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  1. #1
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    Touring without fenders

    Is this a dumb idea? I'm planning a short tour or two, less than a week each. Not really a wet time of year. I have some fender clearance issues with the one bike I own most appropriate for touring. I love the look of fenders and know the obvious benefits, but I'm thinking some of you must be riding without them for various reasons? I guess I'll get partial coverage from a front & rear rack with bags?

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    You don't need them.
    18,000 miles for me without fenders.

  3. #3
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    Maybe you don't need them, but they sure do make riding in the rain a lot more pleasant. My road bike won't accept fenders unless you count those silly clip-on things that don't work, and I'm quite happy to go out for a long workout type ride without fenders, but when I'm on tour I don't want to deal with the brown racing stripe up my back that you get when riding fenderless. I won't commute or tour without fenders.

  4. #4
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    I've toured many thousands of miles without them. I keep my tent-sleeping bag-pad on my rear rack, so never get a rooster tail on my back. I suspect the would keep my feet a bit drier as they would prevent spray from the front wheel, but it han't been much of a problem for us.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  5. #5
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I concur, they're helpful but definitely not critical.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    I've toured with or without fenders.
    And since I've used them I can't be without. But for nearly 15 years I used nothing. I though they ruined the lines of the bike.
    But really I was ruining my clothes, shoes, driveline ect....

  7. #7
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    I've toured with and without fenders. I did well without, but I am glad that I have fenders now.

    I would not call fenders "essential," but they definitely help keep you clean and dry when riding in the rain.

  8. #8
    imi
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    I ride with fenders. Probably get by without rear fender when loaded, but blah for front wheel spray (don't think your front rack and gear will protect from that)...

  9. #9
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    i ride with fenders. Probably get by without rear fender when loaded, but blah for front wheel spray (don't think your front rack and gear will protect from that)...

    +1
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  10. #10
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    I never had a fender until I was 40 years old.

    Post a pic and maybe someone can help you.

  11. #11
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Here is what I said about fenders in 2007 on this forum:

    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.

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    I don't use them. I figure that you have to wear rain gear if it's raining anyway so you've got coverage for your body for that. Sure stuff will get on your drivetrain from the road but it's not made of sugar so it won't melt and you'll have to clean and lubricate it anyway after the rain stops. If you are worried about spray from the front wheel, you can always use one of these.



    Lighter, easier to install and less hassle than fenders.
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  13. #13
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I think every bike should have fenders. However, I went on a metric century in the rain a week or two ago, and I think I was the only one out of maybe 200 riders that had fenders, so they're sure not very popular around here. Of course, this was day-riding bikes, not touring bikes, but still, not too common.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  14. #14
    Deluded...
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    Done with and without them, and I'm all for them. I had a crappy set of fenders earlier this year, and the rear one was actually channeling water, dirt, and mud directly onto my front gears. Fantastic.
    So I picked up a full coverage fender for the rear (attaches to the frame just behind the bottom bracket) and the problem is solved. I use a quick-disconnect fender for the front, and it works just fine.

  15. #15
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    "I figure that you have to wear rain gear if it's raining anyway so you've got coverage for your body for that."

    I don't find that is true at all. If it is raining heavily of course but there can be water on the road after a rain, or from ground sources that would splash up and get you wet without fenders. I like to get the rainwear off if I can. I agree though that they aren't essential just desireable for me. Most of my riding has been without fenders, now that I have been touring with them for a while, I find myself annoyed when I run into water on a bike that doesn't have them.

    The most comon fender problem is that there isn't enough room in the frot fork, there is mounting hardware you can buy or easily make that allow the fnder to start and stop on either side of the fork.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Using fenders or not is a personal preference; as are tires, saddles, pumps etc. I have them on my touring bike and find the added comfort and driveline protection worth the minor hassles. I put them on my winter bike (it rains a lot in Oregon) in the fall and they come off in the spring. For short tours try it without fenders, and make up your mind based on experience. On a two week ride last fall we had rain about a half of the tour.

  17. #17
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    Maximum fender value occurs after the rain, while the pavement is still wet and there are lots of little puddles. I'm with Peterpan1; I like to get the rain gear off as soon as I can, especially during the summer.

  18. #18
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    You can always use SKS RaceBlades or the comparable detachable fenders made by Planet Bike. They aren't as effective as full fenders but are better than nothing, plus they will fit on nearly any frame. In my opinion, the main advantages of fenders are that they keep your drivetrain so much cleaner, plus they keep water from spraying up your back and all over your storage bags.

  19. #19
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    fenders make you go faster i hear.

  20. #20
    imi
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    uh sorry I haven't lurked on so many fender threads, but why would you NOT want to have fenders? weight? looks? cost? *pardon my ignorance*

  21. #21
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    I was the only guy with fenders when a bunch of us encountered some cow diarrhea covering the road...I kept my distance from the others who all ended up with brown streaks.

    Yeeuuuuckkkk!


  22. #22
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Upright,
    Use them if you feel that you need them. I don't. But then all of the overwhelming benefits of riding with fenders have been explained here numerous times. It is just one more piece of stuff that I don't need. My preference.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    You don't need them. IN TEXAS
    18,000 miles for me without fenders.
    fixed it for you

  24. #24
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    I was the only guy with fenders when a bunch of us encountered some cow diarrhea covering the road...I kept my distance from the others who all ended up with brown streaks.

    Yeeuuuuckkkk!

    Riding with a bunch of blind riders? Even if the road were covered from side to side, I'd slow down to ride through it. Nothing is quite as pleasant as falling off a bike into a pile of cow wallop Heck, I'd ride off into the grass to avoid that!
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  25. #25
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    uh sorry I haven't lurked on so many fender threads, but why would you NOT want to have fenders? weight? looks? cost? *pardon my ignorance*
    Some looks. Some needs. Some convenience. Some other stuff.

    Looks: Personally, I don't like their looks. They just don't do anything for me.

    Needs: Living in the semi-arid west (11 inches of rain per year), I don't usually need them. This week has been the exception. I use them during the winter but, for the most part, our roads dry in a few minutes after brief but intense rain storms in the summer.

    Convenience:
    • Fenders interfere with setting the fork blades on the ground when you take the front wheel off. Not too much of an issue with low-rider racks but for other bikes it's a hassle.
    • It's a hassle to use them in a roof rack.
    • When used in a roof rack, I manage to bend them slightly so that one side rubs on the tire. I don't like stuff rubbing on tires


    Other stuff
    • My touring bike is already pretty short in the front end and I have some issues with toe overlap. Fenders would just make it worse.
    • When I put my rack trunk on the bike (commuting), I clamp the rear wheel between my knees to steady the bike. The rack stays dig into my legs and snag my tights. I hate that
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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