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Tag Archive: bicycle fenders

Fall Means it’s Fender Time!

Oh, autumn… you tickle me orange, and yellow, and red, and green, too! Nothing beats a brisk bike commute through town on the newly assembled and sorely missed Cantaloupe with trees like these:

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It may be that fenders are everyone’s favorite commuter bike bling, or maybe just uber practical in any kind of rainy weather, but I think these fenders will be my new besties. After years of riding in warm weather in spandex, where road spray was NBD – (sidebar, okay, I admit that I have ridden in rain that resulted in road crud up in my crack) and now, I’ve finally joined the ranks! With a steel bike that is heavy as eff and all kinds of transit options that are bike-friendly, the benefits of riding fender free (easier to quick release your wheels and pop your bike in a car trunk, or lightening up your ride for distance commutes) are no more. Time to get all dressed up for Fall, Cantaloupe!

I swung by my LBS and opted for the fullest fenders in town. To no one’s surprise, the nice, bearded LBS employee (wearing a Carhartt beanie and a really small Alaska tee shirt) recommended the PB Cascadia Road full fenders in black. The Western Bikeworks super sale was on, and I snagged ’em for only 33 bones instead of shfifty-five.

BALLIN!

So, instead of letting Cantaloupe sleep over at the LBS with a buncha shop rats and paying 40 more bones to get said fenders installed, I strapped those suckers to my silly little commuter backpack and headed back to the house for some DIY fender installation time.

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Only a week of procrastination later, plus several borrowed wrenches from my bike-loving neighbor in the apartment across the hall, and maybe some scavenging of lock nuts off of the junker that’s slowly melting into a pile of scrap metal in the basement, we have LIFT OFF!

And by “lift off” I mean frakkin‘ full-on Fall Fenders, of course!

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Whew, I hadn’t installed fenders since 2007 people. Two-Thosaaan-n-SEVEN. It wasn’t that bad, but took longer than those pro shop rats, for sure (1 hour, no shame). And the zip-tie action kind of looks like bug antennae so I think I will keep ’em long.

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Hope that extra zip tie length doesn’t slow me down whilst I be Cat-6’n all up ons Portland, yo. Or not. Remember me? Asian Bike Daria?

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Anyway, join the fendered masses for fall, all you new bike commuters. It’ll keep your feet and socks dry and the skunk stripe off your lovely fall coat (or if you ride all spandies and no undies, the road grit outta your crack)! Plus, I heard all the cool kids are doing it…

Bontrager NCS-1 Fender Review

I received the Bontrager NCS-1 Fender Set to test out on BikeCommuters.com. 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.
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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?).
Bontrager

Rear fender is all muddy from the inside.
Bontrager

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.
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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.
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Now check out my hydration pack, CLEAN!
Bontrager

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.
Bontrager

Review Disclaimer

Great Customer Service: Planet Bike

I’ve been using my Planet Bike Fenders for quite some time and when I realized I was missing a piece of hardware, I shot an email over to the folks at Planet Bike. All I needed was a small plastic mounting bracket that sat behind the rear brake and held the rear fender. Planet Bike offers a hardware kit for about $4. But I emailed them to find out which one I needed since I wasn’t sure which model I had. So I gave them the info about my Redline 925 and a nice fella named Dan, I’m assuming its Dan Powell, in charge of Sales and Marketing, emailed me back within a few minutes asking if all I needed was the mounting bracket, if so, then he can just find one and send it out…no charge!

Wow! Not only did I get a quick response from my email, but the dude took care of me…just like that! That’s what I call excellent customer service! BikeCommuters.com is a big fan of Planet Bike, heck I think all of us here owns at least one set. We also featured Chris Follmer, Planet Bike Employee in our commuter profiles.

Just Ask Jack — Quick Release Fenders?

John, also known as Moveitfred By Bike sent in the following question:

“Do you have any recommendations for fenders? I’m looking for something that’s easy on and off for a steel frame cyclocross bike with cantilever brakes. “

My initial response to him was that unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways: you can either have GOOD fenders, or you can have “easy on/easy off” fenders.

For example, the SKS Race Blade — they go on and off very quickly, but they don’t provide enough coverage to really keep you and your bike clean and dry. Same goes with the seatpost-clamping rear fenders. Same with the clip-on front mini-fender that goes on the downtube.

I’ve tried a couple modern brands of fenders, notably the Zefal Cafe models and the Planet Bike full-coverage fenders with integral mudguards. The Planet Bike ones are substantially better (better hardware, more versatile).

The more I thought about it, though, I realized you CAN “have your cake and eat it too.” One trick some folks use to make the fenders go on and off easier is to thread longer mounting bolts “inside out” (from the inside of the fork/dropout bosses toward the outside of the frame) and using metric wingnuts to attach the stays and struts. Still, it’s not a 30 second removal process!

I had stumbled across a photographic tutorial of this setup on the Web several months back, and rediscovered it while I spoke to John via email. Here are the particulars:

Alex Wetmore (an amazing tinkerer… on his blog, check out the “to die for” workshop in his basement!!!) wrote a tutorial on this method on his website…and has allowed me to share a couple pictures of the setup with you. The first is the fender attachment at the fork crown:

attachment at fork crown

The second photo is one where the fender stays attach to the braze-ons of the fork:

Attachment at fork braze-ons

As mentioned earlier, you might have to find longer mounting bolts for the fenders to make this work, but that isn’t too difficult.

If you go for really blingy, indestructible fenders, I heartily recommend either Honjo or Giles Berthoud fenders. Honjos come in fluted, smooth or hammered-finish aluminum, while the Berthoud ones come in stainless steel. The mounting hardware and struts are without peer, and either brand is so gorgeous that you won’t want to take them off!

Either Peter White Cycles of New Hampshire or Velo Orange in Annapolis, MD carry these kinds of fenders…might be worth checking out!

Setting up your fenders this way makes the bike more versatile. On days you don’t need the protection and don’t want to push the extra weight around, just slip the fenders off and ride. Bad weather in the forecast? Pop the fenders right back on. It’s a great tip, and we’d like to thank John for sending in the question and Alex Wetmore for letting us use his photographs of the process.

Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.