Bicycle Travel > Routes

Southern Tier in March of 2013

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bobbys beard:
i don't think fenders make a big difference to tourers. you probably have a rack and rear panniers anyhow, which do a good job of keeping you dry.    and i did the southern tier without a light at all, so i wasn't tempted to ride at night. a lot of those deep south drivers are even crazier after dark..... ;)

the more elaborate your equipment, the more you have to lose or break.

Pat Lamb:
Fenders are a personal thing, I guess.  They add what, half a pound?, to my 250+ pound total load.  I've had them on my touring bikes for a decade, and lost my first bolt this summer.  If only everything else on the bike were as trouble-free.

Racks and bags don't do a thing for the front wheel, and keeping that shoe-drenching splash away in a downpour is be well worth it to me.  And if you tour with someone else, whomever is in the rear will appreciate a rear fender.

For a full-on heavily loaded touring bike, I think you must have fenders.  Full coverage ones.  Not sure why anyone would have a loaded touring bike without fenders.  But not everyone tours with loaded touring bikes.  If you tour with minimal gear on a racing/sport touring type bike, then I can understand not putting on fenders.  If I ever get around to taking a minimal equipment tour with my "racing" bike with a triple crankset and a saddlebag and rack top bag for luggage, I won't bother to put on fenders.


--- Quote from: RussSeaton on November 11, 2012, 10:56:16 pm ---For a full-on heavily loaded touring bike, I think you must have fenders.  Full coverage ones.  Not sure why anyone would have a loaded touring bike without fenders.

--- End quote ---
I am not knocking fenders, but they certainly aren't a necessity and they do have some drawbacks (less clearance, more expense and weight, more fiddle factor, etc.).  It comes down to a personal choice.  I have ridden in the rain a lot without them and never found it to be all that bad.  Maybe that comes from my mountain bike racing background or the fact that I have done a lot of other activities where being wet is a given (like whitewater kayaking and trail running).

I don't use my heavy touring bike much these days, having moved on to a minimalist packing style.  If I go back to the heavy touring bike I probably wouldn't take off the fenders, but depending on when and where I planned to tour, I am not sure I would bother to add them if they weren't already mounted.  I guess if I lived in the PNW or spent all my touring time there I might value them a bit more.

There was one time in all of my touring where I was really happy to have them, but it was kind of a weird exception.  That was the time a Missouri road had been tarred and not had enough gravel added.  It was 100F or so and the tar and gravel would have been on everything without the fenders.  The fenders weren't perfect either though as we had to keep stopping and digging out the tar an gravel as they built up to the point where they stopped the wheel.

bobbys beard:
yeah, i ride fully loaded too. the southern tier especially, means you have to carry loooooots of water and food. never have ridden with fenders, so i can't say if they're better or not. but i figure that rain comes down too, so i'm getting wet whatever happens ;)


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