Review: SeaSucker Mini Bomber Bike RackBy Inge Mares | Published Sep 10, 2014
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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- Mini Bomber
- SeaSucker Mini Bomber
- 12.5 lbs
- The Mini Bomber has a 3/4” thick, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) body that will hold up to all the elements. The rubber vacuum cups have amazing holding power at a whopping 210 lbs. each. All the metal parts of the vacuum cup are high grade stainless steel to ensure that they perform in even the harshest conditions.
The Mini Bomber can hold 2 bikes, with a foot print of 29.875" x 9". The rear wheel strap vacuum cup as well as the vacuum cups on the Mini Bomber are 6" in diameter. SeaSucker also offers the Talon, Falcon, and Hornet racks that hold a single bike each, as well as the 3-bike Bomber. Additional wheel straps and accessories are available for different configuration options.
- Fits perfectly on any flat, clean surface
- Black HDPE with white vacuum cups
- The SeaSucker crew has created a routine maintenance video with easy to follow instructions: http://youtu.be/Ps27VDuH664
Simply clean the surface, moisten the 4 vacuum cups, and place the Mini Bomber. With a few pumps of the vacumm plunger until the orange disappears, you are ready to go. The Mini Bomber holds the bikes firmly in place and stays on until you remove it by pulling up the edge of vacuum cup and slowly releasing the pressure. The rack can go on the roof, tailgate, and even the side of the car without the need for installing any permanent hardware.
The Mini Bomber kit comes with the front rack that has 4 vacuum cups, 2 rear wheel straps, and 2 Delta Bike Hitch Pro fork mounts. While a simple design, the Mini Bomber is very effective in quickly mounting and securing a rack to your vehicle. The Delta fork mounts and optional vinly coated trunk or window cable anchors make locking your bikes up a breeze. The high visibility orange on the pump plunger lets you quickly check if the rack is ready to go before heading out on your next adventure.
Scott Mares interviews current world cyclocross champion Sven Nys the day after Cross Vegas 13.
CROSS BIKE REVIEW.com is currently taking submissions for the 2011 Cyclocross Gear awards. This is an annual series of awards presented by CROSS BIKE REVIEW.com that include the following categories: "Cross Bike of the Year," "Cross Gear of the Year" (equipment and clothing), and "Cross Shoe of the Year." The winners will be announced and presented at the 2011 Interbike Expo in Las Vegas, NV.
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Review: Bioracer CX Speed suitBy Scott Mares | Published Feb 2, 2018
With the World Cyclocross championships right around the corner I wanted to take a look at some high tech that will play a part at worlds. This is nothing unusual, most journalist go around to the pits and snap pictures of the pros bikes, tires and other bits of equipment that they are using. I thought i would look at an area that people usually take for granted. Clothing. Yes that’s right clothing. Clothing is one aspect of great that I think people overlook. Why is clothing so important? As you know in cyclocross the weather plays a big part of it. Thermoregulation is HUGE in athletic performance and so is Aerodynamics. If you Overheat you are going to slow down or stop. If you get cold you can't function properly and you will go into hypothermia (bad) and you will slow down and stop. So being able to function at peak performance is critical. So it come down to several things. Fabric type, fabric placement and Fabric Charisticis. Over the years we have seen a steady evolution of fabric in all of these areas. But if we look at a lot of the top riders in the sport of cyclocross we will see one name come up, Bioracer. I wanted to take a closer look at the kits that will be on the best so I reached out to Rioracer and Belgium Bike (official US Importer of Bioracer).
I reached out to Bioracer and had a few questions. But first let's start off with Who are they?
Bioracer really started with one guy and he was a physiotherapist by the name of Raymond Vanstraelen and he pioneered the way for biomechanics in cycling. Mr. Vanstraelen thought that the equipment should fit the rider not the other way around. So beside coaching he also did custom frameworks. So he would measure out each customer and make a frame to fit that customer. Being truly one of if not the first customer frame builders. Later the company would come out with bike fitting system and then into clothing. His wife was a qualified Seamstress. Mr. Vanstraelen recognized that clothing was a big thing because of aerodynamics. 20% of a riders energy is used to push still air out of the way at 20 mph. As the rider increases their speed the amount of energy required increases EXPONENTIALLY! So to double your speed would need a output 8X of what you did at 20mph... He also recognized that you needed to be comfortable while you were exercising. Lets fast forward to 2016. Now, the really cool thing about this company is that they are right across the street from a very high tech wind tunnel and therefore the time is short from when they design something and when they can test and get results and make changes. The wind tunnel is really cool and I got a tour of it and you can see it here. So 2016 and we are talking cyclocross, so in 2016 bioracer started to introduce their new speedmaster CX skinsuit. What happened is that they recognized in cyclocross you get off and run and in a TT you don’t move around a lot. So in 2016 Bioracer introduced the Speedmaster CX skinsuit. They took the existing speed suit which was already the fastest in the world and then took out some of the seams and gave it some mobility. But they took each rider and brought them in and custom tailored each one to enhance the fit even moore. This allowed the riders to run better in it. In addition to this they also did a nano treatment of the fabric that made it highly water repellent. It's really weird to see a fabric that is so lightweight to have water just roll off of it. So with that being said I had some questions for Bioracer. Here is what they said.
Me: How many countries will be using you guys this year at CX Worlds?
Me: Which ones?
Bioracer: Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.
Me: What are you making for them that is special this year?
Bioracer: The new Bioracer Aero CX suit did not only improve the aerodynamic of the rider. We managed to make our aero Airstripe fabric water repellent together with the Power Eyelet fabric that was also made water repellent. This give the rider a thermal advantage during races in Mud or rain. The suit gets less wet so the rider keeps better his body temperature. And also the suit will have less mud on it and will not take extra weight from the rain or mud. So the rider will not have to push extra for the extra weight like with other suits. This will be also very helpful in Valkenburg with all the climbing parts of the circuit. The suit have a special pattern so you have a tight fit on the bike but still is comfortable to run with in on some parts of the race. We also have no side panel on the suit so the rider doesn’t touch a stichting we he his moving his arms during the running parts of the race.
Me: So when you supply the Belgium team this year at cyclocross worlds What will each member get? How many pieces total will be sent out?
Bioracer: They get a full kit: Race suit Jersey Short sleeve Long Sleeve jersey Winter Vest Bibshorts Bibtigths Armwarmers Legwarmers Gloves Cap Socks Aero socks Zip tights for at the start of the race But they also have our custom leisure wear clothing for teams: Hoodie Softshell jacket Polo Jogging pants Down jacket
So I was lucky enough to get one of these Special CX skinsuits to try out. One of the things that Bioracer says is that ‘Fabric Follows Climent” so if you don't one of these highly breathable skinsuits that is and you want something a little warmer with that is either highly water repellent or waterproof they have that as well.
Fabrics: the mission statement of Bioracer is “We make you faster”. Their vision is “Man is the Measure of All Things”. These two things is what compels bioracer to look at all of the details and one of those details is the fabric. I have not found another clothing company that has the line of fabrics. Let's take a look at some of these fabrics.
Tempest: this is one of my favorite fabrics for cyclocross. I could cut and paste Bioracer’s description but I’m going to make it really simple because I have a couple of these items. Tempest is a 4 way stretch Roubaix fabric that has a undergone a water repellant treatment when it was woven. So other fabrics they apply a treatment after wards Bioracer does it at the yearn level. This makes the fabric warm, comfortable, breathable and highly water repellent wash after wash. Its not waterproof but its close.
Tempest Protect: So this is the same material as Tempest only its wind AND waterproof.
Speedsilk: This is a technology and not a fabric so to speak. Speed silk is technology on weaving the fabric to makes smoother to increase airflow for aerodynamics. The product is a incredibly soft to the touch and slick to the air.
Aquaracer: I have not used this fabric yet. I have a sample of it though. From what Im told its waterproof. The fabric is thin vs. a roubaix fabric.
Airstripe: This is another advantage that Bioracer has. They have a fabric that is woven in such a way that it physically has goves or valleys in it. This creates laminar flow, and smooths the air out over that area. Because the wind tunnel is right across the street testing is very accessible and done very quickly. This has put Bioracer at the front for making aerodynamic clothing. I would like to note that Bioracer only places that material where it is bennifenical. They have told me that when you see other companies doing that in other areas of the body it's not a aerodynamic benefit and its just a company simply using the “Let's put some here and here” without the research.
We Didn't Like
The suits arent cheep. Mn is 5 and they are about $300 each. But the min of 5 should be easy to get to for a club.
The Final Say
Can you get this suit? Yes you can get the same suit that Wout and Vanerpol wear. Bioracer specializes in custom athletic clothing. The make it for the cycling, skating, and other sports. You can find them here at Belgium Bike! Just ask for Roel!
Bioracer actually sent us one of the team cyclocross suits to try out. So what do we think? Its January 25 in portland OR and its cold and raining outside. The forecast for the day was a high of 46 scattered showers and a 80% chance of rain. So today I opted for a road ride with VO2 intervals. I got suited up and headed out. Now the suit I got has no pockets and I opted to wear a lightweight LS Jersey under the speedsuit so I could have a pocket for my keys and phone. For my legs I opted for some waterproof socks and some embrocation. I was a little underdressed for the weather on my legs. However I can see the large temperature range that you can use this suit in. I will say that it was the most comfortable skinsuit that I have worn. Whether you are chasing your buddy at the local cross crusade or chasing Wout or Vanderpol It really helps if your comfortable in your skinsuit when you are turning yourself inside out.
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- CX Speed concept Suit