Searching the huge but ugly world of fenders and mudguards is no fun at all. Due to the various options from bike manufacturers side of how to fix fenders to the bike, and technical clearance issues, braking solutions (disc, u, canti) or geomectrical preconditions, it is not really easy to get things together. E.g. it took me almost a year to find the small adaptors available that are required to properly mount mudguards to a c5, from Cervelo.
The first attempt, for a Cervelo r3 already led me to crudracer. This bike had minimum clearance, which was a challenge and remained a challenge. Actually it failed due to the minimum clearances, but I had crudracer in my mind as slim -almost invisible- mudguards.
Starting the search again for a graveller, endurance bike with discs. I quickly went back to crudracer by having tried to mount the mk2 fenders, that were still in stock. Disc brakes bring even more limitations in terms of available space for mounting options. Luckily the new mk3 came into my range and I gave them a chance. Even though they shall be mounted with velcro fasteners. As they arrived, the principle for the fender itself was almost identical to the mk2’s. The way of fixing them to the frame, was way more robust and simple then before. Simply position the fenders the way you want them and fix the velcro pieces to the frame. By repositioning of the counterparts of the velcro, it is pretty easy to find a good position for the fenders. Of course they are vibrating as soon as you leave the roads.
The actual reason I write about them now is that I am starting to have issues when riding in snow. The fenders collect the snow from the tire and they create snow padding that grows and creates pressure to the fenders. Since having mounted them again, about two weeks ago, and now, the fenders came out of their velcro fixing position. The arms of the fenders are designed in a logic that they do not cause harm, when they get loose, and you realize that they get loose as the vibrations a getting more.
I guess there are not many riders that will go through fresh snow for hours on 32mm or less. But if, then this one is -so far- the only thing that happened to me. I will try to change the position/ degree between wheel and fender to get them as equal as possible. Then we will see again.
For my aesthetic aspects, these fenders are by far, the most “beautiful” ones, if you can call a fender beautiful.
Main questions that will lead to clear limitation of options:
- fixed solution or flexible
- full length mudguards or shorter solutions
- braking system (limitations for mounting fenders)
- threads already provided by frame manufacturer
- smart adaptors for fender installation
BikeRadar is providing a rather nice overview about the small things that can make you unhappy after you pruchased your favorite and it does not match.
A very small and rough summary:
For short rides, a simple ass saver shall work pretty fine.
On longer rides a saddle bag can act as ass saver. This will only make sense, if your saddle bag is 100% water proof. If not you loose everything you have. Wet spare clothes and a wet down sleeping bag, I have nothing worse in mind that can happen on a long ride.
SKS longboard mudguards exist for decades, I remember my first installation 20 years ago.
SKS Raceblades are easy to mount and give your bike an ugly look. Form follows function does not really apply here.
Another small but surprisingly efficient one is Genetic Micro Fender. Keeps away a little more than an ass saver.
If you want fixed full coverage for staying dry and keep your bike clean but you have no threads for mounting, there is a smart option for quick release systems from Axiom.
It is difficult to talk about beautiful mudguards, for new bicycles. Riding classic bikes does not give you this challenge, dutch bikes may have the same color scheme for frame and mudguard for decades already. One beautiful new example can be seen at Chapmancycles in the US. He is not building his own mudguards but mostly choosing fireworks for your eyes.
Canyon, the -meanwhile- famous German bicycle manufacturer, is well known for his aggressive design. I really don’t like their bikes at all, but I have to admit that the Commuter from Canyon came across my view. Of course supernova is being used as lightning system.
And they use Wingee mudguards. From modern mudguards, wingee provides the most beautiful solutions with slim view but actually they appear really robust as you can even carry panniers with them. The rear mudguard has the option to integrate the supernova taillight.
Happy to get some feedback on your experiences about fenders and mudguards.