This is essentially a follow-on to my mud guard article from last week.
The older and wiser I become the more I come to realize that I may have been, in effect, chasing windmills for the past 40 years. Say what?
Like many people our age who have been life-long cyclists, we began cycling when most of the bikes we actually rode were designed to support all-weather transportation needs, not UCI or USCF sanctioned races. As such they came fitted with mud guards (aka, fenders), kickstands and rear racks or even baskets. This made hauling our book bags and musical instruments to school rather easy and also allowed us to use the same bicycle on our paper routes where we hauled 50lbs of newspapers up and down hills on our coaster brake equipped, 45lb Schwinn Typhoons.
However, for those of us who continued to cycle even when we had the option of driving a car, cycling as a sport demanded a different kind of machine. Gone were the kickstands, racks and mud guards that gave them utility and kept us somewhat dry even when the roads were wet. Anything that added weight or didn’t increase the bike’s performance wasn’t going to make the cut.
So it went for 40 years to the point where now as I look at our collection of road bikes and tandems I’m fairly sure there’s not a single one that’s really designed to provide sufficient clearance for mud guards, even the ones that have braze-ons for mud guards. Well, more to the point, it’s really just the front wheel that can’t be fitted with a mud guard given the very tight clearances around the inside of the fork crown and through the opening in the modern day compact caliper.
In fact, while the Reynolds Ouzo Pro Tandem fork on our Precision Triplet was probably wide enough at the fork crown to accept a 28mm mud guard, the DuraAce compact caliper wasn’t. Thankfully, the Race Blade Long front mud guard that I’d purchased with the Calfee in mind was a good fit… a tight fit, but a good fit.
The rear mud guard installation was also a bit of a challenge in that I had to reform the mud guard stay’s around the rear disc brake. But, all-said-and-done, it made for a pretty solid installation and a good fit.