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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 12-21-10, 05:53 PM   #1
Newspaperguy
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Fenders

I'm wondering if anyone uses fenders for winter cycling and if so, what do you use and how effective are they?

The reasons I'm asking:

1. We get snow in winter, but since I'm in the mountains, crews are out almost immediately with salt and sand. This means I'm getting a rather messy wet mixture spraying up my back. On days when the roads are dry, I'm fine, but when we've had snow, I'll quickly end up soaked from the spray.

2. Because of the same salt and sand conditions and because of what they can do to a bike drivetrain, my good bike takes a break in the winter and I'm on a rather primitive beater. If I could minimize the salt and sand damage to the drivetrain, I'd consider keeping the good bike on the road year-round.

My concern is whether the snow and road elements will clog up the fenders of the bike.

I'm interested in hearing what works for you.
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Old 12-21-10, 07:15 PM   #2
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SKS Chromoplastic fenders. They work well, though you'll still get gunk in the drivetrain. There's no avoiding that entirely. I'm also running without the front fender at the moment, since my studded tires don't fit with it on.

I wouldn't want to ride a beater in the winter. The disc brakes and dynamo lights are too useful, and once you put those on a "beater", it's not much of a beater anymore.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:51 PM   #3
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I personally don't have fenders on my winter commuter, but its only because I don't have enough room with studded tires mounted. If you can fit fenders on, I would highly recommend it. Like the previous poster stated, it won't get rid of all gunk in your drivetrain, but it will definitely cut back on it. It will also take away spray not only getting on you, but also seat bag, lights, bottle cages, and more importantly sprayed on and in the frame itself through openings that are often at the seat and/or chain stay bridges. Salt and snow terrorizes bike parts and frames, so any way you can keep it off is highly reccomended for longevity.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:57 PM   #4
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Yes fenders. Absolutely. Without them I'd be a slushy snowy wet mess.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:58 PM   #5
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I have Freddie fenders on two bikes, including my winter bike, and I found some nice steel fenders for my old Fuji road bike. Fenders in winter save a ton of salt and slush from getting on your clothes, your drive train, your panniers. Absolutely essential IMHO.
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Old 12-21-10, 10:23 PM   #6
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I have SKS P45 fenders on my SOMA Saga. Tires are either 700x32 or 35 Vittoria Randonneur Hypers. I don't ride when there's a lot of snow on the ground, so I can't say whether they'd clog up, etc. I do, however, leave them on year-'round (the fenders, that is).
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Old 12-21-10, 10:55 PM   #7
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if you get fenders, I recommend that you was the inside so that snow will have a hard time collecting on it and icing up.
Also, give the fenders a good amount of clearance from the tires. My rule of thumb is being able to see the light on the other side, through the tire and fender.
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Old 12-22-10, 01:18 AM   #8
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I have the cheapest model of the planet bike fenders and have been happy with them. I made my own extra long mudflap out or stair tread and it makes a big difference in keeping underneath the bottom bracket shell clean. I still get snow and crud on my brake calipers, chain stay and freewheel. Fenders are great but you will always find crud somewhere... most importantly they keep the rider clean.

I have commuted everyday through rainy summers and two snowy winters on this bike. FWIW, this is my rain-beater bike and I don't take my nicer bikes out in the crud.
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Last edited by mkeller234; 12-22-10 at 01:41 PM. Reason: Found better picture of mudflap
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Old 12-22-10, 06:17 AM   #9
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Fenders without question. My two commuting bikes are fendered year 'round, and all four of my bikes get some form of fender through the winter.

Unlike AEO, I run mine pretty close to the tires. I don't like to see any air through the sides.

I guess it depends on the nature of the snow as to whether clogging is a problem or not. For instance, I almost never have cassette clogging problems, but others here report its a major difficulty on every ride. Probably the same for fenders. YMMV, I guess.
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Old 12-22-10, 08:27 AM   #10
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DFF (Definite Fender Fan) here, I had fenders on my bike almost as soon as I bought it.
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Old 12-22-10, 09:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
I'm wondering if anyone uses fenders for winter cycling and if so, what do you use and how effective are they?

The reasons I'm asking:

1. We get snow in winter, but since I'm in the mountains, crews are out almost immediately with salt and sand. This means I'm getting a rather messy wet mixture spraying up my back. On days when the roads are dry, I'm fine, but when we've had snow, I'll quickly end up soaked from the spray.

2. Because of the same salt and sand conditions and because of what they can do to a bike drivetrain, my good bike takes a break in the winter and I'm on a rather primitive beater. If I could minimize the salt and sand damage to the drivetrain, I'd consider keeping the good bike on the road year-round.

My concern is whether the snow and road elements will clog up the fenders of the bike.

I'm interested in hearing what works for you.
From the other side of the fender fence

I hate them. They rattle. They clunk. They make taking wheels off more difficult. They make carrying the bike in your car more difficult. They exacerbate toe/wheel overlap (made even worse when you have to wear shoe covers). The stays snag clothing. They are easy to clog with snow. And they don't provide all that much in the way of protection for the drive train.

I use them. I consider them to be a necessary evil and use them when I have to but as soon as the weather dries out they come off, but I do use them. But I still hate them

In answer to your questions:

1. Since you live in a snowy area, I'd suggest you use fenders that provide plenty of space between the tire and the fender. Most fenders fit very closely and are meant for dealing with water but not ice and snow. Consider these two bikes




The Salsa's fenders will clog very quickly in snow and water below freezing, as would most road style fendered bikes. The fenders offer really good coverage but if you have to carry the bike because the wheels are jammed, coverage doesn't mean squat.

The Specialized uses a cobbled together fender which includes an SKS Switchblade on the fork and a clip-on fender on the rear. The rear fender has had another fender bit grafted onto it to provide more protection around the bottom bracket area. The whole rear fender is routed over the rear brake to provide more room between the wheel and the fender. I run full 2.1" aggressive knobbies on the bike with these fenders and wouldn't have a problem with running studs if I had a need for them (which I don't)

One thing not shown in the picture is a splash guard that I mount on the downtube to further protect the drivetrain below front fender.

2. Fenders do more to keep the rider dry than they do to keep the drivetrain dry. The bottom bracket, the rear derailer and the chain are all in the line of fire when it comes to gunk off the rear wheel. Unless you were to make a fender that enclosed the wheel from the seat stay to the chain stay, you are going to fling crap into that area. It just happens. Just wash the bike's drivetrain...with water...frequently when riding in salt season...aka winter Lubricate accordingly.

Finally, keep the nice bike for nice days. Build a good foul weather bike...life is too short to ride crappy bikes...for winter.
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Old 12-22-10, 09:42 AM   #12
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Fenders are a must have for me, i must make sure i have plenty of clearance, i just run the as far away from the tire as i can get it, as said above the home made mud skirts are a great idea, and i alter the stay area on the front the combo of a 2.2" tire with studs makes me nervous on a 60mm wide fender, i havent had any issues with them clogging with snow.
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Old 12-22-10, 10:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
I'm wondering if anyone uses fenders for winter cycling and if so, what do you use and how effective are they?

The reasons I'm asking:

1. We get snow in winter, but since I'm in the mountains, crews are out almost immediately with salt and sand. This means I'm getting a rather messy wet mixture spraying up my back. On days when the roads are dry, I'm fine, but when we've had snow, I'll quickly end up soaked from the spray.

2. Because of the same salt and sand conditions and because of what they can do to a bike drivetrain, my good bike takes a break in the winter and I'm on a rather primitive beater. If I could minimize the salt and sand damage to the drivetrain, I'd consider keeping the good bike on the road year-round.

My concern is whether the snow and road elements will clog up the fenders of the bike.

I'm interested in hearing what works for you.
I agree partly with cyccommute. Fenders keep crud off you better than they do the bike. A long front flap helps a lot though. I use them in the winter and have never had a problem with snow clogging them up even without a ton of clearance. YMMV.
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Old 12-22-10, 02:34 PM   #14
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also, if you're getting problems with clogging at the stay bridges and fork crown, where the fender is usually closest to the tire, cut off the sides of the fender a bit at that location. This helps clogs clear, because it can ride over the fender and it doesn't make the spray any worse, because the stays and crown block it.

for polycarbonate, that would be most planet bike fenders, just use a utility knife to gouge a line for the part to be removed, then take a set of side cutters to the edges, to start a sheared point, then take a set of pliers, starting from the sheared point, and bend away from the line cut by the knife. This should give a clean breakage at the line that doesn't require any filing or smoothing.

Polycarbonate snaps quite easily once there is a sharp gouge in it, otherwise it's very difficult to snap into two.
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Old 12-22-10, 04:25 PM   #15
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I use Planet Bike Cascadias on my primary winter commuter. I've never had snow or ice clog up the fenders although we may be talking about different amounts of snow we commute in.

Even though the included mud flaps would probably be adequate, I extended coverage using these mud flaps.

The fenders and mudflaps help keep both myself and my bikes drive train clean. However in the winter you should still do some regular maintenance. I believe tsl likes using wax based lube and he rides in some snowy conditions (not sure what tjspiel uses) I just usually wipe down the chain and drive train after every ride in snowy conditions and lube every now and then. I also wipe down the brakes and rim
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Old 12-24-10, 01:14 PM   #16
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Fenders do help a lot. The front one is the one that keeps some water off your feet and drivetrain. It's just as important as the rear one.

They all work equally well, so get whichever fenders you want, as long as they are full length. A lot of people add flaps to theirs, front and rear, so I assume there is a benefit to it. I haven't tried it. My flap broke off my front. (It came with.) So maybe I'll replace it and try one on the rear, too.

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Old 12-28-10, 03:08 AM   #17
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Fenders do help a lot. The front one is the one that keeps some water off your feet and drivetrain. It's just as important as the rear one.

They all work equally well, so get whichever fenders you want, as long as they are full length. A lot of people add flaps to theirs, front and rear, so I assume there is a benefit to it. I haven't tried it. My flap broke off my front. (It came with.) So maybe I'll replace it and try one on the rear, too.

Tom
A front mudflap helps keep the rider a bit cleaner. A rear mudflap keeps the person behind you a bit cleaner.
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Old 12-28-10, 08:17 AM   #18
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Fenders, definitely yes!
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Old 12-28-10, 10:30 AM   #19
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I use the SKS p45 only because the cheap a%*ed crap that came with my winter bike did break and get all screwed up with ice last year. I've had no problem with the SKS which have a lot of clearance by comparison. This year I added an SKS chainboard chaingaurd and it seems to be keeping the drive train cleaner also.
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Old 12-28-10, 03:33 PM   #20
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I use PB Cascadias; there is plenty of clearance with my 700*35 Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires. Some people hate fenders, but I think anything short of a race bike or FS MTB looks naked without them. This is my second winter commuting by bike and so far I have yet to have anything jam in there that stopped the wheel from spinning. The big ice chunks that build up in the wheel wells of my car don't seem to form under my bike's fenders.

One trick that works very well; coat the inside of the fenders with some Pam or similar cooking spray. It really does help stop the snow and crud from sticking to inside surface of the fenders. I do this to my satellite dish at home so I figured it would work for the fenders too and whaddya know... it works!


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Old 12-28-10, 04:31 PM   #21
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Fenders were one first upgrades when I started commuting seriously. I have Planet Bike Freddy Hardcore on my commuter. And my belief is that fenders are not just for rainy, wet days... if you know what I mean.
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Old 12-28-10, 10:01 PM   #22
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Nice bike, irclean. I like the Pam tip. I imagine you have to re-apply it occasionally.

I jammed a snow blower today. I wonder if Pam on the auger blades might have helped.
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Old 12-28-10, 11:48 PM   #23
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Nice bike, irclean. I like the Pam tip. I imagine you have to re-apply it occasionally.

I jammed a snow blower today. I wonder if Pam on the auger blades might have helped.
Thanks... best bike I've ever owned, by far. So far the belt drive/IGH setup is proving its worth for winter commuting.

I only apply The Pam once per year; when the mercury drops below freezing and the studded tires go on. I'll have to try it on my snowblower too - good thinking!
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Old 12-28-10, 11:55 PM   #24
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If you have the right fenders they will protect you, protect your drive train, and keep the grease in your headset from getting washed out.

Many fenders do not provide adequate coverage for the drivetrain, PB Cascadias do.
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Old 12-29-10, 12:17 AM   #25
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Why are you still reading this thread? Go install those fenders already!
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