Utopia gravel roadster with new pink fenders

I’m thankful for my fenders

gravel roadster with fenders

I mounted the pink Cascadia fenders I bought. They clear the 53mm (alleged/nominal/putative 60mm) Big Apples nicely, they look baller*, and they’re pink.

new rear fender over 60mm Big Apple tires

To make this work with the minimal clearance of the Utopia (and I saw a new-model Utopia with the same issue: fatter tires will hit the derailleur), I did a stupid thing. I mounted the rear fender on the front, and the front on the rear. I knew it was stupid, but I did it anyway.

front bracket before drilling. 3/16 for the rivets, 1/4 for the bolts

Anyway, I took the flat aluminum stock I bought after seeing Tapebubba’s GripKing hack, and made two brackets, one for the end of the rear fender, and one for the front. 1/4″ holes for the bolts to attach them, 3/16″ for the rivets. Rivets are the only way to go for fenders that have clearance issues, and as far as I can tell, ALL fenders have clearance issues. After fixing Angelina’s B72 Brooks saddle, I am in love with rivets. Metal, low-profile, and you get to use things like chisels, nail-sets and BALL-PEEN HAMMERS!

brackets - front (long) and rear (short)

Let me say that again. BALL PEEN HAMMERS.
(I don’t actually own a ball peen hammer)

riveted fender bracket. custom.

Here’s what I learned and how I scored:

  • Line the brackets up to mark for drilling UNDER the fender holes if that’s how you’ll mount them. Bend a nice curve into the metal, drill the fenders, and mark the metal through the fender holes. Simply measuring doesn’t work, because whatever’s on top will have holes further apart than what’s on the bottom. I actually figured this out before drilling the metal. 10 points to me.
  • Drill the holes before making the 90 degree bend for the bracket. It is orders of magnitude easier to hold the metal when it’s flat, rather than trying to hold a dinky piece of angled metal while the drill tries to grab it and snap it around into your fingers. Leverage. I learned this the hard way on the small bracket, and put it into practice on the big one. -10 for the first one, 10 points for learning.
  • Slots! All my boltholes were slots instead of holes. Drill a 1/4″ hole and go at it with a rat-tail file, or drill two holes and connect them by filing. Worked perfectly. 10 points.
  • Dry fit everything twice before drilling any holes. I ended up slotting the fender for the front bracket to come up through the fender in front of the rivet holes instead of behind them. Totally accurate, dead-on measuring. Fits perfectly. Backwards. The aluminum support goes behind the fork instead of out front, the mudflap is 4″ closer to the ground, and the forward projection is shorter than planned. My points? Negative 10,000.
  • If you give yourself some slack, it won’t be that bad. The mudflap picks up leaves riding through a Fall orchard, but the front bag still stays clean. I have a plan to make another bracket that uses the ‘bad’ slot and another slot to not only support the front fender extension, but also mount a dynamo light. Points to me? About 40 (if it works).

pink front fender

I’m happy with the setup. Obviously, my calves are not protected from the spray from the rear wheel. I have a mental image of what needs to happen back there, but it’s bizarre – the fender cutoff from the front needs to be channeled to fit around the seattube, and held in place somehow. Still way better coverage than the seatpost-mount filth prophylactics you see everywhere. The bike and the conditions presuppose a little ‘roughing it,’ so it’s not a dealbreaker for me. I think the rear fender looks very roadsterrific, which was the idea.

gravel roadster with new pink Cascadia fenders. Also some hay.

* I got this adjective from my brother in law tonight. He says it means “rich enough for a basketball player,” but I think it’s more along the lines of “in like Flynn.” I also got the euphemism “delta bravo,” which stands for d.b., which stands for douche bag. We’ve already moved on to “douche nozzle,” “douche pickle” and “king of the doucheteria” at my house, so “delta bravo” might be a little like suggesting Mrs O’Leary put the lantern out of range of the cow’s hoof. The Titanic has sailed. Sounds cool, though.

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UI/UX Designer, bike nerd, artist.

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