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  1. #1
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    Mudguards/fenders - why?

    I notice in many threads, people ask about a bike for touring, and the immediate response is "put a rack and mudguards on it, and it will be great". Why mudguards? I don't think I've ever had a bike with them, and don't think I've ever wanted them. Although I've ridden in ridiculously heavy rain (at one point wearing full ski gear, including goggles ) I've never had to tour in it. Yes, your gear gets muddy. Yes, you can get sprayed a bit - but is avoiding that minor inconvenience really worth the weight, cost, rattliness, reduced toe clearance etc?

    I'm trying to reduce the number of accessories to buy for my bike. If I get talked back into them, so be it.

    (I suspect I'm biased against mudguards because I always associate them with rusty old city bikes, going clang-clang every time they hit a pothole...)

    Steve

  2. #2
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    IMHO
    No need for them at all!!!
    Unless you ride in a group and then the person behind gets a faceful. But then you can ride at the back of the group and get the draft with a clear conscious,

    that you are there for the benefit of you fellow riders

    clean your bike at the end of rides to remove the mud and grime. befor it dries on ( like mine is)

    george
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  3. #3
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I wouldn't setup a bike [other than perhaps a racing rig or MTB] without them. If you want to be splashed with grimy/dirty water while you ride that's cool. I don't. Clearly you can ride a bike in the rain without fenders so it isn't essential - just a personal choice.

    Proper fender installation [ie. full coverage w/ mudflaps] will keep your drive train cleaner and keep you more comfortable plus cleaner. So it does have benefits.

    If you haven't noticed any use for them so far perhaps it isn't something you need to worry about???
    safe riding - Vik
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  4. #4
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    Also, because it never rains in Australia anymore Interesting point about the dirty drivetrain - maybe a simple flap on the downtube would do the job?

    Steve

  5. #5
    In media luce erro dejinshathe's Avatar
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    The fenders I have on my commuting rig are plastic and really quite light. They don't rattle, and they keep the filthy road-water down near the road. It's true that in Melbourne there isn't often road-water in these days of drought, but nevertheless, riding behind another commuter in the morning and having to dodge their rooster-tail of yuck never fails to put me in a bad mood.

    As to touring, it's really just a matter of keeping things cleaner. If for A$55 and 700g I can avoid that extra bit of mess on my bike, my jersey, my shoes, my socks, my rear lights, my panniers and my wife (who's usually right behind me), then I say it's worth it. : )

    [edit: The A$55 is exactly what I paid for the fenders, the 700g was a guesstimate - before anyone asks me to prove it! ]
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  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Besides keeping you cleaner they do a marvelous job of preventing your front wheel from throwing crap into your drivetrain.. the lifespan of the drive and parts on my fendered bikes far exceeds that of those without them and the drivetrain tends to require much less cleaning.

  7. #7
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    My drivetrain is a Rholoff hub based, so the chain does not move up and down casettes or chain rings.

    chains last over 3000 miles ( I have an ecentric BB, like on a tandem) to take up chain slack

    But mudguards are lot cheaper than a Rohloff LOL

    george
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  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    What about the rear mudguard? Once you have a rack mounted, does it keep stuff out of the cassette at all? I'm trying to picture it and thinking that it mainly protects people behind you?

    Steve

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    I'm also of the opinion that fenders/mudguards are not as essential as you'd think. In some ways I think people put them on just to make the bike look more touring hard core rather than for what they offer.

    However, my touring bikes have fenders....why? I really dislike cycling in the rain, and the first time I was on tour on a bike without fenders and the heavens opened up, I decided right there and then that having them was worth it for me. Sure not having them won't stop you from touring, but having them in a downpour is much, much, nicer!

    Disadvantages: cost, another component, makes bike harder to transport when breaking down (e.g. if you take the front wheel off, the fender is then exposed, packing in a case, you'll probably need to take them off and then reinstall.) In a torrential or prolonged downpour, you just have to accept you're going to get wet no matter what so having them in that case is no real advantage. Probably less aerodynamic.

    Advantages: will keep you drier in short periods of rain, or when there is water on the surface. Really light weight and once on you can usually forget about them. Look the business on touring bikes. May protect your drivechain a little better.

    Actually looking at my list, it seems that you really shouldn't bother -but I still like the advantages they offer when there is rain, and when the surface is wet. They're huge advantages to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    I notice in many threads, people ask about a bike for touring, and the immediate response is "put a rack and mudguards on it, and it will be great". Why mudguards?

    Steve

  10. #10
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    I avoid riding in the rain as much as practical, but on tour it's not all that practical.

    If the forecast projects an all day rain, I take a motel day, (if possible). In spotty weather, I will sit-out a shower under any piece of cover I can find, as soon as it stops, I'm off. Without fenders, I would get just as wet as if I just rode in the rain, but with fenders, I'll stay dry. I would not have a touring bike without them.

    On days when you have to ride in the rain, fenders still help. It's one thing to just get wet, it's another to be wet and dirty. All that road grime gets flung all over you and your bike.

    If you have issues with fenders rattling, put rubber washers or "O" rings between all the connecting points. Also using "Workable" Loc-tite on the bolts is a good idea.

  11. #11
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=gregw;6540520]
    It's one thing to just get wet, it's another to be wet and dirty. All that road grime gets flung all over you and your bike.
    QUOTE]


    X2 And they look good, all our bikes have them.

  12. #12
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Not a necessity, but they can be nice if it is wet where you ride. You can stay a lot drier with them than without. Also if you ride pace line at all while touring they are a big plus for the guy drafting you. I have them on my touring bike and feel they are worth using for me and where/when I ride.

  13. #13
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    If you don't think keeping excess rain, mud and ***** off your face, chest and back is worth it, then there is no reason at all to have them.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  14. #14
    Senior Member eric von zipper's Avatar
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    I've found that my feet/shoes stay a lot drier with fenders/mudguards. I'm not talking torrential downpours, but having to go through unavoidable puddles and the standing water after a good rain. I'm a big fan of keeping my feet dry as much as possible. Just my .02.
    Surly Cross Check, Thorn Sherpa

  15. #15
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Besides keeping you cleaner they do a marvelous job of preventing your front wheel from throwing crap into your drivetrain.. the lifespan of the drive and parts on my fendered bikes far exceeds that of those without them and the drivetrain tends to require much less cleaning.


    Just a point about keeping your drive train clean - you need full coverage fenders with a long mudflap on the front. The pic of my Thorn Sherpa above shows some decent fenders, but when the front mudflap wears out I'll replace it with an even longer DIY version. I put the same fenders on my new Rohloff bike - sure that drive train can handle more dirt/less maintenance, but it will also last longer if you keep it clean.



    I spent a lot of time riding my Bike Friday Tikit around town this winter. Because of the fenders I could wear regular street clothes and meet up with friends and not be filthy. The other nice thing was when I got home I just let the snow/slush melt from the fenders and I could bring a clean bike into my apartment for storage.



    Even my go fast bike has full fenders.

    The only bike I own that doesn't have fenders is my MTB. I generally don't ride it in the rain/wet [destroys the trails] so I don't see the value. The rest of my bikes I want to be able to ride anytime and in particular I want to be able to ride them in the rain and turn up for dinner looking normal. Not to mention I hate cleaning my bikes!

    Although I am a big fender fan I am not suggesting they are anything, but optional. Like a cycle computer, helmet, SPD pedals, kickstand, etc... you don't need any of these items to ride a bike, but each one offers some functionality if you want to use it.

    To the OP...ride your bike in the rain next time you have the chance. If t doesn't bother you not having fenders just put the matter right out of your mind.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  16. #16
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    Fenders save the drive train, my clothes, my gear.
    They also keep nasty tar blobs off the bike and my gear. I hate tar on the bike.
    These Planet bike Cascadia's were $24. Took minutes to mount and I can ride to work without getting covered in road filth if it rains.

  17. #17
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by becnal View Post
    If you don't think keeping excess rain, mud and ***** off your face, chest and back is worth it, then there is no reason at all to have them.
    +1

    I don't like muddy swamp butt. Nor do I like looking like I pooped my pants. I also don't like road grime in my mouth, eyes, nose, etc... We have this thing in certain areas called "winter", puffy frozen water falls from the sky and these big trucks come and put really nasty salty dirt on all the roads to melt the frozen stuff which then gets everywhere when you bike through it, unless you have fenders.
    2009 Bike Friday Season Tikit (commuting folder)
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  18. #18
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    Fender fan. As someone else said, I don't ride in the rain if I can avoid it. I will ride afterwards, though. I don't like road water spitting in my face, I don't like skunk stripes on my butt and back and if there's gear on the rear rack—it stays clean. Aside from the cleaner drive-train, bike, etc.—they look way good. I'm fairly shallow like that.

    Incidentally, that's a fine looking ride you have there ricohman.
    None.

  19. #19
    Senior Member eric von zipper's Avatar
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    I recently picked up a set of Cascadias for my Thorn--love the coverage and the look. Very sturdy too. I'll post some pictures this weekend.

    @ "swamp butt"
    Surly Cross Check, Thorn Sherpa

  20. #20
    Macro Geek
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    I rode for years without fenders, and suffered the usual indignities of getting dirty and dealing with a gritty drivetrain. It wasn't the end of the world.

    I have fenders now, and confess that I find them a bit of a nuisance. They are perpetually going out of alignment and rubbing up against the wheels. They are not the easiest things to adjust either, I find.

    But overall, the positives outweigh the negatives. Although I do not regard fenders as essential, they are a nice luxury. They make touring much more pleasant when roads are sloppy.

  21. #21
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Also a fender fan. One thing no one has talked about is animal dung. Most states mandate cyclists use the MUP when available. which are always covered with dung from dogs and animals. Theres nothing worse to accidentally roll through it and have it sling up on everything, especially your water bottles.
    [SIGPIC]http://www.bikeforums.net/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=57360&dateline=1197386754[/SIGPIC]
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  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    It isnt the rain that is the problem but the stuff on the road.

  23. #23
    40 yrs bike touring
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    I have always used fenders while touring on and off road. This choice was reinforced vividly on one tour.

    I was approaching Quito, Ecuador from Columbia in a heavy rain when I started hearing sharp noises from something hitting the fenders as I rode. The noise was from discarded hypodermic needles scattered along the road shoulder for mile after mile and picked up by my tires.

    I really appreciated my fenders even more than for just keeping me and my drive chain clean and dry.

  24. #24
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor View Post
    I have fenders now, and confess that I find them a bit of a nuisance. They are perpetually going out of alignment and rubbing up against the wheels. They are not the easiest things to adjust either, I find.
    What kind of fenders are you using? I've had some SKS fenders on my LHT for 2yrs+ and haven't had to adjust or mess with them once. They are dead easy to install and adjust.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  25. #25
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik View Post
    What kind of fenders are you using? I've had some SKS fenders on my LHT for 2yrs+ and haven't had to adjust or mess with them once. They are dead easy to install and adjust.
    Same here.
    I haven't had to adjust any of my fenders after installing them. The polycarbonate flexes so it can never get bent into the tire.

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