A Roadie Forever
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder
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A Plea for Yellow Road Fenders
This post is aimed at SKS and Planet Bike especially, but I welcome anyone else who wants to step into this void first.
My plea: as the title states, I want yellow road fenders I can put on a high end custom bike to ride Oregon's roads in the winter. Yellow because yellow is so visible. Yellow fenders because, as seen from behind, fenders are by far the most visible thing on a winter training bike. And I am talking real fenders; fenders you want on the bike for 70 mile January days that will keep the bike clean enough that not a lot of time has to be spent keeping it riding condition.
Visibility: In January, I am riding the shortest days of the year at a latitude north of the 45th parallel. On a long ride, any kind of mechanical will probably have me finishing at dusk. Western Oregon winters are famous (and rightly so) for their low grey skies. (Easy for me to adopt to. I spent enough of my life riding in southern Michigan and eastern Massachusetts seeing the same.) You fender manufactures seem to love to supply us riders with fenders of the two least visible colors for those conditions. Black. No emergency agency anywhere paints its vehicles black. Silver. I used to drive a silver car when I lived in Seattle. (Same sky.) I got very used to being invisible. Killed many a battery leaving my lights on in daytime.
These fenders should have: A full flap in front that comes down to inches off the road and is stiff enough to not push back when riding through a deep puddle. But - the flap should yield easily when the bike weight is on it - that WILL happen every time the front wheel is taken off or the bike is wheeled off a curb and the rider forgets. (I've had to ford some "rivers" running across roads. It rains here.) The fenders should have two sets of stays rear AND front to keep oscillation down. A good front flap creates turbulence that serves as a driver for oscillations. The fenders need real stiffness to keep the natural frequency high enough that this doesn't happen. I put real flaps on every fender I buy, either as new or in the case of the old Blummel fenders, after a year or so when the original wears out. I rarely get single stayed front fenders to not oscillate from tire contact to tire contact every time I get over a certain, not too high speed. And even if it doesn't start, the next bump will usually set it off. Riding no-hands, it always starts. A low hanging rear fender flap is very nice for anyone drafting. I usually ride alone, so that matters little. I do wheelie the bike every time I step out the door to ride, so a low, rigid fender or flap is a real drawback. I have never had the "Cascade" fenders with their long flexible flap but I think that could work well.
Incorporating a reflecting yellow into the lower portion of the rear fender would be a big additional plus. (I'd pay more for that. I put reflecting tape on my fenders there but getting that adhesive to stay stuck to plastic in the wet and with the convex bend and making look right on an expensive bike is hard.) A good interface with common "blinkie" lights for the rear fender, high enough to be safe from wheelie-ing the bike would be good.
Last, the reason you as a manufacturer should make these yellow fenders (and high quality ones at that): Look at that company that makes panniers out of rafting fabrics, Ortleib. Those panniers came in red, blue and black (I believe). A bike shop in Seattle asked them to make a run of panniers using the yellow fabric they were already using for rafting gear. They did. In 1999, I asked a local Portland Oregon bike shop if they carried or knew of yellow panniers. Well, they had heard that those Ortleibs existed. I asked them if they could get me a pair. They did and now yellow panniers are seen everywhere.
Fender manufactures, this is sales and money in your pocket. And a few of us will live longer lives. Yes, you will never know whose lives you save. Nor will we. Every time an approaching vehicle sees us riders, it's a non-event.
Thank you for reading this. (Fellow riders - tell your bike shop, contact the fender manufacturers.)
(I chose the paint for my custom to look good with those yellow fenders. It never occurred to me that in the 11 years I have been riding that bike,I would never see a pair to buy. I did see one white pair of road width fenders once. I bought and installed them on my winter fix gear. But I have two other bikes waiting for those yellow ones.)
Ben Jeffries (If you have questions, PM me or reply to this post so i get the E-mail alerting me.)
Last edited by 79pmooney; 03-05-17 at 01:04 PM.