Product review: Velo-Orange fluted alloy fenders

Many moons ago I picked up some cheap arse fenders at the Deus Ex Machina swapmeet for $15, they were matt alloy fenders with chrome plated steel struts, they were a decent length and worked well until one day I was riding along and heard this loud creaking noise coming from my back wheel, the fender snapped in half! Right behind the brake bridge, a crack must have grown and just fractured completely. Upon closer inspection it was apparent that the fenders were really low quality, the alloy used was extremely porous and very brittle. It wasn't too much of a loss for $15, I used an old fender and some araldite to botch together a fix, however this came to a sudden demise within a few weeks of use.

Anyway, I had my eye on these Velo-orange fenders for a long time for my vintage light touring bike, I was sick of riding in the rain and through puddles and having a big skunk stripe down my backside and lower back as well as wet feet and lower legs. In my opinion, any bike that is used for transport should have proper fenders, not the crappy ones that clamp onto the seatpost, proper full length fenders - there is no substitute.

Purchased online directly from
http://www.velo-orange.com The price at the time was US$48 plus shipping. As fenders are a bulky item you generally pay a lot for postage, I combined it with several other items to make it worth my while. Shipping was about US$50, so total is about $100 which is not much more than what you'd pay for some plastic fenders locally.

Back to the review, the fenders arrived neatly wrapped in plastic, alloy struts and other various fixings were neatly individually packaged as well as clear instructions which were also downloadable as a PDF from their website. They are the 48mm size which fits up to 35mm tires, this allows for roughly 5mm clearance between the tyre and fender on each side - fenders are typically measured as exterior width. The fenders themselves were beautiful, great polishing, nice workmanship with a nice fold around the edge for strength and to avoid sharp edges. Fitment took about 2 hours, I am a perfectionist though. Fitment of the fenders wasn't particularly easy, however the instructions were quite clear, the difference in quality between these and the previous pair were chalk and cheese.

The VO fenders use a daruma bolt like in the pic below which gives a very neat and clean look as it is entirely hidden as well as spreading the tension of the bolt over a larger area than a conventional L bracket that is riveted into the fender. NB this is not my bike but is for illustrative purposes.

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The struts attached to the dropout eyelets using R clips and attached to the fenders using special bolts, I ordered leather washers with mine to dampen any rattles.

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The rear fender was supported at the brake bridge with a proper bridge clip, I glued some rubber strips to the inside of the bridge where it clamps the fender to get rid of squeaks as it was driving me mad! This design is much better than the typical L bracket on most fenders, it spreads the load around and also allows the fender to move a little which hopefully will prevent premature cracking


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Chainstay bridge/kickstand plate was fitted with a bolt and a spring that I sourced myself, I have horizontal dropouts on this bike so this is necessary to keep a nice fender line but still be able to remove the rear wheel.


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I managed to get a nice tight even fenderline after fiddling with it for a while

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After fitting them I was eager for the next downpour, they worked beautifully, it's amazing how much water gets kicked up by the tyres, as you can see in the pics the fenders themselves are extra long, the length of the front curves right down and protects your feet from spray - I'll probably get a nice leather mudguard in the future for a little bit more protection as well as for just looking cool :) Riding along a wet road, you just see a constant trickle of water coming off the bottom of the mudguards, water that isn't going to be on me or my bike. It might not protect me from rain falling from the sky though, however the water coming off the pavement is usually a lot dirtier which is worse for my clothes and worse for my bike's bearings and drivetrain.

The extra length of the front mudguard does have some downsides though, you have to be careful coming off kerbs as it can catch on the kerb edge. Also whereas before I had fenders there was no problem with toe overlap, now there definitely is - however this is unavoidable with any fender unless they are quite short. On a side note, originally I had 23mm wide tyres fitted which had immense amounts of clearance, since then I have fitted 35mm Vittoria randonneurs, which just clear the fenders and chainstays, your mileage may vary depending on your bike.

Overall I'm extremely pleased with these fenders, they perform admirably as well as adding to the aesthetic appeal of the bike.
These are great fenders, although as with anything do some research and lots of measuring to see if they will fit your bike and your tyres. Be prepared to spend a few hours fitting them to get a good fit or pay someone to do so. Also shipping from the states can be expensive.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I just ordered a set that happened to be on sale for $28.00. I look forward to installing them on my Rocky Mountain Sherpa Touring Rig.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just ordered these fenders and hope to outfit a smart looking cycle such as yours.

    can you link me to full-size pics of what you used here? thanks!!
    Andrew
    trueno92@gmail.com

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