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To Fender or Not to Fender

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To Fender or Not to Fender

Old 03-08-13, 11:33 AM
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To Fender or Not to Fender

I like bike fenders, full fenders. Practically, fenders can help to keep the rider and the bike cleaner and, when the road is wet, dryer. Esthetically (aesthetically?), fenders tend to complete the appearance and function of some bikes. Some of the textured metal fenders are almost too attractive.

From a negative viewpoint, fenders can be hard to mount correctly, noisy, are easily damaged and can be safety hazards. Fenders can restrict tire widths. How many of you have warped plastic fenders in hot weather, especially when transporting them in closed autos? Metal and plastic can crack, especially when you spend hours trying to achieve that perfect wheel/fender line.

I ride,/have ridden 70's/80's bikes. Many of the most desirable bikes cannot mount fenders due to design limitations!

What about you guys? Do you like fenders? Do you know that recently, a few of the carbon frame manufacturers design some models for fenders? Please provide your pro fender/negative fender comments. Thanks!
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Old 03-08-13, 12:01 PM
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I thought it was going to be a guitar thread..

I fender up the cross bike in winter but otherwise, nope. I will admit there I times I wish I had them though.
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Old 03-08-13, 12:09 PM
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I have full German SKS plastic fenders for our tandem and SKS clip ons for road bikes. The full fenders work really well on the tandem and align perfectly and keep it clean and the riders drier. The SKS clip ons work well on many road bike and I have used them on my Cervelo R3 and R5. The front fender does not fit very well but the rear one works great and keeps the crap off my backside.

I think there are many touring / commuting frames where fenders fit perfectly and work great.
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Old 03-08-13, 12:09 PM
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I bought a cheapo rain bike for commuting in bad weather (now officially named "Pokey").

The primary reason was the fenders. And let me tell you ... fenders ROCK when it comes to riding in the rain. I was astounded at how much less crap got on myself and the drivetrain.

So I love fenders ... but only on the rain bike. It rains so infrequently in SoCal and fenders are such a PITA to install, I just gut it out on my non-commute rides.

Suppose I should include a picture of Pokey:

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Old 03-08-13, 12:25 PM
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My commuter has Zefal full fenders mounted year round. Even in summer, SoCal streets can get wet with heavy fog, sprinkler runoff and such.
I even like the way they look on that bike.
Wet/damp roads, that's the bike I ride.
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Old 03-08-13, 12:52 PM
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My whole fleet has fenders.
As the old saying goes "If ain't raining you ain't training!"
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Old 03-08-13, 02:07 PM
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I have used Planet Bike Cascades w/o issue over about 10 years, year round. Everything stayed cleaner on the ol' 26" tired bike.

I like SKS as they do offer a much better selection of widths/colors over Planet Bike.

Never even seen'em but CrudCatcher Mk2 sure look good for no braze-on mounting.
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Old 03-08-13, 02:34 PM
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MTB's and always use fender type things. Not that they do a great deal in stopping water hitting you but they do stop a lot of stones and crud on the face. Road bikes and I never have used them. Fiddly to fit-easy to damage and if it is raining I am going to get wet in any case.And I don't think fenders would have helped me on this bike ride.

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Old 03-08-13, 02:59 PM
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Least used bike I own is the one without mudguards.
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Old 03-08-13, 02:59 PM
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Fenders are a must in locations that receive significant amounts of rain. My two commuters have fenders year around, and the road bike has fenders 9 months of the year. All bikes have Planet Bike Cascadia's.
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Old 03-08-13, 03:00 PM
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On a trip last summer we had one day of steady rain. Boy did I wish I had fenders. Steady stream of water off the front tire splashed perfectly sideways by the down tube and filled my shoes with water --completely. Could not have had more water in my shoes if I had stepped in a lake. All morning long.

My commuter has fenders and always will. Supported touring is a maybe. Unsupported touring is a must. (for me)
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Old 03-08-13, 04:10 PM
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I have SKS fenders on my Atlantis, and they're good and there's no reason to take them off in summer, but I do (we almost never get summer rain here). My beater is an old Trek tourer I converted to singlespeed, and it has fenders year round because it's what I ride in rain and snow.
No fenders on the mountain bike because mud gobs under them. But to be honest, I don't ride that much in mud anymore.
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Old 03-08-13, 04:20 PM
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I just installed a set of Planet Bikes on my SS commuter and wish I did it before. They might weigh 10oz. Why wouldnt you ?
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Old 03-08-13, 06:14 PM
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Fenders can be very attractive, stylish and make a bike complete, also very helpful in the rain by minimizing spray and keep one's rear end dry!

Even in dry weather the fenders keep the bike a lot cleaner!
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Old 03-08-13, 06:37 PM
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Yes to fenders. Put SKS Longboards on about 6 weeks ago and haven't looked back. 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! And it's not just riding in the rain, they are even more useful just from the random puddles you might ride through. That happens more than you think.
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Old 03-08-13, 07:09 PM
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I've got the SKS Raceblade Longs on my Waterford (rain bike). I can install them or remove them in around fifteen seconds. No dropout eyelets required.

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Old 03-08-13, 07:15 PM
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I'm a bit surprised at the support that fenders have gotten so far in this thread.

And, let me add my name to the list of supporters...

I bought a Trek DS largely so I could have fenders. My main goal for the bike was to keep me riding as much as possible through the wet, sloppy weather of the fall, winter and spring. I didn't want to stop riding because it was wet out or looked like it might get wet. So, with fenders, Gore-Tex shoes and shell, the only thing on me that gets wet are my thighs...

And, it worked! Since September 2012 when I bought it I have accumulated about 1800 miles -- most of which would not have been ridden if I did not have the bike...

I call it my utility bike or, more explicitly, my no-excuses bike...
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Old 03-08-13, 07:16 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!
That's a good point because, if you share a trail with horses, some of that mud isn't mud.

FWIW, I have a nice set of yellow plastic fenders that I'd be willing to trade for other bike stuff of approximately the same value.
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Old 03-08-13, 07:18 PM
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I'm a bit surprised at the support that fenders have gotten so far in this thread.

And, let me add my name to the list of supporters...

I bought a Trek DS largely so I could have fenders. My main goal for the bike was to keep me riding as much as possible through the wet, sloppy weather of the fall, winter and spring. I didn't want to stop riding because it was wet out or looked like it might get wet. So, with fenders, Gore-Tex shoes and shell, the only thing on me that gets wet are my thighs...

And, it worked! Since September 2012 when I bought it I have accumulated about 1800 miles -- most of which would not have been ridden if I did not have the bike...

I call it my utility bike or, more explicitly, my no-excuses bike...
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Old 03-08-13, 07:19 PM
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Commuter bike
YES, full SKS that I think look sharp, even though it took FOREVER to mount them with the rack
(blog post about that here. https://ccorlew.blogspot.com/2012/08/...s-fenders.html


Motobecane Phantom Outlaw commuter bike by ccorlew, on Flickr

Road bike
NEVER, never ever

bike and rocks by ccorlew, on Flickr
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Old 03-08-13, 07:53 PM
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Two of my bikes have full fenders. I like the SKS P-series. I use the 35mm over three-season tires, and the 45mm over the studded snow tires. A full-fendered bike is a joy to ride, no matter what the conditions.

I recently had to replace a frame due to a cracked head tube. When building up the frame, I first installed the fork and headset, next the brakes (road calipers), then the fenders. This made a world of difference in the ease of installation.

I'm thinking that next time, I'll install the front fender on the fork before installing the fork in the frame.

In any event, without all the rest of the components in the way, access was easy.

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.

Last edited by tsl; 03-08-13 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 03-08-13, 08:21 PM
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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.

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Old 03-08-13, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cccorlew

Road bike
NEVER, never ever

bike and rocks by ccorlew, on Flickr
Nice! Understated.

I have read about it but have only seen one road bike with this mod.
A clear plastic bottle cut in half length wise, trimmed well, then zip-tied to the seat tube to the BB forming a long cup to keep grit off the FD, chain/rings.
It can be almost undetected. PCH along the beach is a sandy road as you may well know.

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Old 03-08-13, 08:54 PM
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I think when you are in your 50's, utilitarian becomes the new 'cool'
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Old 03-08-13, 09:29 PM
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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).
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