RoadRacer Bike Fenders

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Mudguards for road/race bikes with minimum clearance

I believe RoadRacer fenders from Crud Products are the best road bike fenders there are.

Fenders are common on other types of bikes, especially commuters and cruisers. But for some reason, they haven’t caught on with road bikes yet. So it bears discussing why most road bikes should have them.

Advantages of fenders on road bikes:

– Unless you live in the Mohave Desert, you will encounter rain sometimes. Everywhere else, fenders mean you can ride more often. Also, unlike jackets, fenders stay on the bike, and will help you cope with even unexpected showers.

– They keep water off you. Nobody likes a stripe of water sprayed up your tuchus. But the front wheel also can throw water on your feet and legs.

– They keep water off your bike. Actually, I believe the FRONT wheel is more critical here than the back. Without a front fender, the front wheel will kick up road water (which is full of dirt and grit, unlike rainwater) and throw it on your bottom bracket, crankset and chain, and thence to your rear derailleur and cogset. They don’t like that.

Disadvantages:

– They add a bit of weight. But I use my road bike for commuting. It is faster and more fun than city bikes or commuters. Also, it is the only bike I have right now. So it is loaded with a rack, lights, saddlebag with a flat kit, and a lock. So it isn’t going to break any weight records, and the weight of fenders won’t make much difference. It will still be lighter than most city bikes.

– Some buses or trains have bike carriers that hold onto the bike with a hook that presses down on the top of the tire. A fender might get damaged or keep the hook from working correctly.

– Some fenders can be difficult to mount, especially if the forks and stays wrap tightly around the tire.

– Depending on your bike’s geometry, a sharp turn can swing the front wheel out so it contacts your outside foot as you pedal. If you have a front fender, that can pull it out of position. But you can avoid that issue easily by being just conscious of where your pedals are when you are turning (Hard to explain, easy to do).

– If you have to take wheels off for transportation, say when you want to throw the bike in your car trunk, the fenders will be unprotected and easy to damage.

Advantages of this particular RoadRacer fender set:

– It offers a lot of coverage, about 50% of the wheel circle. With all extensions installed, the tail of the front fender is just a few inches off the ground.

– Being made entirely of plastic (including the screws and mounting hardware), they are very light, just 260 grams. Compare that to Planet Bike’s system at 465 grams, and the SKS set at 689 grams. – The all-plastic construction is designed to break if it hits any part of the bike, like the spokes. So if you somehow jam part of the fenders into a moving part, nothing dramatic happens (you don’t fly over the handlebars.) Some of the Amazon reviews complain about their flimsy construction, but I consider that a safety feature.

– It uses unique system of brush-like pads to prevent rubbing. The pads stick to the inside of the fenders, and have numerous fine, long fibers that actually touch the wheel and “float” the fender away from the wheel. They do add a truly minuscule amount of friction, almost unmeasurable. It works great. It also makes installation easier, because it doesn’t have to be adjusted with the micrometer precision of some other systems.

– The system is quite modular. The front fender itself consists of three or four pieces (depending on how long you want it.) If a piece breaks, you can replace it separately. All the pieces may be purchased separately.

– It has a graceful, swoopy but not extravagant design that I personally like.

Disadvantages:

– They use nylon nuts and bolts to connect certain parts. They are very light, but prone to shaking loose. But you can prevent that with a drop of threadlock, or by just flattening the end of the bolt with pliers, so it goes out of round. The nut can still be removed. The nuts and bolts can be replaced at any hardware store, incidentally.

– They are made in Great Britain, so replacement parts can be slow to arrive.

Purchasing notes: The link below is to the Mk II version, with long “stays” (note the graceful curves.) A Mk III version is just out, which is compatible with disk brakes and tires as wide as 35mm. They attach to the fork and stays higher up, away from the hubs.

-- Karl Chwe 02/23/17