Bontrager NCS-1 Fender Review

I received the Bontrager NCS-1 Fender Set to test out on As some of our readers know, fenders are items that are highly coveted on a commuter bike. In some commutes, they are a must.

I installed the NCS-1 Fenders on my Soma Double Cross. This bike serves 2 purposes for me, my commuter bike and my cyclocross bike.
Bontrager Fenders

Below is the description of the fender set via Bontrager:

* Fully assembled fenders that install in minutes, only 2 tools needed for assembly
* No-cut-struts allow for quick strut adjustment for proper tire clearance
* Made of lightweight yet super durable polycarbonate
* Double back strut on rear fender adds support and stability
* Front and rear fenders include removable mud flaps
* Stainless steel hardware
* All parts can be disassembled for recycling

Price: $48.99

Installation took about 15 minutes. All you need are 2 tools, 4mm allen and a crescent wrench or a pair of pliers. The fender set can fit 32c road tires as well as 35c Kenda Small Block 8 cross tires.
Bontrager Fenders

Adjustable struts on both sides of the fender. This allows easy adjustment for tire clearance. I personally like the fender close to the tire, to me it just looks better.
Bontrager Fenders

Removable mudflap and stainless steel hardware.
Bontrager Fenders

When I started testing the fenders, Southern California experienced a wet, rainy week. This gave me a prime opportunity to get some mileage in and see how well they worked. On the road the fender set were impeccable. In fact, I would purposely look for puddles just to see if my tire would spray me after riding through it. Needless to say they worked as designed.
Then I got an idea…”why not take it on the local trail system (mountain bike) to see how well they work?” So I did, I found myself riding in some light drizzle the following morning. Certain parts of the trail was moist enough to where I was riding through some mud.

After my ride, I took a few photos of the bike. This is the front fender, check out the mud. Check out the downtube, notice its cleaner than the bottom bracket area? That’s because the downtube is directly behind the fender’s protective path (make sense?).

Rear fender is all muddy from the inside.

But this is what sold me on the Bontrager NCS-1 Fender Set, look how clean my rear stays, seat tube and post as well as my saddle. Not one spec of mud! Well, there’s a few spots, but nothing that I’d cry about.

Here’s the Pièce de résistance, my clean butt! The photo quality isn’t all that great, but LOOK! NO MUD! Now I’m really impressed.
Now check out my hydration pack, CLEAN!

In conclusion, the Bontrager NCS-1 Fender Set works pretty darn good if you ask me. The photos provide enough proof that they prevent spray back from your tires and the fact that they are durable enough to be used on a mountain bike trail, then I can easily recommend them. Another feature that I enjoyed about these fenders, I can go from my 32c tires and onto my 35c cross tires without having to adjust the the struts or mounting bolts.

Review Disclaimer


  1. Ghost Rider October 27, 2010 7:40 am 

    I REALLY like the Bontrager method of adjustable struts…no cutting or clipping the excess length…cool!

    To keep mud/water off the bottom bracket, the mudflap at the base of the front fender needs to be longer — the closer you can get that mudflap to the ground, the cleaner everything stays. It’s simple to make an extender out of an old waterbottle or rubber stair tread and just rivet or ziptie it into place.

  2. Andy October 27, 2010 8:54 am 

    Is cutting typical? Both pairs of fenders I’ve used before fit just fine without any modification, although maybe that’s just luck based on the frame? I can’t say I’m a fan of this design.

    How’s the front with only one set of struts? I bought cheaper fenders from SKS that have 2 struts from and back. I assume that would make it sturdier.

  3. RL Policar October 27, 2010 8:58 am 


    The front fender had no issues. Hasn’t budged at all.

  4. Ghost Rider October 27, 2010 9:25 am 

    Andy, for the struts that are used on Honjo/Berthoud/Velo Orange fenders, the excess length is typically cut off right at the fixing bolts. It just snips off with a wirecutter. Most other fender makers use a different strut system that doesn’t get trimmed.

    Single struts are typical for front fenders, but I definitely prefer two as well — the more rigid the assembly is, the less the thing flaps and rattles on Tampa’s rough-ass streets.

  5. Andy October 27, 2010 9:34 am 

    I think I also prefer the double struts since one of those bikes is used for polo (on grass, not hardcourt) and gets hit with polo mallets occasionally. I’d much rather unbend struts by hand than re-lace a wheel any day. I guess that’s not a typical use though… :)

  6. Champs October 27, 2010 10:28 am 

    If you’ve got disc brakes, a single strut on the front fender is mandatory.

  7. Ghost Rider October 27, 2010 1:33 pm 

    @Andy — I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a polo bike with fenders! Do the double struts provide enough protection for the spokes?

  8. Raiyn October 27, 2010 10:23 pm 

    @ Champs

    Err NO. Both the Planet Bike Cascadia and the Axiom RainRunner are dual front strut fenders that work fine with disc brakes.

  9. Ghost Rider October 28, 2010 3:22 am 

    Yeah, I seem to recall that the PB Cascadias come with cylindrical aluminum spacers and long bolts for use with discs.

  10. MnBicycleCommuter Doug November 1, 2010 4:32 am 


    Your assumptions are incorrect. It’s not the number of struts that make it sturdier. It’s the strength of the strut that makes it sturdy. I have 5 bikes, four with PB Cascadia’s with double front struts. One bike with Honjo’s, one bike with Velo Orange Zeppelins, each with single struts. Which ones are the most unflappable? The Velo Oranges are rock solid and hardly ever move, even on our local pothole mine fields. The Honjo’s are a close second, only because their struts are a tad thinner than the VO’s. The double strut PB, which I do love, are third. They flap quite a bit, but not as bad as my first pair of PB years ago that only had a single front strut.

    Personally I prefer the clean look of the VO’s and Honjo’s. Sure they take ten minutes longer out of your life to cut the struts to size. But they are the sturdiest fenders around. As far as the Bontrager’s reviewed here, I’m sure they do the job, but those struts are just plain ugly.

  11. MnBicycleCommuter Doug November 1, 2010 4:33 am 

    Correction on the above.

    I have two bikes with PB Cascadia’s, not four.

  12. Ghost Rider November 1, 2010 5:03 am 

    @Doug — the Bontrager struts ARE kinda weird looking, but you’ve got to admit that their adjustment method is novel.

    Could the overall stiffness of the fender itself be a sturdiness factor, too? I mean, the VO and Honjo fenders themselves aren’t flexy and that offers a lot of rigidity to the whole assembly…

    By the way, I saw your “Belt Check” winter bike, and I am LOVING it. Any thoughts as to why you didn’t go with disc brakes rather than the Paul Touring Cantis?

  13. MnBicycleCommuter Doug November 1, 2010 10:46 am 

    I knew I’d get a lot of questions about why I didn’t pick a frame I could run disc brakes with. It only makes sense for the conditions I ride in. I guess it’s a personal choice. I live in a very hilly area but have never had issues with rim brakes. I make sure I clean the rims when it’s sloppy outside. I run Kool Stop salmon pads. This works for me. I’ve never got a good handle on how to properly set-up the discs on my Pugsley. Maybe it’s the learning curve. Other than the Pugsley, I’ve never had discs. I never asked myself when building up the Belt Check, “Rim brakes or discs?” I never thought about it. I went with rim brkaes because they work.

  14. Ghost Rider November 1, 2010 2:15 pm 

    @Doug — the cantis you chose are definitely good ones…it’s just that a lot of sloppy-weather commuters prefer discs. Not really questioning your sanity or anything; I was just interested in your thoughts.

    What do you do to keep the rims clean? Does the Duluth area use a lot of salt on the roads?

  15. MnBicycleCommuter Doug November 1, 2010 7:49 pm 

    @ Ghost Rider

    Duluth has hills so there is tons and tons of salt and sand dumped on the roads. Salt washes off easily and isn’t that much of a problem. It’s the sand that destroys bike parts. I wipe down the rims with soapy water on a regular basis. Last winter I did it daily from November until mid-March.

  16. Champs November 19, 2010 3:54 pm 

    Huh, I have Planet Bike Cascadia fenders and they do NOT fit.

  17. Raiyn November 20, 2010 2:06 am 

    @ Champs
    Then apparently you’re doing something wrong.

  18. Ghost Rider November 20, 2010 4:45 am 

    @Champs, please elaborate — they don’t fit your bike, or they don’t fit with disc brakes? I got these slick cylindrical spacers with my set, and they went on a disc-equipped bike with ease.

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