Got my cheap Planet Bike fenders last night. I've been resisting for months because they add weight to what I feel is an already overloaded bike (nearing 60 pounds on my commuting setup), and they look kind of dorky.
Well it's the rainy season now, and damnit I'm sick of getting soaking wet even if it's not raining much. So I bit the bullet and ordered some cheap ones just to test them out. I Installed them on the bike, which was a bit more tricky than I initially anticipated. I actually had to remove the kickstand to fit the rear bracket over the chainstay bridge. Then of course trying to get the kickstand plate bolted back in was tricky because I could no longer fit a wrench into the area because there was now a fender in the way!
Another issue is that the drive-side chainstay braze-on screw was too long when fully screwed in. It ends up rubbing against the chain when it's in the smallest cog on the cassette. So I had to unscrew it a few millimeters to prevent the chain-rub. I need to stop by a hardware store and get some washers that will fit, because right now the rear support sort of rattles a lot because it's not fully screwed-in.
So today was a perfect day to test it out. It was pouring like mad all night long, and most of the early morning as well. The rain calmed down by the time I headed off to work though.
At first I cycled like I normally did, out of habit I avoided puddles, not really thinking about the fenders being there. Eventually I noticed a steady stream of water pouring off the inside of the front fender, despite the fact that the road didn't even seem to be that wet. This put a smile on my face.
I ended up coming across an unavoidable puddle however, and with my usual trepidation I went through it. My body tensed, expecting the usual splash of cold dirty road water along my shoes and shins... but I felt nothing! I was astonished!
A few more accidental puddle run-ins confirmed... these things are awesome!
By the time I reached the end of the trip, I was intentionally running into puddles just for the fun of it. It was amazing. Now, there were some really deep ones that even the fenders could not protect me from, but they definitely lessened the amount of water that reached me regardless.
My panniers were lightly muddy at the end of the trip as well, but nowhere near the typical amount of road grime was on them. When I got into work and changed out of my clothes, I didn't have any grime or grit on them like I usually do. Typically there's a large patch of road grit right up my back (which usually ends up smelling like bad fish within an hour of arriving at work as they dry out on my cube wall), but this time, nothing!
I have decided that Fenders are officially the most awesome thing ever invented. Except for bicycles of course. Honestly, from now on I'm getting them on all of my bikes. I can't wait to ride home in the rain!