Riding to work through winter this year has been a challenge. Once the wet season hit, the first thing I did was hang up my road bike, switching over to my 29″ mountain bike full time. To make the frequent rain bearable I installed the Blackburn Central Full Fender Set. Full fenders weren’t always available for frames with high volume tires, much less disc brakes. Having discs and big slicks make for a comfortable ride and kept stopping power intact in all conditions. Combined with the full coverage of the Central Fenders made my 8 mile trek to work bearable.
The Blackburn Central Full Fenders stays are shaped to work around disc brake calipers and feature a six inch long “shower curtin” on both the front and rear. Available in sizes to fit the most common road as well as mountain bikes, and the 29″ x 2.35″/ 700c x 60mm version was a solid fit for my steel Wolfhound frame.
They also feature hardwear on the front fender designed breakaway. A riding buddy recently shared a story where his fender jammed into his front wheel catapulting him straight to the ground face first, making me appreciative of this safety feature.
Installing the Central Full Fender Front and Rear Set
Getting the fenders on my bike took a bit of thinking; a custom frame designed for off-road use, my retro flavored Wolfhound lacks fender mounts, (or seat and stay bridges) so a bit of creativity was required when it came to installing fenders. The secret to installing full fenders on bikes not designed for them: zip ties. Lots and lots of zip ties and band clamps. Although the Central Full Fenders include hardware, fender bridges and stay clamps, creativity is required when installing them on non-standard bikes.
During my heyday as a bike mechanic years ago, I served on the service floor of River City Bicycles, one of the preeminent bike shops in Portland, renown for prowess in fitting fenders, so I’m no stranger to custom fitting fenders on bikes. To suspend the fenders without a seat stay bridge I added a few holes to run the zip ties through and that did the trick.
On the Road
Riding with full fenders on road bikes can be tricky at low speeds. Personally, I’m not a fan of using traditional road bikes for commuting- they’re simply not designed for it. Cross and gravel bikes fare much better, but with toe overlap already an issue on many bikes, I find mountain bikes converted for use as daily drivers to perform significantly better when the weather goes to hell.
I’ll be going back to a slightly smaller tire next season, as the budget Michelins I’ve been running are disappointing: heavy and slow plus I still get flats. Riding in the rain is still a miserable affair too, but I never once had to contend with water pelting my feet or backside thanks to the full coverage of the Blackburn fenders.
Although my jury-rigged setup can be a bit noisy at times, (I’ve yet to experience a set of full fenders that didn’t rattle on rough terrain) and I went through a set of cheapo zip-ties while hopping curbs, for die-hard commuters willing to brave the elements, the Blackburn models are a great choice.
The Blackburn Central Full Fender Front and Rear Set lists for $49.99. Check ’em out at Blackburndesign.com