In Utah, Halloween usually brings the first snow of winter. With that kind of weather in mind, it seemed like a good idea to share our article on the SKS Longboard fender set. This article was actually written last winter, but the site that it was published on is no longer online. So we’re sharing it again here, since it’s pretty relevant.
Last year, SKS was kind enough to provide us with several sets of their fenders for some of our projects. They even sent some extras, so we decided to offer them to a reader in exchange for allowing us to install them and do a photo shoot. I know, those kind of terms were pretty tough – bring us your bike and we’ll install fenders for free, and then we’ll demand the right to take some photos. Needless to say, it didn’t take long to find a volunteer. Royal showed up on a cold morning with his vintage French-made Motobecane Mirage road bike. For the last six years, he’s been commuting on this and similar road and mountain bikes from the 70’s and 80’s, but a lack of fenders has kept him from riding on the really wet days. We changed that, thanks to the folks at SKS.
Here’s a “before” photo.
First we removed the back wheel to get at the chainstay bridge. A button-head allen bolt was used for extra clearance, as his tires are a tight fit. Then we removed the rear brake hardware so we could attach the upper mount. The mount itself is slotted, to allow for some up and down adjustment. We left it a little loose, since we’d have to remount the wheel and fine tune the fit. With the fender roughly in place, we mounted the v-shaped stays on the rear dropouts. SKS provides plenty of hardware, but I’ve found that sometimes longer bolts or extra washers come in handy, especially if you’re using the holes shared by a rack.
Once the stays were lightly bolted up, we adjusted the fender to follow the curve of the wheel as closely as possible. In order to get a smooth line, the stays needed to be cut. This may be the hardest part, as they’re constructed of strong stainless steel, and you can’t just use cheap wire cutters. We used a cutoff wheel on a cordless Dremel. (Always wear eye protection!) Take your time and measure carefully – you can always remove a bit more, but you can’t add any material if you cut them too short.
After the stays were cut, we added the plastic caps and threaded them into the clamp. This gives them a very tidy look, although the dexterity required to thread them through and bolt them on was a bit much for my freezing fingers. (At less than 30 degrees, my DSLR refused to fire after being out in the cold for more than 20 minutes, so most of the photos were taken with my phone) A bit of thread-locker may not be a bad idea, once they are all adjusted. Just don’t use the permanent kind.
After the rear fender, the front was a piece of cake. There is a single mounting point at the brake, and the stays do the rest. We took our time in finding the best spot for the mount, as older front brakes have curved washers on either side of the fork, and some of the other washers have matching grooves to keep them from twisting. The stays bolted right on, and just needed a bit of trimming for another perfect fit. Speaking of fit, there’s a good chance that the stays may need a bit of bending for proper alignment. Just loosen and tighten the hardware a few times until it’s right.
SKS advertises the Longboard as having some of the best coverage available, and that’s no lie. You can see in the photos just how low they go, especially in the front. Royal took them out for their maiden voyage in the rain, and advised that they performed flawlessly. His commute is only six miles each way, and the addition of the SKS Longboards means more days of riding each year, as wet roads are less of a concern now. While fenders won’t stop the rain from coming down on you, they’ll certainly keep it from being sprayed back up.
Here’s Royal in the “after” photo, just itching to go for a ride. The silver fenders complement his bike very well, adding class along with practicality.
Total installation time was well over an hour, but that’s including plenty of small talk, time for photos, running back and forth for tools, and a few short coffee breaks for me. Check out SKS-Germany.com for their full line of fenders as well as other cycling accessories. They’ve probably got a fender set to fit just about any bike, even yours.
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the SKS Longboard Fender Set for free from SKS-Germany, in consideration for review publication