Sea Sucker Mini Bomber

Sea Sucker Mini Bomber

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.

 

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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.

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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.

Suction CupOnce a full seal is achieved, the button stays depressed an you no longer see the white band.

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.

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14 comments

  1. jon

    I bought one several years ago and love it. Had my doubts about the suction cups but it hasn’t failed me. The only time the rack fell off a car was when my friend borrowed it for his car / bike and drove into his garage with the rack and bike still on the roof. The rack held on so tight that his car roof crumpled and rear windshield shattered before the rack slid off the car.

  2. Seth

    We should have a rack installation and removal race. I have a Whispbar WB200 and I can’t imagine anything being quicker or easier to install/remove. Also the built in adapter for 15mm thru axles is amazing. I say all of this because it is one of the best purchases I have made. If you need a rack on your roof that carries both qr and 15mm thru axles its worth a look.

    I have always thought the Sea Sucker racks were interesting always just worried about forgetting to check them.

  3. Terry

    I also have a Whispbar but you can’t remove the base rack in seconds only the bike rack. I’d like to not have a base rack but I’d like to know how you can lock the seersucker and your bike to the roof.


  4. Author
    Padraig

    All: thanks for your comments.

    Securing bikes with the Sea Sucker is something I did with cable locks. I passed a cable through the frames and then around the roof rack. I also locked the carrier to the car with a cable, but that was a matter of carrier retention in case it failed, rather than a security measure. Or we might say it was a security measure of a different sort. For those who don’t have a roof rack or anything else to pass a cable around or through, security with the Mini Bomber won’t be easy.

    1. Jon

      I was lucky enough to get one if these when they were running a campaign on kickstarter:

      flatlyn.com

      Basically I loop it around the bike(s) while on the rack and then put the rubber grommet into the car and close the door on it. Not a long term solution but effective for a coffee stop or grocery run. Also when there is no bike in the rack the cable can be looped through the hole at the top of the mini-bomber instead which secures the rack to the car.

      Alternatively seasucker makes a trunk anchor that you can use a cable lock on:

      https://www.seasucker.com/shop/cable-anchor-trunk/

      And also a window anchor (although I’ve read reviews of these potentially damaging windows, and which don’t seem as secure anyway:

      https://www.seasucker.com/shop/cable-anchor-window/

    2. Terry

      Security is the only thing stopping me from buying one and replacing my $700 to $800 Whisper setup.

    1. Phil

      I have used both of their locking options several times and have not had a problem. One slips over the window and then the window is rolled back into place and the other gets closed in a door or a trunk jamb. If someone wants something bad enough they can steal it, that goes for any security measures. Both of these options have served me well. BTW I use the Talon and the Mini and just love the racks’ simplicity and ability to mount and remove quickly.

  5. Bob

    I have seen the rack be installed in less than 1 minute, no real need to lock the rack. I believe the idea is to remove the rack when not in use. If the concern is locking the bike… get creative cannot be that hard.

  6. Pat O'Brien

    I wonder abour the effect on the vehicle’s paint. Any small grit under the suction cups, along with vibration from driving, might damage the paint over time. Anyone know?

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