Kuat vs 1up Bike Rack: Which one to choose?

  • Post category:Hitch Bike Rack
  • Post published:June 27, 2022
  • Post last modified:January 20, 2024
  • Post author:
  • Reading time:6 mins read

The summer season has arrived, and so has the season of cycling. Now that doesn’t mean you can cycle to Baltic Cycling Route. Can you? Here’s where bike racks play their part. As you’ve clicked this, we assume you already have a decent knowledge of bike racks.

1up and Kuat have two of the most popular bike racks now. Kuat bike racks are famous for heavy-duty infrastructure; on the contrary, 1up is hyped for its high towing capacity.
But are 1up bike racks better than Kuat bike racks?

Kuat vs 1up featured image

We tried a few models from each brand, and here’s our detailed comparison between 1up vs Kuat Bike Rack below:

Kuat vs 1up Comparison Table

Before diving into the differences between these bike racks briefly, first, let’s see their key differences.

Rack models810
LockNo integrated lockIncluded integrated lock
Bike capacity2  to 4 1 to 4
Tilt mechanismthree optionstwo options

Kuat and 1up Bike Rack in depth comparison explained

Rack Models

Kuat bike rack design
Kuat bike rack design

Kuat started in the year 2008 and has launched up to ten different types of bike rack models and six rack accessories. Their recent addition to their hitch bike rack category is the “Beta” model.  It has a new hand-tight cam technology that allows the user to load-unload from sitting in the car. But you have primarily heard about the Kuat NV 2.0. It enables cable locks and an integrated anti-sway feature. Besides these, Kuat also offers a roof bike rack “Trio” that offers  12, 15, & 20 mm forks.

1up bike rack design
1up bike rack design

1up USA is a relatively small company than Kuat, so it has eight different bike rack models to offer. The most popular track out of all is the 1Up USA heavy-duty double. One reason the rack is famous is for its 54 inches wheelbase. Also, you can attach extra trays to increase the bike tow capacity of the relevant 1up rack model. Also, 1up Equip-D Single is a great model that offers a clever tilt handle.

Towing Capacity

For Kuat Beta, the bike capacity is 40lbs max, and you can carry two bikes. The classic NV base & Nv 2.0 both offer two bikes capacity of 60-67lbs. However, the Pivot v2 offers 39lbs towing capacity, and we often use it as an add-on with our NV 2.0.

You should be able to tow an extra 40lbs. Sherpa 2.0 provides 32 lbs per bike maximum. You can increase the towing capacity with Kuat bike racks by using their add-ons.

1up offers 2 to 4 bike rack towing, and the models have double and single tray systems. The Quik Rack can tow up to 3 bikes and tow 50lbs bike rach. For extra add, you can add and increase the capacity to 200lbs.

1up bike rack holding a bike

The 2 inches Super Duty single offers 75 lbs towing capacity per bike, and you can tow up to a maximum of 3 bikes with an add-on. It makes up to 225 lbs toeing capacity. Super Duty double has a maximum towing capacity of up to 50 lbs for the 4th bike. The 2″ Heavy Duty Double has a towing capacity of 200 lbs maximum.

From our point of view, 1up provides better bike capacity than Kuat.

Lock and Security

The lock system of 1up bike racks is not impressive compared to Kuat bike racks. Many of you might disagree with us but hear us out. 1up racks don’t come with integrated locks; we had to purchase separate locks, which felt light and cheap.

On the contrary, Kuat racks included integrated cable locks and locked hitch pins for security. But 1up bike racks have higher towing capacity than Kuat, so keeping that in mind, they should have added an integrated security system. 


Kuat bike racks are compatible with wheel sizes 20 to 36 inches bases. Most racks have a repair stand and standard and basic tail stans. 1up bike racks to offer 20 to 34 inches wheelbases and add-on facility changes wheel dimension—both of these brands bike racks for 2 inches and 1.25 inches receiver hitch.

However, 1up doesn’t offer any roof rack, and Kuat doesn’t provide any trunk mount bike rack. Kuat includes co-molded straps to protect your bike wheels. 

Load & Unload

Both of the brand’s bike racks are very easy to install and don’t take time to load. 1up bike racks use a ratcheting system, and the front arms swing to the front of the tow vehicle. The ratchet system secures the tires; if you add trays, it can attach to multiple tires. 1up title mechanism offers three ways to load your bike, fully open, partially open half closes.

On the contrary, Kuat racks offer only two tilt systems, Fully open and partially open. However, it only takes to switch on the ratcheting system to load and unload; the same goes for its roof racks.

Also read: Installing Allen Bike Rack on SUV

Design & Fit

The key material for both bike racks is aluminum steel and uses a powder coat finish. However, 1up bike racks have a stadium arena mimic design. The position goes up to tow multiple bikes.

But the Kuat bike racks are a bit bulky; even the smallest Kuat bike rack is pretty big. They offer a folding feature to store, but that doesn’t lessen the overall weight.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Kuat racks made?

Kuat bike racks are made in Springfield, USA. The research and development occur in Springfield, but the assembly and manufacturing happen in China & Taiwan. 

Where are 1UP bike racks made?

1UP bike racks are fully assembled and manufactured in the USA. Even the R&D takes place in the U.S.A.

Is the 1UP rack worth it?

100% they are worth every penny. These racks have high tow capacity and are extremely well built. 

Do 1UP racks rust?

Yes, they do. These racks will corrode in contact with any salt and also corrosive material. 

What’s the difference between 1UP Heavy Duty and Super Duty?

Both are on the same rack, but Super Duty includes an extra ⅜ inches tray. Also, the towing capacity of Heavy-duty is 50 lbs per bike, whereas the Super Duty is 50 lbs. 

Kuat or 1up: which one to choose?

Kuat & 1up offers some great bike racks, making it hard for us to choose the best. Kuat bike racks are well designed and much smoother than 1up bike racks when on the go. But if you have a small garage and storage, this rack will take up much place.

We recommend going for Kuat bike racks for significant distance travel. On the contrary, 1up has a sleek design, and it’s pretty easy to load-unload. However, if you don’t install it correctly, your car might get scratched by the bikes. We recommend it for short travel and day-to-day travel. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, then Kuat might be the top choice.

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