Both Kuat and Thule are world-renowned bike rack manufacturers. If you are a trekker or simply need to carry your bikes over a long distance, you probably are familiar with bike racks from Kuat and Thule. While they both secure bikes, which one of them is actually better?
Today, we’re going to find out. Follow us as we dive into a head-to-head comparison between Kuat and Thule bike racks and figure out which one suits you the best. We’ll compare security, price, appearance, ease of use, and capacity to find out the best bike rack for you. Let’s go.
Küat bike racks
Küat is a USA-based company that produces quality bike racks, among other accessories. Since its debut in 2008, it quickly rose to the top and now produces high-end, carefully engineered hitch racks, roof racks, and other accessories.
Küat tries to win their customer over by better building quality, strong structures, quality service, and special little thoughtful touches. Some of the most widely used Kuat racks are NV 2.0, Sherpa 2.0, and Piston Pro X.
Thule bike racks
Thule is a Swedish company founded in 1942 with one single purpose, and that is to make travels/adventures easier. Since then, the company has introduced some extraordinary solutions for common adventure-related problems.
After serving the community for over 75 years, Thule has become a trusted name for quality products across the globe. From travel bags to rooftop tents, Thule can help. Some of their most amazing innovations are T2 Pro XTR, Helium Pro, and Easyfold XT.
Which Bike Rack Is the Best: Thule Vs. Kuat?
Kuat bike racks are attention-grabbing, to say the least. They usually use anodized copper and silver that not only enhances the aesthetics but also protects the rack from casual wear and tear for a long time.
However, one of the flaws of Kuat bike racks is the bolts that connect the racks are prone to rust over time, decreasing the efficiency in the long run.
If you prefer great aesthetics on your bike rack, the NV 2.0 rack will be perfect for you.
Thule gives more attention to simplicity. That’s why their designs and appearance may seem plain to many users, but it gets the job done perfectly. Thule usually uses plastic, steel, and standard aluminum to provide a minimalistic outlook.
If you value functionality over appearance, the Thule T2 Pro XT can be a great choice for you. Thule uses matte black and silver aluminum to color their racks. Thule also anodizes part of their rack’s structure, but not as much as Kuat.
If you consider appearance as an important deciding factor, Kuat will be a better option than Thule.
Most bike racks come with the capacity of carrying 2 bikes at a time. Both Kuat and Thule produce single and multiple bike racks, meaning you’re free to choose. However, there is a weight limit. With the Thule T2 Pro XT, you’ll be able to carry 120 lbs in total with 2 bikes, 60 lbs for each.
If that doesn’t work, you can also opt-in for a two-rack extender that’ll allow you to carry 4 bikes at a time. However, The extra bikes must be under 50 lbs. The rack is compatible with all kinds of bicycles.
Thule bike racks also have the capacity of carrying multiple bikes of any design or wheel size. The weight capacity is also similar. However, the extended rack has a lower weight capacity than Kuat. Thule extended racks can hold 80 lbs in total, limiting the weight of each bike to 40 lbs.
Additionally, there are a few add-on security features that are not mandatory but provide better protection. Like an independent wheel adapter if your bike’s wheel size is 20-24 inches.
The Kuat racks have a slight edge over the Thule racks in terms of weight capacity.
Stability is really important if you frequently need to transport your bike. The good news is, Both Küat and Thule racks are exceptionally stable.
The Kuat racks use expandable cams that strongly attach your bikes to the rack. They can be set tightly around the wheel, making it almost impossible to detach them with common theft tools.
Also, they prevent your bikes from swaying and making sounds while being carried behind your vehicle.
Thule bike racks also perform elegantly, almost the same as the Küat bike racks. They also utilize expandable cams to mount your bike tightly on the rack so your bikes don’t sway while you drive.
However, the pivoting system can be developed as it loses grip over time.
The comparison becomes a bit tough with this one. Both bike racks perform up to the mark and provide great stability. Even though the Thule pivoting system tends to deteriorate over time, the performance is satisfactory.
This round results in a tie as both bike racks provide high stability and support. They both support bikes that have as wide tires as 5 inches
This is the most important factor to look at before buying a bike rack. Kuat bike racks offer high security by employing thick and secure steel cables. You can wrap your bike’s frame with the steel cable, which will make it much harder for anyone to access your bike quickly. They also feature magnetic cable locks and an integrated work stand.
Thule racks also protect your bike with effective side locks made from steel. They are located at the arms of each front wheel and can be wrapped through the front tires. The locks are similar to the locks Kuat uses, but provide a little less security.
However, never forget that no lock is impenetrable. A skilled thief, with the right toolset and enough time, can pick any lock. It’s better to be extra careful when leaving your bike for a long time.
In terms of security, Kuat bikes have the upper hand.
Ease of use
This is where Kuat bike racks fall behind. Both the installation and the way to use are pretty complicated, especially if you’re a newbie.
For example, the Kuat 2 NV rack is difficult to assemble as you’ll need to bolt the tray arms properly and make sure that the trays are facing the same direction. Putting the rack into a hitch is also more difficult than their Thule counterparts.
Thule outperforms the Kuat bike racks in terms of ease of use. However, it’s still a little bit complicated to connect the pre-assembled parts of the Thule bike rack. There is an instruction manual to help you with that.
It becomes really straightforward to mount to and disconnect from the hitch once the assembly is completed. Additionally, some models (like the T2 Pro XT) come equipped with a self-guiding and self-locking pin that makes the job even easier by locking the expansion wheel.
With better ease of use, Thule bike racks win this round.
Küat bike racks are a bit more expensive than their Thule counterparts. The price varies from retailer to retailer, but it ranges from $550-850. If you want to add the two bike extensions, you’ll have to spend $540 more. The 4-bike versions can cost more than $2,000.
The price of the Sherpa 2.0 is the lowest, at $550, and the NV 2.0 is priced the highest, at $850.
However, as these racks don’t support 5-inch wide tires, you may also need to invest around $15 for a phat tire kit.
Thule bikes are more economical than their Kuat counterparts. The pricing starts from $350 and goes up to $999 for the bike racks. If you want to add the extension to the mix, it’ll cost you around $500 more.
As this rack supports all types of tire, you won’t be needing to make any additional purchases. If you are looking for high-quality bike racks at a more affordable price range, Thule is the one. Some models can be even more than $100 cheaper than their Kuat counterparts.
Being the most economical option, Thule racks wins this round.
Which one to choose?
Amazingly, this in-depth comparison ended in a tie. What that means is that both Kuat and Thule bike racks are reliable options.
Both have their strengths and weaknesses and which one you should choose becomes dependent on your preference. However, here are some suggestions that can help you make an informed decision.
If you want a more affordable option and a bike rack that is easy to use, opting in for a Thule bike rack makes more sense. On the other hand, if you want to carry more load and look good doing it, go for the Kuat bike racks.
A word of advice, don’t forget to secure your bike properly and try not to leave your bike for a long time. Hopefully, this article will be able to help you choose the right bike rack for your specific needs. Thanks for reading this far, and happy cycling to you!