By Ken Bonner
Price: about $56 retail
Source: REI, other retail, wholesale bike suppliers
Weight: 180 grams (6.3 ounces)
How obtained: Purchased from LBS
RBR advertiser: no
Tested: approx. 1500 km (900 miles); 65 hours
Road bikes look best without fenders. Road bike riders feel their best when they are not covered with wet road crud. We who live in the U.S. Northwest or the Canadian “Wet” Coast have a close relationship with wet-weather riding,
including being covered in lots of road crud.
For speed of installation and removal, such clip-on fenders as Planet Bike and SKS do a fine job. However, my experience with both of these fenders is that although they provide a modicum of protection from crud, they still have a way to go to provide
real protection to the feet, the front derailleur and anyone pace-lining behind the front rider. With both of them, I ended up removing the front clip-on as I found that the correct alignment was difficult to maintain over a long distance. I was forever
stopping to adjust the fender to keep it from rubbing against the tire.
A couple of years ago, I accidentally came across the website for Roadracer fenders. They looked good, but were unavailable. I forgot about them until a fellow rider mentioned these great plastic fenders for road bikes with tight clearance between tires
and frame. They were available at my local bike store, so I promptly purchased them.
I like to ride fast, both short distances and ultra-distances up to 2000 km (1200 miles). I don’t like carrying extra weight or items that increase air resistance. So, as often as I can, I ride with no fenders, or if I must use fenders, install one over
the rear wheel. With Roadracer mk2 fenders installed, I no longer have a need to strip the fenders off the bike. Unless you really look closely, it’s hard to tell whether the Roadracer mk2 fenders are installed. No more crud-covered booties and tights!
Three cheers for Mr. CRUD (Peter Tomkins) for bringing these wonderful, British-designed fenders to the market.
If yourbike is designed to fit tires up to 25 mm wide, (I’ve used them with 23 & 25 mm tires on both my LITESPEED and custom-built BERG) and you have a minimum of 4 mm of space between the tire and frame/fork, then you can install Roadracer mk2 fenders.
If you are a logical, patient and mechanically-minded cyclist, then installation will not be too much of a challenge. This is especially so if you read the instructions, organize all the parts and view the on-line installation video.
A couple of useful hints on the YouTube video:
— For safety reasons, use two O-rings at each attachment point to the bike/forks
— For an impossibly tight clearance between the frame and the rear wheel, there is a cute trick using a hack-saw (not on your frame!)
If you are somewhat short of time, or not so good at installing items on your bike, then the quickest solution is to ask your local bike shop to install them for you. As a good customer of my LBS, the shop installed these fenders as part of the selling
price. For safety reasons, I added some stick-on reflective tape to the rear fender.
When advised that replacement parts are required (like when I had a small branch catch between my front tire and the front fender, destroying the fender), Mr. CRUD will send replacement parts with no charge for freight costs). Note: in the preceding example,
had the fender not broken, as it was designed to do, the branch could have jammed in my forks and sent me over the handlebars.
I also had the experience of the plastic bolt and nut that connects the front fender stay to the front fender fall off. I removed the stay and finished my ride with only the remaining stay holding the fender in alignment. The design is so good that the
fender stayed aligned for the remaining 60 km/36 miles of my ride on a bumpy road. Some Loctite should prevent this from occurring in the future.
Through my own error, I destroyed most of my rear Roadracer mk2 fender (improper loading of my saddlebag) on an unsupported 1000-km (620-mile) timed event from Portland, Oregon, to Glacier National Park in Montana. In seconds, and without tools, I ripped
off the rear of the destroyed fender and the rear stays and was on my way.
The Bottom Line
If you are exclusively a sunny-day rider who has a willing support person available to come and get you if it rains, or you always wanted to be Pig-Pen — the dirtiest character in the Peanuts cartoon comic strip — then don’t use fenders. If you want
a crud-free experience on mucky days, then Roadrace mk2 full coverage fenders are a good choice.
Ken Bonner is a former marathon runner and renowned ultracyclist who holds the course record for the British Columbia Rocky Mountain 1200k and several UltraMarathon Cycling Association point-to-point records. Retired and living in Victoria, British Columbia, he rides about 18,000 miles a year.