With integrated taillights and all-metal construction, this is the nicest bike rack I’ve used.
Bicycle hitch racks are utilitarian. They’re made to get one to six bikes from point A to point B without damaging the bikes or the vehicle the rack is mounted on.
Küat’s one-hand operable Piston Pro X sets a new standard for ease of use, safety, and durability when it comes to bicycle-carrying hitch racks. But it also has a bike rack that will enhance your car and your bike’s good looks.
If you’ve ever awkwardly balanced your very expensive carbon bike while trying to wrestle the arm of a hitch rack open and then closed — only to find you forgot to undo the rear wheel strap so you have to take the bike off and do it all again — you’ll love this bike rack as much as I do.
Küat’s Piston Pro X Hitch Bike Rack
Squeeze the levers on each of this two-bike rack’s four-wheel clamping arms, and the arm hydraulically pops open to level with the ground on a Kashima-coated piston. With the rack arms open, I can lift my bike onto the tray, and then squeeze each arm in toward the wheel to secure the bike.
The rack never touches the bike frame. The ratcheting arms close in from each side and clamp firmly.
The arms are universal. There’s no front and back, so I can load my bike in whichever direction it’s already pointing. And when I am carrying two bikes, there’s space to offset handlebars and saddle. Nothing rubs, and no tray adjustments are required.
Küat has a super-secure system for attaching its racks to a hitch that’s wobble-free. It’s also easy to install and remove. A hex bolt cams the rack solidly into the hitch receiver, and a locking hitch pin holds it in place. Because of this, the rack doesn’t swing or bounce when loaded.
The only tool you need to install the rack is a hex key, which is integrated and locked into the rack’s handle.
Installed, the Piston Pro X sits close to your bumper, so you don’t need to plan for extra space parallel parking when it’s folded up.
Lowered and ready to load, there’s plenty of space between rack-mount and tailgate even for bikes with 800mm bars. A hand- or foot-operable lever lowers the rack toward the ground — loaded or empty — so there’s space to open your hatch.
Adaptable for a Wide Range of Bikes
The Piston Pro X fits bikes with wheels from 18” to 29”, up to 5-inch tires, and a wheelbase up to 53 inches. It fits mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes, and fat bikes equally well.
Each tray can hold up to 67 pounds. And Küat sells a compatible e-bike ramp, as not everyone wants to deadlift 67 pounds of bike onto their rack.
Currently, the rack is for two bikes only. Soon, it will be available for one to four bikes, with the option to add and remove trays.
Because a hitch rack can block a car’s taillights, Küat integrated LED taillights into this rack so they’re visible when the rack is open or closed.
A Sleek and More Robust Design
Another thing we loved about this rack is that it has a more robust lock than most other hitch-mounted racks. Instead of a flimsy cable that stores inside the tray or the front wheel holder, this one comes with a thicker, multibike cable that stores in the car, but locks into the center bike tray support.
The all-metal rack is sleekly designed. It’s also tough. The rack can withstand a 750-hour salt spray test. Muck and grim won’t get into the working parts and gum it up.
After a heavy rain, I noticed that with the rack in the open position, the trays held water and dirt that washed off my bike’s tires. But both drained when I folded the rack against my bumper.
Küat says that its racks are designed for the most discerning enthusiasts. For those customers, the cost won’t be a deal-breaker.
Previously, the company’s premium rack was the $849 NV 2.0. The Piston Pro X supersedes that rack as Küat’s highest-end offering at $1,389.
Küat will also sell down-spec’d models of the Piston that cost less. But if you ride a high-end bike or drive a nice car and you care about the safety and good looks of both, the cost is worth it.
Küat’s Piston Pro X Hitch Bike Rack: Conclusion
Before I used this rack, I wasn’t convinced it was for me. But the ease of use, the modern design, the solid feel, and the safety of having taillights where other drivers can see them have made it my go-to for transporting bikes.