I`m getting ready to take my folder with me on a family vacation that will include a few short solo rides and an escape day, riding with internet acquaintances in New Hampshire. The forecast looks pretty damp (downright soggy by my desert standards!), and I know from experience that those tiny little wheels are amazingly adept at slinging water. Last time I rode them on wet roads I felt like I was pedalling a mobile bidet. So.... with a day to kill, I whooped up a set of packing friendly flat fenders for my Pocket Llama. There are a few refinements I`d like to make, but might not get around to before this trip. As of now, they`re fully functional (untested but have to be better than nothing), though I think the front should be a little closer to the rubber, and the hardware is a bit more clunky than it needs to be. Fitting them up took patience and some trial and error, but the project is well within the scope of most home brewers with minimal equipment. Here`s where I stand as of now:
The flats are made from 1/16 Mylar that we had hanging around at work from an old project. I see that .060 ABS is available from internet vendors at reasonable prices, and would probably work just as well. I originally cut mine with a knife and straight edge to 2.75 wide X 20 for the front and X 28 for the rear, then notched as needed to clear stays, fork legs, brake calipers, and chain. The struts are 1/8 welding rod, bent by hand in a vise, and eyelets cut from heavy sheet metal (.075, no idea what gauge that would be) brazed on the ends. Bent loops certainly would do the trick for somebody with better bending skills than I have and/or with no torch. The struts just sit in the notches of the plastic sheet and didn`t pop out even on a bumpy dirt road test ride, but they do rattle noticeably. I`m going to try wrapping them with a rubber band somehow to quite things down.
The "hard" mounts took more time than the struts. Actually, I did them first, and then figured where to put the struts. My front mount is the biggest kludgrey on this project, but like I say, it`ll hold. I tapped two 3mm holes into the botom side of a 1/4 X 1/2 inch aluminum bar to hold it to the plastic, then cut and drilled a little piece of aluminum angle that screws into that bar and into a threaded boss on the back side of my fork crown. If I get a chance to redo that ugly bit, I`ll just make a simple L bracket with a single screw on each leg- I was trying to avoid a screw head too close to the tire, but now think I was overly worried about that.
The rear end on my Friday offers multiple options for fenders (thank you Green Gear!). I decided to use a 5mm threaded boss that`s bent up from a kickstand plate. Cut a 3/4 inch length of aluminum rod and tapped a 5mm hole in each end. One end got a long set screw glued in with permanent LocTite and screws into that prethreaded hole, the other end accepts a button head screw from inside the fender. Just for fun, I filed 10mm wrench flats on the aluminum rod. A simpler version of that pice could be made just by drilling a 5mm hole all the way through a block and using an extra long screw. When I mounted the rear up and tried to figure out where I wanted the struts, I had either too much distance between the lower mount and the strut (and my plastic wouldn`t hold an arc shape) or too much sticking out behind the strut (plastic cantilevered off into space where it did no good, and would have bounced all over the place). Since I didn`t want another strut, I kept the strut kind of forward and chopped the rear fender down to 23 inches. Hope that`ll be enough. If I redo this fender, I`ll use an L bracket bolted to the flat part of the kickstand plate and pointing down, then another L at the crotch of my seatstays (already has a 5mm boss there too), which will spread out the mounts enough that I`ll be able to run the fender further in both directions with a single strut. The only side to side adjustment I have is by bending the struts and they offer zero height adjustment, but the simplicity is tough to beat, and I like that they open up flat for packing.