Planet Bike Grasshopper Fenders

Planet Bike Grasshopper Fender

Planet Bike sent us a set of their new Grasshopper fenders to try out. These pretty fenders are made from laminated Moso bamboo with a marine-grade finish. If you look closely, you’ll notice the blades have a subtle compound curve (the woodworkers in the crowd will have to tell us how they did that). The stainless steel hardware is the same (good) quality as supplied on Planet Bike’s other fenders.

Planet Bike Grasshopper Fender
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Planet Bike Grasshopper Fender
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As you can see, the front fender is on the short side. It’ll be fine as is for dealing with the occasional puddle or two, but for year round commuting it needs a mud flap. A Honey Brooks would look swell on this fender.

Installing the Grasshopper fenders was nearly as easy as installing plastic fenders (the process took less than 30 minutes – compare this to the typical 2-3 hours for a Honjo installation). The hardware comes pre-installed and everything was straight and where it was supposed to be. Mechanics will like these fenders.

Planet Bike Grasshopper Fender
Planet Bike Grasshopper Fender
Zoom

Here are the specs from Planet Bike:

  • Made from fast growing and sustainable Moso Bamboo
  • Durable marine-grade top coat finish and 3 ply Bamboo laminate construction
  • Hardware is all stainless-steel and pre-installed for hassle-free mounting
  • V-stays for added stability
  • Meets EN test standards
  • Release Tabs on front fender
  • Hybrid/touring (45mm)

The Grasshoppers will be at dealers in April. Retail price will be around $125-$130.

About Planet Bike
Whenever I review one of their products, I like to point out that Planet Bike donates a full 25% of company profits to grassroots bicycle advocacy organizations. Learn more here.

Planet Bike

Disclosure: Planet Bike is a sponsor of this website and provided the Grasshopper fenders for this review.

27 Responses to “Planet Bike Grasshopper Fenders”

  • Andrew Leinonen says:

    Oof. I was digging it until I saw the price tag. I’ll stick with my $30 Cascadias (which sadly, will almost undoubtedly work better). Such is the price of fashion, I suppose.

  • Eddie Hurt says:

    Fine craftsmanship but unsustainable to my wallet :-(

  • Doug R says:

    Some people may scoff at the price of the Planet bike fenders, however, I buy only Woodies brand fenders out of Oregon. They cost a bunch more than the PB ones. A nice wood fender at a fair price is in my book A-ok. I still think quality is priceless so you must pay for quality! So buy Woodies! LOL!

  • Drew says:

    Alan-
    Fenders aside, I adore your current LHT setup…It seems to be harkening back to its EV town and country bike roots. Perhaps this will convince you to hold on to it a bit longer? Enjoy.

  • Mr. S. says:

    Let us know how much spray comes out the sides.

  • Velouria says:

    Visually, these are beautiful, but I like fenders that provide fuller coverage – especially on a city or touring bike.

  • Rob Thomson says:

    Meh…the ‘sustainable’ bamboo idea must, of course, be taken with a grain of salt. Bamboo laminates are not as environmentally friendly as they are often touted to be. Lots of energy required for treating and preparing the bamboo even before it is pressed and crafted. (Source: http://www.adventure-journal.com/2010/11/the-fast-growing-bs-behind-bamboos-green-claims/).

    The fenders sure do look nice though :-)

  • Amoeba says:

    I suspect that compound curve requires heat and pressure during the laminating process. I also suspect that the equipment to do this isn’t cheap.

    They look fabulous, but the front one is far too short.

    Were money to be no object, I would have a dozen sets. However it is, and they’re unfortunately far too expensive for me.

  • Bob Baxter says:

    If no one else is going to answer, I will. Compound curves are formed in wood by steaming and molding, an old boat building process. That’s how they get the fine wineglass shapes on wooden sail boats.

  • Ron Whitmire says:

    I love the look and am sure the quality is great but like most others have said the price tag is probably too high, especially if you add in the cost of a nice mudflap like that Brooks.

  • Brett says:

    I have Woody’s fenders and love ‘em. Definitely worth the price, and plenty long enough. Plus Cody is great to work with, very helpful and responsive to his customers. As for these PB fenders, the first thing I’d do with these is sand off that horrible logo.

  • Don says:

    I am as aesthetically motivated as the next person if not more so, but economically speaking, I think wood fenders are for the birds when you can get stainless steel for less and plastic for a fraction of that. If you must, how about recycle plastic with a photographic faux finish? That could open you up to al kinds of possibilities. Somebody convince me that these sustain anything besides a company’s profits. I’m guessing that Planet Bike simply wants to have offerings across the range in that sector of the market, but I think they could leapfrog it with something new. How about fenders with a slot for sliding in letters, so that your fenders deliver a message? Fenders with integrated reflective trim? A hipster can accessorize for a lot less.

  • JQFrederick says:

    On a larger question–why do manufacturers of fenders continue to come out with fenders that aren’t large enough to do the job? If you’ve already accepted the fact that fenders are an rational decision that will make your bike more of a transportation alternative, doesn’t it also follow that the fenders should work?

  • Micheal Blue says:

    They are certainly beautiful, but more for show (as you point out), than a real use.
    I second JQFrederick’s comments. Good fenders should also slightly wrap around the tire, not be just above it.

  • Andrew Leinonen says:

    @ Amoeba

    If you’re doing the lamination yourself with thin plies of veneer instead of pre-formed plywood, you actually don’t even need much heat. You could DIY cold-form those fenders yourself quite easily, actually. Just saturate your veneers in plain old wood glue so they are nice and flexible, lay them up over your mould, and use a vacuum bag (old refrigerator pumps work well if you want a cheap vacuum). Some finishing required, of course, but it would be a fun project for those so inclined.

    Of course, there’s no way it would cost less than these to set all that up…but then you could make a bunch, and sell them to your friends!

  • Paddy says:

    I think you should ask Planet Bike how they are molding the fenders. I’d hate to think they were using alkali or ammonia to plasticize the bamboo.

    Bamboo is a great material that is primarily a bi product of photo synthesis. Just because some people are using some dirty old industrial processes to prepare it, it doesn’t mean everybody is and it doesn’t mean that cleaner greener methods of handling it cannot be developed.

    I’d love to see a modern day Vialle Velastic with a bamboo leaf spring as the seat post.

  • Don Bybee says:

    In boat building we call this type of plywood construction tortured plywood. Heat, steam moisture, pressure, and holding your mouth just right, get this material to form curves it really does not what to do.

    Don
    Sacramento, California

    Allan
    transpocycle.com will be my new web site for a company I am starting.
    Transpocycle
    Cycling, Education & Outings

  • Garth Liebhaber says:

    They are beautiful. The compound curve, despite the short length was tempting me until I saw the price. Perhaps if they were full length and had more elegant mounts, the price would be satiable.

    I was reading up recently on floor refinishing and also learned something about bamboo. With the new world demand for bamboo, apparently a lot of old growth forest in asia, particularly China, is being sacrificed to create bamboo plantations. The author’s particular beef with this was that bamboo flooring is also very energy intensive and does not compare to oak, maple or other hardwoods for durability. I believe bamboo is being used for a lot of “green washing”.

    I am tempted to think that bamboo used in non-processed forms is actually a very good idea, especially as traditionally used throughout Asia.

    Perhaps the point of wooden fenders is aesthetic, but a luxurious one. They give the false illusion of being “green”, as though one could compost them when they become worn out.

    Hmmm, I still like them…

  • Andrew Leinonen says:

    @ Garth

    “They give the false illusion of being “green”, as though one could compost them when they become worn out.”

    Yeah, it’s a shame that things that are compostable don’t tend to be that great for making durable, weather-resistant goods. Funny how that happens, eh?

  • Amoeba says:

    JQFrederick says:
    “…why do manufacturers of fenders continue to come out with fenders that aren’t large enough to do the job?”

    It all depends what one means by ‘do the job’. As long as a mudguard / fender is as wide as the tyre, then the direct spray will be stopped (assuming no cross-wind), but indirect spray will be a problem. Making the mudguard / fender wider keeps the rider cleaner, but I presume would have a deleterious effect on aerodynamics. Of course mudguards / fenders aren’t particularly aerodynamic in the first place, otherwise they’d be very much in evidence in races such as the Tour de France.

  • Amoeba says:

    Andrew Leinonen,

    Thanks, but I’ll pass on the wooden mudguards / fenders, whether ready-made or home-made. Irrespective of how good the wooden variety look and they look gorgeous, I intend replacing my plastic ones with durable stainless, as and when they fail. I won’t be buying any more plastic ones. I am in part a utility cyclist (I cycle for fun too), function, durability and sustainability are all important to me. I’m hoping that stainless steel will see me out.

    PS
    In the UK, a quick look suggests I could get ~1 3/4 sets of top quality stainless for one set of the wooden ones featured here, and the wooden ones don’t including shipping.

  • JQFrederick says:

    @ Amoeba
    This explanation/rant at curiousrandonneur.blogspot.com is more explanatory of what I was thinking in terms of fenders “large enough to do the job”.

    “Went for a little spin yesterday through some puddles. Pictured above is the spray from the front tire hitting the mud flap. What you don’t see is street water hitting my shoes…because it mainly doesn’t. And then when I ride behind somebody without fenders on a rainy day, I just think it’s plain discourteous of them. Why should my bike, my handlebar bag and I get muddy? Why should I get dirty glasses and eat grit, etc. because they go fenderless?”

    So, with the Grasshopper fenders above, it’s already recognized that they would need a mudflap on the front and, in my opinion, they also need a further extension forward over the top of the tire to preclude spray from blowing back in your face. The rear fender may prevent the “racer’s stripe” from forming down the middle of your back, but won’t, as pointed out by curiousrandonneur, prevent your spraying anybody following you down a wet road.

    And, aerodynamically, I’m way too old and “fitness-compromised” to have fenders large enough to contain spray be a very large impact on my overall speed. :(

  • John Ferguson says:

    Who knew fender design could be so controversial? The old ‘How many angels can dance on the head of a pin’ question from theologies past comes to mind..

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » March’s Greatest Hits says:

    [...] Planet Bike Grasshopper Fenders(806 views) [...]

  • Benjamin Wojtyna says:

    Full disclosure; I partake in a business that hand makes bamboo fenders, and this is not a plug, merely some additional insight for this discussion.

    These are definitely gorgeous fenders, and the compound curve is quite unique to this type of fender. I imagine they are using a very heavy press, like those used in furniture, to achieve the secondary curve without any rippling or distortion.

    @ Andrew Leinonen: you are quite right about cold forming them, in fact I have had great success not even using a vacuum bag, but solely applied pressure in a jig alone. Of course, this is not applying a secondary curve, which does add a whole bunch of complexity.

    The issues of effectiveness are worth bringing up. The flat fenders do have issue of back-splash, and not covering enough for muck/heavy snow/etc. For me, the aesthetics are enough of a trade off, but if I was doing longer distance touring, honjo’s would be very appealing.

    Sustainability should not be touted as the main point of these, but depending on the manufacturing process, they may be fairly accurate. In my own experience, only glues (while still waterproof) that have safe MSDS sheets combined with all natural oils and waterproof coverings leads to a fairly safe product. Where the bamboo comes from, and the process to get it into sheet form, is honestly the most un-green part of the entire thing (and it can be quite, quite bad depending on multiple factors comments above have brought out). With these costing this much, I wouldn’t be surprised if PB was using a somewhat conscientious source.

    At the end of the day, I am just glad to see a mass-manufacturer bringing some alternative, and good looking, fenders to market. Even if it competes with my day job ;)

  • Darryl Jordan says:

    I wish I could take credit for these fenders, but I can’t honestly. In my zest of livening up my very dark green recumbent, I took a pair of Planet Bike plastic fenders and put wood-printed shelving contact paper on them. Utilizing my skills of making primitive globes in my college intro geography class I made the necessary cuts for the compound curve. Once completed I had the joy of cycling around the City of Madison, WI, the hometown of Planet Bike. I got quite a few complements, even from a local bike store owner. Somehow, when I ride by a PB tent during a city bike event, the reps kinda shake their heads and roll their eyes in jest. They said last summer they were working on a wood fender but didn’t give and details. I said, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Wood/bamboo/contact paper fenders are eye candy. If you have a very good looking ride and want to put some bling on the bike. I see nothing wrong with it. For practicality, I suggest the rider do what’s best to make the ride less aggravating and not worry about the finer points of esthetics.

  • Aae Suzuki says:

    I really like the look of these fenders! I was looking at other bamboo/wooden fenders (civia’s woodys, axiom), but all others are flat, so I am not sure how effective they are. Maybe less so than the PB’s?

    I was wondering if the wheel is 700c? If so, would you think these fenders work for 26″ wheels on my LHT?

 
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