I review Crud Roadracer Mk 2 bicycle fenders

Several weeks ago I asked the Internet which road bicycle fenders should I install and you, loyal readers, responded with surprising enthusiasm for the Crud Roadracer Mk2.

Crud Roadracer Mk2 bicycle fenders

Why fenders?

I’m a long time fan of SKS Raceblade fenders on my road bike. These mudguards install easily and quickly on bikes that lack fender mount, they’re reasonably sturdy, they work well enough to keep spray off of my backside and downtube, they look okay besides, and they dismount quickly on the occasions I need to throw my bike in the trunk of a small car.

The Raceblades are half coverage fenders, though: they cover the portion of the tire from about the brake-mounting bridge and back. All of the road schmutz on the rotating rear tire dumps out just forward of the seatstays onto the back of the seattube. Here’s my front derailleur and the back of the bottom bracket shell after a couple of days of riding in the rain.

Front derailleur without full coverage funders

Front derailleur without full coverage funders

That grit can’t be good for any of the moving mechanical bits clustered here. Full coverage fenders like the Roadracer Mk2 can be a pain to install, but they protect a lot of the moving parts on your bike.

First Impressions

I learned at least one major USA distributor (QBP) keeps Crud fenders in stock. They’re priced just a few dollars more than the SKS fenders, so I ordered a set through my local bike shop. Unlike many fenders each of the front and rear fender are broken out into three different pieces: a front, middle and tail piece, with the stays attached to the middle of each set of fenders. Assembly of these three pieces takes place during install.

Like many (all?) full coverage fenders, the printed install instructions are next to worthless, and installation involves at least an hour of time accompanied with either incredible patience or blasphemous oath-making, depending on your disposition. I highly recommend watching this Roadracer Tips and Tricks video and this Roadracer install tutorial video before attempting installation.

The Roadracer Mk2 fenders can be installed with surprisingly little clearance between the brake bridge and tire. I hoped I could get away with installing over my 28 mm Roubaix tires, but alas they were too thick and I had to go back to my 25 mm tires. Cable ties secure the middle piece to the brake, while the stays are attached to the chainstays (for the rear fender) or front fork (front fender) using elastic o-rings. If you have skinny chainstays, the Tips and Tricks video suggests doubling the o-rings in on themselves for a secure fit.

The front and rear extensions are attached with plastic thumbscrews, which are as flimsy as they look. More on this later.

For fuller coverage, the rear fender extends forward from the seatstays down to the bottom bracket, and is the portion that may test your good temper the most. You’ll need to cut to size. The install instructions recommends a saw; I used gardening shears. The results are worth it: here’s my front derailleur after a week of rain riding with these fenders installed. Compare against the “before” photos above. Impressive, yes?

Front derailleur after a month of full coverage fenders

Second Immpressions

The plastic fenders feel flimsy and cheap, but they hold their shape amazingly well. Other fenders I’ve used tend to retain their new shape when they’re deformed. The Crud Roadracer Mk2 fenders may bend, but they snap back to their original shape. I hang my bike on a garage hook, and one morning I discovered the rear fender got caught on the garage door and bent completely backwards the night before. I thought it was ruined, but a few hours after releasing the fender from its trap it was, amazingly, back to its original shape.

One slight bummer is this deformation resistance seems to come at the price of brittleness. The fender extension forward of the front brake keeps spray from flying in your face when riding on wet roads. Transit bus bike racks have a spring loaded arm that hook the top of the front tire to hold the bike in place. This arm presses directly on the front of the fender. I’ve never had problems with other fenders, and contrary to what one Crud Products fan told me regarding this fender’s durability, the Roadracer Mk2 fender lasted three bus trips before snapping in half at the tongue that holds the front extension in place (as pointed to by the yellow arrow):

Crud Fender: broken front fender on tongue

The front fender is secured just millimeters aft of this break. In spite of this broken tongue, the front fender still stays in place, though it unfortunately seems to wiggle a little more than it should.

The install videos mention briefly that you should tighten the plastic screws finger tight. Because of the periodic fiddling and readjusting necessary with these fenders, you may be tempted to crank down hard so everything stays in place, but the threads strip easily. Should you ignore this advice and strip the screws anyway, the fender kit happily comes with spare screws and nuts.

Are Crud Roadracer Mk2 fenders for you?

With copius sunshine forecast high of 80 degrees in San Jose CA today, it’s hard to think of rain. I know it’s getting late in he season for northern California, but we have a good chance of rain later this week.

The flaws I mention about this fender are minor to me and understandable in the context of what these fenders are designed for. I think these fenders are a worthwhile purchase. Buy if you need to ride in the rain but want more protection than half fenders provide. They look sharp on a road bike and work very effectively to keep your backside dry and the moving parts of your bike clean, but expect frequent adjustments. If your bike is jostled onboard a train or sees rough use, expect pieces to break or fall off. Installation requires only three tools — scissors, a saw or heavy-duty shears, and patience — or pay your bike shop twenty bucks to install it for you.

Crud Products is based in the UK and aren’t widely carried by USA bike shops, but they are available through QBP, a large distributor. Ask your local bike shop to order part number FE5504 from the QBP catalog. Be sure to ask about return policy on special order items if you have doubts. You can also order online through Amazon.com.

Thank you to all who recommended the Crud fenders to try. H/T to Service Course Velo, Joe Huber, and Lizbon.

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