You’re riding down the street after a rainstorm has cleared, thinking you’ll be safe from the rain. Next thing you know, SPLOOSH! You hit a puddle and got muddy water all over you. That sucks, and that’s why you’re here now! Let’s get you some bike fenders!
Bicycle fenders are an essential accessory that can greatly enhance your riding experience, especially in adverse weather conditions. They protect you and your bike from mud, water, and road debris, keeping you clean, dry, and safe. This is why they’re also called mudguards.
Nobody likes riding with a wet bum. In this guide, we will dive into the sea of various types of bicycle fenders available, and their practical benefits.
Most importantly we’ll be walking you through how to select the perfect fenders for your specific needs and cycling style.
With your newfound knowledge, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which fender type is right for you and enjoy cycling through puddles worry-free!
The Different Types of Bike Fenders
A fender is a fender, but there are a few different designs that will give you different experiences. Here are the broad categories for you in the market. Many fenders are part of multiple categories, since you can have a DIY full length clip-on fender.
1. Full-Length Fenders for Ultimate Protection
Try these full length fenders: SKS Full Coverage Fenders are some of the best options with different styles and sizes.
These fenders are ideal for individuals who want to arrive at their destination clean and dry, regardless of the weather. They are also popular among cyclists who value long-lasting durability and comprehensive coverage from bad weather.
Full length fenders provide optimal protection in all weather conditions. These traditional fenders extend along the entire length of both wheels, shielding you from splashes, mud, and debris.
Typically made from durable materials like aluminum, plastic, or steel, full-length fenders offer excellent coverage and are ideal for commuting or touring.
They are easy to install and provide comprehensive protection for the rider and the bike.
These are my personal favorites as it gives me ease of mind, knowing that my clothes and face will be protected.
The downside to this is that they generally are heavier and bulkier than the other options available.
2. Clip-On Fenders That Are Easy to Attach
Try these clip on fenders:
- The SKS Raceblade Pro XL: a great set of clip on front and rear fenders. This specific one fits 700 x 25-32. You can search for a different size.
- SKS Veloflexx: similar to the Raceblade but more coverage.
- SKS S-Board Front Fender: a front fender that clips on
- SKS Rear Mudguard (Xtra-Dry for wide tires and S-Blade for skinny tires): This rear fender that snaps on to the seatpost and works well! Watch out for the rear rack though.
These fenders are perfect for cyclists who frequently switch bikes or prefer not to have permanent fender fixtures. They are also a good fit for folks who value the aesthetics of a bike without fenders but want the benefits that fenders offer from time to time.
If versatility and convenience are your priorities, clip-on fenders are a great option. Also known as quick-release or removable fenders, they attach to your bike’s frame using clips or straps, allowing for easy installation and removal.
Clip-on fenders are suitable for a variety of bike types, so you can keep it around for any kind of bicycle you have, including road bikes and mountain bikes.
While they typically may not offer as much coverage as full-length fenders, they still provide reasonable protection from splashes and light debris while being lighter than full-length fenders.
They often are fast enough to attach and detach if you are able to check the weather forecast before leaving the house.
3. The Ass-saver Fender that Folds Flat
Try these ass saver fenders:
- Ass Savers Fendor Bendor: This one can attach to either your seat tube or your seat stem and provides lots of protection since it’s close to the wheel.
- Ass Savers Saddle Mounted (wide and regular): This is the standard minimalistic Ass Savor that connects to your bike seat like magic.
- Ass Savers Speed Mullet: This seems useful if you want to keep the water and mud off of your feet and bottom bracket!
- Ass Savers Mudder Mini for your front wheel. Potentially keeps some mud out of your face, but really doesn’t protect much else.
This particular fender is so iconic, while technically a clip-on, it deserved a category of its own, especially since it stores completely flat. Might as well call it an origami fender, since it attaches with fancy folds instead of any kind of bracket and requires no tools.
This compact fender unfolds flat when not in use and attaches to the saddle rails just by folding. It can be quickly deployed when needed, making it ideal for riders who prefer a hassle-free and portable fender option.
These are great for folks who value weight savings and convenience above everything else, but who would also like to bring the optionality of a flat clip-on fender with them everywhere they go, as this could easily fit in your panniers or saddle bags.
Mountain bikers also like these fenders in extreme mud conditions just to keep the mud from spraying too much (even though they already plan to get dirty). They’re light, simple, and get the job done.
The Ass Saver fender is made from flexible and durable plastic materials, allowing it to conform to different saddle shapes and withstand the rigors of the road.
While it may not offer the same level of coverage as full-length fenders or even most clip on fenders, the Ass Saver excels in its simplicity and convenience, making it a popular choice among urban commuters, road cyclists, and those who prefer an ultra minimalist approach to fender usage.
4. DIY Bike Fenders
5. Disc brake-Specific Fenders (likely not needed)
It’s worth mentioning that some disc brakes can make some fender installations harder by blocking the attachment points. You may find some disc-brake specific fenders because of this.
Clip on fenders and Ass Savor fenders don’t have any interference with disc brakes, and if you wanted to install a fixed fender you can always use a spacer set or large washer (go to your local bike shop or hardware store) to extend the fender connection point to go around the disc brake mechanism.
Not to mention, some modern disc brakes are attached in more convenient places now that allow easier attachments that don’t even need spacers for common rack and fender installations. Take a look at your bicycle before making a purchase or ask your local bike shop if you can’t tell.
Consider the Fender Material
Fenders are usually made of aluminum, plastic, or steel. Fancy materials like carbon fiber are also available if you have a larger budget, but might be overkill.
- Durable and resistant to rust and corrosion
- Can have a sleek appearance, enhancing the bike’s aesthetics
- Can more easily vibrate while riding, potentially affecting ride comfort
- Resistant to rust and corrosion
- Often clip-on, making them more convenient
- May not offer the same level of durability as metal fenders
- Prone to cracking over time
- Can have a less refined appearance compared to other materials
- Tends to make your bike look cheap/ruin the aesthetics. Maybe this is what you want for bike security though…
- Exceptionally strong and durable, capable of handling heavy-duty use
- Resistant to denting, making them suitable for rugged terrains
- Heavier compared to aluminum and plastic fenders
- Requires regular maintenance to prevent rust and corrosion
Do consider these pros and cons in conjunction with your specific cycling needs, budget, and preferences. This will really help you get the type of fender that you will enjoy the most.
How to Choose the Perfect Bicycle Fenders
Selecting the right fenders involves considering your bike type, the typical weather conditions in the place you live, and your personal preferences such as riding style and use case.
If you’re an adventure cyclist that would like some reprieve from puddles after it rains, perhaps the ass saver would work best. Whereas if you’re a bike commuter who prioritizes staying dry, full-length steel fenders would probably be right up your alley.
To help you decide on the perfect fenders for you, here’s a 4 step consideration framework to guide you:
Step 1 – Consider Compatibility
Ensure that the fenders you choose are compatible with your bike’s frame and tire size. Check for any clearance issues, especially for mountain bikes or disc brake-equipped models.
Step 2 – Level of Protection
Determine the level of protection you need based on your riding style and prevailing weather conditions in your area. Full-length fenders provide the most coverage, while clip-on fenders offer flexibility. Often you can get a little bit of both.
Step 4 – Consider the Ease of Installation
Think about how easy it is to install and remove the fenders, particularly if you frequently switch bikes or need to remove them for storage or transportation.
Step 3 – Choose the Material
Look for fenders made from materials capable of withstanding the demands of cycling. Aluminum and plastic are popular choices, striking a balance between durability and weight.
Ride Through Those Puddles With Your New Bike Fenders!
Bicycle fenders are an indispensable accessory for cyclists seeking to enhance their riding experience and stay protected from the elements.
By understanding the different types of fenders available, we hope that you are able to choose the right one for you!
So, gear up with the right fenders and never fear those puddles of water after it rains again! Check out the rain gear guide for more rain protection gear, and this amazing post on how fenders DON’T slow you down!
This guest post was written by Victor Tong, blog writer at Unspokin bike’s blog the Unspokin Movement, a Singapore-based blog whose purpose is to get more people on bikes.