Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fend For Yourself

It amazes me how few bikes are sold in the US with fenders (mudguards) included. Bikes with fenders used to be thought of as “nerdy” in this country where bikes are considered sports equipment. However, this attitude appears to be changing, most likely due to the vintage bicycle trend and the increase in commuting by bike. Have a look at these two beauties now offered by Fuji Bikes:

Men's Cambridge

Ladies' Cambridge

Notice the fenders – perhaps influenced by the Danish bike designer Sögreni? After riding a fenderless mountain bike for a few years, I was determined that my new bike would have fenders, yet the bike I ultimately chose did not come with fenders. By all accounts, SKS fenders are the best quality and easy to install, so I chose a pair in black and added them to my bike with no trouble. (Well, except for the fact that the stays extended past the wheels by about three inches, which meant I had to buy bolt cutters to chop off the excess.) I love the subtle stripes below the finish.

My daughter chose her bike, the Jamis Capri 24, for its curvy, retro style and its fenders.

What girl wants to arrive at school with a spatter stripe up her back? Not mine. She couldn’t wait to ride through her first puddle. Straight through it and – oh dear, back spatter! Seems the rear fender comes up short. Didn’t they test it?? She quickly learned to avoid puddles, although the fender did protect her from lightly wet roads. Even that protection didn’t last long, however. One day last month the rear fender fell off during our ride home from school. It had broken off like a soda can pull-tab through the hole where it was bolted to the frame.

Not too impressive after only 8 months of regular but careful use. I wrote to the customer service department on the manufacturer’s website, but so far haven’t had a reply after almost a month. Even less impressive. Moral of this story: If you want the job done right, do it yourself. I’m glad I did.

1 comment:

  1. Good for fuji bikes - way to go!! your daughter is a stylish biker ;)