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Fenders work, but how to quantify?

Old 01-24-13, 09:26 AM
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Fenders work, but how to quantify?

I know fenders work, but I was thinking of skipping them even though I plan to commute in the rain. I figure I'd be soaked after a 30 mile (1 way) commute anyway. Will it really be night and day having fenders for the commute? Silly question?
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Old 01-24-13, 09:37 AM
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You'll be as wet with or without the fenders for sure but with the fender you'll be cleaner. The fender is mainly to protect you from the dirt and everything else there is on the road and that your wheel will project onto you.
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Old 01-24-13, 09:40 AM
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Fenders will keep you from getting filthy. You might not even get wet if you dress properly. Fenders will continue to work to keep you clean even if it has stopped raining and the road is wet or muddy. Fenders will reduce gunk on your bike frame, and protect your seatpost junction from getting wet and cruddy, which is particularly nice if the relief cut faces rearward. They also keep pannier and seat bags from getting all dirty.

One thing to look for is sufficient front wheel coverage at the back end of the fender, which keeps your feet clean and dry. Some fenders are long enough, some have integrated mud flaps, others need to be user modded to get the coverage, but do get the coverage. Sopping, filthy shoes are gauche.

In short, unless you're pure sport, or live in an area where it never rains, fenders are de rigueur.
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Old 01-24-13, 09:46 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I wasn't thinking grime, just rain. I know what I have to do.

Now to find some good, yet economical fenders for a Trek 7.2 running 35 width tires.

Thanks again
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Old 01-24-13, 09:55 AM
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Keeps the drivetrain/ brakes cleaner too. Try planet bike cascadias, I've got them on my crosscheck. It is also nicer to pedal behind a bike with fenders too. All the wetness on the ground is not always water
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Old 01-24-13, 09:55 AM
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Planet Bike's Cascadia 2 hybrid fenders should do the trick. And yes they will make a huge difference in how clean you and your bike stay. They will not, however, keep your feet dry - get some shoe covers for that if you are going through a lot of muck/puddles etc.
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Old 01-24-13, 10:13 AM
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Definitely it's the grime they help with. No skunk stripe up your back, no crud on your backpack, cleaner feet and drivetrain. Yeah, you'll still get wet if it's raining but a lot of times the road's wet and sloppy for a long time after it's done raining and the riding is good.
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Old 01-24-13, 10:18 AM
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Many folks worry about skunk stripe. I'm concerned with what comes off the front tire into my face.

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Old 01-24-13, 11:23 AM
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I use the Planet Bike Cascadia ATB fenders. There have been a number of times where I rode home after a downpour, and got home dry (aside from the sweat). Even when it's raining out, the fenders do a great job of keeping me drier... it really has to be coming down in buckets to not notice the fenders doing their job. You don't get that spray in your face anymore either, which is unpleasant enough without thinking about what's actually being sprayed up from the road. I've ridden many miles without fenders, and I'll never take them off my commuter. Bonus is they keep the bike cleaner, too, much less grit on the drivetrain I've noticed.
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Old 01-24-13, 11:41 AM
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Yeah, after riding in hard rain once without fenders, and then riding in it again with fenders, I'd rather keep the fenders. Less water shooting up into my face, onto my drivetrain, and all over my bike. It's really annoying trying to get water out of a frame and fork without the fenders, too. All my current (and future) bikes have/will have fenders on except for maybe the 100% off-road mountain bikes. They're that useful for me.
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Old 01-24-13, 11:51 AM
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You guys are crazy.

Fenders definitely keep you drier, particularly your feet.
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Old 01-24-13, 11:54 AM
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Thanks all.

Those Planet Bike Cascadia fenders look sweet. I do have a Trek/Bike Shop gift card so I will also check out the Bontragers carried at my LBS.
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Old 01-24-13, 12:01 PM
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I have SKS Chromoplastic fenders (I added a mud flap to the front one to extend the coverage) and I like 'em a lot. As Tsl pointed out, everything wet on the road is not necessrily rain.
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Old 01-24-13, 12:14 PM
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Yeah. I prefer SKS for that reason. The Cascadia and Longboard mudflaps are pretty long, but in most cases the mudflaps that come on fenders are not long enough. Better to get sturdy fenders and install your own.
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Old 01-24-13, 12:42 PM
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Fenders keep you cleaner and at least your feet dryer.

They also keep parts of your bike cleaner but I'm fairly convinced that they make life tougher for canti-brakes. Stuff gets sprayed/dripped down on them that otherwise wouldn't.

It's a mixed bag for the drive train. A good long front mud flap prevents grit, salt, and water from being tossed backward onto parts of your bike that are best kept clean. A full rear fender helps prevent your front derailleur from getting sprayed. On the other hand, a rear fender causes some water, etc to be directed down on to the drive train that would have other wise been thrown clear (or onto your back).

All in all in all fenders are a plus for wet weather but the salt from winter riding has been tough on my canti equipped bikes and I think that's been made worse by having fenders.
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Old 01-24-13, 12:49 PM
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I have been performing scientific experiments of this nature for the better part of a decade and collecting data from bicycles that have spent their working life being fendered and on those that have gone without.

The fendered bikes have less corrosion, less drive train wear, and the headset bearings are better preserved and require less overhauling.
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Old 01-24-13, 12:54 PM
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This is the second winter for my Norco which is a dedicated winter bike, the frame was NOS when I built it up and I washed it in the spring and stored it and there was very little cleaning I had to do..

The drivetrain has over 8000 km on it and was run on my previous winter bike and the chain still shows no wear because it stays very clean... it might get some snow and water on it but the front mud flap keeps the wheel from throwing sand and grit into the chain and all over the bike.

Bottom brackets are spots where crud collects when you do not have a full rear fender and have seen many fenderless bikes with massive amounts of corrosion in this area... with a proper fender this does not happen.

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Old 01-24-13, 01:07 PM
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It's easy to quantify. I use a scatter chart to measure the effects of not using fenders.

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Old 01-24-13, 01:16 PM
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Weigh your clothes before and after.. weighing the grit and dirt deposited or not, is more difficult
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Old 01-24-13, 05:50 PM
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On wet pavement, when it's not raining, fenders make the difference between getting wet and not getting wet.

In light rain on a long ride, they make the difference between getting slightly wet and getting very wet.

In heavy rain on a short ride, they keep about one-third to two-thirds of the water off you.

In heavy rain on a long ride, you'll get soaked no matter what.

So overall, fenders are an excellent thing.

Brand DOES NOT MATTER. All reports I see of fenders are good. Just get them as long as possible. Get extra long fenders if you can.

The rear fender keeps your back dry. The front fender keeps your feet dry.

And as others point it, fenders are good for your bike's health, not just your body's.
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Old 01-24-13, 05:55 PM
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Just make sure to get proper full-coverage fenders, not raceblades or those beaver tail things that I see the fixie kids using. Use p-clips and zipties if you don't have fender bosses.
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Old 01-24-13, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by marqueemoon
You guys are crazy.

Fenders definitely keep you drier, particularly your feet.
My experience as well. In a downpour, they don't make a difference in terms of wetness, but if its a light-er rain, then they make a huge difference for me in terms of dryness. The steady stream of water from the road will soak you way faster than a light rain.
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Old 01-24-13, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DocsDad
I know fenders work, but I was thinking of skipping them even though I plan to commute in the rain. I figure I'd be soaked after a 30 mile (1 way) commute anyway. Will it really be night and day having fenders for the commute? Silly question?
There are two big difference between road water and rain.

1. Road water is _dirty_ and gross.
2. Road water comes up off the back wheel.

A rear fender will keep it off your back and out of your ass crack/chamois - while the tail on your rain jacket does a fine job of keeping water off coming down from the sky, it doesn't work as well for water coming up from the wheel.

A long front fender keeps it off your shoe covers or out of your shoes if you neglected to don shoe covers before the storm.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 01-25-13 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 01-24-13, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
It's easy to quantify. I use a scatter chart to measure the effects of not using fenders.

I hope I know the source of that stripe.
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Old 01-24-13, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
On wet pavement, when it's not raining, fenders make the difference between getting wet and not getting wet.

In light rain on a long ride, they make the difference between getting slightly wet and getting very wet.

In heavy rain on a short ride, they keep about one-third to two-thirds of the water off you.

In heavy rain on a long ride, you'll get soaked no matter what.

So overall, fenders are an excellent thing.

Brand DOES NOT MATTER. All reports I see of fenders are good. Just get them as long as possible. Get extra long fenders if you can.

The rear fender keeps your back dry. The front fender keeps your feet dry.

And as others point it, fenders are good for your bike's health, not just your body's.
this.

i'm running SKS Longboards and they've made riding in light to moderate rain a joy.
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