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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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Scott Mares interviews current world cyclocross champion Sven Nys the day after Cross Vegas 13.

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Full Gas Aero Red Camo

Review: Full Gas Aero Red Camo

scottmares's picture

We Liked

The Full Gas Red Camo Aero Jersey from The Pedla is a pleasant surprise in a world with lots of jerseys choices. When you go looking for a jersey nowadays you have a lot to choose from. I would say that most of the Jersey out there are a Solid color or panels that are solid colors. There are not a lot out there that have a pattern. And then you really don’t want a camo jersey unless it's a bright one. The Pedla delivers on this one! So let's dive into why this jersey is so great. Also, Most of the big companies make jersey that are not made for the trim racer, rather they have a more general loose cut.

Construction:

How the jersey cut is very very important. 30 years ago there was really only one type of cut for a jersey. Now there are several different cuts of jersey that are available. This makes sense because cyclist come in all different shapes and sizes. If you are a full size cyclist then this jersey is not for you. If you are a racer then this jerrys is definitely for you and you will appreciate the anatomical cut. The jerseys feels like it's painted on you but it's not restrictive. When I was on the hoods or drops the fit felt really natural to me and very comfortable.

Fabric:

Today's fabrics are really different than they were 20 years ago in cycling. It use to be lycra was the go to fabric for a cycling jersey. Now we know that a all lycra jersey, is not necessary a good thing. We know that thermodynamics plays a big part in performance. The fabric for this jersey is more thermoregulation orientated. This is possible with the advent of other types of fabric combinations so you can get the best of both worlds with a jerseys being aerodynamic and will keep you dry and cool. Like the name suggest the fabric has dimples aiding in its aerodynamics and its SPF +50. The side panels are made from Ultra Breathable active fabric that is also UV +50 protection. So to me there was thought and purpose in the placement and use of fabrics in this Jersy.

Pattern:

Cammo should never* be a cycling jersey is my stance. Roadkill is not fast. You don't want to be hit by a car. And I still stand by this. However I hoped that you noticed that there is a astrick next to the word never. My exceptions to this rule is that it’s fine if it’s a bright color. So the bright red camo pattern is really nice. It's a pattern that is not Obnoxious to look at and you mainly see the overall color of red and the white bar and not the pattern.

Features:

Some of the great features are the sleeves are set in and are a nice extended length. The jersey has a invisible YKK elite full length zipper with a snap-down puller. Pedla also added silicon grippers at the bottom of the jersey which aids in hugging your body and not riding up. If you get caught in low light conditions Pedla added a 3M Scotchlite rear reflective stripe. One thing that will ruin a jersey is if pockets are not done corectly. Pedla did not skimp on the pocket construction. There are 3 reinforced rear pockets that are just the right size.  

We Didn't Like

Nothing

The Final Say

There are a lot of new jerseys that are coming out of Australia these days. The Pedla delivers on Fashion, Form and Function with the Full Gas Aero Camo jersey. It's a winner on a lot of fronts. If you are a racer or someone that is fit then you will love this jersey. You will want to ride hard and you will love how this garment contours your body. If you are not a trim rider then this is probably not the jersy for you.  

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Force Dry

Review: Force Dry

scottmares's picture

We Liked

Lets face it cyclocross is a dirty sport. There is rain and mud and that means our shoes will be wet. Drying shoes takes time and effort. We have reviewed a passive way of drying your shoes and now we have an active way. Force dry is a electric shoe dryer. Basicly its like having 2 little low power hair dryers that og on the inside of your shoes. It’s small and compact. When I got the unit I was skeptical that it would actually work. So I went out and got my shoes nice and really wet. It’s easy to use. Just plug it in put the pillars into the upright position and set the timer. The Force Dry does all of the work.

Not just for shoes! We used gloves and socks with the same great results. So don’t think that its Just for your cycling shoes.   

  • Gently heated forced air eliminates unwanted moisture in about an hour
  • Helps keep odor causing bacteria, fungus, and molds from forming
  • Helps keep odor causing bacteria, fungus, and molds from forming
  • Durable, compact design
  • Safe for all types of footwear and gloves

We Didn't Like

The only thing that I don’t like about this unit is that its two small hair dryers and that means it makes that hair dryer sound. It’s not loud but more like that Mosquito sound. So put it some place that has some sound insulation so you dont have to listen to it while its drying your stuff.

The Final Say

Lets face it cycling shoes are expensive and we usually only have one pair. We need to take really good care of them. So it is only a matter of time that they will get wet. And in cyclocross its going to happen a lot. The Force Dry unit is pretty awesome and we found out that in about an hour our shoes were dry and ready to go again. I think that you will find that you will use them on a variety of items from running shoes, road shoes, we even used them on gloves and socks. Say goodby to stuffing newspapers into your shoes.  The Force Dry unit is the way to go and will become a valuable addition to your cycling household.  

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