I’m a big fan of fenders. I’ve had them on almost every commuting bike I’ve owned since the 1980’s. Besides helping to keep the rider clean and dry in wet weather, they help to keep road grime off of the bike, reducing the amount of maintenance and cleaning required while also prolonging drivetrain and component life. Personally, I like to keep fenders on year ’round as they also protect the bike and rider from lawn and agricultural runoff in the summer.

Civia Loring Fender
Civia Loring Fender

Honjo Fender
Honjo Fender

Planet Bike Fender
Planet Bike Fender

Civia Bryant Fender
Civia Bryant Fender

Brompton Fender
Brompton Fender

How about you? Do you run fenders on your transpo bikes? If so, do you leave them on all year or do you remove them during the dry season?

Do you run fenders on your commuter/utility bike(s)?

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33 Responses to “Fenders”

  • Aaron C says:

    I live in New England. What’s a “dry season”?

  • Ira Kinro says:

    I have a reason to put fenders on my bike. Even in San Diego, it rains sometimes. Once they are on, I have no reason to remove them.

  • Daniel M says:

    Here in Northern California, rain is basically unheard of near the coast from mid-June to mid-October and often much later. That said, roads can be wet for a variety of reasons, including heavy fog (which I wish were unheard of), runoff, stream crossings on trails, etc. That plus overall laziness keep my fenders on year-round. I tried Planet Bike’s full coverage removable fenders, but have returned to bolt-ons, which will stay bolted on for the forseeable future.

  • Andrew says:

    Only my ‘fun’ bikes (mountain bike and road bike) don’t have fenders. I’m never going to ride them if the weather is awful, but I definitely don’t understand why people would want to inflict fender-less utility bikes on themselves…

  • Ian Hoffman says:

    I live in the desert of SE Washington, what’s \wet weather\? ;)

    Joking aside, I do have fenders on most of my bikes, and all but one stays on all the time. Primarily thinking of my XtraCycle rig, I love the fenders on there. Even added a center mudflap behind the cranks to cut down on the spray going to the rear that the front fender/flap misses.

    And while it does see some wet roads, the fenders see most of their use in the summer, riding through irrigation runoff from residential and commercial sprinkler systems.

  • bongobike says:

    Some 20 years ago I went to buy a set of fenders at a highly-regarded roadie shop, and the employee asked me, “What do you want fenders for, man?” After some searching, he finally found a used set of ESGEs in one of those boxes destined for parts “nobody wants”. I bought them cheap. I bought my first Brooks saddle, a B-17, the same way, dug out of a clearance bin, paid like $15 for it. Blissful ignorance…

  • Tucker says:

    Oregon = fenders

  • Elliott @ Austin on Two Wheels says:

    I say if it doesn’t have fenders, it’s not really a transportation bike. Same goes for lights.

  • David Bolles says:

    April in PA = FENDERS!! I wish I had the removable ones but, I have to remind myself I’m just a wanna be roadie. I have no good reason to take the fenders off. Will my long weekend ride be THAT much faster without them? No.

    I have the good ol’ planet bike fenders on. I need to create a new splashguard for the front. That one doesn’t help much…

  • Tommy Douglas Ray says:

    I was thinking, just the other day, that I might as well take my fenders OFF for the winter. Out here on the frozen prairie, winter IS the dry season. It’s a rare day between late October and March that there is any melting going on.

    I think we have an easier time of it, commuting-wise, than do those of you in New (or Old !) England or Portland/Seattle/Vancouver; I’d rather ride in dry -35C weather than in wet and slushy -5C.

  • Holly says:

    You, Alan, and my first season of winter cycling in Chicago are the two reasons I am compelled to put fenders on my road bike. I rode this past winter with some cheapies on my 80s MTB. What a difference they made.

    I’m fixated on Honjos for my road bike and I’m trying to save up money–not so much for the fenders, but to pay the mechanic and buy plenty of beer for him as I’m sure it’s going to be a difficult job.

  • Bob Bryant says:

    Washington State = Fenders; most recently recycled some 35 year old steel Motobecane fenders for my Astra commuter. Also installed some new Planet Bike fenders on another refurb. Son’s bike has some plastic clip-on fenders on his drop bar MTB, those work great as well.

  • Tyler says:

    I love my Planet Bike Cascadia Fenders and I can’t think of any reason to remove them during the summer months. I rather like they way they make my bike look, they don’t rattle or get in the way and any weight they add could be more than dealt with by me losing a little stubborn belly fat.

  • Sherrill Poland says:

    I don’t have fenders on my bike, although I do love the look , and I can see the benefits of having them . I have been thinking about putting some on, so I might just have to go do that. Love the pictures.

  • Scott says:

    After a few years of saying “Why would I ever need fenders in Southern California?”, I had a very rainy (for us) couple of months last year and put some VO stainless fenders on my LHT.

    They made a difference in the wet, but an even bigger difference during the dryer times. When I found myself too lazy to take them off, I found that the LHT drivetrain stayed dramatically cleaner than my other bikes, even though I rode it more often and in the same places.

    We may not have tons of rain here, but we do have lots of sand, grit, dust, and dirt … not just at the beach, but EVERYWHERE. The fenders are remarkable at keeping the mess from getting into the chain, chainrings, and rear cogs. I do maintain my bikes well, and enjoy it for the most part … but the one thing I don’t care for is cleaning a dirty, gritty drivetrain. After seeing what a set of fenders do to prevent (or at least minimize) that, I now have them on ALL of my bikes.

    Fenders … not just for wet stuff!

  • Brandon says:

    What size honjo fenders do you run on the Sam? And what size tire are they?

  • Bill O. says:

    What’s a “dry season”?

  • Matt DeBlass says:

    There isn’t much of a dry season here in New Jersey either, we get a decent amount of rainfall year round. Even when we don’t, a lot of the multi-use paths in the area are gravel or dirt, so the fenders sometimes stop a few rocks from getting launched off my tires.

  • John B. says:

    The other day I picked up a new bike for my boss from the LBS, brought it home to make sure the LBS was good in setting it up (lubing / greasing). I took it for a test ride and was like, “WHAT IS THAT NOISE?!?” and it was small pebbles and sand hitting the downtube against the thin-walled aluminum Cannondale. …I use full fenders on all of my bikes and I just hadn’t heard this abrasive noise in so long. But yes, the benefits of fenders expand beyond poor weather conditions and often aesthetically they fill out a long wheelbased bike like nothing else.

  • voyage says:

    My wife carpools with other scientists. When it rains (infrequent) I walk or drive. No agricultural or lawn runoff. We’re totally, bicycally that is, fender-free. And loving it!

  • Doug Kim says:

    I’ve been looking for a set of full fenders for my road bike, and pretty much nothing will fit with my 700×25 tires. The other day I saw a road bike with Crud-brand fenders, which seemed very intriguing, very lightweight and yet still full coverage. I have SKS race blades on the bike now, and they just aren’t adequate for Seattle. Curious to know if anyone has experience with the Cruds. So to speak.

  • Shane Griffin says:

    I’m on the wet west coast of BC, Canada. It rains so often all year round that it makes me wonder when I see bikes without some type of fenders. Same as talking to cyclists who been riding for 2+ years and don’t have proper rain gear. -shakes head-

  • Ben Dembroski says:

    I’m not the first person to say it,

    “Fenders, because it’s probably not water”.

  • Alan says:


    “What size honjo fenders do you run on the Sam? And what size tire are they?”

    The fenders are 43mm hammered, the tires are 33.3mm Riv Jack Brown Blues.


  • john bokman says:

    I have always used plastic fenders (SKS and Planet Bike). Both are decent. I’m now convinced I’m going to splurge and get fenders with more coverage and overall rigidity, which means steel or aluminum. (I have a pair of SKS “Longboard” fenders now, and although they are long enough, they are not rigid enough; I would not recommend them.)

    Anyone out there have opinions on Berthoud vs. Velo Orange?

  • Ira Kinro says:

    Opinions on Berthoud vs. Velo Orange? No. I like Woody’s, and the the hammered Honjo’s are ridiculously beautiful in person – even more so than in the photos.

  • jnyyz says:

    I’ve been very happy with my Berthouds. Stainless fenders are bombproof. They are strong enough that I can rest the hook on a bus bike rack on the fender with no worries. I have just put some aluminum Honjos on another bike, and although they look pretty, they seem much more delicate. I’ll see how they stand up.

    Also, (shameless plug) I just won second prize in the Planet Bike Bike Fender Haiku contest!

  • Alan says:


    “Also, (shameless plug) I just won second prize in the Planet Bike Bike Fender Haiku contest!”

    Cool! Congrats…

  • Cassidy Vare says:

    First, in answer to the main question, I have (Honjo) full fenders on two of my four bikes, year-round. They would be impractical on my 29″ mountain bike and my Surly Traveler’s Check (it already barely fits in the travel case).

    Re: Ira Kinro– At my shop (Bespoke Bicycles, in Brooklyn NY), we install a lot of fenders. Although it doesn’t really show in pictures, I think the Berthouds are some of the prettiest once they’re on a bike, and I like the way the strut hugs the fender as it passes over. Feels stronger. Honjos are a close second, but there are more styles available. Velo Orange is a distant third–they really are not finished as nicely as the others. Of course, it’s hard to argue with the price.

  • Pete says:

    I have fenders on both bikes, full time. I recently switched to VO aluminum fenders on my Hillborne, after trashing my (now un-obtainium) Berthoud/SKS fenders trying to make a “modification.” I like the VO fenders a lot.
    My commuter bike runs PB plastic fenders which are great and stand up to the abuse they get in crowded bike racks.

  • clever-title says:

    I have SKS and Planet Bike fenders on my commuters.
    I’d like a set of black flat ones like the ones one the KHS Urban Uno for my single-speed, but I can’t find any aftermarket ones.
    Has anyone seen black flat mudgard-style fenders (either alloy or bamboo) available as aftermarket add-ons?

  • Lawrence Chin says:

    @doug kim

    I use Crud MkIIs on my two road bikes, both run Vitorria Rubino Pro 23c. For both, the front fender fits fine.

    For bike 1, I am able to use the full coverage piece that guards the front derailleur, that setup works extremely well, I have cycled in a full downpour, the parts that got dirty were the brake pad area and seat stay.

    For bike 2, the clamp on front derailleur does not allow me to use the full coverage attachment, so I use the shorter piece, the result is that dirt gets around the bb area.

    For water spray on myself, they work well enough, although if you go fast through a puddle, your shoes might still get sprayed a little.

    Also, 25c tires might be close, so it depends on the brand of tire.

  • Doug Kim says:

    @Lawrence, Thanks very much! I think they’re definitely worth a try, I’d love to get some better coverage, especially on the rear tire.

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