Fender 101

If you’re like me, Fenders are an interesting thing and a bit of a love/hate relationship. Once the fenders are mounted I love the fact that they keep you clean and dry (unlike the photos above), but it’s the mounting part that usually gets me. In over 10 years of wrenching on bikes at a shop, I can count on one hand the number of times a fender install was truly easy. More often than not the bike required different or special hardware, the fenders needed modification, or they just plain didn’t fit. It would be easy to blame the fender manufacturers, but think about what they’re up against: trying to sell a “universal fit” fender for all of the bikes currently on the market. Not the easiest thing to do.

However, we’ve done everything we can to make it as easy as possible to mount up fenders to your new Liscio. What sort of things you ask? Find out after the break.

Frame Fittings:

In order to accommodate full coverage fenders in the first place, your Volagi Liscio is equipped with all of the necessary fender  mounts on both the frame and fork. On the fork, the fender mounts are on the inside of the fork blades, spaced up the fork just above the brake caliper. This keeps the struts away from the disc brake caliper to make it easier to install and keeps a neat appearance.

On the rear of the bike, more traditional fender mounts are employed with threaded inserts above the rear dropouts. In order to anchor the tip of the fender behind the bottom bracket, another threaded insert can be found, which is flush with the carbon.

While it seems to only be an issue on pre-production bikes, it is possible for excess paint to interfere with the threads of the mounting bolts. If you run into this, simply use a 5mm x 0.80 tap to quickly clean out the threads of excess paint. As always, when using any tap – start slow, and if you’re uncomfortable using a tap, take it in to your local bike shop.

For the last mounting point of the fenders, both the front and the rear fender will utilize (what would be) the brake mounts on the fork, and brake bridge.

 

 

Hardware:

As mentioned, finding the right hardware to mount up a pair of fenders can sometimes be as big a chore as actually installing the fenders themselves. The most difficult pieces? That would be the hardware for mounting the fenders to the brake mounts. Obvioulsy, with it’s massive tapered carbon fork, the Liscio needs a longer bolt than most steel bikes. So what are you supposed to use?

Reflector hardware included with Liscio: 6mm x 1.0 bolt, brake nut, and plastic washer.

Well, if you haven’t thrown it away yet, the included hardware for mounting the reflectors comes in quite handy here. Both the front and the rear hardware work perfectly to mount the fenders, even if you’ve already used it to mount a light. What? You threw it way? Don’t despair, its simply a brake nut and a 6mm x 1.0 bolt. There are quite a few combinations of lengths  that would work, so if you’re nice to your LBS there’s a good chance they’ll help you out (hint: bringing them food, coffee, or beer works wonders).

In order for the tab on most fenders to clear the headtube, you will need to use some type of spacer to space the tab away from the frame. Again, the included plastic washer for mounting the reflectors fits perfectly here. Though it you don’t have it, a few regular metal washers will work just fine.

Other than that, most of the other included hardware with the majority of fenders should work just fine. Always use the shortest bolt possible that still has full thread engagement, especially on the fork blades. If the bolt starts getting hard to turn and there is still quite a few threads exposed, find a shorter bolt and try again. You don’t want to damage the carbon on the inside of the fork by stuffing a long bolt into it.

Important: The use of a flat metal washer between the rear fender stay and the frame is highly recommended. We’ve found that if you do not use a washer, over tightening the bolt, crashing, leaning the bike against the fenders, etc. can cause the fender stay to dig into the clearcoat and potentially carbon. Using a washer distributes the force more evenly and will save your paint from chipping when you remove the fenders.

 

 

Sizing:

Many fenders that we have tried are compatible with 25c tires, with plenty of room. Some, with a little modification are able to fit 28c without any problems. Almost all fenders we have used are in the 32-35mm size range and come from quite a few different manufacturers. Note: Fenders have two measurements – the actual width of the fender (example 32mm), and the largest tire size recommended for the fender (ex. 28mm).

The limiting factor in fitting larger fenders and larger tires onto a Liscio is the amount of clearance in the fork. Due to various reasons like thick rivets holding the fender together, mounting tabs without long enough mounting holes, or fenders that are too wide, the fender may not give enough clearance and cause the tire to rub. Now, there are various ways you can get around these issues, but just know that if you’re going to have an issue, it will be here.

If you’re interested in riding 28mm tires with fenders, so far the best fender set I’ve come across happens to be the Civia Aluminum Flat fenders in the 32mm size. These do need some modification to fit in the fork (full tutorial next), but once they are installed they fit 28mm tires perfectly and still offer great spray coverage even though they are flat. Plus, honestly I really like the way they look.

Fenders that work: Planet Bike Cascadia, SKS Longboards (25mm tire only), SKS Chromoplastic, Civia Aluminum Flat

Fenders that DO NOT work: Velo Orange Hammered. We personally have not actually tried these, but one of our customers and a friend of mine reported that they were extremely noisy, and rubbed on the tires almost constantly and needed frequent adjustment. They were annoying enough that he had to remove them, so we don’t recommend them.

Have you tried other fenders that work? Let us know and we’ll add them to the list. Next will be a tutorial on how to install the Civia Flat Aluminum fenders so you can fit some fat tires and go ride in the rain!

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One thought on “Fender 101

  1. You should look into the offerings from Toba. I believe Hawley distributes them. Cool stuff. Universal fit racks as well.

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