It took many years after my first bike with fenders (a purple Huffy Dragster 3) to embrace ‘fenders’ again.
The tipping point came while riding with some younger, faster friends on the east side of Mt Tam near Portrero Meadows.
There was a mud puddle the size (and apparent depth) of a normal ‘kidney shaped pool’ (side note – why name a pool after an internal organ? Anyone know of a ‘spleen shaped pool’ ? ‘Gizzard’?)
Ian went left. Brent went right. Consciously, I didn’t want to expand the width of the puddle, by going around, subconsciously if I turned my bars I was going swimming, so I went for the ridge down the middle.
After the 10 meter brownout I emerged spitting primordial ooze and looking like a Girl Scout Thin Mint.
I hung with them the rest of the ride because they couldn’t catch their breath while laughing and we had started at my house so they didn’t have to let me in their cars.
While nursing a gritty Beltane ‘The Frog that ate the World Double IPA’ and figuring that I may have eaten the Frog, I decided that it might be time to revisit the whole fender thing again.
I talked to a bunch of riders with fenders, did hours of online investigation, and perused the racks at all the LBS.
I rode many miles with cohorts whose fenders reacted to bumps by springing up like Pepe Le Peu’s tail or twisting to the side like 50 cents hat.
Research revealed a few insights:
1. It’s all about the mount and the coverage. – It has to stay in place. If it moves around, it’s useless or annoying or dangerous.. Mud flys everywhere – except where the fender blocks it. Everything below the knee gets blasted. Anyone behind you is fair game. Angle your bike for better tailgater coverage.
2. Weight isn’t all that important. – Fenders are for damp, muddy conditions not for PR/KOM efforts.
3. The mounts have to be completely removable and reusable. – I’m not going to leave them or their mounting hardware on year round. They go on after I’ve tasted enough mud and come off right before I’ve had enough.
4. Fenders on a Mt Bike are dorky. – Oz has spoken. Embrace your inner Huffy.
5. Everyone loves blasting through a puddle occasionally.
After months of deliberation, I opted for the SKS Grand M.O.M (MTB Oversized Mudguard) and Grand D.A.D. (Dual Adjust Dirtboard) See: http://www.sks-germany.com
They seem to have the widest coverage.
The MOM uses a strap & lever/cam system. I’ve got 2 full seasons and many hundreds of miles on it and it has only deflected when bashed or laid against something. The angle adjusters have never slipped. I haven’t checked them in 2 seasons. It’s set and forget.
The DAD uses a plug up the steering tube. I recommend that you pop off the orange plastic cover, get the plug just snug, then install the DAD, slide the metal clip into place, crank the allen key down a bit and pop the orange cover back on.
I run the DAD almost level right at the top of my back wheel travel.
The DAD does a great job keeping the mud out of my field of vision, face and off of my clothes. It occasionally slaps the bottom of my down tube but it’s flexible enough that it has never blocked a turn.
The MOM keeps the vast majority of the goo off my back and helps keep my butt dry in wet conditions.
They have held up well and I expect them to last several more years.
Here is what other people have said: http://twentynineinches.com/2013/06/17/sks-grand-d-a-d-grand-m-o-m-splash-guards-quick-review/