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Verdict: 
Ingenious rack sticks your bike on just about any car, and it's very quick and easy to use too
Weight: 
2,081g
Seasucker Talon Bike Rack
9 10

The Seasucker Talon is just the thing if you need to stick a bike on the roof of your car but don't have (or can't fit) suitable roof bars. It uses rubber vacuum cups to stick to the roof, letting you mount a bike quickly and firmly to just about any car.

It's the sort of concept that will either make you think 'that's a really good idea' or 'there's no way I'd entrust my bike to that', reminding me a little of the Finn phone-mount we tested a while back. Set your doubts aside, though; it works just fine, enabling me to fit a bike on a car for which no roof bars are available. There was an important piece of information missing from the instructions, though, which left me with minor damage to my paintwork the first time I used it.

Seasucker have a range of similar devices, all based on the same suckers. The Talon can only carry one bike - if you wanted to carry more than one you could use a couple of Talons, but there are also models for carrying two and three bikes available. In all cases, you leave the bike's rear wheel in place and just remove the front wheel before mounting. Seasucker racks are much smaller and less cumbersome than most bike carriers, taking up less room in the garage when not in use.

Find your nearest dealer

Buy this online here 

The key technology here is the high strength vacuum cup that Seasucker uses. They're not unique - near-identical ones are used extensively for handling glass in the construction industry. The Seasucker cups are made of UV-resistant rubber which is soft enough to conform to the curves in the roof of a car.

Attaching them is pretty simple - you push down hard enough to make an initial seal and then just pump the plunger a dozen times or so, sucking all the air out from inside the cup and creating the vacuum that holds it in place. Once a low enough pressure has been reached, the plunger stays inside and you're done. The plunger acts as a safety indicator - if the vacuum isn't strong enough, it'll pop out again (with a white indicator band making this easy to spot - albeit not from within the car). We found they hold their vacuum for hours anyway, especially if you wet the pads, and soon got past the need to keep checking them every 10 minutes.

The Talon has three suckers at the front, connected to a sturdy bracket made of high-density polyethylene. This can flex a little too, which helps it fit to more curved roofs. There's a metal bracket to which your front dropouts attach with an oversized quick release lever making sure they stay put.

To install the Talon, you attach the front bracket to the car first, before dropping the bike's fork onto it. At this point you need to be careful to close that big QR before the bike falls off, especially if your roof isn't flat. The bike's rear tyre will be resting on either the roof or the rear glass at this point, and you just lift it up and fix the remaining sucker in place below where it was, before using the thick Velcro bands to wrap around the rim and tyre.

It's almost ridiculously quick and easy in fact - massively less time-consuming than fixing roof bars and a bike carrier (when that's an option). The first time I installed it on my car I found the rear wheel was sitting on the join between the roof and the rear glass, where obviously the sucker wouldn't have been able to stick, so I just moved the whole thing back a couple of inches. Even with this extra stage in the process, it took well under five minutes.

You can mount the Talon on the roof, fit it to a rear hatch or even have it hanging from the rear window on an estate car or SUV. Maximum bike weight is 20kg and it works just as well with a mountain bike as a road bike. Modern automotive glass is plenty strong enough to support the weight of a bike, it turns out.

As standard, the bracket at the front takes standard 9mm dropouts, but you can get optional brackets for use with 15mm or 20mm thru-axles. With the bike on the roof, there's nowhere to put the front wheel, although Seasucker do offer an optional upgrade to the rear mount to add a wheel carrier if you want the full neutral service look, otherwise it just goes inside the car. Seasucker include one spare sucker in case one gets damaged.

Once the bike is fixed in place it's pretty firmly held there; Seasucker say you shouldn't drive above 75mph (although they've got a video showing the bike will stay in place at up to 140mph). We had no issues at top speed on a windy day during testing.

We did have one problem, though. After the first long journey with the Talon installed, we discovered that the bike's crank had been quietly bouncing on the roof of the car, wearing its way through the car's paint. The wind tends to push the pedals backwards and there's no included means of stopping this. It's an easy problem to solve with a zip-tie - just secure one crank to the chainstay - but it's a serious omission from the instructions and not one I was at all pleased to discover.

That issue aside, the Talon is a great idea and well executed. Even for cars where conventional roof racks are an option, the Talon is much quicker to install and remove, and for those where there is no other option, it means taking your bike is now a possibility. One final point - you won't want to leave your bike unattended in the rack - removing it would take a matter of seconds. If you need to leave it on, Seasucker offer security anchors which you can shut in the boot or door joint, for securing the bike(s) on the roof.

Seasucker racks aren't cheap - the Talon is £250 (and the three-bike Bomber is a rather alarming £450). They don't really have much direct competition, though, so if you couldn't put a bike on your car until now, this could be a price you're willing to pay.

Verdict

Ingenious rack sticks your bike on just about any car, and it's quick and easy to use too

road.cc test report

Make and model: Seasucker Talon Bike Rack

Size tested: Black

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Seasucker say: "Finally, a bike carrier that's easy to install and won't damage your car! SeaSucker bike racks use our incredibly strong vacuum mounts and allow you to temporarily but securely mount your bike to the roof of your car without the hassle of permanently attaching any hardware. SeaSuckers are non-marking, UV and weather resistant, and hold exceptionally well to glass or metal surfaces."

Includes one Rear Wheel Strap (6'� SeaSucker with hook-and-loop straps) to secure your bike's rear wheel and keep the tail from sliding left or right.

This rack has one fork clamp attached to three 6'� SeaSuckers. Rack body made of 1/2'� HDPE, which makes it strong enough to hold your bike yet flexible enough to follow the curve of your roof line. Designed to mount to your roof and front windshield, but can be used just about anywhere – on the roof, on the trunk, etc. Approximate size: 15'� x 12'�.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

* Holds 1 bicycle – up to 45 lbs.

* Made for roof top, trunk or hatchback attachment.

* Attaches to metal, glass or fiberglass surfaces.

* 1/2' thick high-density polyethylene (HDPE) body for strength and durability.

* One heavy-duty fork mount for 9mm dropouts.

* Three 6'� SeaSucker vacuum cups on body (210 lb. pull-strength rated each).

* Approx. 15' x 13' footprint.

* Approx. 6 lbs.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

You need to look after the suckers. They come with protective covers, and there's a spare, but if they get nicked or cut then they won't hold pressure. I had no issues during testing, though.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
10/10

Lighter and much less space-consuming than any other roof carrier I've come across.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Pretty expensive, but there aren't any direct competitors.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well indeed; easy to use and holds a bike very firmly. Just needs a note adding to the instructions about the need to secure the cranks.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's the only way I could take two bikes in my BMW Z4 (one in the boot, one on the roof).

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The fact that the car's paint got damaged the first time I used it.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 190cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute  My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

 

Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels.  His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding. 

35 comments

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nowasps [517 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I'd be in the market for one of these. All the racks and carriers I've used in the past have been difficult and unreliable.

I just chuck the bike inside now, rather than deal with the aggravation (small car though, so both wheels have to come out).

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AJ101 [275 posts] 1 year ago
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If it sticks reliably this rack is a great way for the chaps to get their bikes to Richmond Park.

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TheHound [117 posts] 1 year ago
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That price is sickening.

I had a toy frog from a Kinder Egg when I was about 5yro that had essentially the same technology.

They could drop the price by 100squids and sell a ton more of them (I say this with 0 market research invested).

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purplecup [217 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
TheHound wrote:

I had a toy frog from a Kinder Egg when I was about 5yro that had essentially the same technology.

//imgs.xkcd.com/comics/listen_to_yourself.png)https://xkcd.com/481/

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KiwiMike [1282 posts] 1 year ago
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Can Road.CC just create a sticky that auto-appends the following as a first comment on every new product review please:

"I have one just like this. I got it at [Lidl/Aldi/eBay/dad's shed] for a fraction this exorbitant amount. Even though I've never laid hands on one of these let alone used it for months as part of an exhaustive review process across multiple use cases, I can say with 100% certainty that it's shit. Utter shit. No way in a million years will it ever justify its eye-watering price, and anyone parting with their cash to own one is a [mug/fashionista/hipster]. The [designer/manufacturer/CEO] behind this travesty know as much about the bike industry as a dead kipper. I utterly refute any use-case or value judgement aside from my own"

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LarryDavidJr [347 posts] 1 year ago
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Even having roof and rear racks I generally prefer to put the bike in the car when possible. I feel a bit happier with the roof box up there, weighed down with contents, than my not very heavy bike being battered around in the wind!

That said, on the odd occasion I have used a roof rack, I can imagine this is far less faff than putting up both bars and then bike rack. If I could just get over that feeling that it will fall off .....

Despite their evidence, I think convincing people it's a safe enough option for their 3k(+) bike might take some doing ....

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jsainsbury [4 posts] 1 year ago
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My car has roof rails. I was looking to attach a roof bike rack to them. Turned out that option was much more expensive than the Seasucker. In the US, the Talon is ~$270 (£160). It was cheaper and more flexible option.

A rear trunk rack is cheaper. But carbon frames don't fit them well. They don't hold to the car as well. Too many straps. Takes much longer to set up. Another can hit the bike dangling off the back.

As for security, I run a cable through the wheel, frame, and the roof rails. Simple.

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KiwiMike [1282 posts] 1 year ago
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In non-snarky mode: friends own a new-ish VW Golf. Doesn't have roof rails or T-track slots. Their only option was a strap-on (no sniggering at the back). The only one I'd recommend is a Saris Bones, but even that's a faff, and effectively ruled out use of the hatch. For £200-ish this solves the problem. A decent set of Thule foot packs, bars and racks will set you back the best part of £350. And will take a fair old while to fit/remove if you don't want them on permanently.

Even on our car with T-track slots, it's a faff to add/remove racks. Another one of those solutions where haters gonna hate, but for those with a specific problem (esp. small cars with no towbar or ability to store a towbar rack e.g. Apartment folks), could be a godsend.

Also, GENIUS hand-luggage-friendly solution for transporting rental bikes in hire cars, which never have roof racks or towbars.

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Jez Ash [225 posts] 1 year ago
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LarryDavidJr wrote:

Even having roof and rear racks I generally prefer to put the bike in the car when possible....

... Despite their evidence, I think convincing people it's a safe enough option for their 3k(+) bike might take some doing ....

I *hugely* prefer to put the bike in the car rather than on the car. When I'm just taking one (road) bike, I can get it in my Z4's boot. When we took the photos, my bike went in the boot and Dave's test bike went on the roof  1

And yes, I'm sure plenty of people will be reluctant to put their posh bikes on one of these, just like people were reluctant to go on aeroplanes once upon a time...

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tom_w [217 posts] 1 year ago
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I remember in the days when I had to put a magnetic flashing light on top of the car that it used to put tiny scratches in the paint as bits of crap inevitably got on the bottom of the rubber pad. Did you have any of those sorts of issues when you were testing?

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Jez Ash [225 posts] 1 year ago
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tom_w wrote:

I remember in the days when I had to put a magnetic flashing light on top of the car that it used to put tiny scratches in the paint as bits of crap inevitably got on the bottom of the rubber pad. Did you have any of those sorts of issues when you were testing?

No such issues. Mag-mounts are the worst, because of the magnets themselves, which attract any small bits of ferrous metal. The rubber cups here don't have magnets, obviously, and they also come with plastic covers which I used scrupulously when it wasn't on the car and which help to keep them clean. Finally, I always inspected the rubber cups before attaching them to the car, but can't recall ever having to remove anything from them.

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KiwiMike [1282 posts] 1 year ago
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Can someone do the maths and work out how much rearward/upward force a 10kg roadbike would place on a front hub mount at 70-ish MPH into a 40-MPH headwind? I'm betting it will only be a few KG, at most. These bikes are supposed to be slippery!

Each Seasucker is rated to ~100kg. And I bet there's safety margin in there - it's a US firm. If they were selling a product that had even the slightest chance of failing (even with lowest-common denominator fitting) and dropping bikes onto a highway causing a crash, they'd be certifiable.

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Barry Badrinath [3 posts] 1 year ago
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Chain Reaction are stocking these, so will be £225 if you have British Cycling membership. I REALLY want one.

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PROEDGEBIKER [1 post] 1 year ago
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these truly are great bike racks, obviously not for everyone or naysayers but for those of us who have no other option or just dont want a ton of metal on our roofs 24/7.

FYI - I would mount the fork mount the other way so its a bit more aero, it will bring the noise level down too.

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SoliD [23 posts] 1 year ago
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Had one of these for the past 3 and a bit years, absolutely fantastic bit of kit, perfect for my car with its glass roof (Porsche 911 Targa), but I'd not want to use one if I had to mount on paintwork. I've had it up to about 115 abroad with no problems, and done 240mile trips only checking the suckers once but that was more piece of mind!

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Sub5orange [101 posts] 1 year ago
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i have seen demo's of those on their website.look solid and like the design. i would definately get one of those, if i was without kids and carefree, as it is i am waiting for a pair of the yakima frontloader to arrive. no fuffing about with frontwheels neither with the frontloader. the sensible choice for me but hey would love to go with the cool one.

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LarryDavidJr [347 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Jez Ash wrote:
LarryDavidJr wrote:

Even having roof and rear racks I generally prefer to put the bike in the car when possible....

... Despite their evidence, I think convincing people it's a safe enough option for their 3k(+) bike might take some doing ....

I *hugely* prefer to put the bike in the car rather than on the car. When I'm just taking one (road) bike, I can get it in my Z4's boot. When we took the photos, my bike went in the boot and Dave's test bike went on the roof  1

And yes, I'm sure plenty of people will be reluctant to put their posh bikes on one of these, just like people were reluctant to go on aeroplanes once upon a time...

I (and plenty of other people) still AM reluctant to go on aeroplanes  1

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LarryDavidJr [347 posts] 1 year ago
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jsainsbury wrote:

... Another can hit the bike dangling off the back.

Oh yes. Yes indeed. On our way to Cornwall last year, I saw some dozy cow come flying out of a services only to be surprised by the almost stationary traffic in her lane. this constituted some hard braking and a swerve back across the lane, just missing another car .... sadly, the pair of Zipps on said car's rear rack took a nice 'clonk' from the nose of her car.... I winced ....

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notfastenough [3719 posts] 1 year ago
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My car includes a tight seal round the boot so no conventional rack allowed. It's got roof rails, but a Thule rack with bars is rather more than this. I can't help thinking though that my local repair chap got a dent out of the mini roof with a sucker, isn't there a risk of deforming the body panel with the suction force?

Anyone know if it would fit on the rear screen of a BMW 5 series estate? Might need to wait until it's in shops, and check it out.

KiwiMike wrote:

Also, GENIUS hand-luggage-friendly solution for transporting rental bikes in hire cars, which never have roof racks or towbars.

Now that is a good point.

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MikeFromLFE [15 posts] 1 year ago
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Ive shelled out for demountable tow bars with associated wiring on my last two cars, just so i can use a towbar mounted bike rack. This would have saved me a fortune, and have been much easier to use. Want.

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KiwiMike [1282 posts] 1 year ago
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MikeFromLFE wrote:

Ive shelled out for demountable tow bars with associated wiring on my last two cars, just so i can use a towbar mounted bike rack. This would have saved me a fortune, and have been much easier to use. Want.

How very dare you factor in all associated costs when assessing this (or indeed any) product. Only uninformed knee-jerk sticker-price reactions are acceptable here at Road.CC.

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KiwiMike [1282 posts] 1 year ago
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Jez, what option is there to secure the rack itself to the car - i.e. does the suction or QR mechanism lock in any way? At £250 a go, I could see people leaving the bike and nicking the rack  1

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Jez Ash [225 posts] 1 year ago
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Mike,
You could pass a cable through the handle on the main part of the rack.

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jimt [21 posts] 1 year ago
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I have been using one of these for about 2 years now. I purchased off ebay before they were available in the UK.
It is very versatile and as some people have mentioned you can use it on friends/hire cars with ease.

For the person asking about deforming panels: The suckers have a soft lip but the main part has channels in the pad so vacuum is in the channels while the rest of the area is supported.

This rack has allowed me to travel to triathlon events and club runs at least twice a week in the time I have had it and only required minimal looking after.

Also means that I did not need to get rid of my MX5! (FYI bikes are considerably more valuable than the car)

Re security: You can lock the QR shut and use a cable that fits round bike and into window shut or boot shut. (seen them on CRC)

If you dig around on the internet you can get the suction cups for about £30 a pop and the fork holder is about £20. you could fashion your own custom solution if you were that way inclined.

The suction cups are versatile with lots of options for bolting on things. I had to get creative for when using a disk wheel on the rear wheel carrier. It now locates the wheel in a channel and the strap is extended and wraps round the crank and chainstay.

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MKultra [392 posts] 1 year ago
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When fitting do you have to lick the suction cups first?

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surly_by_name [496 posts] 1 year ago
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Its not required but as long as you keep it between consenting adults you won't be arrested. But not in front of children please.

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kamoshika [214 posts] 1 year ago
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I bought the SeaSucker mini-bomber (carries two bikes) recently for precisely the reason that we don't own a car and rent them when we need to. It's virtually impossible to hire a car with a bike rack or something to attach one to. As others have said - brilliant bit of kit and very easy to use. Was slightly wary of attaching a couple of relatively expensive bikes to a car with nothing but the power of suction, but you've just got to trust it. In the words of XKCD: "Science. It works, bitches" (https://xkcd.com/54/).

I spotted the potential problem with cranks hitting the roof when I was putting the bikes on for the first time, and strapped them to the chainstay with an old toe strap. Very glad I did - that would have been a tricky one to explain to the car hire company!

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Phil T [35 posts] 1 year ago
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On family trips I often ride to or from where we're going, whilst the wife takes the children in the car.
This does of course, (if I'm only riding one way), mean we have to take a bike rack on the trip.
These would be an ideal pop in the boot solution.

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suipedali [1 post] 1 year ago
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I bought a SeaSucker Mini-Bomber when I was on a business trip to Chicago a couple of years ago. I'd done a little research on them prior to purchase . There's some negative stuff on Forums (there's a surprise) and mostly from people who don't own one of the racks. Like an earlier poster I use mine on a Porsche 911 and there's been no damage to paintwork or panels what so ever. Once I take the bike of the roof I break the vacuum and put the rack in the car. It takes me about a 90 seconds to replace the rack on my return. Also put it in my bike box for use on hire cars when I travel with my bike. I noticed that SeaSucker vacuum pads have also been used in the construction of Pro Team roof racks which carry up to 7 bikes and 10 wheels. Not sure if they're still available, but they were heavily discounted recently on the Sports Pursuits website.

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Woodsman [29 posts] 1 year ago
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So something that buggers up your paintwork get glowing reviews? I'd have thought that it would be a minimum requirement that it doesn't do that.....

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