18 February, 2019

Cork Spacers for Fender Mounting

By Scott

Pro-tip: display stained-side out where possible
Cork is a very versatile material. In addition to its application as a forgiving flooring, coffee shop message board, and drink coasters, we also use it in our Cork Grips. It provides a natural feel and wears into the hand position of the rider. More recently, we've used it on our upcoming Neutrino mini-velo to take up space between the fenders and mounting points.

Now, if you're someone who perhaps doesn't drink wine, or your wine comes with a plastic screw top, don't despair. Many wine shops have bowls of corks about for free or you could ask around your neighbors for a couple. Some of the fancy Belgian beer bottles are using corks now, too, rather than flip-tops.

So on to the nitty gritty of cork spacers.  Most of it falls back to the idea of measure twice, cut once. You can cut cork with a variety it devices - an X-Acto knife works great for most folks, Igor uses a small saw to cut down ones for his builds. Just remember to be careful and keep the fingers away from the sharp blade.

After you've cut the spacer to the desired thickness, take the appropriate size drill bit and drill a hole for the bolt to go through.  You can get all precise, drawing a line through each axis on the cork to get the exact centre, or you can just eyeball it and it should be close enough for non-concours work.

Igor suggests using wide spacers where you can such as between the cork and a braze-on lest you crack the spacer by creating a stress riser. The cork should rest upon the fender specifically to compress and match the curvature of the fender. The good thing is that they are super easy to make, so if you need another spacer, you can probably use the leftovers from the cork you've already cut up.

Notice cork spacers under the fork crown as well as between the rack and fender (all made from the same cork)
Now line up the fender, the cork spacer and the bolt and thread away!


Unknown said...

Excellent idea, I have used cork washers but corks from wine bottles are supplied by my lovely wife and already purchased. In addition they can be cut to any length with a Japanese style hand saw, which I have in my tool collection.

Dale said...

If your bike has vertical dropouts, the cork at the chain stay brace works. I have some classic bikes with horizontal dropouts. In order to maintain a good fender line the fender must be close to the tire; but in order to remove the wheel the fender must move forward or be removed. In such cases a spring works better. The spring can be set to align the fender close to the tire, but allows the fender to move forward as the spring is compressed during wheel removal.

Matthew said...

I've done that a few times! And they're squishy, so you can fiddle with fender lines a bit

Michael said...

Thank you for the idea. I read this the other day and made use of a cork to help mount the SKS fenders I just bought for my bike. The gap between the stay and the wheel was just too large, and the cork was a perfect solution. Thanks again.

VeloOrange said...

Glad we could help!


Horrible Old Man said...

Cork also works great for bikes without chainstay bridges. Drill two side by side holes in the fender, a hole thru a wine cork and feed a long zip tie thru one hole, thru the cork, around the seat tube, back thru the cork and thru the other hole in the fender.

wabeck said...

I tried cork spacers but had two problems: 1) They compress so it's hard to get the length correct. If you cut it to the correct length uncompressed it is too short once it's compressed by tightening the mounting bolt. 2) Even with the cork compressed by tightening, the grip on the fender is still a little loose, so my front fender attachment to the fork crown is not tight enough to keep the fender from pivoting back and forth.