There are a lot of bicycle-carrying hitch racks on the market. Some clamp onto a bike’s frame, which is a poor choice if you like your bike’s paint job and/or you ride a carbon rig. And most have plastic parts and awkward straps that tend to wear out or break over time. Küat’s Piston Pro X is different.
What it is
Not only does it have clean lines and modern aesthetics that make it look as good on the back of a Tesla as it does on a Tacoma, but its all-metal construction is durable and dependable—plus the rack is one-hand operable and user-friendly.
The Piston’s Kashima-coated arms caught our attention first. If you’re a mountain biker, you’ll recognize the gold-colored coating instantly. It’s used in high-end bike shocks and forks for the smoothest travel. The Piston’s OneTap hydro-pneumatic tire arms are coated with Kashima for seamless opening and closing. Squeeze the lever on any arm, and it springs open so you can load your bike without laying it on the ground to wrestle a strap open or closed. With the bike set on the open tray, it takes one hand to press the arms in from either side, which clamps the bike securely into place by its tires, not its frame. The rack holds bikes with 18- to 29-inch wheels, tires up to 5 inches, and bikes with wheelbases up to 53 inches. It’s approved for use on the back of an RV with bikes that are 42 pounds each or lighter.
Why we like it
Loaded hitch racks block taillights, which can make it harder for vehicles behind you to know when you’re slowing or stopping. This one has non-obtrusive, built-in LED taillights that are visible both when the rack is open and when it’s closed. They’re powered by a magnetic, quick-connect plug cable that attaches and detaches from the rack instantly when you put the rack on or take it off. If your vehicle doesn’t have a wiring harness, a mechanic can install one for you.
The highly engineered rack is not only good looking, but it can handle rough roads, too. Aluminum trays pair with a solid steel hitch to support bikes up to 67 pounds each without bending or breaking, so this rack can handle most e-bikes, too. A 12mm-thick, semi-integrated cable lock secures bikes to the rack. The rubber-coated cable wraps around multiple bikes—inserting into a locking receptacle in the rack frame—and stores inside your vehicle until you need it.
It attaches to your two-inch receiver with a lockable camming system that’s wobble-free. The install tool is integrated into the rack so it’s always with you. When the rack is locked onto your vehicle, the tool is locked too.
What’s more, the Pro X can handle all-weather, making it suitable for year-round use. Küat uses IGUS bushings in key pivots; a custom-formulated, no-fade powder coating; stainless steel hardware; and automotive-grade, 750-hour salt spray on steel hardware to prevent rusting for longevity.
Need to tote more than one bike? It’s expandable. The Piston comes with two trays with the option to add one or two additional trays to carry up to four bikes. The trays are stadium-tiered to keep them from hitting the ground when you’re driving rough roads. An optional e-bike ramp takes the back pain out of loading and unloading heavy bikes. A foot- or hand-actuated pivot on the two-bike version and an end pull handle on the add-ons make lowering the rack up or down less of an acrobatic task.
“This is by far our most ambitious project, said Küat president and co-founder Luke Kuschmeader. “We wanted to challenge what a bike rack can do and offer a rack like nothing else in the market. The Piston Pro X is the premier product in every category from safety, security, durability, details, and aesthetics.”
The Piston Pro X starts at $1,389. It’s covered by Küat’s No Worries Warranty, and if you ever do have an issue, the company has excellent customer service. For every rack sold, Küat donates to the National Forest Foundation’s Future Forest iniitative.[$1,389; kuat.com]
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