|50 pounds ... easy peasy|
|80 pounds ... requires proper lifting technique.|
The reason why I have two is that only a few times a year do I need the 4 bike. 90% of the time I am hauling 1 or 2 bikes. And I would rather not have to either 1. assemble/disassemble the 2 bike add-on or 2. have the 4 bike carrier on the vehicle as it is rather cumbersome.
I love the easy on/off of the 2 bike. The ratcheting mechanisms are simple and quick. The trays are 13" apart so you don't have to worry about large bikes contacting one another. There is an integrated lock for security. There is an adaptor for wheels less than 26". The rack tilts down for easy access to my rear hatch; even with two bikes on, I am quite capable of lowering it by myself.
|Hand tight cam system is rock solid.|
The 4 bike carrier requires a little more thought when carrying 4 large (think 29'r with wide bars) bikes. The trays are closer together so it requires some thought so as not to have bars rubbing bars or saddles. It can be done without having to loosen stems and twisting bars around so that they are flush with the top tube. I have used small strips of foam and placed them in the front wheel tray so that the bike's bars are effectively raised 1-2" higher, thereby avoiding the bars/saddle of another. And, yes, it is still very secure.
The 4 bike also has the integrated lock and the ability to tilt it down to access the back of your vehicle. However, with more than 1 bike on, I cannot safely do it by myself. I need someone to hold the rack while I reach underneath and release the handle.
Both carriers have a Trail Doc, which is a built-in bike stand. While it does not hold a bike as solid as say a Park or Ultimate Stand, you can still get the job done. I use pipe insulation, wrap it around my bike frame, and it helps to secure the bike to work on it. The Trail Doc does not have a lock, so it would be easy for it to "grow legs" at a trail head or hotel. If concerned, it is quite simple to remove and store in your vehicle.
|The clamping mechanism is a bit weak.|
Rust ... one of my pet peeves. If I spend $$$ on my vehicle, bike, and carriers, the last thing I want to see is rust. After 3 years of sun, wind, rain, and snow, the only place on my 4 bike carrier where rust reared its ugly head is where it slides into the hitch. That is not too bad. On the other hand, after only 4 months, my 2 bike has rust where 2 bolts contact the frame and on a bolt that is in the Trail Doc.
|The war has begun.|
|Must remove before it drives me nuts.!|
The only other problem I have encountered with my NV racks is the ratcheting system on the front wheel. It gets "sticky" every now and then. Problem is easily solved with ProGold's Xtreme Lube.
|ProGold keeps it smooth as silk.|
So would I recommend this carrier? Yes, I would. Overall, I have been very happy with their performance. As hectic as my life gets at times, I like "easy." Kuat racks are "easy." And they carry a bit of a "bling" factor too. I like "bling."
I also must say that their customer service is awesome! You get an actual live person to talk to. No pressing a bunch of 1's, 2's, or 3's ... you get a real human!