Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Downsides to fenders

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Downsides to fenders

Reply

Old 02-01-12, 12:02 PM
  #1  
tarwheel 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,905

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 191 Post(s)
Downsides to fenders

I love my fenders but they sure make it harder to fix and prevent flats. I heard a familiar thump riding thru downtown this morning and figured my rear tire had picked up something. Pulled over to check the tire but couldn't see anything due to the fender. A few blocks later my tire went flat. Fortunately I was at my office by then.

The tire had 3000+ miles and was in bad shape with lots of cuts and imbedded glass, including a large shard that caused the flat. I'll scrap it when I get home, pleased to get that kind of mileage from a Michelin ProRace.

My question is: has anyone figured out an easy way to check tire wear on your fendered bikes? I check the tread on my bikes without fenders almost every time I ride them but haven't found a simple way for my commuters.
tarwheel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 12:11 PM
  #2  
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 11,889

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 257 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1659 Post(s)
I generally only examine the rear tire when I have it on the workstand or the trunk rack for just the reasons you point out. If you hear the click-of-impending-air-loss, you could always flip the bike over and/or stick a finger between the tire and fender and spin it slowly. Yes, it's probably a good way to cut your finger. I don't know if I've ever sucessfully prevented a flat in that situation anyway. My tires don't typically have a thick enough tread to hold onto stuff without also flatting.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 12:17 PM
  #3  
Doohickie 
You gonna eat that?
 
Doohickie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
Posts: 14,677

Bikes: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 139 Post(s)
You mean you can't see enough tread when you air up your tires to assess the general state of the tire?


Really?
__________________
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.


Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
Doohickie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 12:29 PM
  #4  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,358
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1124 Post(s)
Most bikes will stand up if you flip them over and rest on saddle and handlebars. You might get minor scuffing on parts, but that helps as a theft deterrent.
alan s is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 12:32 PM
  #5  
tarwheel 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,905

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 191 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
You mean you can't see enough tread when you air up your tires to assess the general state of the tire?Really?
On my bikes without fenders, I can lift the rear end, spin the wheel and quickly notice if there are any exposed threads, bad cuts and general wear. On my commuter bikes, the fenders cover so much of the tire that you can't see the tread without turning the bike upside down -- which is kind of hard to do without damaging the computer on my handlebar. I've got a bike stand, but the clamp is broken so I can't use that.
tarwheel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 12:38 PM
  #6  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,358
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1124 Post(s)
You can move the computer somewhere that will not inferfere with flipping the bike, and most now have a QR that makes removal a 2 second process.
alan s is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 12:42 PM
  #7  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 38,858

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 154 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5991 Post(s)
you were not bothering to lift the rear wheel and check its entire circumference?
D'oh
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 12:52 PM
  #8  
Puget Pounder
Wookie Jesus inspires me.
 
Puget Pounder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,225
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I doubt your fender is dragging on the ground behind you. You don't have to flip the bike over... you can kneel by the bike and look at the tire. This seems like a non-issue.
Puget Pounder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 01:04 PM
  #9  
jeffpoulin 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,288
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
I do a cursory check of my tires whenever I have my bike on the workstand. Every month or two, I'll take the wheel off to put it on the truing stand and check alignment and spoke tension, so that's when I do a thorough check. Plus, in the fall and spring, I take the tires off to swap from summer to winter tires, and vise-versa, and I check then too.
jeffpoulin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 01:28 PM
  #10  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,828

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
I doubt your fender is dragging on the ground behind you. You don't have to flip the bike over... you can kneel by the bike and look at the tire. This seems like a non-issue.
+1
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 01:38 PM
  #11  
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 11,889

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 257 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1659 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
I doubt your fender is dragging on the ground behind you. You don't have to flip the bike over... you can kneel by the bike and look at the tire. This seems like a non-issue.
-1

If you've got a good mud flap on your rear fender, you've got maybe 5-10 inches visible at any given time if you're right down there at ground level (presumably with your bike leaning against something if you don't have a kickstand). I'll grant that it's possible to inspect the entire tire this way, but I would claim that it is prohibitively inconvenient. I'm all for inspecting tires regularly, but I'm against laying down on the ground when I can avoid it.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 01:58 PM
  #12  
Cassave
Senior Member
 
Cassave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Woodland Hills, Calif.
Posts: 1,655
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Mount a tiresaver (thorn puller) under the fender. It's easy to do at the front end of the fender (behind the bottom bracket).
Cassave is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 05:27 PM
  #13  
locolobo13 
Senior Member
 
locolobo13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Phx, AZ
Posts: 1,622

Bikes: Trek Mtn Bike

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 124 Post(s)
I gave up fenders as a kid. We were riding thru a muddy lot. My bike had fenders, my friends bike did not. He was able to ride thru. I got hopelessly mired and had to get off and push. Ever since then I've no use for fenders. Let flinging mud land where it will.
locolobo13 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 05:34 PM
  #14  
Puget Pounder
Wookie Jesus inspires me.
 
Puget Pounder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,225
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
-1

If you've got a good mud flap on your rear fender, you've got maybe 5-10 inches visible at any given time if you're right down there at ground level (presumably with your bike leaning against something if you don't have a kickstand). I'll grant that it's possible to inspect the entire tire this way, but I would claim that it is prohibitively inconvenient. I'm all for inspecting tires regularly, but I'm against laying down on the ground when I can avoid it.
Yes, I have about 6 inches and I don't have to flatten out on the ground to do this. If this is really that inconvenient, take off your fender. I'd rather stay dry. That's like complaining that a helmet makes your head too sweaty. Be glad to get the greater benefit.
Puget Pounder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 05:41 PM
  #15  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 18,287
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6639 Post(s)
I don't like kneeling outside when it's wet. That's a big deal to me. I'll do awkward stuff to avoid it. And fenders are annoying in many ways, like getting in the way when you need to trackstand at a light, or causing toe clip issues if you need to do sharp turns at low speed, like stopping at the store. Those aren't such big deals, because you eventually get used to these extra things being there.

Now, with that said (and I'll be happy to go on complaining about fenders if anyone wants to listen) I still have a pair on my rain bike. They're very nice to have when you're out riding after the rain has stopped, but when the road is still wet.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 06:00 PM
  #16  
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 11,889

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 257 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1659 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
Yes, I have about 6 inches and I don't have to flatten out on the ground to do this.
I don't know how old you are, but at my age I need really good light to see anything at all. Kneeling might be good enough for me to see a bright yellow thorn in my tire, but without contrast I'm just as likely to find it with the tip of my nose on a typical overcast day. I always thought I'd be 70 or so before I started saying things like that, but it turns out it's happening in my early 40's. What can you do? My actual solution is to use good tires and not worry about them very often.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 06:15 PM
  #17  
Puget Pounder
Wookie Jesus inspires me.
 
Puget Pounder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,225
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I don't know how old you are, but at my age I need really good light to see anything at all. Kneeling might be good enough for me to see a bright yellow thorn in my tire, but without contrast I'm just as likely to find it with the tip of my nose on a typical overcast day. I always thought I'd be 70 or so before I started saying things like that, but it turns out it's happening in my early 40's. What can you do? My actual solution is to use good tires and not worry about them very often.
That is actually a pretty good point. Have not thought about it.

That said, my tire checks are usually done at home and rarely done while I am out.
Puget Pounder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 07:00 PM
  #18  
no1mad 
Thunder Whisperer
 
no1mad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NE OK
Posts: 8,864

Bikes: '06 Kona Smoke

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 270 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I don't like kneeling outside when it's wet. That's a big deal to me. I'll do awkward stuff to avoid it. And fenders are annoying in many ways, like getting in the way when you need to trackstand at a light, or causing toe clip issues if you need to do sharp turns at low speed, like stopping at the store. Those aren't such big deals, because you eventually get used to these extra things being there.

Now, with that said (and I'll be happy to go on complaining about fenders if anyone wants to listen) I still have a pair on my rain bike. They're very nice to have when you're out riding after the rain has stopped, but when the road is still wet.
I took my fenders off for a variety of reasons, though they both didn't come off at the same time. The front was the first to go because a) when the wind was right, it produced a whistling sound, and b) one of the fender stays had (blood)lustful relations with my left leg

My rack has a solid platform and I typically wear a backpack, so that's my skunk stripe mitigation system.
__________________
Community guidelines
no1mad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 08:34 PM
  #19  
DJ Shaun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Posts: 292

Bikes: Diamondback Copperhead (hardtail, winter bike), 2014 Giant Rapid 2, 2015 Kona Big Rove ST

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
I took my fenders off for a variety of reasons, though they both didn't come off at the same time. The front was the first to go because a) when the wind was right, it produced a whistling sound, and b) one of the fender stays had (blood)lustful relations with my left leg

My rack has a solid platform and I typically wear a backpack, so that's my skunk stripe mitigation system.
My rack also has a solid platform and does a good job preventing the skunk stripe. I had a seat post rear fender but it was incompatible with the rack I bought last year so I removed it.

I lost my front fender while riding in traffic. It was attached to my front suspension fork with cable ties. The ties failed and the plastic fender fell off. I was in no position to retrieve it so I just kept going. Spray is only a real issue when speeding down a wet slope. I actually don't mind getting my cycling clothes dirty. Reminds me of my mountain biking days.

Last edited by DJ Shaun; 02-01-12 at 08:36 PM. Reason: typo
DJ Shaun is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 09:25 PM
  #20  
cyclocommuter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: GTA, Canada
Posts: 313
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
On my bikes without fenders, I can lift the rear end, spin the wheel and quickly notice if there are any exposed threads, bad cuts and general wear. On my commuter bikes, the fenders cover so much of the tire that you can't see the tread without turning the bike upside down -- which is kind of hard to do without damaging the computer on my handlebar. I've got a bike stand, but the clamp is broken so I can't use that.
Simple solution to this... look for a styrofoam/foam noodle (like the ones used in pools to keep kids afloat) and rest the handlebars on the noodle when you flip the bike. This will give clearance between the floor and any gadgets you have mounted on the handlebars... computers, lights, gps, etc.
cyclocommuter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 10:25 PM
  #21  
FrenchFit 
The Left Coast, USA
 
FrenchFit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,630

Bikes: Bulls, Bianchi, Koga, Trek, Miyata

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
You asked about downsides: besides tire/wheel maintenance ...dead weight, alignment tweaking, debris catchers, hassle pumping tires, polishing, and the front acting like an air dam over 12mph would be on my list. I've dumped mine on the commuter, just too many negatives.
FrenchFit is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-12, 10:52 PM
  #22  
jeffpoulin 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,288
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Originally Posted by cyclocommuter View Post
Simple solution to this... look for a styrofoam/foam noodle (like the ones used in pools to keep kids afloat) and rest the handlebars on the noodle when you flip the bike. This will give clearance between the floor and any gadgets you have mounted on the handlebars... computers, lights, gps, etc.
That's actually a really good idea! We have some of these in the garage. I think I'll try that next time.
jeffpoulin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-12, 12:01 AM
  #23  
Puget Pounder
Wookie Jesus inspires me.
 
Puget Pounder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,225
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
You asked about downsides: besides tire/wheel maintenance ...dead weight, alignment tweaking, debris catchers, hassle pumping tires, polishing, and the front acting like an air dam over 12mph would be on my list. I've dumped mine on the commuter, just too many negatives.
I agree that alignment can be a pain, but align once and you should never have to again. How is it a hassle pumping up tires with fenders?
Puget Pounder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-12, 12:58 AM
  #24  
mechBgon
Senior Member
 
mechBgon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 6,957
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
I agree that alignment can be a pain, but align once and you should never have to again. How is it a hassle pumping up tires with fenders?
They make it harder to get at the valve stem, of course:






When I've got my road commuter, I usually stick it in the repair stand, top off the tires, and have a quick look for embedded glass before heading for home. And I usually find some, too. I recommend checking for glass frequently with lightweight tires, instead of waiting for it to work its way through the tire.

Regarding the upsides and downsides, one of the benefits is that they intercept some of the dirty road spray from both wheels that would otherwise get on the drivetrain. Cleaner stuff lasts longer and takes somewhat less maintenance. I also like sticking reflective tape to my fenders for better visibility.

Oh, and if the fenders are a bona fide problem with assessing tire condition, grab the bike near its center of gravity (often the seat tube above the front derailleur) and pick it up, rear wheel up. Let the front wheel flop 90 sideways, then gently set the bike down on the side of the bar and the front wheel.

Last edited by mechBgon; 02-02-12 at 01:05 AM.
mechBgon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-12, 01:22 AM
  #25  
Digital_Cowboy
Senior Member
 
Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Tampa/St. Pete, Florida
Posts: 9,318

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock Mountain (Stolen); Giant Seek 2 (Stolen); Diamondback Ascent mid 1980 - 1997

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
You asked about downsides: besides tire/wheel maintenance ...dead weight, alignment tweaking, debris catchers, hassle pumping tires, polishing, and the front acting like an air dam over 12mph would be on my list. I've dumped mine on the commuter, just too many negatives.
You're at least the second person to mention wind or drag as a negative. I have them on my Seek and I have to say that I have no problems getting up to nor maintaining speed with them. I usually and quite easily maintain a speed in the mid to high teens to low to mid 20s. With sprinting on certain roads I can get into the mid to high 20's as well as knocking on the door of 30MPH.

And considering that we're talking (I presume at least) about commuter bikes and NOT bikes being used for racing does the "dead weight" that the represent really make that big of a deal?

One very BIG plus in my opinion for using them is that that puddle in the road may NOT be rain or water. It could very well be urine, human or animal, it could be vomit, or any other assortment of nasty's that one doesn't want spraying on them or their equipment.
Digital_Cowboy is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service