I guess this could be more of a “Tip of the Week” instead of Technique. But, still good stuff.
For some reason, I’ve never run fenders on my bikes. . . until now!
They looked a little goofy; I didn’t think I really needed one; and, honestly, I really didn’t think that that little piece of plastic was going to help much in keeping gunk outta my grill.
Way back in the day — just like everybody else, at that time — I did occasionally hack a Gatorade bottle in half and zip-tie it to the downtube at muddy downhill races. But, as far as the recent incarnations of fenders — those small, plastic little suckers; almost imperceptible on the bike; adhered to the fork brace/arch — I’ve never messed around with them until recently.
It took about 50 feet into the trail, on a pretty wet day, and I was blown away at how well that little fender actually works.
The usual face splattering, muddy glasses, and the palatable taste of gritty dirt was pretty much nonexistent on that ride.
And, I’m sold on fenders!
It’s probably pretty easy to understand why a rider would go with a fender — especially if it works well — when it’s wet. But, I’ve also been loving the fender in dry conditions.
There have been countless times that I’ve had to pull to the side of the trail in order to dig a small rock or other type of trail debris out of my eyeball, even in the dry. Rocks coming off the front tire can have some pretty incredible velocity (the good ones will easily chip the paint of a frame). I’ve had plenty of rocks come off the front tire, rattle around in between my glasses and face for a bit, until finally finding a home in my eye. It sucks when that happens.
I’ve also — again, on quite a few occasions — had a rock come off the tire and hit me hard enough in a tooth that I had to give the ol’ tougue-swipe to make sure the tooth was still there.
Teeth aren’t cheap. Fenders are (only a few bucks).
And, to a small degree, the fender will protect your frame a bit.
Cheap, easy to put on the bike, and a remedy to the above annoyances. Pretty sure I’ll be rocking a fender from here on out on all of my bikes.
Definitely give a fender a try if you’ll be riding in conditions that will be even a little bit wet. And, I highly suggest leaving it on in the dry if the trail conditions are at all loose, providing sections the risk of catching flying debris of for the front tire.