To get one thing straight – ‘fenders’ here, are known as ‘mudguards’ in the UK. And while these’ll keep a reasonable amount of mud from soiling your doiley, CRUD’s ‘Roadracers’ are definitely aimed at PEZ-Fans who want to ride road in the rain.
The pickin’s for good quality fenders worthy of adorning your prized ride have been fashion-week slim. Around here at least, pretty much everyone I ride with uses the same brand, pretty much because no one else has bothered to offer a feasible alternative in road fenders.
Let’s face it – there may be a few brands on offer, but few brands offer the desired combo of easy installation, quick and stable adjustment, light weight, and cool looks.
But chances are readers in the UK are way ahead of us on this one – they’ve known about Crud Products for a long time, and seeing as Crud reportedly dominates the ‘terra ingleterra’ fender – er ‘mudguard’ market, 6/10 of our UK readers likely own a set already.
Good news is they’re now available to North America via online order, and I can tell you make a great alternative to whatever you’re using now. Here’s the scoop…
You get: 2 fenders with adjustable mounting arms attached, 4 extender flaps, 4 bolts & screws to attach the extenders, 8 strong rubber bands, and 2 zip ties. My set weighed just 156 grams.
Outta the box you get everything you need for install and riding. Setup took me about 30 minutes, but I was taking my time and taking pictures, so if it takes you longer than it does to read this review – you’ve done something wrong.
A minor bit of assembly is required, but if you can twist a nut, you can do this.
The fenders are made by Crud at their own facility in England, and I’m told they’ve invested the price of a small house in tooling and manufacturing. All the parts are made of plastic, except the heavy duty rubber bands to mount the fenders to the frame and fork blades.
The front and rear fenders are shaped the same, and require attaching extender flaps to the rear of each and if you want, to the front of each fender as well. These snap into place and are secured by a small plastic screw that can be tightened by hand.
The first thing I did – and you should too – is stick some electricians tape to the mounting areas of your rear stays and fork blades to prevent the fender mounts from scratching the paint. I like two layers over paint (but used just one layer on this polished ti finish), and usually change it midway through the winter – I’m always amazed at how much fine grit has worked its way between the fender mount and my frame, and in some cases right through the tape. If you have any respect for your frame. Pity the fool who doesn’t heed this advice.
The fender mounts themselves are moulded from a hard compound plastic. The base is curved, which works well if your stays are rounded, not so much if they’re flattened or some other shape – as is the case with a lot of today’s shaped carbon fiber tubes.
Once your frame is safely taped off, you unbolt the bases from each mount, and secure ‘em to the frame with two of the heavy duty rubber bands. You can double wrap in a variety of configs, but they all result in a solid and secure bond.
The fenders mount on a three point system – two mounts at each fork blade or rear stay, and one point at the brake mounting bolt. Be sure to resist the urge to grab your snippers and cut the zip ties attached to the fender when you pull ‘em from the box – you’ll need these. They’re made to be reused, with a long release toggle that’s easy to flick with your finger.
The zip tie slips through a tiny slot in the fender, and straps around the brake mount bolt.
All that’s left is to reattached the mounting arms to the bases you strapped onto the stays, which is easy as they just screw in.
Here’s also where you adjust the fit of the fender around your wheel – it’s actually quite easy with the built in adjuster slots.
My test set slipped into a perfect noise and rub free fit almost immediately – a nice surprise. The alignment around the wheel – in all directions, was almost spot on. And in case it’s not, Crud includes small foam-like pads that simply stick to the inside of the fender at the mount, and help to ‘self-align’ the fender on the wheel and reduce noise.
The fenders won’t fit correctly with all brake models. Because they’re designed to slide into place between the tire and the brake, you need enough clearance to fit the fender through. I ran the test with TRP brakes which are pretty tight in the clearance dept. The fenders did fit, but the front of the front fender rubbed on the tire while braking. This happens when the brake is engaged, which causes the brake calipers to close, essentially squishing the fender down onto the tire.
Coverage from road spray is good – what I expect from a worthy fender. They’re wide enough, and wrap nicely around the tire to do the job. One minor concern worth noting, is tire spray from the rear. Even with the extender in place, there’s still some spray that’ll make wet anyone sitting on your wheel.
I posed the question about making the extenders longer to Pete Tomkins – owner of Crud Products – who replied that the fenders have been built as strong as possible within the parameters of the moulding process and keeping weight down. They feel that making the rear extender any longer could compromise the overall strength of the current design.
Pete also went on to point out that these are not really intended for you ‘chain gangers’ out there, but aimed more at anyone wanting to stay dry and look good while riding their ‘good bike’. The clean lines and light weight work pretty well with most race bikes – but of course you’ll have to decide that for yourself.
I found them to be pretty quiet too – but not completely silent – I did hear a couple mystery squeaks.
I also discovered the physical limits of this thin plastic in two ways:
1. These fenders are pretty flexible. After a ride to the inlaws for Sunday dinner, I had to stow the bike in the back of the Taoureg for the drive home. That meant pulling both wheels to fit the bike in. The fenders stayed on, but the rear one bent and twisted considerably, but did not break. Then it bounced right back into place – nice and straight – when I reassembled the bike.
2. I busted off the rear extender at the screw when I was wheely-walking my bike through the garage and the fender caught on the floor. My bad on this one, but only the actual screw broke, and the rest of the fender stayed intact.
Finally – check out this cool video from Crud that shows a few tips for fender adjustment:
• BUY ‘EM – Crud is sold through dealers only, BUT you can buy ’em online right now from their UK dealers, many of whom will ship for free just, Google ‘Crud Roadracer’. I found prices as low as Ј22.00 ($36.00).
• See the website at CrudProducts.com