No more soggy racing stripes up my back anymore. My new Planet Bike Cascadia Hybrid/Touring fenders just came in! I got them in the ever fashionable, NYC-favorite color: black. I actually had to order these online because, apparently, out of all the hundreds of bikes shops in this city, no one carries them. Ridiculous. It seems like every bike shop, big or small, caters to 3 different types of bikers: the average joe commuter and general joy rider, the super-rich, carbon fiber, spandex-clad triathletes, or the hipster fixie messenger type riders. Now, I’m mocking any of these types of riders (I actually fit into two of those categories and probably all three eventually) but it can get fairly frustrating when you realize that these are the only types of people the shops cater to. Of course, they can all special order any part you want but what’s the point of that when I can do it myself online just as easily?
Sorry for the rant. Anyway, back to fenders because I know that’s what you really want to hear about. I’m a pretty particular and somewhat frustrating shopper, especially for gear, technology, big purchases, clothes, tools, whatever. I like to do my research and read every review, ask questions, learn the ups and downs about everything I want to buy, and then make an impulsive purchase. It drives my friends nuts.
So, why the Cascadia fenders you ask? Here’s why:
With fenders (and some other things in life), the longer the better. Pretty self explanatory but I’ll spell it out for you. Basically, more coverage means less spray. This keeps not only the gunk off you but also off the gears, chain and other important moving parts. If you’re riding in groups, it also keeps your friend dry too. The Cascadias are some off the longest off-the-shelf fenders you can get. They beat out the MKS fenders which all the NYC shops seam to carry. I also liked them for that fact; you can buy them off the shelf and install them yourself without any fuss. Velo Orange sells some great fenders that people swear by but most of those require some form of assembly and/or drilling.
I also liked that they are not metal. Planet Bike calls them a polycarbonate that is virtually indestructable. Sounds good to me. But really, with metal I’d be worried that if I ever got in a crash, they could easy get bent up and put out of commission. Plus, all the hardware is stainless steel so no worries when it comes to rust.
I also asked the experts over at BikeForums.net in the touring section what they thought. Lot of endorsements there. Easy.
And last but not least, they were available in black. Very few other brands offered such a well reviewed product in black. The closest thing again was the MKS brand but they aren’t even all black. I know it sounds silly but I really like my bike and I want it to look good. The black keeps a pretty low profile visually and kind of diminishes the bike dork look. I’ve gotten a lot of exclamations from passers by saying how nice the bike is too.
UPDATE: With all the wet weather we’ve had lately in New York, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to give these guys a good run through. I gotta say, they’re pretty damn good. I haven’t seen a single muddy splash hit my shoes. They definitely add a lot of new noises to the ride, though. Every bump and pothole can make them rattle and when a stone flies up through them, it sounds pretty garish. But when you realize that that’s just the fenders doing what they’re meant to, you tend to start anticipating the next scratching, spitting proclamation.