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Tag Archive: fenders

Mandy Fender

We normally don’t do kickstarter campaigns, but we love bamboo and this company has this really unique way of setting up your own bamboo fenders, it’s called the Mandy Fenders.

mandy fender

The Mandy Fender is a sustainable bicycle fender that enhances the functionality and aesthetics of any bicycle:
Versatile and interchangeable: The Mandy Fender is the most versatile bike fender ever designed. It fits on nearly every type of bike design: You no longer need a different bike fender for each bike you own.
Easy to install: The Mandy Fender comes with all the parts and tools you need. With a simple video tutorial and a clear instruction manual, anyone can install the Mandy Fender in 30 minutes or less.
Tough and functional: Designed and made from bamboo, the Mandy Fender is light, durable and weather resistant. The mounting hardware consists of both 304 stainless steel and chrome-plated parts.
The Mandy Fender is made with a layer of memory film that allows them to retain its shape. It can be reshaped to fit onto a different bicycle using hot air (from a hair dryer). It is also designed to withstand harsh weather conditions such as snow and mud.

Do you need your accessories to match?

I’ve always been a fan of matching accessories on a bicycle. Take this photo for example. Fenders, racks, pedals, and chain guard pretty much match everything else on the bike.
commuter bike
But when I see this, I immediately think that I might worry too much about leaving a beautiful machine at a bike rack at the office where I can’t see it for hours at a time.
IMG_4007
My old Redline commuter bike was unassuming, it had a grey/black color scheme and I even uglified it just to deter thieves from trying to take it. So I’m curious to know what are you thoughts, do you dress up your bike to look as good as this specimen, or do you dumb it down to detract attention from it. Or perhaps you have a bike like this and you consider it your “going out” bike. Something you use when you’re out getting coffee or grabbing a bite to eat at the local sandwich shop where you could still keep your eyes on it.

Friday Musings: Skunk Stripe

skunk stripe

The common variety of this bike commuter species is known as a "Skunk Stripe"

Buenos días de Costa Rica once again lindisimos Bike Commuters! In honor of Friday and my stream of consciousness blog-barfing, I decided to muse on the unusual phenomenon that is the Skunk Stripe – prevalent throughout the downhill aguacero commutes of Turrialbeños.  As I am (gasp!) shamefully still bikeless for over a month now, I’ve been forced to commute by foot.  However, I’ve turned each bout of foot commuting into an opportunity to practice my new hobby… Similar to the popular hobby of bird watching (a.k.a. “birding” for short), I like to call my newfound sidewalk speculation bike watching (a.k.a. “biking”).

bike watching

Bike Watching - on the lookout for Skunk Stripes!

In my biking adventures here Ive spotted a resurgence of skunk stripe bikes in this rainy season! It seems that fenders here area luxury not afforded by most Turrialbeños… Other varieties of skunk stripes can be seen migrating through the Central Valley this winter such as the yellow-tail poncho, and the umbrella crest.

Bike rider in yellow raincoat

Costa Rican Yellow-tail poncho bike spotted by flostof.

Bike and Umbrella, Costa Rica

And the Umbrella Crest variety captured by gimblett.

We’ve reviewed quite a few different types of fenders on our site, (see herehere, and even here for rooster tails).  So let’s put together a basic breakdown of all things fender fantastic for any rookie winter riders – ticos or otherwise- who want to say adios to the skunk stripe.  Let the winter bike commuting begin!
Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 10.16.32 AM

DIY Fenders – for the third world countryman in you!

For those of us with more time than dimes, check out Ghost Rider’s DIY po-boy Fender project here.  DIY Fenders can be customized to fit your needs and can washed away that skunk stripe with some bent aluminum, corrugated plastic, a can of spray paint.  This tutorial is a great option for some road bikes that don’t come with fender mounts built into the frame.

Ghost Rider's DIY po boy fender

Ghost Rider's DIY po boy fender

Clip-on Fenders – great for muddy commutes

Clip-on fenders could be a good option for muddy commutes or bikes without fender mounts build into the frame.  The idea is to protect the rider from the water or mud from the top of the bike: front fender can mount via the steer tube and rear fender can mount via the seat tube.  Since there is plenty of clearance between a clip-on fender and the wheel, you won’t have a problem with mud jamming up underneath.  Prices can range between $20 -$50 for a set.  They also make removable clip-ons like these in case you’d like to groom your fender plume regularly.  To do away with the skunk stripe on your roadie, take a look at this article for other clip-on options.

clip-on fenders

rendoza's commuter clip-on fender setup

Full-Coverage Fenders – staying high and dry

Full coverage fenders get the best coverage for any rider who is encountering lots of rain this season.  They mount onto fender stays that are usually built in to the frame of touring, hybrid, or bike frames targeted towards utility cycling.  I used to commuter on my Kona Dew with a pair of yellow planet bike full fenders.  They kept me dry through the Seattle winter and I was never caught with a skunk stripe like those tricksy hipsterses on fenderless fixies…  The only problem with full fenders is they can require frequent adjustments to keep from rubbing on the wheel – if you will be cramming your bike into car trunks or cinching the front wheel on a bus rack, you may be better off with the clip-ons and wet legs.

Raiyn Storms fender setup

Raiyn Storm's full-on fender setup

So, dear Bike Commuters, do you rock the skunk or do you skip the stripe with a pair of fenders?  Why or why not?  Post to the comments box if you have any DIY tips for readers, or other fender ideas to share…!  Muse on and enjoy your weekend!

!!Mamachari!! – Undeniably Cool Utility Bikes in Japan

(Let's hope this is actually in Japanese)

Kon’nichiwa (こんにちは) Bike Commuters!  All around the world, it seems there are micro-cultures and macro-cultures of bike commuters and their preferred two-wheeled breeds of choice.  Dutch city bikes, single speeds and fixies, fendered beach cruisers, ghetto-rigged MTBs, folding bikes, electric-assist, road bikes and the like…  Going along with my love for all things cute and AZN (that’s my college sorority – Alpha Zeta Nu, we luv yoooo!) I have developed an internet stalker crush after Japanese MAMACHARI bikes!  Oh Mamachari, where have you been all my life and why have I never found you until now in my Google search results?  Apparently, there are all kinds of blogs out there for the originally women-specific bike, tailored to child/dog/grocery-toting around Japan.  Let’s take a looksy:

In Treehugger’s blog post “Introducing: The Mamachari Bicycle” their author admits to owning and riding a mamachari (as if it were a guilty pleasure).  When asked for the textbook definition of a mamachari, the author defined it as:

“…a really simple bicycle that you see all over Japan. Usually mothers use them for quick trips to the grocery store or to bring the kids to kindergarden. Thus the name, a combination of “mama” and “chariot”. Nope, the mamachari is not particularly sexy, but it is easy to ride and always comes with a basket up front. Plus a baby seat. Or sometimes two babyseats: one up front and one in the back.”

Fenders, baskets, chainguards, skirtguards (what IS that!?), three-speeds, child seats, racks galore, bells, dynamo lights, and kickstands.  Sounds like a commuter bike to me, whether you’re towing Costco groceries, kids, or other bikes!  These things are the all-in-one package, with more appendages, accessories, and equipment than the actual bike.  I’m surprised there’s not a dog-walking leash attached or something.

This photo is totally internet ganked... but it is Ultimate Utility Bike COOL!

And this post from Tokyo by Bike has a nifty table summing up the benefits of riding a Mamachoo-choo (I can’t get enough of these mash-up Japinglish words) over a good ol’ mountain bike for commuting and utility cycling:

Mamachari Mountain Bike
Unlocking The frame mounted lock can be unlocked by simply pushing in the key. A wire lock has to be untangled from around the wheel, frame and whatever the bike is locked to, potentially dirtying everything in the process.
Lights They’re attached to the bike, difficult to steal and don’t require batteries. Have to remember to bring them downstairs and attach them to the bike. Also have to remember to remove them when I arrive at the supermarket lest they get stolen, reattach them after I’ve finished shopping and remove them again once arriving home. Thats a lot of work.
Chainguard Keeps everything nice and clean. Have to remember to bring a velcro strap downstairs to keep clothing from rubbing on the chain.
Bell Gets pedestrians out of your way. Saying “Excuse me”, “Coming through”, “On your right”, or “Ding! Ding!” just doesn’t work
Mudguards Dry bum Wet bum
Parking Pull in. Kick down the stand. Push a lever to lock the bike. Go shopping. Look for something to lock the bike to, not always easy. Remove the wirelock from handlebars, lock the rear wheel and frame to a solid object. Careful, you might get dirty.
Child seat I can take someone for company, or to push the supermarket trolley for me No chance.
Basket Holds any amount of groceries I’m likely to buy in one go. Squash groceries into a backpack or hang them from the handlebars which not only interferes with the bikes balance, but is also frowned upon by the law. 5kg of rice? Impossible.

And from the mama bicycle blog (written by a Japanese dad who likes his Mamachari bike and practicing his English) I delved further into the land of cheap, heavy-as-a-bloated-ox utility bikes, and found the Maruishi Cycles Frackers bike!

Mama-Frackers in every color!

Anyway, I’d like to take a jaunt around my hood with a mamachari!  The best part is, you don’t have to be a Mama to ride one either!  Anyone seen these types of bike popping up in the USA at your local bike shops?

Image taken from Hello Sandwich. This is less "mama"-specific.

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.
Bontrager
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.
Bontrager

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.
Bontrager
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

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