While most bike racks tilt away from the vehicle, sometimes that’s not enough. Other times, a little extra space between the bumper and the rack is desired — particularly when there’s a spare tire mounted on the back (Jeep Wranger, for example). Offering the utmost in rear vehicle access, the Kuat Pivot has come to the rescue, solving both problems.

Kuat Pivot Features:

  • 2″ receiver only
  • Swings 90-degrees away for rear access
  • Locking latch and safety pin
  • Recommended for trucks and SUV’s only
  • Smooth, pivoting hinges
  • 250 lb. max capacity (Kuat NV 4, loaded up)
  • Anti-rattle, locking hitch pin
  • Weight: 47 lbs.
  • MSRP: $295

“Get that rack out of my face”

As someone who drives with a hitch rack on the back of my vehicle year-round, this has limited my vehicle choices to SUV’s with split rear hatches. For me, that vehicle is a 2006 Nissan Pathfinder. The rear glass opens separately and allows access to a variety of bike and running gear without awkwardly pivoting the rack multiple times a day.¬†Even though I do have separate opening glass, I do often have to squeeze myself between dirty bikes and a dirty bumper — kind of like playing Operation.¬†

Our other vehicle is a 2012 Toyota Sienna AWD. This vehicle has a huge rear hatch that requires a wide berth and even with our Kuat Sherpa tilted down, the hatch still won’t clear pedals or handlebars of the first bike. It’s lame — especially when we’re loaded up to the hilt on a road trip.

Kuat Pivot Review

The Pivot is built extra-burly for secure hauling.

At the end of the day, there’s no question that hitch racks are by far the best way to carry bikes. They are convenient, sturdy, secure and avoid low overhead clearance collisions altogether. I’m guessing there are more people who have run their bikes or cargo boxes into their garage/carport/drive-thru than those who have not. Sadly, I’m guilty as charged.

But, carrying bikes on the back is not all rainbows and unicorns either. While all good bike racks tilt away to facilitate access to the rear of the vehicle, oftentimes they don’t tilt enough. And, if they do, they remain awkward to lower and raise when fully-loaded. Enter the Kuat Pivot, a swing-away rack that gets the entire rack and as many as four bikes completely out of the way for unfettered access to the rear of the vehicle.

Kuat Pivot Swing Away Hitch Rack Review

The Pivot adds a few inches of height and gets your bikes completely out of the way.

Access your bikes and your vehicle

While the best use case for the Pivot would be aboard the Toyota Sienna, it simply lacks the ground clearance for safe use. (Kuat does make the Hi-Lo Coupler to add clearance.) If the Pivot was raised even as little as two inches, it would be perfect. But in the end, it has been on long-term duty aboard my 2006 Nissan Pathfinder with oodles of clearance. I’ve read people using the Pivot on a Subaru Crosstrek, but they also mentioned that the lower bolt had contacted the road a time or two.

In use, the Pivot has been fantastic. Aside from it weighing a hefty 47 lbs and adding an extra 12″ length to the rear of the vehicle, it’s very easy to live with. In fact, I’ve had several people ask about it and each one has gotten a first-hand trial on my vehicle. Each one has been impressed and left with a new “must have” piece of gear.

I’ll state the obvious in that it does an excellent job of pivoting the bikes, rack, etc. out of the way for easy access to the rear hatch. This has come in handy on several occasions, and not always with bikes on the back. One instance was a frantic call from my sister, who needed help moving. As you can see, the vehicle was loaded up — all without jumping over the bike rack with every armful of household items.

Kuat Pivot Swing Away Rack Review

Open wide… Kuat Pivot to the rescue.

And, as we found on our last visit to Alta Ski Resort, the lower scissor arm sits at just the right height for kids to sit and get their ski boots on. While you won’t find Kuat pitching the rack as a perch for kids, it’s quite handy in that regard.

Keep in mind that the Kuat Pivot works best on level ground. An upward slope does cause the rack to open with gusto while a downward slope can make opening a bit more difficult. To prevent sudden closure on a slope, be sure to always place the safety pin at the outward pivot.

Kuat Pivot Review

Wide open for easy access.

I will mention that getting the hitch inserted at the right location for bolt placement is quite tedious. If it’s off by even a smidgen, the bolt simply won’t thread in. Luckily, that’s a rare activity, but don’t give up on initial install and tighten that bolt down for a secure fit. Kuat includes a lock for the bolt pin to secure the unit.

The Good

  • Finally, a reliable way to access the rear hatch
  • Super-sturdy construction
  • Operation is smooth and easy
  • Includes locking bolt pin
  • Wiggle-free design
  • Solid, even when fully-extended

The Bad

  • Adds extra length to the vehicle
  • Bolt pin is tricky to get threaded
  • Must have adequate ground clearance

The Bottom Line: Kuat Pivot

The Kuat Pivot makes quick work of rear hatch access — especially when loaded up with 2+ bikes. It is built sturdy and rattle-free to carry your fleet of bikes with ease. I have much appreciated the uninhibited access to the cargo area at the trailhead, at the resort and around town.

Buy Now: Available at REI

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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