It seems like my bike fleet is always undergoing modifications…25 years or so of collecting components and hardware means that sometimes I get a “wild hair” and decide to reconfigure one of my bikes into something new. I got the idea to put together a real “Frankenbike” — a cyclocross/MTB/all-weather commuter, and to pull it off I needed fenders for this project.
Made of a spine of polished aluminum and covered with a soft-yet-unbreakable polycarbonate shell, these fenders promise to be sturdy as well as stylish. Planet Bike really did their homework with these fenders — the details, included hardware and features are all top-notch. Heck, they even come with built-in mudflaps…crucial for keeping you and your bicycle clean when the rain comes down!
The included hardware is all stainless steel, down to the washers. Even the fender stays are stainless — a nice touch. The nuts are “nylock” to eliminate any rattling or loosening of the fenders during use…nothing is more annoying than a rattling fender! One of the great features of this hardware kit are the included cylindrical spacers:
These spacers allow fender installation on bikes equipped with disc brakes…the cylinders provide enough “stand off” to let the stay pass the brake body without interference. This is a spectacular addition to the kit, as fender mounting on disc-equipped bikes is otherwise somewhat of a nightmare.
Mounting the fenders is pretty simple…a 15 minute process if you’re slow. Adjusting the fenders to follow the contour of the tire and to provide clearance for wide tires takes a little bit of finesse, though. Planet Bike’s sliding stay clips make the process straightforward…simply loosen the nut at the clip, slide the fender up or down on the stay and retighten the nut. A little trial and error is in the works to get the alignment perfect.
Here’s a shot of the sliding stay clip:
Just a little bit of tinkering later, I wound up with this:
Front fender mounted:
Rear fender mounted:
There is enough adjustment in the stays to allow for all but the widest, most aggressive knobby tires. The SweetskinZ “Nightwing” tires I used for this build have fairly wide side knobs, and they just barely clear the edges of the fender. The tires are well-covered, though, and won’t spray dirty water past the edge. Slightly narrower tires (more typically used on a commuter bike) would fit with no issues whatsoever.
So far, the only nitpick I have about these fenders is getting the “fender line” perfect on the front of my bike. Forks with a generous axle-to-crown measurement may have too much of a gap for the fairly short front fender “crown strap” to accomodate. This is a purely aesthetic concern on my part — it has no bearing whatsoever on the functionality of the fender — but I’d like to see that strap just a few millimeters longer. Here’s what the fender line looks like currently:
Since we’re undergoing a drought here in west-central Florida, I haven’t had a chance to ride with the fenders in the rain…but the rainy season is coming. I’ll let you know how it all works out when I can actually put these to the torture test.
Check out Planet Bike’s complete line of well-designed bicycle accessories by visiting their site.