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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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GripGrab Raptor Gloves

Review: GripGrab Raptor Gloves

scottmares's picture

We Liked

So I have never heard of grip grab before I went to Belgium for the Ridley experience. They are a small company that is focused on cycling and running accessories in 5 categories. So they make gloves, arm/leg/knee warmers, Booties, head and neck wear. Their company mission is to make the outdoor sports more enjoyable by making these items better (aerodynamic, fit, functional, warmer, dryer, etc...). In their Journey they have actually turned some heads and won some awards. For example the raptor gloves won an award at Eurobike 16 for putting grip not only on the outside but also on the inside of the palm of the glove..
So for me gloves are like Eh… It's hard for me to get real excited about a pair of gloves. However, I would soon put these things to the test. I got them in Ghent Belgium in November and it was cold, wet and muddy. Perfect to see if these gloves are worth the price tag that is on them. Here are some of the things that I like about them.
Lightweight: I want what we all want. We want a lightweight glove that feels almost like a second skin without being restrictive. We want it to also have that connection to the bike.  
Windproof: Lets face it it gets cold in the cyclocross season and in Ghent Belgium in November it was cold and wet and the wind was blowing. Yep, they are wind proof which is pretty amazing with how lightweight they are. Water resistant: Yep November is wet in Ghent and I was surprised that the gloves were water resistant. Nice touch that Grip grab put a treatment on the gloves.. Grips on the inside: This is one of the things that is really putting Grip Grab on the map. So what this does is it prevents your hand from sliding around on the inside of the glove. Very comfortable:  So if you have ever had wind proof gloves they tend to be kinda stiff and you feel that when you flex you hand.  No so here!  The fabric is not stiff and allows you to move your hand freely. 
Very warm for a lightweight: I am pretty impressed with how warm these gloves are for how light they are. This really extends their use and are a favorite of mine.  

We Didn't Like

nothing

The Final Say

The final say: When I first started riding and racing I was told that the most important things are the things that connect you to your bike. That would be shorts, shoes and gloves. This becomes even more important when the weather comes into play. Let's face it the weather is always a factor in cyclocross. GripGrab Raptor gloves are a technical innovation when it comes to control. By adding grip on the inside of the glove eliminates the hand from sliding around inside the glove. This translates to better handling while racing. Then when you add in the lightweight windproof and water resistant fabric that the glove is made out of you have a winner. This has become my favorite glove not only for cyclocross but also for the fall and spring.  

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MENS SILVER THERMAL WARM-UP TIGHT FZ

Review: MENS SILVER THERMAL WARM-UP TIGHT FZ

scottmares's picture

We Liked

In the world of cyclocross the sport demands specialized clothing. Thermoregulation is very important because of te weather conditions that the racers have to compete in. Warming up you need warm waterproof clothing and sometimes you just need warm clothing. The problem is not warming up its staying warm at on the starting grid. You see you can sit there for 5 to 10 minutes for staging.

The Cuore Thermal warm up tights offers a solution to this problem. Their thermal tights are made with a light roubaix fabric with full zippers that allow you to take them off in 15 seconds. So with one minute you can very easily get them off and throw them to your team make on the side. The Roubaix fabric is soft with a 4 way stretch that is very comfortable and will protect you with a temperature range of 42 and up.  

We Didn't Like

There is no connection between the front of the tights and the back half of the tights. So this means that they will be loose around your waist.

We would like locking zippers not just on the bottom but on the top as well. The reason that we want that is because the top zippers tend to want to unzip on their own.

The tights didn't have any rubber or silicone gripper on the waist in the back to help keep the tights up and in place.  

The Final Say

Let's face it cyclocross is difficult enough as it is with training, all of the different types of gear that you need and not to mention the weather. Sitting on the start line waiting when it's 55 outside is no big deal. Taking off a jacket with 1 min to go is no big deal. Its when its below 55 and it's raining outside and your there for 15 min while everyone is being staged up in the grid that sucks. You need a pair of warm up pants that you can zip off quickly. The cuore pants offers you that option at a fairly reasonable price for about $100 USD. We got a pair in and tried them out for a bit. The fabric is soft and warm but its not wind or water proof. The zippers on the top work really good and maybe a little too good as they wanted to partially unzip while riding. We felt a draft on our lower back because there was no silicone on the waist to keep them up. They are a nice quality tight but we found them a little lacking in features that are needed for cyclocross.  

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