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PDW Metal Fenders - What's the noise consensus?

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PDW Metal Fenders - What's the noise consensus?

Old 01-08-22, 11:26 AM
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polymorphself 
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PDW Metal Fenders - What's the noise consensus?

I've been looking at trying a set of the PDW Full Metal Fenders as an alternative to the usual fender suspects, for no other reason than just because. They look nice and aren't too pricy, but I can't find anything talking about noise. I'm pretty good at mounting fenders at this point and getting them to stay quiet, but still curious on experiences.

Pictures are a bonus. Thanks!
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Old 01-08-22, 11:34 AM
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Pretty sure noisy fenders are the result of the installation rather than the fender. Since the full name of the company is Portland Design Works, they can't be bad.

But my go to fenders are from Velo Orange. They're 2/3 the price of PDW, and I've installed them on maybe 20 bikes with no issues.
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Old 01-08-22, 11:52 AM
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Is the noise because they're rattling or because when metal fenders pick up gravel and other debris, it's fairly loud? The former can be fixed; the latter, not so much.
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Old 01-08-22, 11:54 AM
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I have some on my city bike, close to a year now, and haven’t noticed any issues.

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Old 01-08-22, 12:10 PM
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I can't speak to that brand but the metal VO ones paired with the soft cushy tires on my old S12-s were a much noisier combination than any other fender setup I've run. Mostly plastic fenders on my winter/rain bikes, be it CX bikes or MB. Each little pebble made a zzzziiipppppiiiiinnnnnggggg noise as it passed around there fenders.

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Old 01-08-22, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Each little pebble made a zzzziiipppppiiiiinnnnnggggg noise as it passed around there fenders.
I have several bikes with fenders, with varying radial clearance. I've found that the less clearance between tire and fender, the more often I get that zzzziiipppppiiiiinnnnnggggg noise (perfectly described, btw!) Those pebbles are bouncing back and forth between the tire and fender. My gravel bike has 30mm of clearance, and even though it (obviously) goes on gravel often, I hardly ever get that sound.

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Old 01-08-22, 01:29 PM
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I have installed and repaired fenders similar to the PDWs. They were always a little harder to keep quiet. This is due to the way the stays are attached to the fenders.

The PDWs have a metal plate holding the stay to the fender, as you can see in this picture:

The plate deforms over time and works loose. Then the fender starts rattling against the stay. You can take it apart and bend the plate to fix it, but it'll come back. An advantage is that it's light weight and easy to install and has less toe-overlap on the front.

VO use daruma bolts AKA eye bolts, and leather washers for cushioning, like this:


This is the more traditional way of mounting a fender and does a better job of stopping noise. My Jack Taylor and my René Herse have fenders (even sans leather washers) installed many decades ago before I took them off for restoration/repair/cleaning, and they did not rattle. It is a little heavier, but it is a robust system.

Personally, I would not recommend the PDW fenders. But that is just my analysis. Generally when I install VO or other fenders, I manually rivet or weld reinforcement plates onto the weak areas as well, just to give you an idea of my level of fender snobbery. I fully acknowledge that I'm crazy, but I've seen a lot of fenders and made a lot of mistakes (ask me about galvanic corrosion!!). I know a lot of the fenders out there could have been done better.

If you want lightweight and less toe-overlap and value the "emergency break-away" front fender feature to save you by disconnecting the stays if the fender locks your front wheel, I recommend Gilles Berthoud stays and clamps. You can use them with VO fenders or with Berthoud stainless fenders. I have bought them separately for bikes with toe-overlap and for weight-conscious builds.
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Old 01-08-22, 01:41 PM
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Everybody that passes me with PDW fenders, and everyone does, rattles. I found a set at an estate sale for $3, and have installed them on 2 different bikes with okay results, but I don’t think I’d buy them new.



One noise-cancelling mod I made was to order a set of fender hardware from Handsome Cycles (I think their fenders are called Mud Butlers), and use a few of the parts, like the coated seatstay yoke. These are pretty quiet now.

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Old 01-08-22, 02:41 PM
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As in the hardware above, leather washers for all the connection points that you can use them on. My old AMF Hercules had some creaky old fenders but leather washers at the mount points took care of that issue nicely.
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Old 01-08-22, 04:20 PM
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I can't explain it, and I won't defend it, but every set of brand new VO aluminum fenders I've installed started out noisy making the zzzziiipppppiiiiinnnnnggggg! sound and it gradually went away over time. Of course, of all possible irritating noises on a bike, I'll take the fender noise over ANY kind of creaking.
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Old 01-08-22, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for the insight all. I’ve installed plenty of VO fenders before and have gotten pretty good at it and utilize the tricks for keeping noise to a minimum. Was just curious about the PDW fenders as something new to try, not because I have any real issues with VO fenders.
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Old 01-08-22, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by JacobLee View Post
One noise-cancelling mod I made was to order a set of fender hardware from Handsome Cycles (I think their fenders are called Mud Butlers), and use a few of the parts, like the coated seatstay yoke. These are pretty quiet now.

Thanks, those cork dampers just gave me an idea: cut out some washers from left-over pieces of Cinelli bar wrap. I have a queue of fenders that need installing. I prefer the Berthoud stainless fenders: https://www.benscycle.com/gilles-ber...p?skuId=651810
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Old 01-08-22, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Is the noise because they're rattling or because when metal fenders pick up gravel and other debris, it's fairly loud? The former can be fixed; the latter, not so much.
The latter has never bothered me much, but an idea comes to mind: a layer of electrical tape or something else rubbery on the inside of the fender. It could help not just by cushioning the impact of individual rocks, but deadening the resonance of the whole fender.
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Old 01-08-22, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
The latter has never bothered me much, but an idea comes to mind: a layer of electrical tape or something else rubbery on the inside of the fender. It could help not just by cushioning the impact of individual rocks, but deadening the resonance of the whole fender.
Thats never bothered me either, but that is a good idea. I use strips of old tubes under the fender bracket on the inside, but running one along the whole fender isn’t a terrible idea for people who want to quiet debris.
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Old 01-12-22, 03:45 PM
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Just going to add that tire choice makes a difference too. I get a lot more fender noise with Pasela's than I do with Gatorskins. The more complex tread of the Pasela tosses more debris into the fender. This lessens somewhat with more mileage on the tire.
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Old 01-12-22, 04:09 PM
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Can any of these non-PDW fenders be adapted to use break away stay attachments? The idea of a front fender getting wadded up and not letting go of the lower fork braze-ons gives me the willies. Maybe unfounded, but it's one of the reasons I haven't pulled the trigger on a set of VO or similar fenders.
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