John claims to have one original set with lots of trouble-free miles, but there is a box full of discarded broken fenders down in the garage, and I remember a few rides where he finished with half a fender strapped to the bike or hanging out of a pocket. I also recall a recent snowy Saturday that he spent hacking up a broken one to use to patch and reinforce a cracked one! [Editor's note: Do not ride trails with metal mudguards. They do not like sticks and branches!]
|My belt-drive fixie Seven with SKS longboards and room for 32mm tires!|
Still I was tempted by the metal fender offerings from PDW, since they are so rock solid and @the_wilcox gave them a thumbs up in the durability department.
Sadly PDW's original full metal fender was designed for 700C X 23mm tires, which may be fine for the perfectly smooth paved roads of the Pacific Northwest, but our New England roads are laced with frost-heaves and are more potholes than pavement these days and I've just grown to appreciate the comfort of wider tires.
Besides the only bike I have with skinny 23mm wide tires is also my only fender-free bike. Regular readers may recall this same tire size limitation was my main complaint with the SKS raceblade longs.
BTW, I will say that while the raceblade longs won't work for me due to that max 23 mm tire width, many of my friends (who ride with those skinny tires) have found them to be just the ticket for their bikes with tight clearances. And honestly I'm grateful that they have them!
|Crud Roadracers with mudflap made from high-tech packing tape!|
Readers of my previous blog entries on fenders may also remember that I've been using the super lightweight Roadracer Fenders from Crud on my coupled Seven. They are reasonably effective and come apart nicely for packing. But I, and more importantly my riding companions, longed for something with better coverage. After breaking my back last fall, I also decided I really wanted fatter tires so I had the back end of my coupled and geared Seven modified to take a tire like the Grand Bois Cypres (nominal 700CX30 - but measures closer to 32) with a fender.
My belted/fixie Seven already had this clearance, and sports the wide SKS Longboards with a Cypres tire on the back. I was just about to put those same fenders on the newly rebuilt geared bike, when I noticed that PDW had released a new wider version of their metal fenders, the Full Metal Fenders - City, which at 45 mm wide, are designed to work with 700C tires up to 38mm. I asked our local shops about getting a set, and Harris Cyclery was able to get them for us.
We had to do a slight modification to get the front fender to work with my fork. The original narrower fenders have cut outs on the sides to accommodate a narrow fork crown and to allow for the QR on a caliper brake. The wider model does not have this cut out by default, so we had to do a bit of tweaking. We have found that the Tektro 539 brake has a more fender-friendly shape than the Shimano 57mm reach brake that I had used previously, so we made that swap.
Both front and rear fender come with safety quick releases for the stays. The stays slide into the QR and are secured with a tiny hex key. The fenders come complete with nice mudflaps, and in relatively short order my new-ish bike was ready for a proper fender test.
We've had plenty of snow in the last few weeks, and the roads are covered in sand and salt. Since mounting them, I'd managed to get out a few times on dry-ish roads, and the fenders felt solid and kept grit off my bike and backside.
Then last weekend, the temperature soared to over 50F. That, combined with thunderstorms the day before, snow clogged storm drains, and the snow-melt canal - 2 foot high snow banks on each side of the road - made riding on the road more like riding in a shallow river at times. Puddles were more like small lakes, hiding craters that could swallow a small car.
This was a day made for fat tires and fenders! And it was time to test them both...
|A rare dry section of road and no muddy wet stripe up my backside!|
|More typical of the road conditions on Saturday!|
At one point an oncoming cyclist offered a greeting of "It's sure a messy day!" But John and I just shared a private chuckle that we hadn't noticed and how clean we were thanks to our be-fendered machines.
I'll also point out that the front of me is clean too, because my riding companion also had good fenders!
Remember friends don't let friends spray friends! Spring is fender season! Let's be dry out there!
|Another dry bit of pavement|
The verdict so far. Awesome. I'll report back in a year about the longevity. In the meantime, I'm hoping they will make a wide 650B model that we can put on the tandem! hint, hint
In closing, I'll leave you with these images...
|Photo by Natalia Boltukhova|
|Photo by Matt Roy|
I'm quite happy not to have ended up in this state on Saturday!