16 December 2007

bikefix Exclusive Review: SKS Race Blade fenders

Mmm... Fenders. Sexy, eh? Not really, but sometimes they're a necessary evil. Last winter, unprecedented snow meant that training for February's 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo had to take place on the road. Of course that snow was melting all over said road, which was wet. Not a big deal if it's just a little bit, but two or three hours' worth of spray in the face gets old. Not to mention the squidge of a sodden chamois providing chilly mid-ride enemas. The less said about that the better.

Now, the nicer your bike is, the less likely it is to have rack and/or mudguard mounts. Also, unless it's a dedicated errand/commuting bike, you probably don't want to clutter it's beautiful lines with permanent mudguards. Still, it can get wet out there. What SKS have done is come up with an easy to attach/detach set of fenders that mount to the fork and seatstays of most road bikes ('cross bikes' stays are too far apart) and provide quite a bit traditional-style (not diving-board type) tire coverage. The wire stays are pretty sturdy and attach to the polycarbonate fender with movable mounts (screws are provided to fix them in place, but I haven't gotten around to it yet).

They work. Despite a tire-hugging (23c max, though I tend to run 25s) profile, they're stable enough that I never experienced any rub. The rubber straps (with holes every 3/4in or so) attach and detach in (literally) seconds, and zip ties can be used. I wish that I'd had the foresight to apply frame protecting stickers where they sit, though, as they have begun to scuff the paint. Beyond that? Not much to say. Simple, functional, light (250g) and somewhat expensive at $60 (we've spotted them for a bit less, though). They even come in a sturdy snap-close polyurethane bag to store them in.



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