Review: The Power of Suction Cups? Sea Sucker's Mini Bomber Bike Rack

Feb 13, 2019
by Mike Levy  
Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review


Ever heard of the giant squid? What about that time, back in 2016, when a guy climbed up the side of a 58-story glass highrise in New York? A 40-foot long squid and that daredevil both depend on the power of suction cups, as does Sea Sucker with an entire range of bike racks and accessories based on that same principle. Actually, Sea Sucker is pretty insistent about referring to them as ''vacuum mounts,'' but you get the idea. Sea Sucker's angle is that by using these powerful suctio...er, vacuum mounts to attach their racks to vehicles, they're able to offer a much more versatile, easy to use bike transporting solution. It also means they can do without a rat's nest of straps or a hefty bolt-on hitch.

Mini Bomber Details

• Vacuum-mount bike rack
• Carries two bikes
• QR axle (thru-axle adp. sold separately)
• Attaches to metal, glass or fiberglass
• Crank strap incl.
• Weight limit: 45lb bike x2
• Made in the US
• Weight: 12lb
• MSRP: $489 USD
• More info: www.seasucker.com
The Mini Bomber is a two-bike rack that consists of a 3/4'' thick polyethylene (AKA plastic) deck with four vacuum mounts that's home to the two fork holders, as well as two separate vacuum-mounted rear wheel holders.

Sea Sucker says that it can hold up to two 45 lb bikes, and the vacuum mounts can grab onto metal, glass or fiberglass surfaces. The entire kit weighs just 12 pounds, and sells for $489 USD.


Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
Instead of bolts and straps, the Mini Bomber depends on the power of vacuum mounts to keep your bike safe. Each of the six mounts is rated to a 210 lb pull force.



Design

So, how the heck does this thing hold onto your car? It's as simple as pushing all of the air out between the cup and whatever surface it's grabbing a hold of, with the difference in pressure between inside and outside the cup giving it its gripping power. Sea Sucker says that their 6'' vacuum cups have a "pull rating" of 210 lb, which is roughly the weight of one e-bike. I jest, but a cup's rating is usually calculated by multiplying its surface area by the atmospheric pressure.


Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
The vacuum pump (left) integrates with the mount, and it pulls air out from between the mount and the surface through that small port (right).


Let's look at the most important part first: the vacuum mounts that seem to scare so many people. They measure 6'' across (there are 4.5'' versions for other uses) and include an integrated vacuum pump that you use to draw air out from between it and whatever surface you're attaching it to.

The vacuum pump includes an orange indicator line that lets you know when it's grabbing firmly enough, and they're actually modular and can be replaced on their own for just $12 USD. If you need just the vacuum pad, the 6" size goes for $14 USD, and you can also get different accessories to hold things like ladders, GoPros, flexible arms, fishing rods, or cup holders. Sea Sucker also has setups for marine and tech use, too.


Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
The plastic deck is 3/4'' thick and each mount can hold 210 lb, but the whole setup weighs only 12lb.


For the two-bike Mini Bomber that's reviewed here, Sea Sucker attaches four vacuum mounts to a thick but somewhat flexible deck that has just enough give in it to match a car's curved roof. Aluminum fork mounts bolt to the top of the deck, and there are different angle settings so you can keep each bike's handlebar from smashing into its neighbor. The rack comes stock with quick-release fork mounts that are probably useless to a lot of mountain bikers these days, so you'll have to spring for some thru-axle mounts that can be had in Boost and non-Boost sizes for another $29.95 USD. If you need to carry a bike with a 20mm thru-axle fork or a Lefty, they also sell Fork Up's adapters $39 - $75.00 USD. Front wheel holders are available, too, but only for quick-release hubs.

The bike's rear wheel is held onto the back of your car using a single vacuum mount and a 22'' long hook-and-loop strap that should be long enough for the tallest of rims and widest of tires. It's also worth pointing out that all of the Mini Bomber's hardware is stainless steel, a nice touch for anyone who lives in a wet climate or close to the ocean.

The whole idea behind Sea Sucker's racks is that they're quick and easy to install and remove but, as you might guess, that presents a bit of a challenge when it comes to security. Turns out that vacuum cups can be used to climb the side of a building or kill a sperm whale, but they're easily defeated by your local meth enthusiasts.
Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
See those small tabs on the rubber mount? All you need to do is pull up on them and the mount pops off.

Sea Sucker does sell anchors meant to go inside your trunk or cab and have a cable lock ran through them, but that seems like a light-duty solution to me.


Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
It's certainly sleeker-looking than a strap-on rack.


Installation

Installing any type of bike rack correctly is obviously of high importance, but I feel like it's extra critical with the Mini Bomber. That said, the job should only take a few minutes, and I'd rate the mechanical skill level required a 2/10.

First thing first, you have to make sure that wherever you're putting the vacuum cups is clean and dry, and they're not going to work on the roof of your '87 Tercel wagon if it's rusting away into a convertible. Sea Sucker also says you should give the vacuum cups a quick look and clean before each use, for obvious reasons. These little guys will stick to a lot of different surfaces, and even underwater (just in case your GPS leads you astray), but wherever you put them can't be too flexible, either.

The middle of my car's roof is about as stiff as an empty tin can, so that'd be out of the question.

If you pass those checks, all you need to do is to push the cup gently against the surface and start working its vacuum pump. It doesn't take long, maybe 15 - 20 pumps, and the orange band on the plunger disappears to let you know you've done enough. It'll also let you know if the cup is losing its grip; the orange band being visible means that you should investigate.

Apply the same routine to all of the vacuum cups, including the rear wheel holders, and you're all set.
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The plastic deck is pretty stiff but it does have just enough flex in it so as to match a roof's curved cross-section. It can still take a good amount of pressure to get the deck to flex enough so the cup can suck itself down onto the roof, but that will depend on your car's shape.

Because our kind is mostly used to tray-style or strap-on racks, or tailgates, it's probably worth pointing out a few, umm, quirks of getting the Mini Bomber on your car and your bike on the Mini Bomber. Most importantly, know that Sea Sucker does point out that their racks aren't set-and-forget type of things, and also that they'll need a look every few hours. Not for the absent-minded, then. And having to clean wherever you're putting the vacuum cups is a bit of a PIA when you're late for a ride or just wanting to get to the mountain. On top of that, I suspect that putting a vacuum cup on a dirty car could lead to some paint damage over the long run, but I wasn't going to test that. Also, the suction surface of a cup has to be undamaged, of course, so you can't just go tossing these things into the back of your garage until you need them.

Because the fork and rear wheel mounts are completely separate pieces of hardware, you'll need to install the deck first and then the bike before you'll know where you should put the mount for the rear wheel. I guess you could strap the cup to the wheel first and then put the bike on the rack, too.


Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
The Mini Bomber isn't set-and-forget; you'll need to check the vacuum mounts every few hours.


Performance

First, there's no denying that, next to throwing it over a tailgate, a hitch mount, tray-style rack is the easiest way to carry a mountain bike around, especially when it comes to loading your bike. It's not exactly difficult to get your bike on the Mini Bomber - if you can lift it over your head, you can do this - but it can be a little cumbersome to get the fork's axle through and threaded in while simultaneously keeping your bike from tipping over onto your car. I definitely recommend putting your bike on the side of the rack that lets you slide the axle in from the outside rather than the inside - the former is much easier to manage.

Because the rack has such a low profile - it sits only a few inches above the car's roof - it doesn't look like the vacuum cups would be able to hold your baby up if you're doing a bit of 'spirited driving.' The bike is surprisingly solid, though, which does make sense given that each vacuum cup is said to hold up to 210 lb of pulling force, which is 840 lb across the Mini Bomber's deck. If you grab the bike and try to shake it hard side to side, it actually feels more solid and secure than on some tray-style racks I've used. Heavy crosswinds? I wouldn't even give it a second thought. Hard e-brake turn? Don't mind if I do, and neither will the Mini Bomber.

When you install the two fork mounts, you can choose to angle them via three different positions. I wasn't thinking and bolted both fork mounts down at the same angle, which isn't ideal if you're carrying two bikes with wide handlebars - the inside ends will touch. I'd like to see each fork mount position moved outboard on the deck by another inch or two so you'd never have to think about, but angling the mounts is the built-in solution that works.

It's when you don't need a bike rack that the Mini Bomber comes into its own. It takes about 30-seconds to remove; all you need to do is pull up gently on each of the vacuum mount's tabs, at which point they'll pop off with no effort. And since the entire thing weighs just 12lb and isn't exactly big, I can just put it in my car's trunk until I need to use it again. It will even slide under the seats of many cars or trucks without issue.


Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
Is that a spoiler or a bike rack? No, it's a bike rack.


The Mini Bomber is going to be the ticket for a lot of riders who can't use (or don't want to use) a more traditional rack, but there are a few quibbles that bear repeating.

As mentioned above, you can't just throw this rack onto your car without a bit of prep, especially if your car is dirty. The vacuum mounts prefer a clean, dry surface to grab onto, and you'll need to take the time to wipe down whatever part of your car that you're attaching them to. It only takes a few minutes to do, so please do it. Also, you shouldn't mount the cups onto a flexible surface, or one that's been wrapped.

The other thing to keep in mind is that this system isn't set-and-forget like a trailer hitch-type rack usually is. Sea Sucker suggests taking a look at the vacuum mounts every few hours during a road trip - remember, if they're losing power, you'll be able to see the bright orange band on the vacuum pump. Also, the cups are made of soft rubber so they can conform to different surfaces and the rubber is certainly not indestructible. If a cup is damaged, it won't be able to hold onto the surface as well as it should, so care needs to be taken with the Mini Bomber.


Sea Sucker Mini Bomber review
Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Vacuum mounts or straps? Choose the former if you're installing and removing the rack all the time.


So, would I choose a strap-on rack like Saris' much less expensive Bones two-bike rack? I reviewed the Bones last year and while it carried bikes just fine, I eventually got tired of having to deal with all those straps that were a PIA because I didn't want it on my car all the time. The Mini Bomber has its own set of quirks, of course, but it's easier to install, easier to deal with when it's not on my car, and easier to get bikes into. I still have the Bones rack, but I'll be sticking with the Mini Bomber.

As for which one I trust more, I'm going to say that it's a tie. I'll glance in my rear view mirror every ten minutes regardless of the rack I'm using, and I'll check both types at every gas or food stop. It took a few weeks for me to trust the vacuum cups, if I'm honest, but now I don't even think about them until it's time to have a look.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Mini Bomber comes with a handful of quirks that you wouldn't normally see with a strap-on or tray-style rack, and it sure seems a bit pricey for what it is, but it's also going to be the ideal solution for a small percentage of riders who either can't use or don't want to use a traditional rack. This isn't the setup for someone who's hard on their stuff, either. All that said, if your vehicle doesn't accept a receiver, and strap-on racks seem a bit hokey, you might be the ideal Mini Bomber owner. Mike Levy







253 Comments

  • + 263
 Hey Levy, if I wanted to see a praying mantis humping a dung beetle, I'd google image it man.
  • + 17
 Can we agree that the offspring should be called the Levyathan?
That's it, I'm gone...
  • + 52
 That's an incredibly accurate description.
  • + 6
 @mikelevy: Buy a Sprinter, you can put the Mini and all your bikes inside and lock them up.
....I know your in the bike industry you can't afford a Sprinter.
  • + 111
 I'm personally a fan of a strap on as I cant get a hitch in my rear
  • + 44
 " I'm personally a fan of a strap on" - say no more. We won't judge.
  • + 23
 @DarrellW: Please do!! There's nothing I love more than pulling the straps tight around my rear end
  • + 5
 @DarrellW: its 2019, anything goes
  • + 4
 you've probably already established a safe word...?
  • + 23
 @bizutch: Yes its called Ellsworth
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: Please help me someone
  • + 3
 @Ilikesheep: forget the safe word?
  • + 4
 @BenPea: Ellswoth ellsworth ELLSWORTH
  • + 3
 That thread was simply too funny. Thanks everyone.
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: too tight and it scratches and leaves marks ...
  • + 1
 @HairyLegs: ELLSWORTHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
  • + 2
 Someone untie him. And the sheep.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Thank you
  • + 86
 They look like they suck!
  • + 2
 Hope they dont blow off.
  • + 28
 The designer should mount themselves on the rack to show its durability.
  • + 10
 1up....nuf said.
  • + 9
 not slack enough.
  • + 2
 @mattmach7: you're in quite the thought vacuum, you should expand your horizons
  • + 2
 I wonder if you get a comedy POP!! if they do fail Big Grin
  • + 2
 *logging in to help up-vote this to be top comment*
  • + 1
 At least it would mount water bottles...
  • + 7
 I believe the name "Sucker" originated from what bike thieves say after just popping this rack off and walking away with a new bike and a new rack. I think it's a cool concept and definitely looks bitchin' on your car, just surprised there is no way to lock the system in place.
  • + 1
 @mattmach7: It's pretty clear that this rack intended for those who don't have the option of running a hitch.
  • + 2
 @mackdaddy55: added locking mechanisms would defeat the purpose of the rack- minimalism. I agree, it seems very easy to steal the whole thing and I would never buy it, but it could be good for those who only go to and from the trailhead.
  • + 2
 Aahhh! Turn it off man, turn it off! It's sucking my will to live!
  • + 3
 @chyu: .......and stick the sea suckers to the underside of the QE2 ! $489 worlds gone mad
  • + 1
 Yep, those racks totally suck.
  • + 79
 "The Mini Bomber isn't set-and-forget; you'll need to check the vacuum mounts every few hours."
no thanks.
  • + 25
 Road trip headache right here
  • + 16
 Totally agree, but let's not forget that it is the same with straps usually. Only towbars can be "set and forget"
  • + 11
 @Aksel31: And roof racks.
  • + 10
 That's the bit where I checked out too, which I guess is why it's at the end. My roof rack and bike carrier just stay on the car for pretty much 9 months of the year, I am not dicking about with that for double the price.
  • + 59
 The need to have a clean car is also an obvious deal breaker.
  • + 3
 You really don't have to. I used to leave mine on my car over the weekends when I rode.
  • + 5
 I have one of these and used it for several years. You just have quick look when you stop for gas or to stretch your legs on long road trips. Mine came with a spare suction cup, but I have yet to switch one out.
  • + 4
 @jonbrady85: But what's to stop anyone nicking your very expensive suction cups when there's nothing attached to it?
  • + 0
 We use these suction cups for lighting etc at my work and they are completely unreliable and need constant maintenance to work. There's no way id trust my bike to these, particularly when it could fall off and cause me to be at the wrong end of a lawsuit.
  • + 7
 @ATXZJ: Same brand, company and vacuum system? If not, I'd say that since Mike has been putting these through the ringer for quite a while without issue... I'm more inclined to trust his review.
  • + 6
 I end up looking at every rack I use every time I stop regardless. But yes, a tray-style hitch rack is a no-brainer if you're doing a ton of driving.
  • - 7
flag loopie (Feb 13, 2019 at 10:24) (Below Threshold)
 So which fly-by-night insurance company covered these guys for liability? Are they claiming to have exhaustively tested these things to the point of confidently selling them to the general(moronic) public? Amazing.
  • + 4
 @loopie: Maybe one that insures one of the hundreds of companies that use these in the many industrial applications like lifting huge extremely heavy glass panels 10s of stories up construction sites. This is not new tech... it's old, well proven tech, applied to another industry. goo.gl/KvH1C7
  • - 3
 @islandforlife: Doesn't apply to the average moron.
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: do you have one?

We use woods power grips. The same ones they use to install plate glass on skyscrapers. They actually have audible alarms in them to warn that they are losing suction. Constantly cleaning the cup, cleaning and lubing the seal assembly and also having to wet the surface for best results. Multiple brands, models, new, old doesn't matter, they are not 100% reliable.
  • + 1
 I've used one of these, they're pretty tough and it's not like they just randomly lose suction. I'd always check straps on a strap-type rack every time I stop anyway, so no big deal. With regards to it being clean - you just give the car a quick wipe with a rag. Who doesn't have a rag in their car?

Like Mike says - if you have a hitch receiver then this rack probably isn't for you.
  • + 46
 Dude- Where's my bike?
  • + 16
 Oh you forgot, you'll need to check the vacuum mounts every few hours. lol...
  • + 0
 Sweet!
  • + 22
 It flew off and stuck to someone else's car.
  • + 2
 Honestly, that's a huge fear of mine with this rack. I live in an area where I can easily spend hours at a time going an average of 80 mph (130 km/h). I don't think I could ever trust a rack like this for fear of detachment.
  • + 2
 @neologisticzand: I've done a few 4hr drives from London to Revolution Bike Park and it's always been fine. I check it when I stop for fuel or food but I must admit, it takes me a good 20 minutes into the journey to stop thinking about it. It's always performed and never lost air.
  • + 4
 @Schbeemb: 4 hour journeys don't need a stop
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: Dude what's written?
  • + 3
 @pigman65: just bring a #pissbottle
  • + 2
 Sorry bro... ran it over, but we can pound out the bent wheels... o crap... carbon....
  • + 3
 Where's your bike, dude?
  • + 1
 @Schbeemb: If it means anything, my boss got this rack for his Panamera (yea....that ugly thing) and drove upwards of 120mph with a Rocky Mountain stapped to the top no problem. Drove all the way to Aspen (yes, I wish I was making this up) without any issue.
  • + 1
 @Klainmeister: Thank you - reassuring to know.
  • + 25
 Finally, a bike rack that sucks on all levels.
  • + 14
 I owned one of these. It was ok but the main faults were..
>when the front parts is sucked down onto the roof it bends the roof panel into shape. Not pleasant if you're fond of your car.
>no locking mechanism so you can't leave it whilst you pop into the service station or wherever
>suction pads are temperamental - the anxiety of maybe losing your bike on the motorway just isn't worth it.

Sorry sea sucker, nice idea but it's got it's floors...
  • + 2
 Thanks for the feedback. I have a classic car that I would like to be able to haul a bike on once in a while, but it sounds like a strap wrack would ultimately be less risky damage wise than these suction cups.
  • + 4
 *flaws
  • + 1
 That was my first thought "Oooooo, I can steal a nice bike AND a light weight, pricey rack without any tools"
  • + 3
 @bvd453: Maybe don't steal d-bag
  • + 4
 @drunknride: Not me dude, just trying to imagine what a would-be thief would think.
  • + 3
 @bvd453: I figured, was just being a dick about your wording
  • + 2
 THIS is what I came here for, how does it affect the car!! We have a truck for 95% of the time that's perfect but we also have an Audi a5, and would love the option of going on a road trip with the bikes in the car (2.0 liter vs 5.3...) , but not at risk of damaging body panels or paint!
  • + 3
 I bought the Ski/board Rack ones. The suction cups wouldnt stay suctioned if it was cold, which defeats the purpose for the winter rack ones, and made me nervous about trying them with a bike that weights 5 times as much as my snowboard
  • + 1
 @Honda750: build it yourself and you can spread the load over 3 points of contact as well as save a bunch of mo ey, and make it more stable on the roof of your car without taking the wheel off! Hit me up for details on my build. Use it on my a4 avant
  • + 1
 @ninjatarian: I don't have an issue with deformation. It will hologram your paint though. A couple of passes with a dual action and a polishing compound are usually enough to take care of it.
  • + 13
 I run one of these and it's honestly incredible! In 3 years I've only had to replace one of the suction cups, purely down to me breaking it when reassembling after a clean. Would definitely recommend!
  • - 5
flag ka81 (Feb 13, 2019 at 3:02) (Below Threshold)
 nice try.
  • + 9
 @ka81: Huh? That comment literally makes zero sense.
  • + 3
 @JoeCarpenter91: I think it comes down to you just joining a few months ago, and these are your only 2 posts. A true pink-biker would have trolled Waki by now...
  • + 15
 I see a Mr. Bean episode with this car and rack. Hilarity ensues.
  • + 1
 So A day in life: @mikelevy ? Smile (jk, we love you downcountry maniac)
  • + 15
 I just came here for the Mini
  • + 6
 Came here for the swanky car, spent 30 minutes learning about giant squid.
  • + 1
 Me too. I want to know more about it. That side exit exhaust has me thinking it ain't a standard motor
  • + 1
 Me too. I own one too. Too much fun!
  • + 7
 I just cannot imagine putting my over priced bike on there and being able to live without fear of a sudden detachment. Regardless of the manufacturer's claims and the science to back it - I would just be too scared.

Curious - if that Downcountry machine flew off and got run over by a speeding SUV on the Sea to Sky - would Pinkbike have to pay the bill?
  • + 3
 They really work fantastically. Once they're locked down, you're not getting them off.
  • + 3
 If you look into the industrial suction cup specs a bit more you'll see that depending on the diameter they can support a vertical lift load of upwards of 90kg (Each!) They're used in industrial applications for lifting glazing into new buildings etc. Some bespoke glass would easily dwarf the cost of our bikes and theyre used without issue. I do say this having never used a seasucker mount though - I built my own using the vacuum cups mentioned above in a triangle configuration that I trust way more than this branded version. If anyones interested send me a message and ill share,
  • + 1
 @dicky21: Message sent!
  • + 5
 @jonbrady85: Sure ya are, just pull those little black tabs! Presto Bango, I've got a new bike and a new rack!
  • + 1
 @JuanFco: replied bro
  • + 2
 @dicky21:

> They're used in industrial applications for lifting glazing into new buildings etc. Some bespoke glass would easily dwarf the cost of our bikes and theyre used without issue.

But obviously, briefly lifting glazing into installation position and driving a load four hours in variable road and weather conditions are two very different applications.
  • + 1
 @tripleultrasuperboostplusplus: I hear you but you need to consider the the weight of the glass being lifted by cranes in all weather conditions (wind and rain) and the implications this would have insurance wise if they were to fall. They're used for a reason and that is because they're industrial strength and reliable. They're used to lift much heavier weight vertically with the force of gravity also acting upon it. A mount on your car will be supporting a bike weighing probably no more than 20kg and that has the weight of the bike pushing down on it. I'm not defending seasucker as I haven't got or used one, but I know the concept works (based on my own build - 70mph on uk motorways for 4-5hours). For the anxious first time buyer, anchor it down with a backup tie strap through roof rails or the car doors, but you'll soon realise that they're not going anywhere.
  • + 2
 @dicky21: as somebody who has lived said glass up trail building's, it's worth pointing out that the lifters have a battery driven pressure guage and motor. As soon as the pressure drops the motor kicks in and re-pressures it. Nobody in their right mind uses these on glass for anything but carrying them at ground level.
  • + 8
 @mikelevy Please do a full Review of this Downcountry Monster you created. This Bike looks awesome!
  • + 12
 Oh don't you worry.
  • + 8
 @brianpark: Review the car as well please!
  • + 2
 c'mon, its @mikelevy There is no way he could do create such a monster and then NOT talk about it.

That said, I do look forward to what he has to say, always get a kick out of his stuff
  • + 2
 But when do we get a review of the Mini?
  • + 5
 The roof panels of a car were not designed to hold a load like that at all. Whilst the roof structure and the amount of suction might be ok, the actual panel will distort and bend out of shape within a few week of use. This seems like a neat idea at first glance but your roof will look like a sand dune after a few weeks of use.

Let's not forget that no one will ever check the vacuum strength every "few hours" or so. I wonder how the insurance claims will go if that thing fails and releases the bikes onto the motorway or when it completely dents the roof panels.
  • + 0
 Everyone is complaining about the "every few hours" thing. Obviously with all it's quirks these things aren't for everyone in the first place. But all my riding areas are within 15 mins to an hour from my house. So just a quick look before mounting is all I'd have to do. And Mike had these on his car for trips up and down the Sea to Sky corridor through the Lower Mainland so...

Either way I have a hitch mounted tray rack on my car so I won't be using this. But for those who don't travel long distances and can't use a hitch mount rack, this is a great "no frame contact" rack option vs those crappy strap racks.
  • + 4
 Zero issues with panel distortion and I look at every rack I use now and then during a road trip, suction cups or tray-style. It's not perfect at all, but it's a good solution for people that have a stupid car like me. I've had mine for months and drive like a total a*shole (when the time is right) - zero issues so far.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: how's the paint? and you're also driving a car from an era of thick body panels... granted they weren't coated for corrosion resistance so they don't tend to stay that way for long...
  • + 5
 Amazing concept that also works really well however, horribly overpriced. I've made something more secure for less using 3x industrial glass lifters (90kg) vertical lifting power each and dual truss swivel clamps that clamp to each handlebar. That way you can place the bike upside down to create a more stable triangle shape and theres the added benefit of not having to remove any wheels. Been from Essex to Wales without issue. If anyones interested send me a message and i'll reply with parts and pictures.
  • + 2
 Sounds awesome. The DIY solutions are always good, especially when the price of an off the shelf item seems high AF.
  • + 4
 Is there any non-commercial video with that sucking rack? Not on some road around the block, but somewhere on highway, on gravel roads, with all those speeds and vibrations we have while real driving...
  • + 7
 I've actually used this suction type in Spain, got this from a car rental as there was no way to fit a bike into fiat 500. I've never had my buttcheeks so clenched while driving 80kph :\
After leaving the highway onto mountain road I was sure the bike lays to the side on every curve, despite 30-40kph speed.
So as the emergency measure for some friends / family car these may be OK, but no way this could be primary rack.
  • + 3
 The longest I drove with my bike on my car with a Sea Sucker was about 3 hours on the highway. Otherwise, I normally made 30-60 minute highway trips with it. I used it on my MR2 and drove the car like there wasn't a bike on the back of it...taking corners hard, going 80-90 on the highway, and also driving over crappy Miami roads.
  • + 1
 I have seen a vid with someone sitting on the bike while suction cupped to a car while driving but that was commercial.
  • + 1
 I've been in cars that use them and have taken roundabouts, gravel, mountain descents quite quickly...Never had an issue.
  • + 5
 I wouldn't be confident, knowing my bike is fasten on my car just by its paint layer... When I see how thin and fragile the paints are on recent cars. nope.
  • + 3
 What? The paint isn't going to delaminate from your car...
  • + 2
 @jonbrady85: Of course it does not fall off that easy, but for instance on my current car, only 6 yo, the varnish (that's the word for a car?) blistered during a summer, for no reason. I just say I'm not really convinced with recent car paints.
  • + 1
 @Chapelain: lacquer
  • + 1
 @pigman65: Thanks :-)
  • + 1
 @jonbrady85: Not that you'd use this rack on one, but Mercedes Sprinter paint is notoriously poorly adhered to the body.
  • + 1
 @Chapelain: Renault?
  • + 3
 Sea Sucker mounts are great if you don't have an easy way of carrying a bike on your car. I used to use these on my MR2. I had a two suction mount on the rear window and a single mount on top of the spoiler.
  • + 2
 'I'll glance in my rear view mirror every ten minutes regardless of the rack I'm using'

You only check your rear view mirror once every ten minutes? Given the crappy drivers on the S2S highway, id suggest more frequent checks....
  • + 2
 I've had one of the Seasucker setups for several years now. I originally bought it so I could haul my bikes on my Subaru BRZ, for which there weren't great rack options. I wouldn't trust it for a day long trip, but for 2-3 hours it worked great. I've crewed a couple 500-mile road races where frequently you bring a spare bike. The seasucker works great for this. You're usually flying somewhere and renting a minivan, and getting a bike rack for that is a pain. But the seasucker is small enough to pack in carry-on.
  • + 3
 I don't like the look of these things. I went out of my way to get a towbar installed and have a hitch mounted rack. Much happier with this solution than straps or this thing.
  • + 2
 I’ve got a friend who travels a decent amount for work, and brings his bike anytime he’s near decent riding and has some time to enjoy it.

He uses SeaSuckers to attach his bike to his rental car. They easily fit in his bike case, and are basically guaranteed to work with whatever car he ends up with.

Perfect (though stupid expensive) for that application, hard to imagine a reason to get one otherwise.
  • + 2
 I use one of these on a Porsche - doesn’t accept a rack or a hitch. Doesn’t bend roof and you can mount to the glass if you prefer. Mine is the smaller one bike version and it’s ideal for travel; easy fit in a suitcase or bike bag for the rental car at the other end. 6 years old; always works, : have never seen a vacuum cup come loose. If car dirty or going to get dirty/dusty take a damp cloth in the car and just wipe down the attachment points. More often than not use it on our Golf cause I can’t be bothered fitting the whole Thule roof rack.
  • + 2
 "I use on of these [$489 racks] on a Porsche"... sigh... Drool Eek
  • + 2
 I work for a company that makes similar style vacuum (or suction) cups and I was responsible for designing and building the newest version of our test equipment. I have seen what the vacuum performance of this type of equipment looks like, and without some sort of pump to regenerate vacuum level as it loses hold, I'd be terrified. The performance can be affected by anything from a piece of lint or hair under the seal to actual damage to the cup itself.

Based on everything I've seen in my experience and testing, I wouldn't trust hanging a $400 bike off the roof with vacuum cups, let alone something much more expensive. It's a great concept in terms of temporary mounting, but it's definitely more temporary than would trust!
  • + 6
 Can i check vacuum level through app?
  • + 3
 Vacuum Pump: $12 (* 5 = $60)
Suction Cup: $14 (* 5 = $70)
Bike Rack = … $489

Polyethylene tray/straps = $489 - $130 = $359 … And here I thought carbon was an expensive plastic... Wink
  • + 2
 This is what I came here to post. In the world of over priced bike accessories, this one might take the cake.
  • + 4
 Exactly, the price seems odd to me. It is made in the US, but still... it's a lot of money for what it is!
  • + 2
 $100 per unit for their liability insurance?
  • + 1
 While showing your used vehicle for sale to the 20th prospective buyer:

"WTF is up with all these circular scratch marks and dents? I wish your ad had shown photos of them so I wouldn't have wasted my time driving across town on a Saturday. Dude, I could be out riding now!"
  • + 1
 I have one of these racks and it’s clear from the comments that folks haven’t used one of these. The main pro of this rack is that it doesn’t mark your frame (unlike a trunk mount) and you can put it on any car (unlike a roof rack or trailer hitch system). If your mate only has space for one bike usually but you want to carpool, you can just grab this and put it on. You don’t have to buy new roof racks or trailer hitch package every time you buy a car. I think the check every few hours thing is overblown, you should be checking any other rack type every few hours anyway. The rack is stiffer than any roof rack or trailer hitch solution I’ve seen, and I’ve never had a failure of suction on any of the mounts in the 2 or so years that I’ve used it. There’s also none of the roof rack whistling and hassle to get to your boot when you’re not carrying your bike around.
I’ve also not seen any paint damage from using them.

The biggest con for me is the security aspect, you can’t just leave your car parked somewhere with a bike on. It does take probably 5 minutes extra each way to mount the rack each time too.
  • + 1
 I use the sea sucker Talon (single bike version of this rack) on my Toyota GT86/Scion FSR/Subaru’s BRZ. I must have done 10,000kms with my bike on the roof at speeds of up to 160kmh and driving windy roads, including gravel, like a RWD, 6 speed manual, limited slip diff, sports car should be driven. I have never had the slightest problem and trust this rack 100%. I do check it when I stop for a break, but it has never been loose. I regrease the suction valves about once a year - takes five minutes. The rack lives in the boot of my car with a rag and a bottle of water to ensure a good, clean connection. Maybe takes four minutes to put on the car. You do need it quite close to the A pillar where the roof is firm. I also travel with it and have had it on numerous rental cars. Awesome product.
  • + 1
 Used 2 of the Talon's as was using a rental car and needed to transport 2 new mid-level mt bikes. Drove 500 miles straight starting in warm weather at sea level and then getting up to mountain pass at 7,000+ feet with snow (so big change in both altitude and temperature/weather). The racks did do fine, but on one pit stop check the pump on one suction cup needed a couple pumps. I didn't want to push my luck so never went past 70 mph to be extra safe. Didn't buy the trunk lock mechanism. The initial nervousness goes away after the first couple hundred miles.

I didn't get these for day to day use as a hitch mt rack better fits my needs. However, was looking for something that could be taken on plane trip with bikes going on rental car, or if we were in a temporary situation where we needed to bring an additional bike beyond the hitch rack's capability.

Did not see any damage/concern with the car paint.

The drawback for myself is for travel purposes, at present, they do NOT have an 20 mm fork adapter for a downhill bike.

The company responded to my inquiry to get it shipped on short notice with proper adapters.
  • + 1
 I am sure the company has spent a ton of time developing this product. I would like to see some kind of fail safe strap that connects the rack to the car. Like perhaps a strap that loops through the windows. It would not hold the rack down, but it would hold the rack long enough that your bike would not rip off the car when the cups depressurize at 75mph. Perhaps they could get fancy and build in a system that monitors the pressure and alerts you if there is a pressure drop on one of the cups. Adding a system to add vacuum to the cups automatically could be really cool also. Lithium ion battery back solar charged attached to a small vacuum pump (something akin to a food saver vacuum pump would do the trick). would add some expense, but a hell of a lot cheaper than catastrophic failure. I would also have way more smaller cups. Perhaps they have done the pizza math and figured out one large is bigger than two medium. But, again, 1/2 medium failure is better than 1 large failure.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy A real fan of both Mini's and doughnuts would save their AXS money and turn that Smurf Turd into an actual Mini Bomber.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCf5KFIwQyo
  • + 1
 Soooooon
  • + 1
 I keep seeing the "sponsored ads" on social media, and even with a marketing person behind them, this product looks stupid. Need to carry your Pinarello on your McLaren? You have enough money: buy the proper solution...

That said, I thought this was like a $189 solution for your vehicle that wasn't meant to haul a bicycle. At five bills, just get yourself a 1 1/4" hitch installed and go with with a real rack. Keep up the advertising, Sea Sucker...I ain't fool enough to buy it.
  • + 1
 Agreed, it costs a lot. But many cars can't have a hitch installed, which leaves people looking at straps or suction cups. A hitch mount, tray-style rack is 100% the ideal solution.
  • + 1
 This thing is great. Needed one for my daily, can’t fix a hitch (Jaguar XJ). Testride of 600km, totally forgot I had 2 bikes on the roof. 180km per hour is easy doable, but of course not recommended. As I said, forgot the bikes totally because you hear no wind noise (at least I don’t), and bikes are fixed really well.

Bit obsolete now because I normally use my RV now when I go out for a ride, but great piece of kit nonetheless.
  • + 5
 Will it fix the dent in my Tacoma?
  • + 1
 Honestly, unless they are under new or improved management, idk if I would recommend buying this. I received the rack for free a few years back and it has worked phenomenally, don't get me wrong the concept and execution are great, but trying to get parts for it was a nightmare of elephantine proportions.
  • + 1
 I'm tempted by this- I have a two bike hitch tray rack that I use day to day, but every once in a while it would be awesome for more people to be able to fit in the car, or if I was using my girlfriends car without a hitch. I'll definitely be considering this iun the future.
  • + 3
 i can confirm that these suckers are legit. I used them to scale a building at night for a bank job. They also leave no finger prints.
  • + 2
 not only did they steal my bike, they stole my rack too! Just pulled those little tabs and away they went. Seemed so secure!
  • + 1
 Don’t own one but to avoid the handlebars touching when mounting 2 bikes all you need to do is mount the fork mounts in opposite orientations. This will give more clearance than the using different mounting positions.
  • + 2
 All these comments and no mention of the side exit exhaust on @mikeleve’s mini? Or was that covered in a different article?
  • + 3
 Judging by the fork on that bike, he's putting a lot of trust into those suction cups...
  • + 1
 built a surfgate for a boat with some of these cups. used 2 cups for an 18X6 inch plane sticking perpendicular from the hull. I used it all summer and it never came off. I seriously doubt that this would ever come off a car.
  • + 0
 God I love that mini!... less in love with the sea sucker, no way I'm risking watching my pride and joy fly away under a HGV in my rear view mirror.. thanks but no thanks. Amazed thus far that no-one has asked about the up-side down forks there yet! guess we all saw the review on them here a while back.
  • + 2
 Like a lot of mounts from the USA: Illegal to use in Europa most of the times-some as the 1up bike rack and all aftermarket hitches for roadsters such as an MX5 etc. sadly.
  • + 1
 There are way too many stupid people in the world for this product to exist. It should be banned. Accessories like this should be built for the worse case scenario, not rely on the best.
  • + 2
 One of my stromies has the ghetto version of this from Amazon that's $100 and so far it has not failed him, in all kinds of shite UK wind/weather.
  • + 1
 £79.89 now and 3 colours. "suction bike mount" as a search term will help you find it.
  • + 1
 @dicky21: I think his is the Rock Bros one mate.
  • + 1
 Long live the truck bed tailgate pad! Best rack system ever invented. You couldn't pay me enough to attach my high-end MTB to this. I'm sure it works fine, albeit the worry in my head the entire drive would make me go mad!
  • + 1
 Well since a hitch plus Kuat 2.0 is about $30 more total and gives me the ability to hold another bike that I dont have to check every few hours and also includes a HITCH why would you buy this...
  • + 1
 I dont care about the roof rack. But Mike. Get som flares to cover those wideass wheels. I love your car but It needs flares.
  • + 3
 I love the tires sticking out but the car is about to change quite a bit regardless.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: well there's an article right there! ...mike's mini mods! (catchy huhSmile )
  • + 1
 Man.... I love the outside the box thinking, but that shit is brave. I'm sure they believe in their product, but yeah.... that would make me nervous.
  • + 1
 I like the simplicity .... and I am sure the average bike thief will too!

Short on then chaining the bike to the car in some way, how does this system prevent theft?
  • + 1
 My bike can squeeze in the van without removing a wheel. If it's a long trip with more gear, then I remove the wheel. Cost $0. Bike Capacity 4.
  • + 1
 THAT BIKE LOOKS NUTTS!!! @mikelevy who’s build is that anyways?!? Trance spec is off the chain in those photo’s! Must be a fun bike
  • + 1
 That's a test bike that will have its own article soon.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Mike ... of all the stuff you could "field test" the mini would be much more interesting... Do the whole nine yards, climbing, descending and tech specs ~ just sayin' (I'm betting that it does awesome at huck to flatSmile )
  • + 2
 Na my bike is taken apart and put into the back of the car. It’s safe too I use seatbelts
  • + 2
 Mike a welder, some steel, and some good old Mtn biker enginuity would solve your receiver problem in a few hours.
  • + 1
 Plenty of people have built towbars for Minis, I'm looking at doing one for mine
  • + 1
 I don't need a rack or give a crap about these but I read the whole article because Levy's writing style always makes me laugh.
  • - 1
 Don’t do it. I have a customer who’s unit failed on him and damaged his Porsche to the tune of $8k. He’s about to lawyer up because they’ve done nothing to help him.

If you care about your car or your bike, this is not the way to show it.
  • + 2
 Nice review but how's that Trust Performance fork treating you? Any idea on when we'll read your thoughts?
  • + 0
 every car should have as original equipement an hitch.
really miss my last car... and though i could get away with roof bars on the new one, but noise, garage height, easy to (un)/install need to go back
  • + 1
 I prefer an roof rack over an hitch rack.
  • + 1
 Doesn't look like there is clearance between the back window and cranks, if they rotate while driving.
  • + 1
 There's a strap that holds the crank from spinning, too. Forgot to mention that.
  • - 1
 What a dumb rack. Every can can either get a hitch or roof bars. If not I'd say have your friend take you or put the bike in the trunk. You know how often I check my hitch rack? Never cause it's not gunna randomly fall off
  • + 1
 Are these suction cups going to randomly fall off?
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: That probably depends on the quality of your paint
  • + 0
 I don't trust theese to my 6k bike. There suction cups I like good old steel bolted to steal @mikelevy:
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: they do tell you to check them every few hours. Paying more to get less, quite the business model.
  • + 2
 This is a prime product for Ebay under ”Cycling bike rack”

Junk.
  • + 1
 I see no way to lock the bike and/or the rack to the car. I'd like to at least slow down a thief.
.
  • + 2
 They have an option for a metal piece that hooks over your window with a cable that ties to your bike frame. It's not 100% secure since you'd only have to smash a window to make off with the bike but it's good enough if you're away from your car for a short period of time.
  • - 1
 I'm not really a fan of fork mounted racks in general, they put huge loads on the fork lower and have heard of cracked lowers as a result. Would much rather go for a frame or wheel mounted carrier as such
  • + 1
 I'm actually wondering we get to see the in-depth on the Message fork that's humping the rack.
  • + 1
 Hey mr. levy what are those wheels,they look very nice ,but what brand are they ,all carbon ?
  • + 1
 Syncros Silverton SL wheelset
  • + 1
 Dood. Fix your car. Chipped windshield driving behind you. Fix that shit.
  • + 3
 Is that a moustache?
  • + 7
 Allegedly.
  • + 1
 @brianpark: time for him to grow a mullet. Unless that goes against Pinkbike company policy...
  • + 2
 It's so soft
  • + 1
 Here's my pal testing his suckers on his Porsche Turbo..

www.pinkbike.com/video/498692
  • + 1
 Can’t imagine ever going back to a rack that requires front wheel removal.
  • + 1
 For 489$ I I bought a hitch and a hitch rack. Apples to oranges but that’s a ridiculous price
  • + 1
 The spokes on that back wheel appear to be carbon? Is that something we need to know about?
  • + 1
 Todays lesson don't buy a vehicle that is useless when it comes to hauling a MTB
  • + 1
 I prefer useless tbh
  • + 1
 meh..I'll take the mini Smile
  • + 1
 If they are similar to a Glazer puck theyll easily carry a bike. My cup can handle 150lbs on its own
  • + 1
 "As you can see Wayne, it sucks and it cuts!" youtu.be/AioVDsXidh0
  • + 2
 Its the same price as a real rack! This is a $100 solution
  • + 1
 Cool concept but seems sketchy when it comes to theft. Just remove the cups and you got yourself a bike
  • + 2
 where is the video of the spirited driving?
  • + 0
 Search Amazon for rockbros bike rack. Less than half the price and it's the same thing. Had mine for a year now and been amazing
  • + 4
 Just checked this. It's almost $300 without thru axle mounts and is pure chinesium.
  • + 1
 I'll pass I get enough anxiety with it over the tailgate
  • + 1
 Where in the world an e-bike weighs 210 pounds? Was that sarcasm?
  • + 1
 @mikelevy A Mini is a fantastic car for hotboxing, wouldn't you say?
  • + 1
 Very much so.
  • + 1
 I’ll stick to a tailgate pad on my truck thankyou
  • + 1
 Hell to the MF'ing no I'm not trusting suction cups.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy Does the dent in your roof go away when you remove the rack?
  • + 1
 It sucks more than my wife, and I'd still have to ask for permission!
  • + 1
 Looks at my pickup sitting in the garage and just smirks....
  • + 2
 Nope. Nope. Nope.
  • + 1
 Hell NO! But sick M.C. though.
  • + 1
 Hello, Human Fly here. Come on, I spent all night dyeing my underwear!
  • + 1
 We need a feature on that car.
  • + 1
 Whats with the Clown car?
  • + 1
 Will this work with DH bike thru axles?
  • + 1
 "Hi there, I'm Mike Levy" *WOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSHHHH*
  • + 1
 I like bolts.
  • + 1
 That mini is awesome
  • + 1
 Perfect for my Porsche!
  • + 1
 I like it a lot.
  • + 0
 It certainly does suck.
  • - 1
 Moral of the story...sucking is sleeker than a strap-on!
  • - 2
 So now they do cupping for cars?
  • + 1
 you beat me to it...
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