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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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Power Gor-Tex Active Jacket

Review: Power Gor-Tex Active Jacket

scottmares's picture

We Liked

Gore-Tex have been around for a bit. The company was founded Willbert Gore and Robert Gore in 1969. That means the company is aproaching the big 50. Gore-Tex has really set the standard for waterproofness and the company keeps making new and better products in this competative market. Their Active fabric is made for extreme exertion and breathability all the while being waterproof. We have had the jacket for a bit and living in the Pacific NW we had plenty of chances to use it. So here are some of the things that we liked about this jacket.

Gor-Tex Active fabric- This is a great fabric if you want to go out and go hard in wet weather. The Jacket breaths really well. How well? The Gor-Tex fabirc has a breathability RET rating of <3. What does that mean? RET stands for Resistance of Evaporation of a Textile. A rating of 0 is Execlent and a rating of 30 is bad for breathability.

6 Color options- So often with waterproof jackets you are liminted to only a couple of colors. With 6 options how can you go wrong.

Reflectivity- Gore understands that if your out in the rain its not sunny outside so they put reflective strips in various area of the jacket to give you coverage all the way around.

Packability- One of the nice features of this jacket is that it packs into its own pack.

Velcro cuffs- You want to keep the elements out and having some velcro on the cuffs is a nice feature. It is also easier to get the jacket on and off with that adjustability.

Gor-Tex Promise- Gore-Tex has a pretty good promise. "If you are not completely satisfied with the waterproofness, windproofness, or breathability of a GORE-TEX® product then we will repair it, replace it, or refund your purchase price". Thats a pretty good promise.

We Didn't Like

Only one back pocket that is with a zipper. One of the things that I look for in a jacket is how functional it is. Earlier I had reviewed another Gore-Tex jacket that allowed me to acess my back pockets and have vents. This was a great feature. This jacket only has one back pocket in the center of the jacket. So if I want to acess my other pockets in my jersey I have to lift the back of the jacket up. So I really didnt find a use for this pocket unless its a small amount of food. It cant hold a water bottle.

The Final Say

Do you ride in all weather? Do you commute? Is your bike your main form of transportaiton? Then you know how important it is to have the right clothing when the sky darkens and the water starts to fall. Gore-Tex is a fabric company that has been around for almost 50 years. They have been at the front of the arms race for waterproof breatherable fabrics. The delima is making it both waterproof and breathable at the same time. Usually the more waterproof you make it the less breathable it becomes. However, Gor-Tex is constatnly working on this solution and their answer is their Gor-Tex Active fabric. This product is the most breathable in the Gor-Tex family. It has a 3 layer construction with the waterproof directly laminated to the fabric itself. The layer is extremely thin and gives it its breathability, light weight and packability. When we were out training in the rain this spring, the jacket did an execptional job. Not only did we not really over heat but it did keep us dry. Bottom line, its a great jacket that will serve you well when you go out training or warming up for a cyclocross race, put this with Gore-Tex's guarentee and its great piece that you will reach for again and again when the sky is falling and its tme to turn the pedals in anger.

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