Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack – Install & Review

Kuat Piston X Pro Bike Rack Mounted On 3rd Gen Tacoma

Kuat Piston Pro X: High Quality, Functional & Stylish Hitch Mounted Bike Rack – Detailed Install & Review, Mounted On 3rd Gen Tacoma

Kuat knows bike racks. It’s pretty safe to say that they make some of the dopest car racks on the market.

From bike racks to water and snow sports, Kuat offers an array of racks and accessories – backing it’s already established reputation in the industry. Always developing and improving, Kuat brought their newest rack to the market at the beginning of the year, the Piston Pro X.

Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack Review

The cream of the crop when it comes to bike racks, the Piston Pro X brings new and never seen before features to the market – offering a one of a kind product.

Merging the bridge with the latest in bike technology and tailoring to the consumer, this rack really does take the spotlight for a multitude of reasons. Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into why this rack is so special and why it might just be the option for you!

Let’s get started.

Find It Online

Box Contents

Unboxing New Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack

Kuat did a great with packaging making sure your shiny new rack doesn’t come damaged!

Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack

Contents in the box will include 4 separate bike tray attachments, tray hitch receiver, and a box of hardware + tools.

Accessory box contents include, pin connector (brake lights), rack lever, two Allen wrenches, a short Allen bolt, two long Allen bolts, two sets of keys and the locking pin.

Let’s see how this bad boy mounts into my Tacoma’s receiver…

Step 1. Slide Main Tray Into Hitch Receiver

How To Mount/Install Kuat Piston Pro X

To start, slide your main tray assembly into hitch until the holes line up with the hole in the hitch.

Using the provided pin and lock assembly, slide pin through and lock it using the lock and key.

To remove the movement in the hitch, use the provided key to unlock the built-in Allen wrench.

This Allen is specific for the hitch and a generic Allen can’t be used. Tighten until the play goes away.

Step 2. Install Bike Trays Onto Main Tray

How To Assemble Kuat Piston Pro X

Each side of the main tray has a corresponding letter associated with it’s corresponding letter on the bike tray. A matches with A, B matches with B, and so on.

Remove the piece of security tape holding the wiring connectors in place. These will get attached to the corresponding connectors on the bike tray to operate the brake lights.

Mounting Bike Rack Trays On Piston Pro X

Line up the specific letters on the bike tray to main tray, there are hooks that will hold them in place to prevent from falling.

If equipped with brake lights, attach wiring connectors before installing rack fully. Feed in the excess wire into the main tray assembly. The handles to operate the upright supports should all be facing outwards.

Step 3. Install Bolts Onto Rack

Installing Kuat Bike Rack

Using the two provided bolts and nuts, one will feed through each tray and tighten down with the provided Allen wrench.

One side of the bike tray has a cut-out for the bolt head and the other has a cut-out for the nut. This means you don’t need to hold the bolt down with a wrench!

Tighten down the bolt till it’s snug.

Step 4. Attach Wiring Harness To Vehicle

Connecting Kuat Piston Pro X Wiring Harness To Trailer Pin

One of the coolest features on this rack are the brake lights. In order to operate them, it’s required to use the provided harness and plug into the vehicles accessory port on the rear bumper. Doing so will allow the brake lights and turn signals to operate!

Step 5. Opening Arms

Kashina Coated Strut/Shocks On Piston Pro X Bike Rack From Kuat

To operate the arms that secure your bike to the rack. Press down on the black handles firmly enough to release pressure for the gas strut to extend. The arms will open up and stop just beyond a 90 degree angle.

What Is The Kashima Coat?

Now is time to admire that stunningly gorgeous Kashima Coat on the struts! If you’re unfamiliar what Kashima Coat is and why it’s gold lets quickly discuss it.

It’s a Fox patented coating that they use on their high end bike suspension to reduce friction, corrosion, scratches, increase lubrication and overall the longevity of your strut. Kuat partnered with Fox on this rack to bring the first ever Kashima Coat to the bike rack market and oh goodness does it not disappoint! I mean just look at it glistening in the sun!

Bike Rack Operation

How To Mount Bikes On Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack

Lucky for us, this bike rack is a breeze to operate.

How To Use Kuat Bike Rack

When in the folded up position (no bikes mounted), use the lever on the main tray to lower the rack to the mid point. From there, press down on the black handles to extend the arms and let them swing open fully.

Load your bike and while holding it in place push inward on the arms until they tighten up against the tires, repeat on both sides. It really is that simple!

Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack Review

Like always give the bike a quick wiggle to make sure it’s secure and repeat steps on the other bike. To remove the bike from the tray it’s the exact opposite, unload pressure on the arms by pushing inward towards the bike while pressing the black handle. This will ensure there isn’t excess strain put onto the parts that could potentially break them down the road. Once pressure is released, the gas strut will do the rest of the work and extend out the arm fully! Repeat on the other tire and now your bike is free to remove from the tray.

One of my favorite aspects of the Piston Pro X is the ease of use, it really is simple and straight forward, no excess steps or unnecessary work arounds!

Details & Features

Kuat Bike Rack Overview

The Piston Pro X is LOADED with features, by far the most I’ve ever seen on a bike rack. Let’s discuss them below!

  • All Metal Construction
  • One Tap Use
  • Flat 4-Pin LED Tail Light
  • Genuine Kashima Coat
  • No Frame Contact
  • Tiered Trays (Tapered)
  • No Fade Powdercoat
  • Stainless Hardware
  • E-Bike Capable (Ramp Available)
  • FastFit Wheel Chock
  • PedalPivot
  • Flatlock Hitch Cam
  • 12mm Cable Lock

Tire Clamps

Kuat Piston Pro X Tire Clamps

Depending on your wheel size, the cross members can be adjusted to accommodate. Unlike most bike racks where it requires a tool to change the height, the Piston Pro X has two push tabs and clearly marked holes for specific wheel sizes!

All you have to do is push inward on both tabs and move it to the desired size, let go and load up your bike. Really is convient for those who run a mullet setup or have kids bikes with smaller wheels, super quick to adjust.

Brake Light

A unique feature of the Piston Pro X is that it comes with brake lights and turn signals built into the rack! While not as much of an issue on a Tacoma since the rack sits lower than the tail lights, sedans and SUVs where the rack blocks the lights.

Trailer Pin Wired Brake Lights On Piston Pro X Bike Rack

It’s an incredibly genius idea to add lights to the rack to help others on the road see you better! Equipped with one on each side these lights are LED and bright to say the least, one of my favorite features this rack has to offer. And even in the Tacoma, it’s very nice to have these markers to stand out to other drivers.

Also… it just plain looks cool!

Lock

Every bike rack needs a good lock especially when you’re loaded up with thousands of dollars worth of bikes.

Kuat provides a nice 12mm coated cable that is soft to the touch so it won’t mess up paint and longer in length. You’re able to loop it through the frame and wheel to provide that extra security!

Build Quality

Kuat Bike Rack Build Quality

Build quality is remarkable. Constructed of 99% metal this rack is sexy, stout and functional.

There’s no stress like driving down the highway at 85 looking back and seeing your expensive bikes wobble because the rack quality is cheap. The Piston Pro X eliminates the stress and adds both form and function by providing such a high quality product.

Paint & Finish

Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack Review

The Piston Pro X is finished with Tiger DRYLAC powder coat. The idea is a high performance finish that doesn’t corrode or sun fade like many others. Providing a nice matte finish, this coating has stood up the constant abuse and outside living on my truck.

Pros 

  • All Metal Construction
  • Integrated Brake Lights
  • Kashima Coat Pistons
  • Non-Fade Powder Coat
  • Anti-Wobble System
  • No-Frame Contact
  • Long Lockable Cable

Cons

  • Pricey (you get what you pay for)
  • Heavy (63 lbs. – that weight accounts for the strength)

No products are perfect but the Piston Pro X sure is close! I really don’t have many complaints about the rack its functionality and use is awesome rather the main complaint is the price. It’s quite expensive, it’s on the higher end for a rack. The justification for it is the quality of product you get, at the end of the day you do see why it’s so expensive compared to racks that are half the cost.

Long-Term Review & Impressions

Kuat Bike Rack Long Term Review

Going on a few months of ownership with the Piston Pro X, I have been extremely pleased with the performance of this rack and what it has to offer.

As an avid cyclist, I leave this rack on my truck and routinely use it 2-4 times a week, traveling locally and out of state to go ride! From lengthy 500+ mile road trips to a 15 minute drive to the local trailhead the Piston Pro X hasn’t let me down once. I’ve been able to safely and securely run my bike and friends on the rack with no issues whatsoever.

I’ve owned plenty of bike racks this one, but its been a breath of fresh air to experience a rack at this level.

It’s as simple as tossing the bike on the rack, cranking down on the arms, and you’re ready to head out. The unfortunately reality is that there are many racks out there that are a pain and inconvenience, luckily this rack has eliminated all hassle and struggles I’ve encountered.

This is certainly one of those purchases that’s a “buy once, cry once”. I can confidently say that this will be the last bike rack I ever buy since I plan on it lasting for a long time!

Final Thoughts

Detailed Kuat Piston Pro X Bike Rack Review & Overview

If you’re looking for a solid bike carrier to pair with your bike setup, look no further than the Piston Pro X from Kuat! This rack packs a punch into a small platform filled with features, and most importantly, a high build quality all ensuring both you and your bike are styling headed down the road.

For years this team has been producing top tier products for all rack disciplines and the Piston Pro X is a testament to that statement. I’m beyond excited to continue to use this rack on my offroad and biking adventures and look forward to sharing my experience moving forward with it!

Happy Trails!

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