Mud guards and bikes that aren’t designed with mud guards in mind

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?

typhoonLike 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.

prestigeHowever, 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.



About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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4 Responses to Mud guards and bikes that aren’t designed with mud guards in mind

  1. Buff & Diane says:

    Living in Seattle, I don’t even bother to remove the fenders in summer from either my singles or tandems. Thus you can spot us on one of the week-long rides as nearly the only ones with fenders.

  2. cbratina says:

    The two Santana tandems, the custom Roberts, and now our Lynskey tandems were all designed with to take fenders and wide tires, in great part because they were designed for cantilever brakes. We put on beautiful Velo Orange hammered fenders in the spring and for any tour. They are also designed to take a 700x32c tire with the fenders, which are much more comfortable and as fast on a tandem as a 25 or 28c. Great recognition that we have to get back to real riding in all weather. Last week ii Belgium we rode several days in moderate rain at 60-65 F with our rain coats and fenders in complete comfort.

  3. James says:

    Most Co-Motion tandems I have seen have plenty of clearance for fenders, and they seem to have taken over the entry/mid-level of the “quality” tandem market (i.e. non-Schwinn/rental bikes), so perhaps fenders are not very rare. We acquired our favorite tandem while living in Boston and it has always had fenders fitted. Now that we are in California fenders are less useful, but they continue to contribute to stoker peace of mind, which is surely worth a bit of extra weight…

  4. Linda Dunn says:

    I found this kind of funny because we got into tandem cycling a few years ago and bought a entry level Co-Motion. My husband insisted it have fenders put on. It actually didn’t pose too much problem but was a bit of a tight fit when we decided to put wider tires on — because we don’t always ride on pavement (gasp!). We also added a kickstand. Now we are geeks even among cyclists especially when we add the panniers for some self supported touring! We have a lot of fun though touring around together on our tandem even if we don’t have the fastest, lightest bike on the road. Some day we will probably own multiple bikes.

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