When I was spec’ing my custom Rivendell bicycle, Belle, I did not plan on fenders as I have a job that requires frequent travel. I just couldn’t be bothered to uninstall/reinstall fenders every time I took my bicycle to a new city (note: Belle has S&S couplers).
Right around the time my frame was being built-up at Riv HQ, things changed for the “better,” and my travel requirement dropped from the 80% I was at to around 5%. All of a sudden I could envision the bicycle in fenders to accentuate her beautiful lines. I bought into the idea and thought it would be smart ‘protection.’ To make the decision easier, my work schedule negated any immediate need for decoupling the couplers. So, after short deliberation I called RivHQ and asked them to install a set of fenders. The SKS Longboard fenders had just been brought into stock rotation, and at the time, I was completely enamored by the idea of cream fenders. I said,
Rivendell gave it a shot but could not achieve the ideal fender line. ”You see,” they explained, “the SKS Longboards are actually meant for 700c wheels, and you are running 26″ wheels.” (Aside: It was either 650B or 26″ for my proportions, and I went with 26″ as it is more “internationally friendly.” Who knows where my travels might take me?)
They subsequently suggested the SKS Silver Fenders, which came in 26″. At the time, they must have only had the 55 mm width fenders in stock, and with my relatively thin tire choice (Panaracer Pasela Tourguards in 26 x 1.25″, ~ 32 mm wide), the tires didn’t “fill in” the fenders adequately. They gave the cream longboards another shot, and through some crazy elfin magic, they made it work!
Now enter the present time …
As I had mentioned in my previous post, I had found myself in somewhat of a pickle. I just installed the 26 x 1.75″ Compass Tires, but unfortunately, when the tire was pumped up to the appropriate (and modest) PSI of 30, my rear wheel wouldn’t spin under the narrow SKS Longboard fenders. Understandably so, as even the most skilled mechanic would be hard pressed to fit a 42mm width tire into a 45mm fender.
At first, my dude and I thought that turning the axle alignment screws inside the horizontal dropouts might give us enough wiggle room. No such luck. Then, Shishkabike suggested that perhaps I can get a smaller/shorter spacer, and that might provide for enough clearance for the wheels to turn.
That probably would have worked, but I stalled and stalled, and Shihskabike felt bad for insisting on the Compass Tires purchase. He decided to graciously gift me a set of 50mm Honjo Hammered fenders made for 650b wheels (a bit larger than 26″ wheels). I happily accepted. (Aside: They are now on sale at Velo Orange).
When they came in, I slightly deflated my tires, and promptly rolled the bicycle and new fenders to my LBS, Skate Escape. (There are certain bicycle maintenance activities, especially those that require drilling, that I leave to the professionals, in spite of what Shishkabike thinks I am capable of).
We opened them up, and they were rather light weight, contrary to what I expected. I have not compared the weight between the SKS Longboards and the Honjo Hammered fenders, but the aluminum Honjo’s actually felt lighter to hold.
This was the first time I took Belle into this particular bike shop. The mechanic recognized the quality of my “high-end” bicycle, and was completely taken by her. It was slightly amusing for me, because most mechanics don’t give me the “street cred” I deserve for my knowledge of bicycles (which is still limited and growing, but still greater than the average Joe or Jane). He soon came to realize that I know what time it is (local lingo for “I know what I am talking about”).
He got to work immediately, and much to my relief, he was very careful during the entire installation process. He mentioned that this was the most complicated fender installation that he had ever undertaken. Although that was a bit disconcerting, he made up for it with his careful nature. He then said:
“You know what they say, ‘measure twice, drill once’”
And that is exactly what he did. He installed the rear fender and measured the drill points exactly (on the seat-stay bridge and chain-stay bridge, I believe).
As you can see, the Honjo fenders are quite an upgrade, almost like jewelry!
After the more difficult rear fender installation, he moved onto the front wheel. Despite the lack of drilling, this portion of the install was actually a bit more problematic. We were working with a fender that was designed for a slightly larger wheel, and there is only one set of fender stays on the front fender to draw it close to the tire. He ended up getting ‘close enough’.
Although the fender line isn’t perfect, I am happy with the end result. And finally with the Honjo’s installed, my bicycle looks like a real Rivendell!