19 October, 2007

Which Fenders? And Other Questions.

Though we are in a severe drought here on the East Coast, I know that it's been raining out west. I know because the most common e-mailed question we've been getting lately is, "Which fenders will best fit my bike?" Often the e-mail includes a photo of the bike. Unfortunately it's hard to answer that questions without a few measurements.

The basic rule in fender fitting is that the fender should be at least 8mm wider than the tire; 10mm is better. So a 35mm fender will fit up to a 26-27mm tire; a 43mm will cover a 32-35mm; 45 covers 38mm, etc. The reason for this clearance is that otherwise little pebbles, sticks, and other debris that are thrown up by your tire will get lodged between the fender and tire.

Next, we need to determine if the fender will fit on your frame. The width of the fender is measured on the outside and we need to check if it will fit in the brakes, in the fork crown, and in between the seat stays. To check the brakes simply apply them, so the pads touch the rims, and measure the width between the arms. Also check that you have at least 10mm vertically from the tire to the brake. Next check the width and height of the fork crown. Finally check that the seat stays are far enough apart and that the brake bridge is at least 10mm above the tire. You may have noticed that I've not mentioned the chain stays. Those are easy because you can always trim the bottom of the fender to clear.

Of course metal fenders are flexible and can be bent, so if the fit is close you can always squeeze the fender in a few millimeters at the offending spot.

As for fender length; that's easy, get the longest fenders possible. Long fenders keep you a lot drier. And if you live in the Northwest, get a mudflap for the front fender too. If you ride brevets or in pacelines, your fellow riders will appreciate a rear flap as well.

I've already posted about how to install fenders here.

Now on to other common questions:

When will Ostrich handlebar bags arrive? I wish I knew. I bug my Japanese agent about this every week and he just say that they are a small shop and are totally swamped, "but it won't be too much longer". The good news is that the new production run will have clear map cases and a strap for the upright loop on the rack. Update: Just got an e-mail. They are finally finished and on a ship heading our way. George-san, you must read the blog!

When will Portuer racks be in stock? They are at the polishing shop now and will ship to us in about a week, I hope.

What about Courier racks? The builder is finishing them right now and says we should have them in about 3 weeks.

When can I buy a Strida folding bike? The container of bikes is due to hit port on October 22, so we should have them 1-2 weeks later. I'll write a little review of my Strida soon.

How about Soma silver reverse brake levers? They arrived today!


Aaron said...

With regard to the fluted 43mm Honjos, can you clarify what the difference in length is between the "old" and the "new"? The site says the new front fenders are approx. 90cm, but I seem to recall that the "old" fluted Honjos were something like 93cm.

Velo Orange said...

Aaron, Some of the fluted 43mm fenders are 90cm. The thing with Honjo fenders is that they are totally custom made and each batch can vary depending on what the importers orders. The "regular fenders" are bought from other importers, not from Honjo, so the length can vary.

I suspect that this last batch of regular Honjos were actually made in the same run as our extra-longs and Honjo simply left them long, but didn't drill them.

Lesli Larson said...

Love my new VO 650b honjos. Thought the hammertone finish would be a touch over the top but now i'm in love with that look. BUT--you should see if you could get the smooth/fluted version in 650b as well.

Also, on my bike, fenders are so extralong that a front flap would actually drag along the ground.

Now--just need to find a cool retro blinky light with aluminum housing to mount to the back of the fender.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of getting an Ostrich bag that opens the "right" way? (toward the rider)
It's SO convenient to have a bag that opens toward me. I will probably try to modify the one I have.

Anonymous said...

Do you have measurements for the porteur and courier racks? And maybe recommended weight tolerances?
The prototypes you have up really look splendid.
Thanks for getting them put together.

Utah Curmudgeon said...

Any chance of the VO fenders being offered in 43mm widths anytime soon?

Also, will you be offering fluted fenders in narrower widths?

Lesli Larson said...

On the Ostrich bags--are there hack solutions for attaching these to a mini front rack without a decaleur?

I know the mini 86 Berthoud mounts via a toe strap running through bottom of bag (sans decaleur). Wondering if their might be a comparable solution for the Ostrich which would not require slicing into the bag itself?

Velo Orange said...

Anon, There will probably never be a rear opening Ostrich bag, but we are still working on VO handlebar bags.

Monts; I'll put measurements of all the racks up in the store descriptions soon.

Glenn, I don't think we'll have a 43mm VO fender, but we might eventually have one around 38-40mm (for 28mm-30mm tires) and we'll probably have a 50mm. The cost of tooling for various fender sizes is considerable, so I'm trying to limit the sizes to those for which tooling is already available.

Likewise, there is no tooling available for narrower fluted fenders.

Lesli, The new run of Ostrich bags can be attached via a strap on the bottom and a loop over the rack upright.

Anonymous said...

Let's see those silver brake levers!

Aaron said...

I like the idea of a 38-40 VO fender for 28-30mm tires!

Anonymous said...

has anybody used those Dutch porter racks that attach to the headtube-downtube area? It seems like the handling would be more stable than loading down the steering/fork part of the frame. It would be cool to try one but they're made of thick-wall steel.

Anonymous said...

I just attached the Viva saddle bag mounts and they work great I did have to shim them though. Also the elksk in bar warps are the best I just love them. I got your V-O baguette in and the size is perfect. When will the croissant bag be in do you know. I love your site

Anonymous said...

Just a heads up on the Soma levelers (at least those I have). They won't fit the smaller diameter upright bars without some serious modifying with a file.

Unknown said...

The silver levers also do not fit the Nitto Mustache bars either. I talked to Soma/IRD at Interbike about this and they said they would try and redesign it. So far without any work on our end they fit the SOMA Mustache Bars and Nitto time trial bars. Dia-Compe (who makes them) told us to just take off some of the expander plates and then it should fit, but that seems a bit fishy to me. Must have been something lost in the translation.
On a side note I am really excited about the new front cargo racks. I cannot wait for them to show up.

RMHampel said...

You've mentioned (and shown prototype photos of) the VO handlebar bags. Do you have anything like an ETA?


Velo Orange said...

Neil, The site says, "They fit bars with internal bar end diameters of 19.6 to 20.6mm. They fit Belleri bars and all chromo Nitto bars. They will also so fit both models of the new VO/Nitto Promenade bars.

Ron, Those handlebar bags have been the most difficult product to develop that I've worked on. One company after another has given up or endlessly delayed. I don't know when they will arrive, but they are still promised.

Velo Orange said...

Sharon, The manufacturer of the VO bags is having a little technical problem so the croissant bags are probably still a week or two away.

Jim G said...

"The basic rule in fender fitting is that the fender should be at least 8mm wider than the tire; 10mm is better. "

Is that the INSIDE or OUTSIDE width of the fender? For metal fenders with rolled edges, there can be quite a difference between these two values...

Velo Orange said...

Jim, fenders, and all measurements related to them, are usually done at the outside.