14 May, 2010

Rinko Fenders

I've written about Rinko in the past. "The basic idea is that if you put your bike in a "rinko-bukhuro" (a lightweight nylon bike bag) you can take it with you in the passenger compartment of a Japanese train. Since Japanese trains are fast, punctual, and plentiful, this seems a fantastic way to tour various areas of the country in one visit."

To facilitate Rinko, Honjo makes fenders that have removable sections. We ordered a sample set of 50mm hammered Honjo fenders early last year. They finally arrived. We had planned on stocking them, but ever increasing Honjo prices mean that they would now sell for over $250. That's a lot for a pair of fenders and I doubt we could sell enough to justify importing them. Still, I thought you'd like to see a couple of photos.

This set is designed for a bike with a front rack. The front fender is one piece and, presumably, will be attached in the normal manner and to the front rack. The rear fender has a quick release that allows the back section to be removed. Thus, when the fender section and both wheels are removed, the bike fits into a fairly compact Rinko bag (or into a Japanese closet.)

In addition to the joint in the fender, the Rinko fenders have special hardware with wing nuts at the dropout eyelets, so the stays can be easily removed without tools.

Before you ask, Perry already bought this set for his upcoming Banjo Camper frame. And, no, they cannot be special ordered unless you want 50 sets. Sorry.


Gunnar Berg said...

It appears that with a little design thinking, a hacksaw and a little trick sheet metal work, any fend could come apart.

Joe B said...

Can you explain how Rinko headsets differ from a standard threaded setup?

Anonymous said...

One vote for importing them!
I'd buy a set in 650b-52ish.
Maybe you could do a VO version? Or a conversion kit?

Joe B said...

What about just stocking the special Honjo hardware kits?

z-man said...

Good luck trying to Rube stainless fenders.

Garth said...

those were my thoughts too.

THOUGH, having sheet metal experience, this type of work shouldn't be underestimates- it often looks easier than it is, because you need to understand the nature of sheet metal. And aluminum is a bit trickier than steel.

Still.... can something be worked out?

Raiyn said...

I'd be all for a VO version in a couple different sizes.

Sizes to fit 26 x 1.75 and 27 x 1 1/4 would likely garner you 3 sales of the 26 and one 27 from me. I can all but guarantee you'd get some notices from other websites and the gadget bikers among us.

Anonymous said...

These are really cool. Thanks for sharing. I am glad to see you draw the line at selling some items.

Unknown said...

Looking at the pictures and ready the explanation, I don't understand the true value of this variation. Is it simply that the fenders are easy to add and remove from the bicycle? I can't see any significant space saving over any standard fender. The fender follows the circumference of the wheel, anywhere the wheel must fit, the fender also fits with very little wasted volume or otherwise, to my knowledge.

A fancy convenience at most?

Unknown said...

This set of fender is not very practical even if you are living in NY city.

Unknown said...


In order to fit the bike into a bag the rear wheel is removed. If the rear half of the fender was not removable you would very quickly destroy the 20" of fender that was not supported.

The removable fender also means you can put your bike on the front of a bus rack without damaging anything. Many would argue that fenders in general are a fancy convenience.

Douglas Haystings said...

When the wheels are removed, and the bike placed inside the bag, how does one avoid crushing the tail edge of the front fender?

I've often wished for some kind of setup where the front fender could fold or pivot up and forward away from the ground when I take the front wheel off.

Joe B said...

^ Douglas H:

Again, I think the solution is found in the mysterious rinko headset. You don't pull the front wheel- you pull the whole fork (+wheel+fender)! See:

So, what keeps the bearings from spilling? The headset adjusted? Everything from getting greasy? And, wouldn't you need to carry an allen key to pull the stem (or, are there special Q/R rinko stems)?

We demand answers! ;-)

Anonymous said...

rinko was the worst beatle

Douglas Haystings said...

@Joe: Thanks for the link. A bike made for disassembling in that way seems to be a much more elegant solution than a folding bike. Sure, it might take a little longer to set up and take apart, but the bike itself is not compromised by a folding mechanism.

I wonder if this points at a slight difference between Japanese and Western (particularly American) society? That perhaps we tend to like "push button" solutions and easy to use "contraption" type things, whereas even though the Japanese love their gadgets, there is greater respect for developing a Technique to elegantly handle more complex machines and processes. Or am I just reading too much into it?

In any case, the rinko concept seems very elegant compared to both folding bikes or frames equipped with S&S couplers...

Joe B said...

@Douglas H,

I found this later on, after I'd posted that comment (enter the url into a google search and click translate):


... interesting stuff for sure! It's unclear if a rinko headset maintains its load / it sounds almost reads like the top cup is removable from the frame???

Douglas Haystings said...

@Joe: Great link, showing the process of breaking down what seems to be completely standard touring bike apart from that special headset.

It's definitely a more complex process than a folding bike, so it wouldn't ideal for commuting, but obviously effective for a combo train/bike tour.

Perhaps a good reference for packing a bike for shipping, too.