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To Fender or Not to Fender

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To Fender or Not to Fender

Old 03-08-13, 09:42 PM
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I have fenders on most everything I ride, but I am in the Willamette Valley where we occasionally see a funny yellowish, bright object in the sky come July, but we ignore it until the rain starts again in September.

My wife isn't a big fan of fenders, although she has them on her town bikes. On the tandem, we have a fender on the rear, I ride stoker, and nothing on the front. She claims it creates a potential toe-overlap issue, and since front wheel spray doesn't reach me, who am I to complain?
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Old 03-08-13, 10:20 PM
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In Oregon it seems prudent to use fenders. My touring bike and my around town bike have them year around. My commuter bike, a road bike, is a little more of a challenge, but wears fenders from fall to spring. I use snap ties on the road bike because there is no room for clips. My "good" road bike is almost impossible to get fenders on even if I wanted to.

SKS fenders are almost indestructible. I have shipped our touring bikes many times in bike boxes that allowed the fenders to bear all the bike's weight if they were stowed incorrectly in planes, trains, and buses. They came out in really good shape.

While traveling at 15-17 mph my commuter bike's back wheel picked up some debris and jammed my rear wheel, folding my rear fender accordion fashion. It also broke the snap ties I had securing the fender to the rear brake bridge. The SKS fender just popped back into a fair semblance of its former shape when I partially removed the back wheel. My wife had a couple of spare snap ties in her seat bag that got us home. SKS front fenders have a "break away" mount which prevents front wheel lock up if something is picked up and jams the wheel.



What I did not realize until I got home was that the tire had a pretty good gash in it. I was lucky because we hit around 25 mph on a downhill section shortly after the incident.



I don't try for a perfect fender line. I usually try to get maximum clearance without looking too wierd. I also bounce back and forth between 28 mm and 32 mm tires on my touring bike, and I don't want to be adjusting the fenders every time I change tire size. My around town and "go-to" bike is a cyclocross bike which I also change tire size on frequently.


Around town and light touring ride.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-08-13 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 03-09-13, 12:06 AM
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I use fenders on both a Cervélo R3 (SKS long blade in front, Crud Road Racer in the back) and a 4-season Trek Wahoo with 29ers (Planet Bike).
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Old 03-09-13, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by icyclist
Living in Los Angeles, in Southern California, I tend to abide by the law that proscribes the use of fenders (even if it did rain much of today).
? Fenders required by law? How does one do that with a road bike?

Originally Posted by cccorlew
Okay, that bike is entirely too clean.
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Old 03-09-13, 08:22 AM
  #30  
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Mikey,
I think he means the "Velomanati Rules" type of not allowed on a "true" road bike by 41 type roadies.

Doug, if you haven't already tried this, a heat gun on the lowest setting, used with caution, will let that wrinkle come out of those SKS fenders. Even a hair dryer will do the trick, we use this on the fenders on off road motorcycles all the time.

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Old 03-09-13, 08:30 AM
  #31  
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I just ride recreationally, no commute. Race blades on my winter bike in NJ. I don't intentionally ride in rain, and fenders are more for benefit of people behind me when roads wet. No need for fenders in NM. And fenders are no good on gravely roads when gravel can get caught between tire and fender.
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Old 03-09-13, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl
T
Other tips:

Install everything loose. Don't tighten a thing until after you have the spacing and arc correct.

Use shims between the tire and the fender to get the fit and arc correct. I've used cardboard duct-taped to the wheel, a tube stretched around the tire and partially inflated, and a section of old tire. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

On the rear fender, don't be afraid to throw out the brake bridge mounting hardware. To get them tight through the brake, both for noise control and correct arc, I drill two tiny holes on each side of the fender and feed small (6") zip ties through and around the brake bridge.

When tightening after fitting, work from the middle to the ends. If you start at one end, you can throw off the other end.

When completed, the installation should not be in tension. Nothing should be pulling or pushing something else into place. Tension is what causes plastic fenders to break over time. They must be "relaxed", yet held in place by the stays.

Properly installed fenders will never rattle or squeak. Noise is a sign of improper installation.

I use a Dremel with a cut-off wheel to trim fender stays while they're still installed on the bike. I've tried the official "mark, remove, cut, reinstall" method and have always messed it up.

It's tricky doing it while they're still installed because you can heat the metal enough to melt the plastic. I hold the end of the stay with a pair of needle-nose pliers, then use a firm hand and assertive manner with the Dremel to cut through before the stay heats.
Thanks for the detailed tips. One little item I have found handy when struggling with fender line is a spring loaded bolt that attaches the leading end of the rear fender to the chainstay bridge. Velo-Orange sells one they call the "Spring Thing".

Last edited by kehomer; 03-09-13 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 03-09-13, 09:37 AM
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All of my bikes have fenders except for a $5 Varsity that I use only for pulling a trailer on sunny days.
No problem mounting fenders as they are all OEM and I have no reason to ever remove them.
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Old 03-09-13, 09:51 AM
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Yes fenders!
I don't have them on all of my bicycles, and as long as I have more than one bicycle, I'll have at least one unfendered. But I'll always have at least one fendered bike.
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Old 03-09-13, 11:18 AM
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I ride over wet pavement, wet and/or dry crushed limestone, sand, doggie doodoo, wet and/or dry leaves, wet and/or dry grass clippings, small twigs, and post rainstorm worms just to mention a few...so yes. The whole fleet wears fenders, front and rear. Wouldn't have it any other way.
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Old 03-09-13, 11:57 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
All of my bikes have fenders except for a $5 Varsity that I use only for pulling a trailer on sunny days.
No problem mounting fenders as they are all OEM and I have no reason to ever remove them.
Man, that suspended Schwinn is choice! You sir are a man of high taste!
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Old 03-09-13, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by kehomer
Man, that suspended Schwinn is choice! You sir are a man of high taste!
This one is new version with a Shimano 7 speed coaster hub. I had an original single speed Schwinn knee action balloon tired Schwinn of unknown age that was given to me for zero dollars in 1970 because the owner had just bought a fancy-dancy "ten speed racer" and wanted to get rid of "that junk in his garage." I rode it for 27 years until 1997 when I sold it to shed household weight prior to moving overseas.

I missed it, and bought this replacement in 2003 or so. I added the dice to give it extra class. It sports a political bumper sticker for President. Put it on before the 2008 election, served well for 2012 too!
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Old 03-09-13, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ILClyde
The one thing people overlook is that not only do they keep schtuff off of you and/or your drive train, they keep it off of your water bottle openings!
A couple years ago, I picked up a nasty Campylobacter infection from a soiled water bottle that almost landed me in the hospital. Apparently, Campylobacter is fairly common in animal feedlots, and can wash onto the roadways. At least that's what the Public Health Nurse told me.
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Old 03-09-13, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cccorlew
Road bike
NEVER, never ever

bike and rocks by ccorlew, on Flickr
That why there's N+1, right?



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Old 03-09-13, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM
My two bikes and our tandem have rear fenders mounted much of the time. Front fenders are put on/removed depending on rain/wet road chances. Takes about a minute per bike to put on or take off front fenders.

I don't have time to dink around like that. Every minute I spend getting the bike ready is a minute I DON'T spend riding. So all of my bikes have fenders. Permanently.

SP
OC, OR
- where if you don't ride in the rain, you don't ride much.
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Old 03-09-13, 01:57 PM
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I persevered until I found some pink ones . . . .

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Old 03-09-13, 02:10 PM
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Pacific Northwest, so Planet Bike fenders on everything. I like the long mudguards.
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Old 03-09-13, 03:43 PM
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I know not what of these fender things you talk about? The only rain gear I have is a cell phone.

Truth is I got rid of the only bike I had with fenders. Because of where I live and the stage of life I am in I don't go out in the rain. There is always tomorrow. I have often thought about a bike with fenders as a N+1 but once I start looking something else catches my eye. I have nothing against them other than remembering how they would rattle on my old baloon bikes when I was a kid.
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Old 03-09-13, 03:56 PM
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Personally I believe it is in every cyclist's best interest to have at least one bike with full fenders in their collection

...but furthermore, I also believe it is in every cyclist's best interest to have at least one bike with absolutely no fenders in their collection.
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Old 03-09-13, 03:57 PM
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I've fenders on two bikes. Not only do they improve comfort on rainy days, they help reduce filth on the bike anytime the pavement is damp.



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Old 03-09-13, 04:20 PM
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On my cro-mo steel framed bike I have "full fenders" as since I'm car free, I do have to ride the bike when the rides have melted ice/snow so the fenders keep the "crud" off the frame. My alum. framed bike doesn't have fenders as I sometimes use it on the "dirt" MUPS/trails which we have a LOT of here in Colorado Springs. If I get into a bit of trail mud I don't want to have to keep clearing the fenders.


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Old 03-09-13, 04:28 PM
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After 300,000+ miles of bicycling since the early 70s, have never utilized fenders.
Cycled in 30+ states and he worst wet weather we've experienced was on a tour on our tandem by the Grand
Canyon in northern Arizona.
A real soaker, driving winds/rain and no place to hide for many miles.
Worst part was trucks whizzing by at 55+ph and throwing sheets of water on us as they passed.
Threatened to drill holes in our cycling shoes so the water could run out!
Stoker on tandem was semi-protected from tire splashings by rack trunk on our rear carrier but not from driving rain.
When we got to Flagstaff we stopped at the first big reastaurant for coffee to warm up. Waitress felt sorry for us and gave us free pie!
No plans to use fenders.
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Old 03-09-13, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
...but furthermore, I also believe it is in every cyclist's best interest to have at least one bike with absolutely no fenders in their collection.
Why?
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Old 03-09-13, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem
After 300,000+ miles of bicycling since the early 70s, have never utilized fenders.
Cycled in 30+ states and he worst wet weather we've experienced was on a tour on our tandem by the Grand
Canyon in northern Arizona.
A real soaker, driving winds/rain and no place to hide for many miles.
Worst part was trucks whizzing by at 55+ph and throwing sheets of water on us as they passed.
Threatened to drill holes in our cycling shoes so the water could run out!
Stoker on tandem was semi-protected from tire splashings by rack trunk on our rear carrier but not from driving rain.
When we got to Flagstaff we stopped at the first big reastaurant for coffee to warm up. Waitress felt sorry for us and gave us free pie!

No plans to use fenders.
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Old 03-09-13, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl
Other tips:

I use a Dremel with a cut-off wheel to trim fender stays while they're still installed on the bike. I've tried the official "mark, remove, cut, reinstall" method and have always messed it up.

It's tricky doing it while they're still installed because you can heat the metal enough to melt the plastic. I hold the end of the stay with a pair of needle-nose pliers, then use a firm hand and assertive manner with the Dremel to cut through before the stay heats.
Try using bolt cutters next time. Quicker and eliminates the heat issue.
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