First Impression: SKS Commuter Full Fenders

Photo: My Trek 1200 with SKS Commuter Fenders (click to Zoom)
Trek 1200 SKS Commuter Fenders
Fritz told us about fenders late last year. I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to fenders. It does rain quite a bit out here in the great plains of the United States, but at the same time, I have a few multi-mode commuting options at my disposal when things get grimy. My thoughts were that when it’s actually raining, fenders won’t keep me dry, and if the road is soaked with standing water after a rain storm or simply condensation from a high-humidity night, then I only have to get through a few miles to get to a bus stop.

I am in the middle of reviewing a set of Commuter Fenders from SKS. I’m lucky that my Trek 1200 has all of the desired mounting eyelets for fenders. The rear fender can attach to the chainstay bridge (often used in mounting kickstands) with a bolt (if drilled) or with a rounded clip that can be bolted to the fender. It also attaches to the seatstay bridge, in my case this is shared with the rear brake. Both fenders have arms that attach to eyelets on the fork and rear drop-outs near the axles, with the front fender mounting at the top of the fork, also sharing the mounting point with my brake.

I had to partially remove my cargo rack to install the SKS Commuter Fenders, but they came with various lengths of attachment bolts that allowed me to share the rear eyelets with the rack and fenders without any problems. I was impressed with the amount of thought that went into the attachment hardware included from SKS. The fenders also came with an allen wrench that fits all of the bolts supplied by SKS. The only other tool that I needed for installation was a 5mm allen wrench to remove my brakes in order to install the fenders. Installation was a breeze using the clear, concise multi-lingual instructions and diagrams provided by SKS on the packaging.

The front attachment arms interfere with the quick-release mechanism, so I now have to twist the acorn end of my skewer in order to clear the “lawyer’s lips“. Also, the attachment arms for the front fender were longer than they needed to be to fit my 25mm road tires. I chose to cut the arms back with a cut-off wheel on a rotary tool. These are perhaps the only annoyances that I could find with this kit. I’m told that some fenders have break-away segments on the attachment arms where they can be shortened with nothing more than a pair of pliers and a quick snap. The SKS Commuter fenders don’t seem to have this feature.

I had a dry commute yesterday morning and was pleased to discover that the fenders were rock-solid, didn’t get in the way of pedaling, and didn’t rub on the tires or interfere with the brakes. Without looking, I can’t even tell they’re present, even at the higher speeds afforded by downhill sections of my commute route.

This morning, I was able to give them an honest shakedown. It rained quite a bit last night. Not a drop was falling from the sky but there were plenty of puddles accompanied by an ample layer of standing water on the road. I didn’t have time for a full ride to work, but after two miles to the bus stop, only a few drops of road grime were present on the toes of my shoes. I’ve ridden this route many times with wet or dewy pavement. My shoes and pants are usually soaked after just a few miles. The included rubber mudflaps did a great job keeping me dry by providing a little extra coverage.

I’ll give a full review including installation pictures once I’ve fully tested them. For now, these fenders get two thumbs up in the categories of price, completeness of coverage, and ease of installation.

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