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mudguard strut dangers

Old 03-24-03, 09:24 PM
  #1  
John E
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mudguard strut dangers

I once read that conventional strut-suspended mudguards are dangerous offroad, because they can catch wheel-locking debris. A very recent, somewhat scary ON-ROAD experience has reinforced this for me.

On Friday morning, whilst commuting to a seminar, I felt my rear wheel lock up as I accelerated out of a turn and down a moderate slope. With some difficulty, I managed to bring the Capo to a safe stop with the rear tyre in a full skid. A piece of wood had lodged itself parallel to the axle, across the spokes, and across the fender struts, eventually coming to a stop against the rear rack struts as the (lightweight plastic) fender disintegrated and its struts deformed. Had the same thing occurred in front, the consequences could have been disastrous. Naturally, (as graphically depicted in "Breaking Away"), any object caught in the spokes is bad news, but the relevant question is whether mudguard struts increase the likelihood of wheel lockup by entraping foreign objects before they can fall away.
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Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
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Old 03-24-03, 09:40 PM
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Chris L
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I normally don't bother to use mudguards anyway because I don't really mind being covered in mud all that much, but this is something I simply never thought off.
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Old 03-24-03, 09:49 PM
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My mudguard struts fit into a plastic socket at the hub end, so if anything catches between the strut and the wheel the strut will pop out. I cant remember the make but I think they were made in France. Fortunately I have never had a chance to see if this safety feature works. However a stick through the spokes would also make a real mess when it comes up against the forks.
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Old 03-25-03, 01:24 AM
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No problem. No struts.
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Old 03-25-03, 01:56 AM
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I suppose it depends a bit on the condition of the highway you are travelling onto. In a worst-case scenario, a piece of wood (or steel wire) could get tangled into the spokes and block the wheel when it hits the fork (front wheel) or the stays. So there is no perfect solution, but wider fenders -- which put stays further away from the tires -- are safer than narrow fenders.

As for safeguarding the front fender, there are two solutions.

- SKS uses "Secu-clips": the front fender is hooked into a plastic attachment which will disengage if something jams into the fender. Looks like a safe solution.

- The British traditional design puts fender eyelets in the middle of the front fork (in the curved part). If means shorter stays and more stable fenders, but also fenders that break away from the wheel should any problem arise. I don't have such eyelets on my bike, but I have attached the stays to my lowrider rack to get a similar effect.

Regards,
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Old 03-25-03, 04:01 AM
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I use SKS fenders which come with plastic breakaway tabs. They are a real safety bonus.
Thorn make a steel rear lugage rack with fender eyelets, so you can attatch the rear fenders in "The British Style".
On an MTB you usually have inches of clearance to fenders, but on touring and road bikes, 5mm is about what you use, because of limitted space, to increase the effectiveness of the fender, and to reduce wind resistance.
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Old 03-25-03, 08:11 AM
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No problem. No struts
....not much protection, either......
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Old 03-25-03, 11:18 AM
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No problem. No struts
Hmm, I just dont see John putting those on his vintage Capo

Seriously, though... Is there any greater likelyhood that debris would be trapped in the struts than the possability that it could become trapped in the seat/chain stays or the struts that support a rack? I think its just yet another inevitable hazard to keep an eye out for like flats or sending the deraileur into the rear spokes (ick. Admit it... its happend to you too!)

I'm running a set of planet bike freddy fenders (full coverage) on my commuter, and can safely say any stick large enough not to be broken up in the spokes will probably completely maul the thin struts before locking up the wheel. Once that stick hits my rack, though... I'm done for

What kind of fenders are you using, john? They sound pretty heavy...
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Old 03-25-03, 11:40 AM
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http://bikexprt.com/bicycle/helmtrd1.htm
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Old 03-25-03, 11:46 AM
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*reads article*

Hmm, I see the stick tore through the struts and wedged itself in the fork, not the fenders....
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Old 03-25-03, 12:18 PM
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Originally posted by stumpjumper
Is there any greater likelihood that debris would be trapped in the struts than the possibility that it could become trapped in the seat/chain stays or the struts that support a rack? ...

What kind of fenders are you using, john? They sound pretty heavy...
1) In many (most?) instances, the presence or absence of fender struts is inconsequential. However, in some circumstances the struts could make things worse by trapping debris which might otherwise have time to fall clear before hitting a fork or seatstay.

2) I was using lightweight plastic fenders, marginally heavier and wider than Bluemels. The rear is now reduced to an arc running from the brake bridge to the chainstay bridge.

Thanks for the alternative mudguard suggestions, everyone. I plan to add some sort of splash protection to the UO-8 and to make it my main transportation/beater, particularly if I treat the Capo to a much-deserved makeover at CyclArt.
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Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
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Old 03-25-03, 05:19 PM
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Originally posted by D*Alex
....not much protection, either......
Keeps the road water off that's all I care about. That and I can take mine off.
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Old 03-25-03, 08:33 PM
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If you look for something totally different, look at http://www.halcyon.com/peterson/FendForYourself.html

This guy (Kent Peterson) designs his own fenders with Coroplast, which is the "cardboard-plastic" used for electoral posters, amongst other things. I'm not sure I like his designs, but they are safe and flexible.

BTW, if a branch were to get jammed into a wheel, the fender and its stays have the same resistance, so there wouldn't be any problem. Still doesn't prevent mishaps when the branch gets stuck into the fork itself...

Finally, while you are there, read the guy's ride reports. Some are incredible!
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Old 03-25-03, 09:15 PM
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This is another argument against a too-common Northwestern practice, which is to buy a full-race design, fair-weather road bike for all year use and sometimes at considerable expense do a Mickey Mouse redesign of SKS or Zefal fenders to patch them around the rear brake and brake bridge and to stick them to the fork. If you're a roadie and live in rain country, for Goddess' sake use your dang brain when you buy your next bike. Read some Rivendell website stuff to enlighten yourself as to intelligent road bike design. I shudder when seeing some bikes that can barely fit a piece of pea gravel between fender and tire, fit a few inappropriate fenders with many warnings, and flat refuse to plaster them on some bikes--Crackstrels and OCLV Trek's, for instance.
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Old 03-27-03, 04:47 AM
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Yesterday I picked up a small length of barbed wire as I rode over it and it caught in the fender struts. The SKS safety struts work as advertised and popped right out, throwing the wire clear.
They work.
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