In a year that’s seemingly been all about premium bike racks built with electric bikes in mind, the all-new Kuat Piston Pro X might be setting a new standard for how we define “premium.”
The Kuat Piston Pro X is a tray-style bicycle rack that mounts to your vehicle’s receiver hitch. It’s not yet available — Kuat says they expect the rack to start heading to consumers sometime in spring 2022 — but it’s development has been touted by the Missouri-based bicycle rack company for months. Not only does it have a 67 lb per-tray weight capacity, an accessory ramp for loading heavy bikes and integrated tail lights, the Piston Pro X has features we never expected to see on a bike rack — features like Kashima coated hydraulic pistons.
Janette Sherman, media relations for Kuat, walked us through the new Piston Pro X bike rack at this year’s Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. While its release date is still relatively far off (March of 2022), the rack certainly looked ready. If you’re after a high-tech e-bike rack with a high weight capacity, cool features and unparalleled user experience, the new Kuat Piston Pro X just might be worth the price.
The Kuat Piston Pro X uses two arms to clamp down on the tires instead of the frame, protecting your paint job.
Kuat Piston Pro X bike rack features
I never thought I’d describe a bicycle rack as sexy, but here we are.
That might be partially due to the fact that Kuat was showing off the Piston Pro X at Sea Otter mounted to a Tesla Model X, or maybe the rack just really looks that good. It’s got a very sleek and functional looking design with lots of obviously metal bits.
The rack comes in its stock form capable of carrying two e-bikes at 67 lbs apiece — enough to carry nearly any e-bike we’ve reviewed at Electric Bike Report. Like most tray racks, you can add additional trays to increase the number of bikes you can carry. But with each added tray, the rack’s carrying capacity is expected to go down.
Be seen: Integrated tail lights are a thing we’re seeing more and more of on bike racks.
Beyond the rack’s ability to carry bikes well, Kuat has paid lots of attention to how it feels to use. Every moving part on the rack is very light action and is made to be used with one hand. The thought process, according to Sherman, is that you’re typically balancing the bike with one hand and operating the rack with the other. The single-handed design makes this balancing act a little easier.
The rack is a contactless design, meaning it employs two arms on either end of each tray that clamp down on your tires instead of the frame. This secures your bike to the rack in a way that’s stable but not risky to your expensive paint job. Those arms are operated by a set of blinged-out Kashima coated pneumatic pistons that open automatically with the push of a button.
The namesake Kashima coated pistons that operate the arms are pretty cool looking.
For those with heavier e-bikes, the Piston Pro will also be compatible with a ramp that allows you to roll your bike onto the rack — no lifting required. Kuat has even thought of how its rack will interact with bikes equipped with fenders, a seldom considered but very important feature for the commuter crowd or those who ride in wet areas. That problem is solved by an accessory kit that uses a strap that fixes the wheel to the securing arms.
The Kuat Piston Pro X will start at $1,389, but Kuat is also planning on releasing two less expensive models of the rack that’ll lack tail lights and Kashima coating.
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