Fenders are an important accessory for cyclists that ride in wet weather conditions – whether on city streets or trail, in the rain or snow. There are different types of fenders - as defined below - but all of them are designed to protect you and your bicycle from the wet and grime that comes with riding in less than fair weather.
Rain jackets protect riders from falling rain. But fenders are the best defense for water flung up from your bike's wheels splashing through puddles – they block the scummy water from the road or mud from the trail from soaking you and your bicycle. Fenders help keep your legs and shoes dryer and prevent dirt and debris from gunking up your chain, derailleurs and brakes, extending the life of those parts.
Riders should choose fenders that fit both their bicycle and their riding style:
All-weather city and road riders with standard 700c or 650b wheels should consider full coverage fenders for the highest degree of protection with longer blades that more completely surround the wheels. Full coverage fenders typically come with mounting equipment to hold the fender blades with increased stability to prevent rattling or bouncing. Installing full coverage fenders can be challenging depending on the bike frame and may require professional problem solving to ensure the perfect fit. Full coverage fenders are usually a more expensive option but are more durable and often rebuildable.
Fair-weather riders may find a better fit in easy-install or clip-on fender styles. As their name suggests, easy install fenders are usually very quick to mount to or remove from many different styles of bicycles and wheel sizes (26, 29/700c, 650b) – usually with a quick-release or one-bolt mount. Easy install fenders cover much less of your wheels, so they won't stop all the road spray, but they’ll keep the worst of the wet off your backside and out of your face.
Trail riders are usually best served by easy install fenders that can be mounted or removed depending on the current weather conditions. Easy install fenders also will also fit a wide range of wheel and tires sizes - from standard to fat bikes.