Monday, September 24, 2001
It used to be that fenders were dorky. The only people with a fender on their bike were commuters and freaks. But thanks to companies like T.H.E. (Toby Henderson Products) the worlds changin'.
As with many cycling companies, T.H.E. has borrowed from the motocross industry. Bikes are looking more and more like their motorized brethren so T.H.E. took the next step and added moto style.
Odds are you've all seen a T.H.E. fender on a bike when out riding and there are few that would argue their pretty damn cool looking. So rather than keep stating the obvious that they look cool, I'll give you a little insight into whether they work as good as they look.
T.H.E. offers a variety of fenders to choose from. For our review, we tried out the Duo Sport front and rear fenders.
Installation for the rear was pretty straight forward. Though tightening the nuts that hold on the fender was tough as there isn't enough room for a box wrench and our socket wrench wasn't deep enough to really tighten it up. Also, I wasn't a big fan of the metal u-bolts that wrap around the seat post. The metal could easily scratch your post. If you're concerned about scratches, throw a piece of an old tube around your post to protect it. These are all minor complaints and once it was installed, I never had to deal with it again.
The front was a little more involved. The easiest way to install this was to remove the front tire and then flip the bike upside down on the ground. The fender is secured by a rubber gasket that inserts into the bottom of your steer tube. When you tighten the bolt, the rubber gasket expands holding the fender in tight. I learned the hard way that you should make sure the inside of your steer tube is clean before proceeding with the installation. Part way through a 5 hour ride on rough terrain, the fender shook lose and wedged into my front tire. So I cleaned the inside of the steer tube and re-installed with no further problems.
If you have disc brakes, you may need to slightly alter the cable routing for your front brake as mine was in the direct path of the fender. Fortunately this just involved moving a zip tie.
There's not a lot mechanical to a fender so you could be fairly confident that they would work even before installing them. And as expected, they did a great job reducing the mud that reached the bike and rider.
I did, however continue to have trouble with my front brake cable. As I rode it would work its way between the fender and the frame and rub whenever I turned. This could eventually cause damage to the cable.
Completing the look
You're not truly moto stylin' until you complete the look with a matching number plate. However, unless you're racing downhill, I'd skip the number plate. The number plate is totally out of place on a recreational cross country ride.
You can also tie in the look with a T.H.E. Chainstay protector, Disc brake cover and more.
Moto style may not make you ride faster, but you'll definitely look fast.