If a few drops of rain send you running for your car keys or to the nearest bus stop, there’s a simple solution. Outfit your bike with a pair of fenders. Available in a variety of styles and materials, fenders will not only help keep you dry, but they will also protect your bike.
When you ride through rain or melted snow, you’re kicking up dirt, sand and other road debris like gasoline and oil. The thought of walking around with these on your clothes all day is bad enough, but your bike doesn’t appreciate the grimy spray any more than you do. A bike’s headset is designed to shed water, but when splashed from underneath, water has access to headset bearings, increasing the wear. Road grit and grime is also bad for your chain, drivetrain components and frame, causing premature wear.
Full-length bike fenders
Full-coverage bike fenders give you the most bang for the buck. The rear bike fender extends over the tire, running beneath the seat tube and all the way around the tire until they are almost level with the axle. Want more coverage? A buddy flap or mud flap extends down even further over the rear tire, protecting you from the dreaded rooster tail and anyone riding behind you from unnecessary spray. The front bike fender extends in front of the fork and a mud flap protects your feet from spray.
Tips: A sturdy rear bike fender usually has two pairs of wire struts or stays to help hold it in place. For additional protection, look for bike fenders with mud flaps. Measure the width of your tires and frame clearance before purchasing.
Clip-on bike fenders
For the option to quickly install and remove the bike fenders, look for the type that clip on. These bike fenders are shorter and easy to install. While they may protect your backside from road spray, they don’t offer much protection for your bike.
Tips: Some bikes, such as many road bikes don’t have eyelets for full-length fenders, so clip-ons are the only way to go. Full suspension mountain bikes also require clip-on fenders or one that mounts to the seat post. Your best bet is to check compatibility before purchasing a commuter bike. This is something your local bike shop can lend a hand with.