KUAT Sherpa 2.0 vs KUAT NV 2.0: A Clash of Champions

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What do we have today? KUAT Sherpa 2.0 and KUAT NV 2.0, it seems. We need to break down two products in terms of features and benefits. This is just to come up with a decision about which one is the best? Okay, but how so!

Because people don’t look up to me whenever they need a new bike rack, I’m no expert. I’m just a car enthusiast who loves biking when completely bored.

But… I bought a lot of bike racks in my whole life. Hence, I had to do hardcore research before making a purchase, giving me some sort of… what modern people say…. Yeah, EXPERIENCE.

Yes, I have used both KUAT Sherpa 2.0 and NV 2.0. These two products possess some of the best qualities that a bike rack could have. However, they both have some minuses too. Since I’m no expert, I’m in no position to cancel one out and rise one so high that you would call it a “Better” one.

So, what to do?

Well… I’ve used both, and I know their specs, performance, and other necessary details. The only option is here that I will select a side of the product and try to describe it from a user’s point of view.

You and I will decide together which one’s ahead in each section. After describing all aspects, we’ll count the points and see which one’s the winner. Let’s get to it then!

Kuat Sherpa vs NV Bike Rack: Comparison Table

KUAT Sherpa 2.0KUAT NV 2.0
TypePlatform rackPlatform Rack
Item Weight32 Pounds52 Pounds
Bike Capacity22
Load Capacity80 Pounds120 Pounds
ExpandableNoOnly 2” Model, to 4 bikes
Hitch Sizes1.25” & 2″ hitches1.25” or 2”
Max Tire Width3 in5 in
Wheel Baseup to 47”up to 48”
Wheel Size20” to 29”20” to 29”
Hitch PinStandard Locking Hitch PinStandard Locking Hitch Pin
Hitch ConnectionHand-Tight Cam SystemHand-Tight Cam System
Security CablesIntegrated Into RackSemi-Integrated
PriceBuy From AmazonBuy From Amazon

Design and Build

I don’t know about you, but looks do matter to me. I love my car, and I don’t want to hook up anything on it that looks underwhelming. That’s why my first parameter in choosing any component (that goes into the car) will always be DESIGN. Yes, BUILD matters too because who doesn’t want “Beauty with Brains.”

At first look, both Sherpa 2.0 and NV 2.0 looks dope. KUAT has a reputation for making premium-looking bike racks. These two products are examples of it. But we’re here to compare. So, let’s see which one takes the lead in terms of “Design and Build.”

KUAT Sherpa vs KUAT NV

The two products are available in the same color ranges. Which are pretty much black, grey, or pearl with silver or orange anodize. They both look similar except for one thing: NV 2.0 has funky-looking wheel cradles, and the other doesn’t.

NV is bigger than Sherpa in every way possible. Hence, it can hold a bigger wheel-base and looks a bit bigger than Sherpa in the naked eye.

NV 2.0 has a metal construction, whereas Sherpa 2.0 has an aluminum build. Aluminum has few advantages, but when it comes to adequate durability and strength, metal is far ahead. This means NV 2.0 ensures more power and the ability to dodge damage.

They feature gloss black powder finishing. It helps survive adverse weather and remain rust-free over the years.

This is pretty much all about the section. So, who’s ahead according to you? Can’t decide? Okay, let me help you.

See, both NV and Sherpa possess vibrant looks. Hence, no points to anyone. But NV’s metal construction points it over Sherpa’s aluminum build. Because you already know that metal ensures more power than the other. Hence, this round goes to NV 2.0.

Weight and Shank Size

As you already know, KUAT NV 2.0 contains metal-build, and the other contains aluminum. Metal was the reason why NV won the previous round. But in this round, metal can be the reason behind NV’s point loss. How? Let’s see.

Aluminum is a light material. That’s why Sherpa 2.0 weighs only 32 lbs. On the contrary, metal is heavier, and for that reason, NV 2.0 weighs 52 lbs. It was 20 pounds, not 2 pounds. Hence, it’s a lot. Not everyone can lift 52 pounds effortlessly. That’s why installing and removing will not be a cup of team.

You can install the Sherpa without any sort of help. But in most cases, you’ll need assistance to hook up the NV. So, Sherpa grabs a point here.

Right shank size is because a bike rack only fits into a trailer hitch if its shank size matches the hitch’s receiver. Generally, receivers come in two sizes: 1.25-inch and 2-inch.

Both products have a hitch adapter (a hitch adapter is a handy device that makes an unmatched rack fit into a trailer hitch). As a result, you can hook these with 1.25 and 2-inch receivers. Since two pack the same feature here, it’s a draw. No points to any of the products.

Let’s calculate the points in this section. The Sherpa won one point because it weighs less. Less weight means easier to handle, install, remove, and store. And later, it was a draw in terms of shank size, aka compatibility. As a result, Sherpa is the winner in this round with one point.

The result of KUAT Sherpa 2.0 vs KUAT NV 2.0 is 1 – 1. 

Hmm… Seems quite a battle, doesn’t it? Let’s see who gets to laugh at the end.

Strength and Durability

I’ve already said in the first section that metal is more rugged than aluminum. Yes, aluminum is light and all, but metal is more powerful. Now, the question is, can metal make NV strong enough to beat Sherpa in this section? Let’s find out.

NV 2.0 has three variants. The original one is a 2-bike rack, and the other two types can carry three and four bikes simultaneously. On the other hand, Sherpa has only one type that can transfer two bikes maximum.

NV’s strength depends on which type of rack it is. Since Sherpa is a 2-bike rack, I’ll talk about NV’s original variation here.

In this case, NV can carry up to 120 lbs. of weight and 60 lbs. per tray. However, my bikes maximize at 45 pounds. So, I never get to use this rack up to its full potential. To keep everything simple, believe in the manufacturer for a moment.

On the other hand, KUAT says Sherpa 2.0 can carry only 80 lbs. This means 40 lbs. per tray. Again, it took my 45-ers. So, it’s safe to say that the rack can carry more than its “Suggested” weight. Still, I’m gonna believe the manufacturer here also.

Hence, the ultimate result is that NV 2.0 can carry more than the other one (40 lbs.). It’s a huge margin. I know it can go here and there in real-life scenarios, but I also know than ain’t no way Sherpa is beating NV. The point goes to NV here.

About the durability, you already know metal is far more powerful than aluminum. Yes, aluminum is lightweight, but it can’t save the product from getting bent, reformed, or damaged.

Probably, this is why my Sherpa was a bit more beaten up after one year of usage than the other. I used NV for like three years, and if I’ve used a paint job, nobody could say that an old rack. For me, NV gets the point here, too, for durability.

What’s the result?

NV 2.0 won this round by both two points.

Rear Accessibility and Compactness

Rear accessibility and compactness depend on how much foldability a bike rack has. Since the two products come from a high-end rack family, they have these abilities. It’ll be a hard decision to name one winner in this round.

Bike racks make a car longer in length. As a result, it’s hard to park in tight spaces while the bike holder is on. It’s also a hassle to remove and re-install a bike rack repeatedly. Here comes the tray-folding feature.

Tilt-down features

It lets you fold the whole platform upwards so that the car’s length becomes less. If this function is in it already, you can move around town with the product on.

The tilt option is another handy feature of quality bike holders. See, I like taking bikes with me on all our family trips. And I had to put things on and off between my trips. Hence, I need something by which I can access the rear part without removing the rack. This is where the tilt function comes into play.

Tilting means the whole bike rack will fold away from the vehicle. This way, you don’t have to remove the bikes or the whole platform to access the vehicle’s trunk.

At this point, you understand the necessity of both tilt and tray-fold functions. Both of our products feature these two functions for your help. I didn’t measure how much they can tilt, but it should be somewhere between 60 to 90 degrees.

Apart from these functions, the horizontal hook arms of both racks are also foldable. As a result, you can fold these against the platform while folding the whole base upwards.

Okay, it’s time to declare the result.

Since the two products perform somewhat identical, it’ll be better to announce this section as a draw. This means, in terms of rear accessibility and compactness, both of the products perform as the-best-of-the-best.

Safety Features

Taking bikes on an adventure is necessary. It’s more important to carry those safely. Safety features of a bike rack ensure how safe it will remain during the journey. A bike rack doesn’t mean anything without security features. So, it doesn’t matter how rigid the build is or how much weight it can hold. 

Generally, rachet hooks, wheel cradles, wheel straps, and hitch-lock pins are some safety features of a bike rack. Let’s see which one of our products shines bright in this section.

lock pin
Standard Locking Hitch Pin

NV 2.0 has one adjustable cradle for both platforms. It confirms that the bike tires remain in the rack. On the other side of each tray, there is a wheel strap. The ratchet strap holds onto the wheel ring, so it doesn’t feel any wobble.

If we look at the Sherpa 2.0, it’s PRETTY much the same. It also has a single ratchet strap on both stands. However, this one doesn’t feature any wheel cradle. Rather it features a dedicated tire holder on both trays. The question is, “Is it better than a cradle?”

The answer is no and yes. Basically, as long as bikes are safe and it doesn’t feel any wobble, it doesn’t matter what a rack has or not.

NV and Sherpa have foldable horizontal arms. These arms have U-shaped rachet hooks at the top. These are adjustable and the primary reason behind the bikes staying in the bike rack. Generally, it grabs onto the cycle’s frame and maintains a proper grip to ensure it doesn’t go anywhere.

The two racks have a hand-tight cam system for hitch connection. They also feature a standard hitch locking pin to hook up with the trailer hitch.

bike locking cable
Integrated security cable

However, one thing I’ve found better in NV is safety cable. The rack has an integrated metallic wire for advanced security in both trays. Likewise, Sherpa also packs a security cable with it. But it’s semi-integrated, meaning it’s not attached to the holder.

In conclusion, NV and Sherpa have mostly similar safety features. They both are capable of holding your bikes safely. Still, NV will stay ahead because it has integrated security cables. For this reason, this round goes to NV 2.0.

Assembly and Installation

I don’t like to be too much technical with my bike racks. I mean, I don’t possess the skills of a mechanic. Hence, the more low-key a rack’s installation, the more I like it.

Fortunately, the above two products follow a simple installing procedure. Yes, it takes more time than an Allen Sports but not hard enough to put on like a Thule (my opinion).

hitch receiver

First, let’s give you a gist of my experience with Sherpa 2.0.

Well…these racks come with an installation guide and all necessary instruments. So, I had a few tasks to do to perfectly assemble the Sherpa and place it inside the trailer hitch.

I set up the two trays with the rack beam and tightened everything up with the inner body connector and long bolts. After that, I pushed the foot pedal in its correct position. Now, I have an assembled Sherpa 2.0.

After assembling perfectly, placing the hitch pin to connect with the trailer hitch is enough to be done with the installation. I did the whole thing in under 30 minutes, and I believe you can do it faster.

About installing the NV 2.0, it’s a bit harder than the Sherpa, mostly assembling parts. Since NV is different design-wise, the assembly is also – poles apart. That’s why I suggest you get an extra hand and lots of patience.

Unlike Sherpa, NV trays are separated into two parts: cradle and flat with wheel straps. First, you must attach them with the beam and again long-bolt them to secure them correctly.

This time, you must bolt more than four times to assemble everything. Also, the rack weighs more than 50 pounds. That’s why it’s better to work it out with extra pair of hands.

You can clearly see that assembling the NV 2.0 is more tiring and time-consuming than the Sherpa 2.0. And we don’t like a complex or time-wasting setup. This is why this round belongs to the Sherpa 2.0.


Have you been counting the score?

It 3-2 in favor of KUAT NV 2.0. This is the deciding round. If Sherpa wins this round, it’s a draw or the other wins. Let’s see who wins this battle of bike racks.

These two are one of the most high-end bike holders in the industry. Both have the high-performance ability, top-notch safety features, adequate strength, and longevity. To be very honest, these are one of the most expensive racks that I’ve ever used in my life.

However, it also matters at what cost I’m getting these products. Are the extra features actually worth the money?

Sherpa 2.0 comes at $629, whereas NV 2.0 comes at $849. So, NV cost me more than 200 bucks of what I got from my Sherpa. On the bright side, the rack brought powerful build material, funky security features, an extra bike holding option, and more total or individual weight-holding trays.

Apart from that, NV also has a bigger max wheelbase capacity, higher wheel side holding capability, and a dedicated bike hanger. It stays underneath the rack, and you can hang your bikes here when repairing or cleaning.

For me, it’s fair to get these many features at the extra money. That’s why this round also goes to NV 2.0.

The Final Verdict

I guess you already know the result. Yes, the winner of KUAT Sherpa  vs NV is the latter one. The question is, “Should you not go for KUAT Sherpa 2.0?”

My answer would be a resounding, “No.” If you’ve gone through the whole article, you would know that Sherpa has its own positive sides. Maybe, it looks a bit underwhelming beside NV 2.0. Still, it’s one of the best bike racks in the market.

In short, NV 2.0 is a phenomenal bike rack if you’ve 900 bucks in your pocket. Otherwise, if you’re ready to sacrifice a few features by paying 200 dollars less, you must go for the other one.

Related bike rack comparison:

Jeff Phillips Racktutor
About the author

Jeff Phillips is the able founder of RackTutor.com. In his professional life, he has been offering Paintless Dent Repair and Hail Repair services in North Texas since 1990. He is the owner of DentMasters. He is still passionate about outdoor adventures with his family, bikes and cars. So he has first-hand experience on bike racks. He is regularly testing suitable racks for his upcoming trip. His aim is to create a user-friendly free website where bikers can easily read bike rack informations without any hassle.

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