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How bad are fenders really?

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How bad are fenders really?

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Old 12-28-04, 10:00 AM
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Paul L.
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How bad are fenders really?

Ok, want to get some feedback on fenders here. Living in the desert I am a little self concious about putting fenders on a bike that has carbon forks and looks like a racebike sort of. I commute daily (100 to 150 miles a week) and find getting completely soaked annoying. However, we don't get rain more than once a week here even in a good week (except during monsoon season). Do fenders create enough drag as to make it not worth it? i know many of the "Aero" and weight things roadies do only buys them a few minutes on a ride of a 100 miles so are fenders one of those things that really don't hurt enough to worry about (if you are not racing) but are hugely handy when you need them (just have a bad rap as no racers use them)? I am getting into Randonneuring and it looks like fenders are the thing among that crowd due to the need to be prepared as opposed to the need to be first. Anyway, just looking for some validation here I guess.

Incidentally I understand that if you ride with a group that refuses to ride in the rain and rarely rides more than a few hours fenders are not necessary, that is not how I ride. My bike is a useful tool to me as much as it is a source of transportation so I guess I just answered my own question but I would still be interested in others opinions.
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Old 12-28-04, 10:08 AM
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Properly installed fenders have nothing but advantages. Keeps you dry. Reduces the amount of water and mud on the chain, crank, and cassette to some extent. But, not every bike has enough brake clearance to install fenders. If you do not have enough brake clearance, putting a rack over the rear tire will at least reduce the amount of water on your back. And, there are "rain guards" that can be fastened to the bottom tube of your frame.

Fenders have always been "out" of fashion in the USA, and very popular in the UK. In the UK, the fashion is to look like a competent cyclist. In the USA, the fashion is to pretend to be Lance Armstrong (and Lance don't use no stinkin' fenders. Most guys in my neighborhood will not ride to Starbucks unless they have on the full "Be like Lance" outfit from head to toe. And, I don't see those guys much on rainy days. Might get their yellow jerseys muddy.
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Old 12-28-04, 10:16 AM
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I can't imagine how fenders would create any noticable drag, as they are typically only slightly wider than the tires themselves. Personally, I wouldn't want any bike that lacked fenders -- they do a lot of good.

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Old 12-28-04, 10:23 AM
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Some consider them offenders.
Some consider them off enders.
Some consider them affendi
Some consider them a frienders.

Planet Bike has light weight plastic ones with mud flaps.

Last edited by scottogo; 12-29-04 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 12-28-04, 10:24 AM
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I think you did answer your own question, you are not racing but getting from one point to another. If you are in the rain to ride, maybe you don't need them, but if you are in the rain to go somewhere they are great. I can't recommend highly enough getting freddy full coverage fenders by planet bike. Even though it does seem strange that you would need them in desert, if it rains, it will make your commute all the easier. The freddy's sometimes go on easy and sometimes need tinkering, but having the fender reach down to the BB, that is alot of water/grit not on your feet and in your drivetrain. Tell us what you decide to do about it.
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Old 12-28-04, 10:32 AM
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I have these and they work great. The only issue is that they take several minutes to install/remove, but I just keep mine on all the time. The other option would be something like this . They're easier to mount/remove, but are a bit more money. I've also heard they don't provide the coverage of the Freddy Fenders. The advantage, though, is that you can install or remove them based on the needs of the day.
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Old 12-28-04, 10:46 AM
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if you're looking for fenders that fit ALL road bikes and are quick on/off check out SKS RACEBLADES. little pricey at $50, but the coverage they offer and ease of installation/removal is worth it.
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Old 12-28-04, 10:47 AM
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I live in San Diego county, and have fenders on my Surly LHT. Wouldn't go with out them. They keep the bike way cleaner when it rains. I prefer the SKS ones over the Planet Bike. They're a little longer and IMHO better made.

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Old 12-28-04, 10:58 AM
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I have already installed Zefal Road fenders (which I had to alter to fit through the front fork but I am not above modifiying or making my own product if I can save a little cash). I have a little tweaking left to do but so far they seem to be working great and haven't increased noticeably any drag. I am looking forward to testing them in a good rain tomorrow morning. I have never used full fenders and hope they help a lot. I mostly posted because I was having second thoughts but won't now. Just have to remember most roadies use bicycles as fairweather friends and will offer the opinion of someone who rides like that.

I have noticed that I do need to be a little more careful about leaning my bike against things and how I put it in the car with the fenders now but so far that is the only negative (other than fashion I guess which I shouldn't care about as I ride alone more often than not).
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Old 12-28-04, 11:09 AM
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In So California it doesn't rain much, but I realized I needed fenders when they had the sprinklers on and I ruined my supposedly stain-resistent Docker pants on the way to work unable to avoid the puddles and spray.

I also ride recumbent and any little bit of water makes a stripe right up my back through the mesh seat. Planet bike has plastic ones that fit any sized wheel. The only thing I don't like about them is they are shiny. I think flat black looks best. I don't notice any difference in perception of speed, but I'm not hugely fast. I do find it easier to hit the front wheel with my foot at very low speeds on sharp turns, which can also be a problem on racing bikes.
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Old 12-28-04, 11:19 AM
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There will be more times you wish you had fenders than wishing you didn't.
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Old 12-28-04, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
In So California it doesn't rain much, but I realized I needed fenders when they had the sprinklers on and I ruined my supposedly stain-resistent Docker pants on the way to work unable to avoid the puddles and spray.

I also ride recumbent and any little bit of water makes a stripe right up my back through the mesh seat. Planet bike has plastic ones that fit any sized wheel. The only thing I don't like about them is they are shiny. I think flat black looks best. I don't notice any difference in perception of speed, but I'm not hugely fast. I do find it easier to hit the front wheel with my foot at very low speeds on sharp turns, which can also be a problem on racing bikes.

Quick fix for shiny fenders... Go to walmart/kmart or any hardware store that sells spray paint. Buy a can of flat black, and spray fenders. Problem solved. No more shine.
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Old 12-28-04, 11:51 AM
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The more you ride your bike without self-concious wanna-be racers, the more your perspective of what is cool will change. If you want to stay dry on your backside, you will need to have fenders. Fenders look pretty snazzy to me, but then again, I'm a reformed ex-racer who saw her evil ways.
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Old 12-28-04, 12:05 PM
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SKS fender that attaches to seatpost; put it on only when you need it. Works on any type of bike; great design. I also have the SKS dirtboard downtube fender, which I have not used yet.
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Old 12-28-04, 09:31 PM
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I ride fendered most of the time. But, I have ridden to work enough without to tell you how much they will affect you, speed wise (on a dry day). I have a 5 mile descent which with fenders I max out at 42 mph, without the fenders (same bike) I can hit 44 mph. The numbers have stayed the same for 5 years. I've used almost every brand of fender and I like to take mine off from time to time (cleaning bike or fast group ride in dry weather). The Planet Bike Freddy Fenders are the only ones I can remove and put back on without a session of readjustment. The only disadvantages of fenders are: 1) loading bike into backseat of car 2) an obvious, but small amount of drag above 30 miles an hour 3) making your fenderless riding buddies jealous when riding in the wet.
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Old 12-29-04, 03:34 AM
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I once removed the fenders from my everyday bike during a 6 week drought (yes we do have them in the UK). I did notice a reduction in drag but not enough to put up with the discomfort and dirt of riding fenderless on wet roads.
In the UK, most serious racers have a winter training bike fitted with fenders. Even when its not raining, the road is often wet or muddy.
If your bike can take them, the full length SKS ones are good. they have a safety release at the front which does work.
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Old 12-29-04, 04:34 AM
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The big wet streak of dieselmudhorrorfilth up my back and down my arse tells me mudguards are good. Screw fashion - if they make your ride a happier place, do it. SKS RaceBlades (or clones) for easy on/off.
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Old 12-29-04, 11:18 AM
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Nice wet morning. First ride in rain where my socks stayed white, feet dry, and my nice epic fiber jacket actually worked like it was supposed to (think it gets over killed without the fenders). Anyway, Love my fenders. Thanks for all the input! Now to get them adjusted so my slightly out of round tires don't rub occasionally! I don't do a lot of riding over 30 so I won't worry about the drag.
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Old 12-29-04, 12:12 PM
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There's nothing at all bad about fenders. I think they should be standard equipment on all bikes except those who buy bikes to impress others, and then only if the others don't know what they're talking about either; anyone who does will think it funny to NOT have fenders.

The bike is for you to ride, not for others to look at. Even then, fenders don't look as silly as having mud all over yourself at a stop.

The people who look down at fenders must not ride in the rain.

Put on mudflaps at least on the front too. The combo is UNBELEIVABLY effective, you'll be surprised how much different.

Yeah, I'm running 700c x 35 Nokian studdeds, the fenders BARELY miss them, that can be tough. Have fun!
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Old 12-29-04, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by andygates
Screw fashion.
My '80s touring/'cross bike looks incredibly good with its black Planet Bike fenders, 700c knobbies, big alu Redline BMX pedals and bmx chainring. And I look really good on it in my plaid knickers and orange windbreaker. Make your own fashion, and never apologize.
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Old 12-29-04, 01:11 PM
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If you are going to include aerodynamic drag in your calculation, also consider the friction drag you get from having gunk in your drive train. Fenders won't keep your drive train spotless, but it will be a lot cleaner than if you ride naked.

I can't imagine that fenders create much drag, especially if you are not riding at speeds of 40+ mph.
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Old 12-29-04, 01:54 PM
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Until I added a Trek (fenderless) mtn. bike last Spring to my fleet, I commuted on a 3-speed bike with fenders. I bought the mtn. bike because I wanted to try the new technology and because commuting bikes are not available here in the USA. I am now giving the Trek it's annual, more complete maintenance and can see the extra road grime on the drive train with-out fenders. I am now installing fenders on the mtn. bike and will try to give an up-date after commuting on it for a while and comparing the condition of the drive train.
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Old 12-29-04, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jfz
I bought the mtn. bike because I wanted to try the new technology and because commuting bikes are not available here in the USA.
Commuting bikes are not available in the USA? Try again.

Any bike is a commuting bike, you just have to commute on it!

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Old 12-29-04, 03:14 PM
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a bike that you commute on is a commuting bike. am I missing something here?
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Old 12-29-04, 03:30 PM
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Hi,
bikes designed for commuting are unsual here, common elsewhere. Here is an example of a bike intended for puttering around a city. Such bikes often come with fenders and rack, the fancier models come with lights. I kinda like the mudguard.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/koga/index.html
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