My Never-Ending Battle with Freddy Fenders

There are very few things I dislike more than loose parts, squeaky chains, or other mechanical noises drowning out the surroundings when on a ride. I’m a little obsessive about it. Bad luck for me wanting to ride with fenders because the roads I take to work are MESSED UP. With the close fit of the fenders over the tires, there’s a near certainty of contact at some point. Even though I’ve been really happy with all the Planet Bike fenders I’ve owned, there’s only so much abuse some parts can take before they start to rattle all over the place. I’ve been working on a few different mounting tweaks to get them as quiet as possible, and I’ve just about got it down.

First off but not shown is the forward most mounting point on the rear fender. There was a little space between the stay and the mounting clip. (The Freddy Fenders don’t have a bolt there). That was the first and worst rattle. A few winds of friction tape around the stay before clipping the fender back on made quick work of that.

Second with the back fender is side to side motion. The back fender has 4 distinct mounting points, so there’s little chance that it will contact the tire vertically. I was still getting a ton of sway even after strategically bending the rear mounting rods and playing with the clearance. I took a little more of the synthetic cork and made these makeshift fender bumpers to wedge between the rack and the fender. After doing my worst on the way to work and back, it’s about 95% quiet. Once I get some more free time, I’ll redesign them to look a little nicer. I just wanted to see if it would work for now.

backfenderroughmount.jpg

On to the front wheel. This is more of a problem since there’s only 2 distinct points of contact for the fender to mount to the fork, so there’s much more of an opportunity for it to flex top to bottom as well as side to side. After experimenting a little I made a discovery. Drilling a second hole in the top of the fender, creating a small ‘L’ bracket and mounting the fender at the front of the fork as well goes a LOONG way towards making the entire fender much more rigid.

fendermount.jpg

To make the mounting even tighter, and reduce the tendency of the front of the fender to slap the top of the tire when hitting huge bumps, I loose-fit the top fork mount, then pushed the fender in the back as close to the tire as possible before tightening the top bolt. Then after the top bolt was secure, I adjusted the back mounts to place the fender the correct distance away from the tire. This did 2 things. First, if you look at the picture below you can see the fender in the front is pointing straight up and has maximum clearance there. Second, the rear of the fender has extra rigidity to it, because I had it touching the tire when the top bolt was tightened. Now it’s trying to get back to its original circular shape and has a little less plasticity.

fenderside.jpg

Last but not least, I bent the tabs out to the sides a little to stress the connection there and make it less likely to flex. It also spaces it away from the treads more.

fendermountbottom.jpg

Just one more thing on my bicycle tweaks for now is something that’s been out of whack for several years that I’ve finally fixed. When I replaced my seatpost about 2 years ago, I made the mistake of picking up a new one that didn’t have any setback—effectively pushing the seat nearly an inch closer to the handlebars. In a blazing flash of stupidity I made the mistake a second time when I broke the carbon post on my Chameleon 2 years ago as well. At the time I thought I’d just live with them both, but it’s become increasingly annoying. When I noticed the back bolt on my post was starting to give, (it was a $6 item and could have been designed better) I decided to take a little of my Christmas cash and trawl the New-Years sales to find posts that would fit both bikes correctly again. Remember, bikes that fit better are more fun to ride 🙂

setback.jpg

Oh yeah, chain dropped twice this week during my commute, Guess I didn’t have the ENO hub tightened down enough because it developed slack. Had to spend 40 minutes adjusting the chain and realigning the brake pads to make everything work smoothly. Then I tightened to 290 inch pounds. Hope that’s the right tension so that it doesn’t slip again, and send me back to adjust everything again. While I’m hoping for stuff, I also hope I never get a flat tire with this thing because it would be a super pain to adjust by the side of the road.

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