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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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Sven Nys - exclusive interview at Interbike

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

CROSS BIKE REVIEW.com Accepting Submissions for 2011 Cyclocross Awards

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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Alto Cycling

While at this years Sea Otter we ran across a company, Alto Cycling. Alto Cycling makes some prey high tech hoops and so we took some time to hang out with them and pretty soon it was obvious that this was no ordinary wheel company. The first clue was when Bill Shook came over and hung out chatting with them for about 40 min asking questions and giving compliments on their hubs. If you know who Bill is then you know this is high praise. It’s really important that you get the know the company that you are getting your wheels from. Who are they?

Refuge Waterproof Duffel Bag

Review: Refuge Waterproof Duffel Bag

scottmares's picture

We Liked

We Didn't Like I would like it to be a little bigger length wise

I would like the bag straps changed so that you can use it like a back pack. Now in all fairness you can do that now with the straps the length that they are but they are not adjustable for smaller or larger people.

The Final Say Gear is such an important part of cyclocross. The extreem weather requires that you have extra clothing to change into and to deal with either the cold, snow, rain or a combination of the two. So we need a bag that can not only hold all of our stuff but keep it organized and the elements out. Showers pass is know for their innovation in rain gear. After all they are located in Portland Oregon and its rains there all of the time.

We Didn't Like

I would like it to be a little bigger lengthwise I would like the bag straps changed so that you can use it like a backpack. Now in all fairness you can do that now with the straps the length that they are but they are not adjustable for smaller or larger people.

The Final Say

Gear is such an important part of cyclocross. The extreme weather requires that you have extra clothing to change into and to deal with either the cold, snow, rain or a combination of the two. So we need a bag that can not only hold all of our stuff but keep it organized and the elements out. Showers pass is known for their innovation in rain gear. After all they are located in Portland Oregon and its rains there all of the time. So who is this bag for? This bag is perfect for the person that only brings the bare minimum to races. Likes to keep their stuff organized and dry. You could put more in the bag but you would have to pull it all out to get to it. So early fall and spring races this bag fits the bill. If you the racer that brings something for just about any situation this bag will be too small for you.

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Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit

Review: Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit

scottmares's picture

We Liked

This rereview is on the Ultimate Bicycle cleaning kit by Muc-Off and it’s made as a package so you don’t have to go shopping and have to piece meal your kit together. It's made so you don't forget anything that you need to keep your bike looking and running like a pro’s bike. So lets me break it down for you.

  • Nano Tech Bike Cleaner: I think the chemist at Muc-Off must have stepped up a bit on this cleaner because I had some earlier and it was ok but the stuff I got in this box does a really good job. In part I think to the sprayer because when it sprays it foams. This helps out alot.
  • Bio Drivetrain Cleaner: OMG I love this stuff! I get hit with all of the time to review cleansers and washes and 90% of the time I'm not that impressed. To me the gold standard is the Morgan Blue stuff. But it’s Highly Toxic and Flammable. The Muc-Off Bio-DT cleaner is very very effective at cleaning chains. Makes them look new. Im sold.
  • Assorted Muc-Off brushes & sponge: So with this you get 4 brushes and this is pretty good. One brush that I love in this kit is the two prong brush. This brush allow you to scrub both sides of something at the same time. I love using it on the chain and the chainrings.
  • Bike Protect: This has been relabeled and use to be their Bike Spray. Now it's called Bike Protect and it's an all in one, do all, everything spray. Has excellent water dispersing action. I have had this for a bit and I love it. Use it on the frame and all the metal parts (do not get it on the brake track or rotors or you won't have brakes). But it's awesome for the chain. Keeps the mud from sticking… Its the multi tool of the bunch.
  • Tool Box: Everything has a home and you get the house with this package!
  • Bio Wet Lube: Well it is cyclocross after all eh?
  • Premium Microfibre Cloth: After it’s all said and done you need to dry her off without scratching anything.

We Didn't Like

There are two things I would add to this kit. First I would like them to add a chain brush and then a chain keeper would make this kit totally pro.  

The Final Say

Lets face it cyclocross is a hard sport not only on the athlete and the support system but also the equipment as well. So extra care has to be taken to take care of your stuff. Otherwise it will fail you when you need it the most. For you to do that you need the right tools and that means three things. Brushes cleaners and lubes Oh My! These three things when used on a regular basis will not only keep your faithful steed looking pro but will also extend the life of it as well. Now you can go out and stare at the offerings on the shelf, get some small amounts of each, try them out then find your faves and then pick each one or you could save some time and just get the best stuff in a bundle out there and not have to worry about it. The guys at Muc-Off are on the same wavelength as me on this one and have put together a kit that will meet all of your needs. Its appropriately called the Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit. All of the stuff is awesome. Let’s start with my favorite of the bunch, the Bio Drive chain cleaner. I don’t say this often but it is one of the best that I have seen next to the Morgan Blue chain cleaner (kerosene + windex= Highly Toxic). The Nanotec cleaner works really well with the new foaming sprayer that it comes with. And last but not least the Bike Protect is pretty much off the hook for keeping the mud off your frame during a race and on all your drivetrain stuff during the dry season. With several brushes and a microfiber cloth plus some wet lube as the bike protect is your dry lube the kit is complete. So what about the cost/savings of getting a bundle? This bundle will save you about $25 if you were to go out and buy it all individually and then get a tool box from home depot. And the only thing that we don't like about it is does not have a chain brush. But after I wrote this I got on the phone with Muc-Off and the brush that I wanted just landed in the US and so my wish was granted. Nice Job!  

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