Monday, April 8, 2013


Are there any good fenders out there?

Here's one that looks nice and is reported to be excellent.  A thick metal fender with full coverage, including a mud flap, would be just what the dr. ordered -- if it fit.

The PDW fenders linked above are supposed to fit 23c tires, "maybe a small volume 25c."  Not the 28s I hope to run when riding longer this year.  That sucks.  I really, really, want to try them, but at $120 I'm not experimenting.

Everything else is a decided second-best.  These from Planet Bike are what I have; they are flimsy and do not hold position.  I found these "Crud Catchers" on Bike Tires Direct.  They have limited mount points and an intriguing self-centering mechanism:  brushes ride your rims to keep the fenders from shifting from one side to the other.  I like the concept, but no way are they fit for a long event.  I would bet money they would end up in the ditch somewhere between Valdez and Glenallen if I brought them on the BWR.  (Seriously.)  How about these from Blackburn? 

The SKS P35s are supposed to fit 28c tires, although the reviewer who lauds PDW's offering complains that SKS are steel covered in plastic.  (Since when, by the way, would that be a bad thing?  And why not steel not covered in plastic?)  Sheldon Brown likes SKS.  The comment to this blog post says something about SKS with 28c tires on a Gunnar Roadie.  Apparently the post and the commenter are discussing the SKS Raceblade Long fenders.  These look really flimsy to me.  Again, I foresee their ending up in a ditch, although unlike the Crud Catchers perhaps they make it to Delta Junction first.

Sheldon (posthumously, of course) also speaks highly of Delta and Zefal.  As best as I can tell, Delta has gotten out of the fender business.  (It does make a cool iPhone mount, however.)  The only Zefals I can find are clip-ons and some really cheap-looking fuller-coverage fenders.

Then there's the fenders that don't even really try -- like these clip-ons from Planet Bike.  If nothing else is working, are they worth trying?  Not according to Sheldon.  I quote:  "These are crap."

I see that Sheldon also sells hardware solutions that prevents my needing to remove the brake every time I want to mount or unmount the fenders.  I will use such a thing if I can find fenders that fit.


sam said...

Fenders are a source of continuous frustration for me. The one thing that might convince me to buy a custom bike is to get good integrated fenders.

Cheap fenders rattle and fall off at inopportune times. I have the Planet Bike fenders on my rando bike, but they're currently zip-tied on because the bolts always rattle off.

I bought these:

for my commuter. It hasn't seen many miles yet, but the attachment mechanism seems much more robust than cheaper fenders. They come with leather washers that should prevent rattling. But they're probably too big for many road bikes, or bikes with caliper brakes...

Max said...

I have this dream of making my own, even with carbon fiber. I have a carbon repair kit in my kayak supplies, which includes the cloth and the resin. One could use a stock fender as a mold. I'd make this flat and relatively narrow, and have an additional attachment point behind the seat-tube across from the bottle cage. (Attach there with a strap or a zip-tie.) I'd have three stays on each side. They might be made from the longest available spokes, so one could micro-adjust with a spoke-wrench.

sam said...

If one is willing to make a fender for a specific frame/spacing, it's probably possible to get a really nice setup.

I wonder if the problem with CF is that the rear of the frame is going to flex, and if a CF fender is too secure, then it will undergo constant flexing and will break.

But maybe I'm either overestimating the impact of frame flex, or underestimating the ability of carbon fiber to twist a bit.

The spoke nipple idea for minor road adjustments is an interesting one.

Unknown said...

Old topic, I know, but I'm curious as I've also got a Roadie with 25mm tires in need of fenders. Have you found something viable/durable?


Max said...

David, my regrets, we got out of the habit of keeping up with comments. Short answer is yes and no -- all of the "race bike" fenders work so long as I adjust and tighten them down before a ride, but none of them work if I forget about it. (I.e., as soon as they work loose, or take a knock, or get leaned against a trash can, or whatever, they start rubbing.). I've used SKS raceblade a fair bit. The other problem with the Roadie is the paint -- it rubs off so easily, that any part, like a fender, that encounters the paint at all will cause it to rub off.

Curious if you've solved the problem since a year ago when you made the comment?