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SeaSucker Mini Bomber Bike Rack

Review: SeaSucker Mini Bomber Bike Rack

Inge's picture

We Liked

We all have a bike rack or two hiding in our garage that has quickly fallen out of favor. Whether the rack promised to be “damage-free” to the car and wasn’t, required a rocket science degree for installation, or left the bikes perilously dangling in the breeze while heading down the highway, we have all been there. As a reviewer, even I have had a few racks that have been sent to the retirement home early, in hopes that the next rack will be "the one."

I have been searching for an easy to install rack for my small VW hatchback for quite some time, trying a variety of systems along the way without satisfactory results. Previous rack experiments had straps fail, parts wear out, or various components disappear on the road all together. As a competitive cyclist, quick installation, security, and the ability to handle multiple race bikes were all critical requirements for a bike rack. As my car did not have a hitch mount and had very little real estate around the hatchback door, my options appeared to be limited. The ultimate challenge however, turned out to be the round curvature of the hatchback itself.

When I first visited the SeaSucker booth at a show, I was skeptical of the holding power of this simple rack. Vacuum cups? Can it really be that simple? Indeed it can. After talking extensively with Greg Casagrande from SeaSucker, I was impressed with the staying power of those white vacuum cups (210 lbs. each!) and wanted to run it through the CX racing gauntlet.

As soon as the Mini Bomber 2-Bike SeaSucker rack arrived on my doorstep, I dove into the box like a kid on Christmas morning. I gave the car a bath, dislodging any sap and tar that had accumulated (WD-40 works great for this by the way) to make sure the vacuum cups had a clean surface to work with. After removing the bright orange protective caps from the Mini Bomber cups, I moistened the cup edges with water and attempted to place it on the hatchback door. Sadly the SeaSucker mounting plate did not flex enough to meet the dramatic curvature of the hatchback. What to do? The roof of course!!!

After placing the Mini Bomber on the roof, just a few pumps were needed on each vacuum cup to draw the air out until the orange band on the plunger was no longer visible, and voila, we were in business. After securing all 4 cups on the Mini Bomber front rack, I removed the front wheel of my bike and lifted the bike overhead, loosely placed the fork into the Delta Bike Hitch Pro fork mount which is included with the Mini Bomber racks. This helped me eyeball where the rear wheel vacuum cup needed to go. Removing the bike from the Mini Bomber, I applied the rear wheel strap vacuum cup and with a few pumps, it too was secured into place. I returned the bike to the rack, tightened the front skewer, undid the Velcro fasteners and secured the rear wheel in place. The bike was ready to roll with no rocking whatsoever. Placing the additional rear wheel strap vacuum cup for the second bike was just as easy. Installation complete!

As there were no straps, clips, or buckles to fuss with, I found it was lightweight and easy to install for the first time by myself. Installation was relatively quick with one person, but even faster if you have additional person to assist with installation. Once in place, the bikes were truly secured and did not move. Best of all, no cables, ties, nylon webbing to deal with, or bikes/pedals crashing into each other or the car. Because the system is portable, installing the Mini Bomber did not require expensive modifications to the car (ie. roof rack or hitch installation) in order to use the system and can just as easily be moved from car to car. By far the easiest rack that I have ever installed. Removing the SeaSucker was just as easy: simply pull up the edge of vacuum cup and slowly release the pressure. Upon removal, I was happy to see that the rack did not mark or damage the car, just as promised.

As far as maintenance goes, the vacuum cups can be left in place when not in use. When the vacuum cups start losing vacuum strength over time, the plunger will reverse itself, revealing the orange bar. Simply give it a few pumps to restrengthen the vacuum and you are back in business. If you are not going to use the rack for a while, SeaSucker recommends removing the rack, clean the vacuum cups and replacing the orange cup covers before storing to help keep them clean and protected when not in use. In our testing, we left the Mini Bomber in place to monitor the how long it would take to loose staying power. After about 3 days, the orange just started to appear, but the holding power remained. After about 7 days, we started to see some loss in power, but not much. The Mini Bomber held up for the CX season, withstanding rain, hail, snow and mud. Cleaning the rack after a muddy race is just a matter of hosing the mud and debris off the rack and letting it dry. SeaSucker has also posted a video showing how to clean and re-lubricate the vacuum pumps.

The Delta Bike Hitch Pro fork mounts are heavy duty and can easily accomodate up to a 9mm dropout. As an added bonus, you can easily lock your fork into place using lock of your choice. SeaSucker also offers vinyl coated trunk or window cable anchors that extend from the hatchback or window when the door is closed. If you are mounting the Mini Bomber to the rear of your vehicle, you can easily run a cable lock system through the trunk anchor to keep your bikes secured. After a full day of racing, it's nice to lock up the bikes and enjoy a cold beer with the team.

We Didn't Like

The only improvement we could recommend is to change the existing material on the orange protective plastic cup covers, which tend to crack after repeatedly taking them on and off.

The Final Say

Cyclists with small vehicles can finally rejoice in having a convenient of system that is portable, easy to use, and can be quickly stowed in the trunk when not in use. My VW hatchback has finally met it's match in the SeaSucker Mini Bomber rack! It's clear that the folks at SeaSucker put a lot of thought into the Mini Bomber rack.

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Sidi Dragon 5 SRS

Review: Sidi Dragon 5 SRS

scottmares's picture

We Liked

We have been riding sidi shoes off and on now for about 10 years now. And it all started with the Dominator for us. Over the years Sidi has been a leader in cycling shoe innovations. This year is showing that SIDI is still at the front setting standards for performance and innovation. We had the ic of the SIDI line and we chose to review the Dragon 5 because we felt it could be a great shoe for the unique demands for cyclocross. Below we have listed all of the great things about the Dragon 5 All new upper featuring Sidi’s proprietary Techpro eco-friendly synthetic leather New tongue is vented for maximum breathability Utilizes Sidi’s Tecno 3 Push Dial Adjusters for a perfect fit High Security Velcro for a precision fit across the toe Sidi MTB SRS Carbon Carbon composite sole with fully replaceable sole tread inserts All new heel cup provides great heel retention and saves weight over previous versions New Soft Instep 4 instep closure is sleek and light and combined with the padded tongue provides exceptional comfort Available in a Mega: last 4mm is wider across the ball of the foot, along with a higher instep and wider heel cup. For widths up to EEE Available in 16 regular sizes 40-48, 12 sizes in the Mega 42-48  

We Didn't Like

We hate to nicpick on things but here are a few things we noticed.
  • We could not get the white! I mean how euro is that to have white shoes in a muddy race!  Special order only or fly to europe to get them yourself.
  • Mega is only available in Matt Black.
  • No Womans version available.  Im gong to speak up for the ladies on this one.   Looks like there is only 3 options for MTB.

The Final Say

Shoes are very important in cyclocross they not only connect you to the bike but also to the ground. In addition to that, the shoe need to fit you like a glove and allow the foot to do its job. I have had Sidi shoes in the past and when I put the Dragon 5 SRS shoes on it was like coming home. It was a very familiar feeling and I'm looking for that balance of stiffness when pedaling and flexibility when running in a shoe for cyclocross. I'm also looking for a shoe that is all leather without vents. I want as much of a closed system for element protection. The Sidi Dragon 5 has all of these features. In a short track race I was able to run with our any problems in them. The Dragon 5 is checking all of the boxes and with Sidi’s long history of shoemaking the Dragon 5 should be at the top of the list for the shoe of choice for the serious cyclocross racer.  

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Regacross 33/35

Review: Regacross 33/35

scottmares's picture

We Liked

Panaracer has a long history of making really really good cycling tires. The brand has a following and those people that love the brand are really devout in their love for Panaracer tires. Why is that? It all has to do with Panaracer's devotion to quality. The Japanese company is over 50 years old and believes that quality is the key to their success. This means Quality in production, quality in materials, quality in construction and performance. Over 90% of their tires are produced in their factory in Japan. Currently they offer 62 different models of cycling tires that range in Discipline from road to wheelchair with 3 being in cyclocross.

  • The Regacross tires is made with their Zero Slip Grip (ZSG) natural rubber compound. It also has what Panaracer calls Advanced Extra Alpha Cord (AX-a)
  • Unusual parallel tread pattern
  • Tubeless
  • 33 or 35 offerings
  • High Quality in the constructions.  You can sut tell by holding them

We Didn't Like

So there are a few things that I did not like about the RegaCross Tires. 1.Tread is shallow. If you race in the rain like we do there is no bite to these things when it gets sloppy. 2. When I initially inflated them I put them at 40psi and that gave me a width of 32.15. I emailed the Panaracer rep and he told me that I need to inflate them up to their max PSI and let them stretch overnight. When I did inflate the tires to 60psi they were 33 wide. 3. Its a single season tire and what I mean by this is if you ride on these things and they are your main tires for cyclocross you will wear them out. I would like to see the tread lasts longer.

The Final Say

No before I go into  my final thoughts I want to say that these are high quality tires that are very well made.  Love the rubber that they are made out of.  However, I have to be totally honest about my OPINION on these tires. When it comes to CX tires Im a real stickler about the rubber I put on my cross bike. And that is mainly from where I reside and race my cross bike. I live in the PNW you need two types of tires, dry and wet. I look at several things when I choose a tire for my rig. I look for Tread pattern, Tread Depth, Tire size and Tread Span and Tread Life. In a perfect world we would have the perfect tread that is soft but wears like iron. I realize that to get some values in one area you have to give up a little in other areas. I am not a fan of the tread pattern and when I called the rep to have them give me a detailed explanation on this pattern and why they used this type of pattern. All I was told was that is what the extensive test riders came up with. I was not told the benefits or advantages of this type of pattern offers in the mud. The only thing I can think of is turning or edging.  And I see alot of potential with this.  But to me you are giving up on forward traction. This tread pattern certainly departs from all the other mud tires on the market and if you look at motorsports there is not a mud tread like this either. To be fair I did not not ride these in mud because we did not have any at the time. I did race them in the dry and in grass and they worked great. I would not really recommend the 33 unless your racing UCI races but go for the 35s. The bigger tire will give a better ride over bumpy and mixed terrain. If I was going to have panaracer improve this tire I would first start with the tread depth. So Panaracer please make this mud tire truly a mud tire. Otherwise, panaracer did not let me down on the construction or the quality of the tire. And while I was racing on the tire I managed to win the overall series and 3 races in the Portland Short Track Series on my cyclocross bike. So Its a very good tire, but more of a dry and mixed surface tire.  

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Hammerhead Karoo

Review: Hammerhead Karoo

scottmares's picture

We Liked

It’s always nice to hear the background story on how a company came to be. Hammerhead  was made by cyclists for cyclists. Basically they wanted something that did not exist and no one would make, so they went and did it themselves. Based out of NYC and Boston the company is eseally a software company.  So what is a Karoo? I had no idea what one was or any idea what a karoo was suppose to be.  With a quick search you will find out that its a where/region/location and not really a what or a who.  The Karoo is a semi desert natural region of South Africa with a varying types of terrain.  The founders of the company were very impressed with this region and its terrain that they named this device after the rugged cycle friendly area.  Have you noticed that I say area?  Well, because the Karoo in south afterica is loosely defined.  So we have had some time with the Karoo and we have put together a list of what we liked about it.

  • Big display screen, Love this thing. So easy to read when your riding and dong intervals.  
  • Super easy set up
  • Super easy device pairing
  • Touch screen.  Just swipe no miss button pressing during a ride.
  • Color screen
  • Easy to use.
  • Platform is stable and reliable. No crashes, no bugs
  • Works as it should
  • Designed for maps and navigation vs a bike computer that has maps added on.
  • Maps are free! These are maps of the world.
  • Rerouting. If you miss your turn it will reroute you.
  • Based on Valhala, invented by a cyclist for cyclist.
  • Just tap the destination and it will pull the route.
  • Pairs with all the cool other things
  • The company Produces new software every 2 weeks
  • Just secured 4.2 million in funding. So these guys are not going anywhere.

We Didn't Like

Coming in at a portly 192g the Karoo is a lot heavier compared to our Garmin 820 at 63g.  Bottom line the Karoo is 30g shy of 1/2lb, and you can feel it when you pick it up.

This next one is has some give and take. The Maps are so big/detailed that you can only download 1 state in the US. Hopefully they will expand memory to handle more. I don’t really see this as a problem for most. However If you were doing RAAM (Race Across AMerica) or some other multi day, multi state race it could come in handy to have the entire route.

Lastly its not at its true potential yet.    

The Final Say

So what do we think of the karoo? Its pretty cool and after spending just a little time with it I can see the Huge potential that it has for a wide range of cyclist and uses. Being somewhat of a weight weenie I dont think its for every kind of racing. At least not for cyclocross, its a little heavy at 192g and Im not looking at my computer while Im racing. The only time I do look its only to see how much time is left in the race. However, I can say that is has a great application for training, road racing, gran fondo, gravel grinding, adventure racing and Touring. The GPS on this thing is sick especially when you zoom in and you can see the individual building with the name on it that you are riding by. Want to see if there is a cafe near by zoom in and they show up.  The display is pretty awesome and after you use it for a while you will want this big display when you go out.  It Super easy to read and takes less concentration/energy to read it.   I have had it for a few weeks and I still don’t know all of what it can do. I also wanted to note that the company was really open to dialogue on how they can make the Karoo better. What features I would like to see on it and what other applications it can have. I spent 2 hrs on a conference call with Hammerhead on these topics and I can say that the future looks pretty cool in what this thing will be able to do.  

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Bontrager XXX Mountain shoe

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