so that you can fold the horizontal hook arms against the platform while folding the whole base upwards.
It is now time to declare the results of the contest.
In light of the fact that both of these products perform somewhat identically, I think it might be best to announce this section as a draw. In this sense, both of these products perform as the best of the best when it comes to rear accessibility and compactness.
There is nothing wrong with taking bikes on an adventure. But it is more important to carry them safely. Safety features of a bike rack ensure the safety of the bike during a journey. A bike rack is meaningless without security features. It doesn’t matter how rigid a build is or how much weight it can carry.
In general, rachet hooks, wheel cradles, wheel straps, and hitch-lock pins are some of the safety features that can be found on a bike rack. Let’s take a look at which of our products excels in this area.
On the side of each tray, there is a ratchet strap that is attached to the wheel ring so there doesn’t seem to be any wobble when the bike is being loaded. On the other side of each tray, there is a wheel strap. This ratchet strap holds onto the wheel ring, so there is no wobble when the bike is being loaded.
On the other hand, if we take a look at the Sherpa 2.0, it is pretty much the same. It also features a single ratchet strap on both stands. However, this one does not feature a wheel cradle. Instead, it sports dedicated tire holders on both trays. Is this better than a cradle?
As a result, the answer is both no and yes. In essence, it doesn’t matter what type of rack a bike has as long as it’s safe and there is no wobble and the bike is not easily damaged.
NV and Sherpa have foldable horizontal arms. They are equipped with U-shaped rachet hooks at the top that can be adjusted. These hooks are primarily responsible for keeping the bikes in the bike rack. It generally grabs onto the frame of the cycle and maintains a proper grip so that it does not move.
Besides having a hand-tight cam system for attaching the racks to the trailer hitch, they also come with a standard hitch locking pin to connect the rack to the trailer hitch.
Although there are some things that I think NV does better than Sherpa, there are also a few things that I think Sherpa does better in terms of safety cable. The rack has a wire that is integrated for advanced security in both trays. Likewise, Sherpa packs a cable that is semi-integrated, which means it is not attached to the holder.
NV 2.0 is the winner in this round due to its integrated security cables as opposed to Sherpa’s. Overall, NV 2.0 is the winner due to its largely similar safety features. They are both capable of holding your bike safely. However, NV 2.0 is the winner because of its integrated security cables.
Assembly and Installation
There is no point in me being too technical with my bike racks. I mean, I do not possess the skills of a mechanic. As a result, the more low-key a rack’s installation is, the better.
In my opinion, it is a good thing that the above two products follow a very simple installation procedure. Yes, it may take more time than an Allen Sports, but it is not as complicated to install as a Thule.
I am going to give you a gist of my experience with Sherpa 2.0 as a starting point.
Despite the fact that these racks come with an installation guide and all necessary instruments, there were a few tasks that had to be completed in order for me to be able to assemble and place the Sherpa in the trailer hitch in an optimum way.
After setting up the two trays with the rack beam and tightening everything up with the inner body connector and the long bolts, I placed the foot pedal in the correct position and now I have an assembled Sherpa 2.0 in my hands.
Having assembled the trailer hitch perfectly, you simply have to place the hitch pin on the trailer hitch so that you can connect it to the trailer hitch, and that will be the end of the installation process. I did the whole thing in less than 30 minutes, and I am confident that you can do it quicker too.
There is not much to say about installing the NV 2.0, it is a bit different from the Sherpa, mostly assembly, but since the NV is different design-wise, the assembly is also poles apart. That is why I suggest you get an extra hand and lots of patience.
In contrast to Sherpa trays, NV trays are made up of two parts: the cradle and the flat surface with wheel straps. In order to secure them properly, the cradle is first attached to the beam, and then the flat surface is long-bolted.
Unlike the last time, you need to bolt more than four times to assemble everything. On top of that, the rack is heavier than 50 pounds, so you should get an extra pair of hands to help you with it.
There is no doubt that assembling the NV 2.0 takes a lot longer and is more tiring than assembling the Sherpa 2.0. And we don’t like complicated or time-wasting setups. This is probably why this round belongs to the Sherpa 2.0.
Have you been keeping track of the score as you go along?
It is now 3-2 in favor of KUAT NV 2.0. This is the final round that will decide the winner. If Sherpa wins this round, it is a draw or the other company wins. Let’s see who will win this battle of bike racks.
Honestly, these two bike racks are one of the most expensive bike holders that I have ever used in my life. Both of them have the high-performance capability, top-notch safety features, adequate strength, and longevity that makes them one of the most expensive bike racks I have ever owned.
It is also important that I consider at what cost I’m getting these products. Do the extra features I’m getting actually justify the extra cost?
NV 2.0 comes at $849, whereas Sherpa 2.0 comes at $629. The NV rack was over $200 more than what I got from my Sherpa rack. On the bright side, it provided a solid build material, funky security features, an extra bike holding option, and more weight trays, whether they were individually or in total.
As well as that, the NV also has a larger maximum wheelbase capacity, a larger wheel side holding capacity, and a dedicated bike hanger. This hanger stays underneath the rack, and you can hang your bikes here when repairing or cleaning them.
There is no doubt that NV 2.0 offers a lot of features, and for me, that’s worth the extra money. That’s why I’m also giving this round to NV 2.0.
The Final Verdict
You probably already know the result of the KUAT Sherpa vs NV battle. Yes, the winner of KUAT Sherpa is NV. The question is, “Should you not opt for KUAT Sherpa 2.0”?
You probably know that my answer would be a resounding “No.” If you took the time to read through the whole article, you would know that Sherpa has its own positive sides as well. Here, it might seem a bit underwhelming compared to NV 2.0, but it is still one of the best bike racks available.
It is true that the NV 2.0 is a phenomenal bike rack if you have 900 dollars in your pocket. On the other hand, if you are willing to sacrifice some features in exchange for 200 dollars less, you must choose the other rack.