Finally dry feet: New alloy fenders

Surly Cross Check with new Electra Ticino Ribbed Alloy fenders.

Surly Cross Check with new Electra Ticino Ribbed Alloy fenders.

The fenders originally are intended for the Electra Ticino line of frenchy cruising bikes. They are very well made and come with almost all hardware but most importantly: I can buy (or at least order) them in the shops here in Germany, as Electra has a wide network of selling partners. Honjo are more expensive and VO stuff seems to be hard to get over here.

Ticino fenders have been available for a while in a hammered structure, but I used the new ribbed version. IMO hammered fenders are visually too attractive and direct the view to the fender instead of the whole bike. I prefer the more restrained look of this ribbed version.

Mounting them was a lot of fun but it also took a lot of time. It was the first time I mounted metal fenders. I followed Jan Heine's excellent instructions in Bicycle Quarterly (Vol. 9, No. 2). I still needed two evenings or about 8 hours to do it. Jan mentions all the tools you need (round and fat files, drill with small drill bits, scratch awl etc.) but let me tell you, the most important tool you need is a bicycle repair stand to hold the bike without wheels in it! So if you don't have a repair stand, buy one! If you can't afford one, borrow one! If you can't find one to borrow, let a shop do the installation. It's no fun without a repair stand!

Rear fender line. Pasela 700x32 doesn't need to be deflated but it's close!

Rear fender line. Pasela 700x32 doesn't need to be deflated but it's close!

The Ticino fenders came predrilled in almost all places except under the front rack. This is both a blessing and a curse. Being predrilled means that you can basically mount them without drilling a single hole. On the rear this is fine, but it will not be perfect on the front. Because the original Electra Ticino has a much flatter steering angle of 67° compared to the about 72° on my Surly Cross Check, the fender will sit higher than is ideal. Your feet still will get wet!

So I drilled a new fork crown hole about 5 cm to the front, which brought the fender's bottom end about 13-15 cm from the ground, which is fine for me. The old hole now needs to be filled, e.g. by a screw and caphead or just use your favourite sticker over it - "No nukes!" or "Make Banks Pay!" are recommended!

Front fender line with mudflap from "Gummi Grün".

Front fender line with mudflap from "Gummi Grün", a unique shop in the heart of Cologne that's specialized in all things made from rubber. The flap is squeezed into the filed open, rolled edges of the fender.

Thankfully the fork crown daruma screw is long enough for the Cross Check's huge fork clearance and 32 mm Paselas. The rubber cushioning piece is rounded so denting the fender under the fork is not necessary - very thoughtful of the people at Electra.

The fork crown daruma connection

The fork crown daruma connection has been spacered up a bit. You need at to add at least a 1 1/8 inch (3cm) spacer anyway as the Ticino hardware includes only a 1 inch spacer.

The black tape covers the hole already drilled for the front rack connection. I was missing a hex head screw of proper length at that day. I bought several hex head screws for the installation, as the Ticino fender hardware only includes Allen screws, which fill with dirt on the inside of a fender and may not provide enough torque. Some days later, the rack connection is finished as well:

A piece of aluminium tube acts as a spacer to connect to the high front rack.

A piece of aluminium tube acts as a spacer to connect to the high front rack.

Aluminium tube makes fine spacer material. I was a bit too enthusiastic when filing the tube to the correct length, so for now there are two of the many leather spacers on top of the fender here. Electra provides many leather spacers in their package - probably to install them at the (dual!) fender stay connections. They are not necessary there, so don't put any there and you get four free leather spacers for free! VO charges $5 for a sixpack!

A piece of aluminium tube was used as a spacer at the chainstay.

A piece of aluminium tube was used as a spacer at the chainstay.

I did the hex head screw, leather spacer and alloy tube dance again at the chainstay. As I wrote above, the 32mm Pasela tires can be removed without deflating and with some brute force, but wider tires must be without air inside. Which is fine, as usually the only time I remove the rear wheel is when it has a flat and there is no air inside anyway. Just remember to inflate it again only when it's mounted again, not before, otherwise you need to pump twice.

The fenders with mudflap do an excellent job so far. They are very stiff, much better than any plastic SKS I have used before. My feet stay dry even when going through puddles at high speed, and the installation wasn't as hard as I had feared before. Now autumn and winter can come!

Category: Bike
Tags: surly crosscheck bicycle bike