SeaSucker Talon Bike Carrier Review – A Bike Rack for Cars that Don’t do Bike Racks!!
The SeaSucker Talon is the solution for people who love their bikes, but are unable to fit the bike inside, nor fit a normal bike rack on the car! I used to have a car which was 0.5cm to get the frame into the boot, and absolutely no way to fit the bike frame in the two-seater passenger compartment. Unfortunately, as a convertible, there was also no way to fit a bike rack to it – well not in any way that I didn’t think would damage the paintwork! When life changed, my little run around was replaced by a Volvo, and suddenly I had ample space for bikes inside the car. However, there any many cars out there which don’t readily lend themselves to bike racks.
The SeaSucker Talon uses an innovative series of octopus style rubber suckers (hence the name) to mean that just about any car is able to take a bike rack, as the rubber is able to conform to most contours of a car in order to create a seal
The concept of having potentially several thousand Pounds of bike stuck, not strapped, to the roof of a car gives some people cause to break out in a cold sweat – but rest assured, the system works.
So I had a little chat to a friend, and managed to stick the SeaSucker Talon to a couple of Mercedes convertibles – machines which REALLY do not lend themselves to bike carriers, and put this odd looking bike rack through it’s paces
SeaSucker Talon Design
The SeaSucker Talon is the smallest of the SeaSucker range which is able to independently hold a bike. The company has a few smaller units, but these are only really useful for stopping a bike moving around when being carried in a pickup tuck
Whilst the SeaSucker Talon is only able to carry one bike, you would be able to mount two of the smaller units next to each other, assuming space on your car roof for the additional suction mounts. Buying two Talons, however, would cost quite a bit more than merely buying the two bike Mini Bomber from the company. But as we all know life changes, so it is good that the option is there never the less
First off really should be seeing what is in the box, before we get further into the nitty gritty
In the box we have:
- SeaSucker Talon Main Board with 3 x 152 mm Vacuum Mounts pre-installed
- SeaSucker lockable Quick-Release Fork Mount.
- 152 mm SeaSucker Vacuum Mount with moulded housing and double-sided Velcro strap pre-installed.
- 1 x 280 mm x 19 mm Double-sided Velcro strap.
- 1 x 152 mm Vacuum Mount & Protective Cover spare
- 4 x 152 mm SeaSucker White Vacuum Mount Protective Covers
- Allen/Hex Key & 7/16″ Spanner
- Red velcro strip to hold cranks in place
- 5 g Lube Tube for vacuum pump maintenance
Of all the bits in the box, the aspect I’m most impressed by is that SeaSucker has included a spare vaccume suction cup. I would love to be Mr Positive, and say that is a really nice thing to do for the consumer. However, it does make me wonder, how often to these suction cups fail that a replacement is included in the box?
Not an unreasonable question, as the suction cup is the defining feature of the Talon, and is the concept upon which the whole SeaSucker company is built. Yes of course the first thing I did after unboxing the unit was stick a sucker pad on a glass window to try and lift myself up off the floor – I’m quite confident the sucker would have held (they are rated to 90Kg anyway) but I didnt like the look of the effect on my glass, so quickly let go!!
Yes I appreciate that these suction cups have their origins in the glass industry, my concern was that at 73kg I weigh more than the glass is designed to take, more than that the sucker would come off
The SeaSucker Talon is actually quite a simple design – a flat T-shaped piece, with a sucker at each edge in order to distribute the force across the panel of your car, and a fourth suction pad to attach the rear wheel against.
The T-Shaped part of the Talon also has a degree of flex designed into the material enabling the unit to absorb some of the shocks from the road, reducing the chance of the SeaSucker being detached
The front fork mount comes separately from the of the unit, needing two bolts to be attacked to assemble the SeaSucker Talon – It’s not exactly an onerous job!
The locking front wheel mount takes standard 9mm drop outs, but you can also buy 15mm or 20mm thru axel adapters. In the centre of the mount is a small section of rubber in the centre allowing you to clamp the lock down with adequate force to compress the rubber, but not damage your front forks, as people are prone to want to over tighten here.
In terms of the suction mounts, there is a plunger on the side of the unit, which you press repeated in order to draw the air out from under the cup sticking the unit in place. There is a white band on the side of the plunger which will retract as the suction increases, and when a sufficient force has been reached, the plunger will remain inside the unit, with none of the white visible showing that the unit is safe to install the bike on.
On the other side of the mount is the locking clamp. It should be noticed that this is locking in terms of not releasing the bike when driving along. This perhaps is my biggest issue with the SeaSucker Talon, there is little to secure your bike when it comes to parking your car up at a petrol station etc
Again with security, the opposite end of the QR skewer is just a regular nut and would be very simple just to unscrew this end of he bike, essentially meaning zero theft resistance
Zero theft resistance seems a bit of a sweeping statement – when the unit is attached to the car, it’s not like they are going to lift the whole thing off, are they? Well, that is certainly possible, remember the SeaSucker Talon is only attached to the suction pads. The suction pads release, with just only a small amount of horizontal force, applied to the T-Shaped rubber moulding. With nothing further to prevent your thief walking away with your bike, and expensive mount!
SeaSucker Talon Specification
|Bicycle Capacity||1 bicycle only, max. 20 kg
|Bike Rack Type:||Fork Mounted (front wheel must be removed)|
|Vehicle Attachment Location:||Roof Top, Boot Lid or Hatchback|
|Vehicle Surface:||Metal, Glass or Fiberglass.|
|Vehicle Type:||Sedans, SUV’s or Minivans|
|Quick Release Fork Mount Type:||One non-lockable quick release fork mount with 9 mm skewer|
|Vacuum Mounts on Main Board:||Three 152 mm SeaSucker Vacuum Mounts|
|Number of Rear Wheel Straps:||One Rear Wheel Strap with Velcro|
|Main Board thickness (HDPE):||19 mm|
|Required vehicle surface length:||(15 inches) – 381 mm (unobstructed)
|Required vehicle surface width:||(13 inches) – 330 mm (unobstructed)|
|Weight:||2.4 kg Approx.|
SeaSucker Talon Manual
There is no simple manual with the SeaSucker Talon
Yes, there are some bits of paper, but if anything they read a little more like brothers. A more generalised overview is here
There is however instructions to use the suction mount, which can also be found here\
Using the SeaSucker Talon
Personally, I think one of the most important items you need when it comes to using the SeaSucker Talon is NOT included in the box – detailer car spray
I don’t know about you, but my car isn’t always perfectly clean, as a result, applying the suction cups could potentially scratch the car surface. Having a quick spray with a chemical detailer – rather than straightforward water, will allow you to remove any surface grime from the panel you are going to be attaching things with both quickly, and also without having the have a full car cleaning setup. Definitely a handed thing to keep in the box with the SeaSucker Talon when off the car!
With the car panel cleaned, apply a little water to SeaSucker cup to aid the seal, and press down lightly onto the car. Then prime the pump and hey presto a strong seal is made. Repeat three times for the main part of the Talon.
Removal is done by finding the “T” marker on the rubber and pushing up to break the seal
Then comes the slight nerve-racking part of lifting up your bike onto the QR skewer. At this point, it’s best NOT to attach the SeaSucker for the rear wheel and let the tyre briefly rest on the roof/window. Make sure things are firmly attached before letting go of the bike – and depending on the height of your car, the first time you do this can feel very uneasy
That uneasiness isn’t improved if you are mounting on a glass roof!
With the rear wheel not raised up on the SeaSucker, I actually found that I had to pay attention to the location of the Talon front, as it left the front chainring perilously close to the rear window, and repositioned things to give myself a little more clearance
Given how close the front chainring sits to the car, there is a good chance that you might end up with the cranks clattering into the roof (I’d hate to see the result on a glass roof) – thankfully this is easily resolved with the red velcro strapping included in the box
But going back to the security part, I actually found using a HipLock Z-Lock a slightly more reassuring option
With the front securely in place, pick up the rear of the bike and place the remaining SeaSucker UNDER where there tyre had been resting, pump and when secure double wrap the velcroband to stop the tyre and the wheel slipping
Then you are ready to go riding! At 20kg for the maximum weight bike, it’s unlikely that most people will have trouble fitting their rides, even fitting to a glass sunroof shouldn’t cause any issues
It must be pointed out though that there is nowhere on the Talon to store the front wheel, so you are still going to have to have some bits inside the car.
SeaSucker advises that the mount shouldn’t be used over 75mph, but I was quite happy to keep under 65mph as I found the Foil, in spite of the aero designed made a lightly disconcerting whilst over 65mph!
Going back to my perennial concern about scratched cars, it is worthwhile highlighting that the suction pad covers are not merely for when you recieved the SeaSucker from the factory.
These covers also prevent dust and muck getting embedded on the rubber pads when not in use, which could then subsequently scratch the aforementioned paintwork – DEFINATELY something not to lose
Frankly ,I just keep them in the original box, which I also return the SeaSucker Talon to when not in use. Compared to other bike racks, this unit takes up very little space when being stored. SeaSucker highlight an interesting point about the low profile nature of the Talon, that it is light enough to be included in hand luggage if you are traveling with your bike and renting a car at your destination
It should be stated that using the SeaSucker with a fabric convertible roof is PROBABLY going to be ok if you are keeping below 30mph and you REALLY had to do it – but I honestly wouldnt want to chance it, as the whole of the force, is then going through the fabric rather than the roof
Plus as you can see here, I couldn’t get all three of the front suction mount to fit against the window. So regrettably, I think this does show that the SeaSucker cant fit on EVERY car.
Yes, it may have been possible to do something on the rear deck perhaps… But I could only manage to get two cups to hold for space. So most cars probably, fabric convertibles, probably not.
Now there is something which all users should keep in mind, and especially those who are a little twitchy about the suction cups. On their website under warranty, , you’ll find the below phrase
“In no event shall SeaSucker Down Under Pty Ltd be liable for special or consequential damages”
Now I personally read that as “If your bike falls off, it’s not our problem” – which is quite interesting given that as a user I had to stop the cranks from moving myself, rather than using something which was included in the box. Combined with their perceived risk of the strength of suction cups that might be a bit too little reassurance – however, this is a standard approach in the industry, as all units can suffer simple operator error
You’ll find similar wording on most carrier sites, Thule for example, speaking about their warranty states:
“Nor does it cover damage to the user’s vehicle, electronic devices, cargo, or to any other person or property”
SeaSucker Talon Conclusion
Personally, I think the biggest hurdle for most people here is going to be simply trusting the suckers. Technology like this isn’t new, and is frequently used in construction to move items heavier, and more costly than your bike
Let’s not forget that these suckers individually have 90kg of direct pull strength, and SeaSucker state they can be used up to 75mph, which is 5mph over the UK speed limit, so no one would ever exceed that, so have to worry…
Yes, you could argue there will be an element of force vectoring in the wind, but even if we talk around a reduction in 50% strength from the wind, I think it’s highly unlikely you’ll run into an issue! I have genuinely mentally filed this worry in the same category of a carbon fibre wheel – possible, but realistically highly unlikely!
In terms of cars which can’t fit a bike mount, the SeaSucker Talon is a tremendous option. Security is definately a weak point of the SeaSucker system, and whilst the company will see you a window clip in order to stop someone walking off with your bike too easily, if a theif is planning on stealing you bike, I’m not sure how many would consider breaking a window to be a serious impediment.
So I think a 4/5 is a reasonable score for the SeaSucker Talon, in conjunction with a TG Recommend