Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fender Fantasies

[image from velo-orange.com]

I am choosing fenders for Marianne, my Motobecane mixte. Pictured above are my dream fenders: extra long fluted Honjos from Velo Orange. Look at those stylish art deco tips at the ends! These are like installing a piece of artwork on your bicycle.

[image from velo-orange.com]

The alternative and more economical choice, are these Velo Orange (not Honjo) plain polished stainless steel fenders. I am on the fence regarding this choice. The fluted Honjos are breath-taking, but the plain VOs look just fine. Maybe the fluted ones are too elaborate? There is also the size difference: The fluted are 43mm and the plain are 45mm. My tires are 31.75mm wide. Are the plain ones too wide?

[image from velo-orange.com]

Of course, when I mention my fender choice, the usual response is "What! You're not getting the hammered Honjos? Get the hammered Honjos!" Am I the only person with a bicycle who does not want hammered Honjo fenders?

The Co-Habitant has just installed hammered Honjos (from Harris Cyclery) on his Miles, and they do look marvelous (he has not trimmed the stays yet, but that will be done soon). The hammered look is an interesting aesthetic, just not for me.

Oh, and FYI: regardless of which you choose, installing these things is not for the faint hearted!

11 comments:

  1. Velo Orange does some cool product photos. The leather mud flap? Photographed with a beaker of lemons? Now that has pizazz!

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  2. I've got the Honjo hammered on my randonneur and they are great. And it really wasn't that difficult to mount them. Good luck

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  3. Miles looks great. I like the fluted fenders for Marianne but whatever you choose, I'm sure will look great.

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  4. You are planning to get the same 27" by 32mm Ultra Gatorskins I have. They are really around 29mm. My 43mm fenders are mounted deep so the tyre is well inside the fender (that's how I like 'em!). I could not do this with a fender any smaller than 43mm, so don't worry about the 45mm being too big. Either way, we both know that you're getting the fluted fenders, and @ 43mm they will be a perfect fit.

    Regarding installation... The front fender is a breeze. You can do it with your eyes closed, provided you have the right tools. The rear fender, not so much. It's a huge pain in the behind to get it to sit right and follow the line of the wheel. It would be a lot easier if the fender was above the tyre, but that just would not have the same look as what I have going on Miles right now... I had to remove the wheel, brakes, even kick stand and deflate the tyre to get everything to align right.

    And the default Honjo kit definitely does not come with all the bolts that you need, so I had to buy a few things at the local hardware store. Maybe the VO kit is more appropriate for vintage bikes.

    Mounting Honjo fenders on your own can be done, but I don't recommend it unless you feel comfortable stripping your bicycle.

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  5. I forgot to mention that our vintage 10-speeds have one rear eyelet and that has to be shared between the Pletscher rack and the rear fender stays. So, even if the Honjo kit did come with all the necessary bolts & nuts, we would still need to get a longer bolt at the hardware store.

    Another issue that is specific to the Mixte is that the extra set of stays allows you to mount the fender L-bracket not under the rear brake, but in the unused bridge, AND cover up the ugly hole in the bridge in the process! Yay!

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  6. Wow, that's really the only thing I can say :-).

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  7. Thanks for the comments! I am honestly not sure whether I will end up getting the beautiful fluted fenders; they might be over the top.

    MDI -- some of what you are saying is over my head, but I am looking forward to toiling on my mixte in the next few weeks (or most likely, assisting your toiling!) and understanding it first hand. Would the wider fenders be easier to install than the 43mm, or is that not a factor?

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  8. The additional few mm will make it more difficult to clear the frame, so any labour advantage in mounting against the wheel will be lost to the difficulty of clearing chain stays, bridges, etc.

    If the same fender comes in 43mm and 45mm, get the 43mm version. Ideally, you'd only be looking at 43mm fenders.

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  9. Oh then it looks like I may have no choice but to get the fluted fenders. I don't want to make things more difficult for you... : )

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  10. Yes, you are the only person who does not want hammered Honjos ;)

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  11. The fluted ones are - outstanding. Perfection to a T.

    If I couldn't have those- I'd do hammered which I am fond of. But art deco detail- swoon. And it's not over the top. However I wear rhinestones in my tomato red eyeglasses so YMMV on that on!

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