Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Stupid Fenders

I bought the wrong size fenders. This has lead to all sorts of fender weirdness: The stays are too short, so sometimes they slip out; since the stays are too short there isn't enough clearance so my front fender often makes squeaky, rubbing noises; the fenders are too wide for the bike frame so are sort of askew.

All of these factors made me sort of sad/annoyed because I was really happy when I bought them and proud of the job I did installing them. I just assumed that my bike was atypical and that I was doing the best I could. Then I started noticing that road bikes have wee skinny little fenders and fat old-style Schwinn tires are covered by mighty fenders. I realized that this is not a one-size fits all thing.

The owner of the bike shop spent a ton of time talking bikes, gear, fenders with me and giving me installation instructions at the time of fender purchase. My bike was in the shop and he made a few comments about it. So I am a little miffed that he didn't notice or inquire whether I had the right size.

I thought I would just live with the squeaking (a kick or two to the fender usually makes it go away), but now there is another problem. The rear fender's precarious position no longer works and rubs hard against the tire. I discovered this because I realized that biking was damn hard [insert familiar story about me biking and not realizing soon enough that something must be wrong to account for my increased energy output]. I stopped to fix it several times on the way home tonight-and felt like I was flying without the extra friction. Hopefully I will be able to jerryrig it so it stays in place. Otherwise I might just leave it as is, work my ass off tooling around chicago and then hop on a road bike and kick some roadie ass.

I actually am considering purposefully creating this set-up if I have to do another slow, cold ride because it would keep me nice and toasty.


At 11:49 PM, Blogger equipoise said...

Just make sure the fenders don't rub a hole right through your tire :-)

At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your fender experience sounds familiar, and I bet is pretty common. Anyway, assuming you're trying to put hybrid fenders on a mountain bike, or something like that, there are some things you might be able to do. Depending on the way the stays attach to the fenders, you might be able to get some heavy duty wire at a hardware store and cut your own, longer stays. Also, since the fenders are too big to fit in the frame, they sit sideways, and that alone may result in rubbing. You can take a dremel tool and grind away at the fenders where thay go through the frame, to make them fit. Or, lacking a dremel tool, you can heat up a paper clip to red hot and carve them with that (assuming they are plastic). Maybe even a heavy duty pair of kitchen scissors could trim them. That way at least you will do away with the anoyance of them being skewed. I wish bikes in general were made with larger fender clearances. (Isn't it weird what winter bike riders will spend time on?) Good luck.

Mark, fellow winter bike rider with funny looking skewed fenders that at least don't rub.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger jojo said...

My jerryrigging worked so far and there was no rubbing from the rear fender this morning.

Carving, grinding, or melting a 'frame groove' in the fenders is a fantastic idea. I am thinking about heading to Goodwill for an iron or curling iron to wreck while filling my apartment with the smell of molten plastic. Thanks for the idea Mark.

The other week when my wheel was seated askew and rubbing against the frame the rubber of the tire tore the paint off of my bike frame. That ride kicked my ass.


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