24 Responses to “Fenders”

  • Brent says:

    Fabulous! I love fenders, I think that they are (or at least can be) one of the most beautiful elements on a bike – and so functional too. I love the Pashley front fender, and the little extra decoration they put on it. I love the way that Civia designs the meeting between the fender and the stay – it looks elegant. I love the lines of the fluted Honjos or are they VO – can’t tell from the photo.

    Great pictures!

  • Alan says:

    Thanks, Brent!

    I too, love fenders. Anymore, a bike without fenders looks undressed to me.

    The fluted and hammered fenders are Honjos.

    Happy New Year!


  • Holly says:

    Alan–not sure I’ve ever commented here before, but I really enjoy your blog. I am also insanely envious of your photography skills and the idyllic, beautiful shots you post.

    I’ve never used fenders on my road bike, but after a month of riding my fender’d mountain bike in Chicago, I’m pretty sure I’m going to take the plunge and add some fenders to my road bike this Spring. Along with adding a rack, this move seems to be the most practical thing I can do. I wouldn’t have expected fenders and a rack to be on my wish list, but I think I’m about to make her a bonafide touring bike. (I always thought my road bike was all about zipping around town. It’s time to give up that ghost, I think.)

    I would really like to keep things stylistically congruous. You have such a solid aesthetic sense. I’d love your advice on what kind of fenders I should put on Cherie, my red mid-’80s Trek élance. Suggestions on a rack, too?


  • John says:

    Great photos! I notice that the rears seem to be cut off asymmetrically. Is there a technical or aesthetic reason?

  • Alan says:

    Hi Holly,

    Thanks for the kind words; I’m glad you enjoy the blog!

    Your Trek is a cool bike. Because it’s a road bike with caliper brakes, clearance for fenders is at a minimum, so I’d suggest plastic as opposed to metal fenders (metal fenders are much more difficult to mount and less forgiving in terms of clearance). Planet Bike, SKS, and Civia all offer very nice looking plastic fenders. The fender in the second photo from the bottom (with the wildflowers) is an SKS Chromoplast. It’s a laminated fender with a very thin sheet of alloy sandwiched between two layers of plastic, which makes for an attractive and tough fender.

    Nitto makes beautiful racks, though they’re pricey. Velo Orange has some retro-styled racks that are very nice looking. For pure functionality, it’s hard to beat the Tubus Cargo; I run that rack on my daily commuter/cargo hauler and it takes a beating with zero issues.

    As far as zipping around town, the good news is that adding a rack and fenders won’t affect that at all. Consider that the typical combined weight of bike and rider is at least 130 lbs., and a typical set of fenders and a rack might be 3-4 lbs.; I think you’ll find they won’t slow you down one iota! :-)

    Best regards,

  • Jim says:

    Classy. Inspired me to take a photo of my own hard-working fenders, which aren’t quite so photogenic. http://www.flickr.com/photos/anoved/5304410864/

  • Billi says:

    Maybe Alan could give us some guidelines for proper width by tire size. My local bike shop was trying to push some skinny fenders off on me for a bike with 38mm tires, (what they had in stock of course) I now have fenders on two of our bikes, and may even fender up the CX bike in the spring since it has become my commuter. Very happy with the SKS P45 and Planet Bike Hardcore ATB,

  • Fergie348 says:

    As usual, very nice pictures of clean bikes and in this instance their fenders. Alan, why don’t you show your good readers what fenders are really for ;)

    After the mammoth NorCal storm ended this morning, I was very glad to have my PB cascades on my commuter..

  • 300 Pound Gorilla says:

    I’ve been thinking about fenders a lot lately. Specifically, what’s a good choice for 55-406 and 60-622 Big Apples. Any ideas?

  • Holly says:

    Alan–Thanks for the advice! Of course, you’re right. I won’t have to potter along just because I add some fenders. I’ll still have all the speed I need. My Trek is absurdly fast considering it’s lugged steel. Trust me, I’m not that skilled or speedy, but I am always amazed by what it can do when I push it. I have never ridden a bike that seems to demand to fly.

    I have a skilled mechanic at my LBS and I think he can do something that will meet my style standards. I’m a tad reluctant to use plastic fenders. That’s probably only because I have my heart set on shiny chrome. Of course, I’ve loved those Honjos since the day I saw them, but I’ve got a feeling they’re not for my bike.

    As for the rack–I’m leaning towards something I can use with panniers. It only took me 6 years to realize how cumbersome a messenger bag is for my daily 8 mile route. That occurred to me in a flash when I was squeezing through traffic and my bag hit the side mirror of a pickup truck. Nothing happened to the mirror or to me, but boy! That guy was steamed!

    Always a pleasure to pop in at EcoVelo. You sure have some great scenery there!


  • aj says:

    More fenders are needed on bicycles! It’s funny, when entering a bicycle shop, most of the bicycles for sale don’t have fenders. Yet, they are one of the more necessary parts to the “average” consumer. Thank you for sharing the pictures.

    This is corny, but; go fenders!


  • Alan says:


    Civia trims their fenders asymmetrically at the rear. It’s a signature of sorts and has nothing to do with functionality.


  • Alan says:


    Your PB fender looks like it’s doing its job! Thanks for sharing… :-)


  • Alan says:

    @300 Pound Gorilla

    “I’ve been thinking about fenders a lot lately. Specifically, what’s a good choice for 55-406 and 60-622 Big Apples. Any ideas?”

    That 406 is the toughie. The widest PB shows is a 50mm: http://ecom1.planetbike.com/rec1000a.html

    You may need to go with a custom wood fender from Sykes or Woodys:



  • Alan says:


    I like messenger bags for quick trips, but for longer commutes I tire of having the weight on my back, particularly in the summer. You’ll love having a rack and panniers on your bike; they’ll make it much more useful!


  • Alan says:


    “More fenders are needed on bicycles!”

    I agree! I’m glad we’re seeing more stock bikes outfitted with fenders (and lights too). It’s gotten much better over the past few years.


  • Nico says:

    Nice photos Alan. You’re one of the few people that can make a bicycle fender appear as though I’m looking at the lines of beautiful sports car. Coincidentally, I think fenders have many of the same attributes as cars. Some are more functional while others are more aesthetically pleasing. I saw a posting of yours somewhere that said, go with “plastic for durability and ease and the Honjo’s (metal) for looks.” Sage advice from a fender warrior I would presume. Thanks.

  • Holly says:

    My Planet Bike fenders on my mountain bike are doing the job perfectly. I had a misconception that fenders were wobbly and made noise. Not in the least.

    I can’t wait until Spring when I can soup up my road bike and make more weather friendly. I had one too many black gunk stripes on my back last summer from getting caught in the rain. Now that I see the light, it’s so true — fenderless bikes look like they’re nude.

  • tim petersen says:

    Very timely posting on a very relevant blog. I feel I am with kindred biking souls whenever I visit ecovelo. This winter I am building up a 56 c Sam Hillborne that will have 700 x 35 c tires. In the past I have always used cheap planet bike plastic fenders. Cheap but with some give for those times when a stick got stuck between tire and fender. I want a nicer fender for the new build (either gilles berthoud or honjo) but I worry about too little clearance being a potential safety hazard with a non-give metal fender. Any advice for a fender size with a 35c tire?

  • Alan says:


    “Very timely posting on a very relevant blog. I feel I am with kindred biking souls whenever I visit ecovelo.”

    We’re glad you’re here, Tim!

    “Any advice for a fender size with a 35c tire?”

    I’m running the 43mm Honjos with 33.33mm Jack Brown’s on my Hillborne and they have plenty of clearance (even though they’re rated for only up to 32mm tires):


    If you’d like a little more clearance, the V/O fenders are 45mm and they’re rated for up to 35mm tires:


    Both are very nice…


  • Alan says:


    “Nice photos Alan. You’re one of the few people that can make a bicycle fender appear as though I’m looking at the lines of beautiful sports car.”

    Thanks, Nico! I happen to think bicycles are at least as beautiful as sports cars… :-)

  • ted says:

    @(Alan @ John): Boy Alan, you really missed a great opportunity there!…
    ..”Well, John, seein as how most of our riding is done on the right-hand side of the road on pavement that slopes from left to right, (cough) which causes the tire to contact more on its left side tread, (cough,flub), and as that side would pick up more water and/or debris…
    ..the engineers over at Civia devised street-adjusted fenders and um (cough) um..

  • Marcy says:


    I love your site and your photos are terrific. Are those lights mounted on each side of the fork on the Trucker?

  • Alan says:


    Hi Marcy,

    Thanks for the kind words; I’m glad you enjoy the site.

    Yes, those are lights. You can read more about them here:



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