A few years ago I sold a bike to a guy who had no rack on his car when he came to pick it up. I asked if he wanted me to take the wheels off and then help him get it into the trunk as he opened it. He said no, and instead pulled out a quick release mount with a few suction cups attached.
I worked to stifle my laugh.
He drove off and I heard nothing about shattered carbon in the ensuing days, so I supposed it worked out.
I’ve now seen enough of the Sea Suckers around that I’ve concluded they aren’t a recycling plan for bicycles. Indeed, most of what Sea Sucker makes aren’t even bike racks and many of them need to bear weights far greater than that of the average carbon fiber dream machine.
I don’t usually condone or encourage do-or-die circumstances as the occasion for product reviews. While I think that the word “test” is mostly misused in my line of work, my first use of the Sea Sucker Mini-Bomber definitely qualifies as a test. I put it on my Subaru Outback and then drove from Redondo Beach to Petaluma, some 420 miles, give or take.
In assembling the unit, I was able to choose the orientation for the quick release mounts so that the bars from the two bikes wouldn’t hit each other. The six drillings offer nine possible positions for the mount. In my case it wasn’t a big deal because I was dealing with one bike that was mostly assembled, so I could just turn the bar out of the way.
Installation was easy. I just had to find a spot on the roof wide enough to accept the four suction cups for the front unit. For SUV owners, you can mount the unit to the back window. Once secure on my roof, I then mounted the rear suction cups as far back as I could. There are white bands on the button you press to create the vacuum that will show if the seal isn’t strong. If you see white, simply pump the button some more. They suggest you don’t drive faster than 75 with the rack and bikes on your car, but in their marketing materials they show a bike on the roof of a car going an alleged 140 mph. It’s a claim I’m in no rush to investigate.
I checked each of the six suction cups twice on the drive up. While a couple had lost a small degree of vacuum, the white bands didn’t show. I gave them another pump or two and resumed driving. Since my arrival in Petaluma, I’ve been too busy to remove the rack and so I’ve been driving around with the rack on my roof. In two days I haven’t tended to it at all and it’s still in place.
The instantly removable roof rack has such a broad appeal that you don’t need to sell anyone on the idea. In my many years of encountering and using racks, there’s not one that is quicker to install and remove. It’s only limitation seems to be downhill bikes; they say not to use it with bikes weighing more than 45 pounds.
After taking the bikes off I continued to drive around with the rack on my car for another three days. That was less the result of careful journalism than the fact that I was so busy and had so little storage space that it was easier to leave the carrier up there. With no additional pumping of the vacuum buttons, only one of the suction cups had lost enough of its seal that part of the white band was showing.
The Mini Bomber retails for $400, which makes it competitive with roof racks and hitch mount racks. Sea Sucker also offers mounts that work with 15mm and 20mm through-axle forks. The fact that the rack is so easy to remove and, unlike a hitch or roof rack, it exceptionally easy to store, gives this rack system a selling point that is tough to argue with. Having this thing has just completely overhauled my ability to drive somewhere and take the whole family for a bike ride. With the baby trailer, we simply couldn’t get everything and everyone in a single vehicle.