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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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CROSS BIKE REVIEW.com Accepting Submissions for 2011 Cyclocross Awards

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Dragon 4

Review: Dragon 4

scottmares's picture

We Liked

We we talk about cyclocross there are really only a few areas that are really important and one of them are your shoes. If your feet are not happy then you are not happy. In addition if your shoes, can not transmit the power to your pedals that’s no good either.. Thirdly, if you can’t run with these shoes up the steep hill or over barriers that is also not good. Sidi has been making cycling shoes for a long time. Sidi has been in the sport shoe market since 1960 and during that time has clocked up not only some impressive wins but also some really cool innovations as well.

The Sidi Dragon 4 is 3ird from the top of Sidi’s MTB line. So why did we not go for the top shoe of the new Sidi Tiger? Well, it has to do with the features and what works best for cyclocross. The Dragon 4 sole is not quite as stiff as the Tiger and the bottom of the sole of the Tiger is really slick so that is not that desirable when you are getting on and off the bike is wet conditions.

The Dragon has a carbon sole but ist not so stiff that you can’t run in it. A;sp the bottom of the sole is not as slick as the Tiger so you are less likely to slip a pedal in a remount. The Dragon 4 is packed full of features.

Features

Microfibra Techpro :Is  a microfiber PU Made in Italy. It is considered a highly technological and innovative, eco-friendly leather suitable for technical and sports products which require high performance levels. TECHPRO MICROFIBER incorporates features of resistancy, stability, lightness, water-repellency and eco-friendliness.

TECHPRO MICROFIBER has a Hydro and anti-mold treatment, which eliminates the onset of molds and bacteria. TECHPRO MICROFIBER is Oeko-Tex certified, does not contain harmful substances and respects law restrictions.

Soft instep 3 system: The SOFT INSTEP CLOSURE SYSTEM is a wide, anatomically curved strap combined with a soft, thermo-formed EVA pad that distributes pressure evenly over the instep area. The SOFT INSTEP CLOSURE SYSTEM is adjustable from both sides, to perfectly center the EVA pad over a high or low instep. The system eliminates the need for the High Instep Extender. The SOFT INSTEP CLOSURE SYSTEM is replaceable.

Tecno 3 system : SIDI’s TECHNO-3 SYSTEM dials in fit along the entire length of the shoe, adapting the upper to the shape of the foot for a customized fit. SIDI’s famously reliable and replaceable closures are improved by an all new proprietary SIDI Wire material that is completely non-binding for intuitive and effortless on-the-fly adjustments. Like most SIDI small parts, the TECNO-3 BUCKLE is serviceable and replaceable.

High Security Velcro : HIGH SECURITY VELCRO straps with integrated locking polymer teeth, that engage onto each other when the strap is closed. This feature makes the closure more secure and the strap becomes unmoveable.

Adjustable Heel Retention: The ADJUSTABLE HEEL RETENTION DEVICE reinforces the top of the heel cup and improves the fit by closing the back of the shoe securely around the rider’s heel. The heel retention device tightens the top of the heel cup so that the heel doesn’t slide out during steep climbs or sprints. Each side of the heel can be adjusted independently, for a perfect fit. For a custom adjustment turn the screw towards the + sign to tighten the heel retention device and towards the – sign to open it. Light weight, easy to use, and replaceable.

Reinforced Heel Cup: The reinforced heel keeps the foot in a optimal position and avoids the shoe being deformed by extreme performance or prolonged pressure.

Rubber Toe Guard:  Sidi understnads that there are things out on the trail that can urt your feet and that is why they put in some toe armor.  this could save your toe if you jsut happen to hit a barrier at speed.  Lets face it stubbing your toe let alone breaking it is no fun at all.

MTB SRS Carbon Composite Sole: In 1999, SIDI revolutionized mountain bike shoe design with the SOLE REPLACEMENT SYSTEM (SRS), owing mountain bikers to replace the most wear-heavy part of the shoe—the sole. The MTB SRS CARBON COMPOSITE Sole consists of four inserts screwed, easily removable and replaceable. In addition an optional toe guard can be installed using the same screws as the insert. The SRS tread panels and screws are available as spare parts. It is toe spike compatible 

We Didn't Like

Idealy for cyclocross we would like a shoe that does not have mesh in the toe or sides.  So If you guys could make this shoe with out the mesh that would be awesome!

The Final Say

So when it come down to it you get what you pay for. Now putting $400 down for a pair of shoes that you are going to put through some of the nastiest conditions you can think of is not what people would do. But, cyclocross racers are not most people or most cyclist for that matter. Its this reason that we need and require that the shoes hold up to this kind of abuse. the SIDI Dragon 4 is a system.  From the adjustable heel cup to the replaceable tread and closere systems its hard if not impossiable to find another shoe that offers this. Break a buckle, you just repalce it. Wear the tread out, just get new ones. I know from personal experience that SIDI makes an outstanding product and is the standard that all other shoes are measured against. There are lots of things to love about this shoe and it’s packed with features. With the advent of waterproof socks you can have mesh on the shoe for breathability. It’s hard to say great job because this is what SIDI does time and time again.  

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Gun Wind

Review: Gun Wind

scottmares's picture

We Liked

The Gun Wind helmet is made by the Italian motorcycle helmet company Suomy. The company owners have been in the motorcycle industry for a long time. Suomy was started in 1997. This is when they started making helmets in the motocross market. From there they progressed to super bikes and then in 2000 they were making helmets for other sports like fencing. In 2006 the company was into cycling and becoming very popular in Europe. Fast forward to 2017, Suomy is now distributed by ciclist America, the official distributor of SIDI. We wanted to review the Gun Wind because it’s the current helmet of the World Cyclocross Champion Wout Van Art. The Gun Wind is Suomy their top of the line helmet for road.

So enough of the background on Suomy Sport. Things that we like about this helmet. Uhmm.. Well, a lot of people make helmets and the market is getting more and more crowded. So one of the main things that separates this helmet from the heard is that you can get spare parts for it. You can get two different types of rain covers ( a short and a Long version), you can get extra padding with or without the bug screen. And if your adjuster breaks or your straps brakes you can replace that as well. To me this is a big plus because I think that cycling helmets are expensive and it doesn't make sense to me to have to discard a perfectly god helmet when one little plastic piece breaks. Nothing will kill a race faster than showing up and your helmet is broken. Another thing that I really like about this helmet is that it comes in a lot of color combinations. Do you have a team and want to match the helmet with the team colors. With 22 different color combinations this is not a problem.

So let's dive into the Technical features aspect of the helmet.

  • Helmet bag
  • In Mould Technology
  • Polycarbonate Shell
  • Light weight 230g (M) -250g (L)
  • Anti bacteria fabric
  • Anti Smell inner pad
  • Inner pad is removable and washable
  • Bug net
  • Hypoallergenic Fabric
  • Biaxial Size adjuster
  • Aerodynamic ventilation
  • Interchangeable chin strap
  • Inner Composite skelton
  • Rain covers.

We Didn't Like

Nothing

The Final Say

When picking a helmet for yourself it’s important to know who makes the helmet and how they stand behind the helmet. Suomy has been making motorcycle helmets so they have a really good understanding on what it takes to protect your head. In addition they are also making helmets for other sports besides cycling. The Gun Wind meets or exceeds the safety standards that is set by the US. So with regard to safety, Check. Next look at the features that the helmet offers. The Suomy Gun Wind helmet has a ton of features and options available that you can choose from to fit your riding needs. I really haven't seen a helmet that you can remove the strap and wash it or replace it. Also replacing the fitting system is another new one to me add on a 2 year warranty and 22 different color options and it’s a winner. Just like Wout.  

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