Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Yet Another Fender Update

Another fender post?

So soon?

You my recall in the previous post that I mentioned cracking a modified PDW fender, and trying out a hybrid set up using a narrower fender on the front. While that setup was OK, a fender that properly wraps around the tire will always work better than one that doesn't, and I found myself longing for the coverage of the original wider fender. So one day, as I was riding along and my shoes were being splattered with mud flung from the sides of my skinny front fender, I started to think about cutting the old fender up and just using the back part.

A little background:

My Seven Cycles Axiom (a configuration that is now comes with RedSky decals) sports a Seven 5E Medium Reach Fork, designed to take a 700X28mm tire with a fender.  No amount of manipulation has persuaded it to take a larger tire with a fender - Believe me! I have tried (bigly™). The reality is the fork blades are just too close together.

This tight clearance at the fork crown makes it challenging to use wider fenders. With a fender made from a flexible material, like the SKS chromoplast models, I've been able to squeeze the fender enough to fit through the fork blades. I did this on my fixie with 700X28mm tires.

But squeezing is not really an option with rigid metal fenders, like the PDWs.

When I first installed a set of Full Metal Fenders from Portland Design Works, I filed away the sides where the fender passes through the fork. This did at least enable me to the use the wider City model fenders. This worked well for a couple of years, but recently when working on the bike, I noticed a crack forming in the fender. The City model has a couple of slots cut in the sides to allow securing with zip ties, should you not chose to mount them directly on the brake. These slots, combined with my cutaway sides may have led to the crack and impending failure.

So, since it was cracked anyway, I took a hacksaw to the fender and cut off the front part (including the cracked section) and then drilled some new holes for the crown mount.

I used a Sheldon Nut so I could bolt the fender onto the back of the fork. These are recessed brake nuts, but with an extended threaded section to allow repeated mounting/removal of fenders without mucking with brakes. They also move the mounting point behind the fork (or brake bridge), so I wouldn't have any issues with forcing a too wide fender through a too narrow fork.

But pictures are worth thousands of words.

But there is more to the story.

Many years ago, John bought a roll of damp proof course (DPC), and he's been using it for making mudflaps. So on that same day when I was riding along with my shoes getting splattered, I also spied John's mudflap and thought I could combine the rigid metal wrap around fender with the flexible material and get the best of both.

So I proceeded to cut a section of this thin flexible sheet of plastic, to attach to the front of the fender, creating a new thinner flexible front section that would pass through the fork and brake and provide protection from spray off the front.

Now the 700X32 Grand Bois Cypres is my preferred tire for this bike.  I use one on the back with a fender and I've been able to use a Cypres on the front without a fender. But until now I've had to use the narrower 700X28 Grand Bois Cerf when fenders are mounted.

Once I had the fender all set up, it occurred to me that I might now have enough clearance to use the fatter tire...

Conveniently, I had one mounted on another wheel, so I grabbed that wheel and popped it into the fork and spun the wheel! And spin it did. Woohoo, my PinkSky now has 700X32 tires with fenders! Now I can also happily bomb along rough, wet, pothole filled roads with my 32mm tires front and rear!

Luckily, it was a drizzly day when I got this all set up (this being a rainy day project, ya know), so I grabbed a rain jacket and headed out to test my new fender. I'm happy to report that I am happy! I've taken the bike out several times since in wet conditions and the new modifications are working great. My feet are well protected, as is the brake, the light and bottom of the bar bag. I had worried I might need to extend the front part out more, but this short section has worked amazingly well.

So that's all I'll say on for fenders for a while. Well actually... just one more thing.

Spring is fender season. Roads will be wet and sloppy for a while. You and your bike and your friends can stay cleaner and drier if you all use fenders.

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