Well, last week, with the way we’ve been getting rain, I realized that I needed to either get comfortable riding in the rain or get fat. For a couple of days of rain, I don’t pull out fenders, but after eight days of near-daily rain, well, I went into my garage and got out some SKS fenders that I’ve probably done a pick on some years in the past.
Everyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest can stop shaking their heads at me, okay? I’ve lived and ridden in a number of different areas and almost nowhere I’ve lived did I know anyone who kept a bike set up with fenders on a year-round basis, which means that if they owned fenders, they had to pull them out and mount them when they needed them, which can be a pain.
My pick, therefore, is one of SKS Germany’s nearly 60 different models of fenders—yes, they make 50-some different flavors of fenders for bicycles. I’ve chosen the Raceblade Pro XL fenders. They are listed as being compatible with tires from 25mm up to 32mm wide, but I’m running them on a gravel bike with 38mm tires and only occasionally get a rub of fender on tire after hitting a bump.
I’ve chosen these, as opposed to any of the 50+ other models because they are so stupidly easy to mount. Both the front and the rear fenders have only two mounting points—on the fork blades and on the seatstays, and they use what are essentially rubber bands that wrap around the fork blades or seatstays to secure.
They have a few different adjustment points so the angle and distance from the tire can be dialed to perfection. Be careful with the 2.5mm bolt heads, though, they can be stripped. And I’ll add that these fenders are long enough—565mm front and 732mm rear—that a bit of care must be exercised in positioning the fenders the first time.
Last weekend, I went out for two hours on some dirt roads and paths near me. I started getting dressed during a lull in the rain, but by the time I got rolling, it was sprinkling again and by the time I got to the dirt it was a full downpour. The next hour and 45 minutes went like that, just a steady downpour.
I’ll say that my shoes did not get especially wet. They weren’t dry, but I didn’t pour water out of them. What really matters to me when I’m riding in the wet is my butt. I want my butt dry. I don’t want to wear a wet diaper, and in that, the SKS Raceblade Pro XL worked masterfully. I’ll also mention that the rear fender is long enough that anyone riding behind a set of these won’t end up with a faceful of sand or spray.
They go for $74.99 and are very easy to find if your bike shop doesn’t already have them in stock.