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How to install vintage road bike fenders in 2 easy steps

In this article I’m going to explain how to install vintage road bike fenders.

I bought a 1986 Koga Miyata Adventure of which only the rear fender was original. But it had water damage between the aluminium sheet and plastic cover. The front one wasn’t original and had fender stays which were way too long as well. They both had to go.

Video Tutorial

Choosing the correct size fenders for your bike

I had initially chosen to fit a pair of Continental Gatorskin tires. I liked the look of the tire and chosen a 32mm. width.

However, the vintage road bike fenders from the brand ESGE I had bought had a narrow width of 35mm. which just barely fit over the tire. And since the fenders were three decades old, they weren’t perfectly round anymore.

That made me al the more aware that fenders have different sizes for a reason. To be able to accommodate the larger width Gatorskins I bought a new set of SKS Bluemels mudguards with a width of 45mm.

I found these to be of a subpar quality and decided to change the tires instead, returning them to a smaller 28mm. width by opting for the smallest narrowest gravel tires available: the Panaracer Gravelking 622 – 28. Since the original setup also included brown 28mm. skinwall tires, it would look like the version from the catalogue.

Before I returned the Bluemels however, I created a snapshot of what fender width you should go for in relation to your tire width. These are the measurements

Bicycle TypeFender WidthTiresRim Diameter
Road35mm.700x20mm. – 700x28mm.27″
City42mm.700x25mm. – 700x35mm.28″
Trekking45mm.700x28mm. – 700x38mm.28″
Trekking53mm.26×1″ – 26×1.5″26″
Trekking53mm.700x38mm. – 700x47mm.28″
Mountain60mm.26×1.6″ – 26×2.1″26″
Mountain65mm.26×2.1″ – 26×2.35″26″

Step 1 Installing the front vintage road bike fender

I started with the front fender. The way these type of fenders work is that loose fender stays are held in place by tightening them against clamps which are riveted in place.

The fenders stays, though thin, are immensely stiff and resemble a pair of legs. That means there are 4 places where they attach to the fenders and one mount on each side of the frame.

You need to install the fender before you know where to saw them off.

My Koga Miyata Adventure has front and rear luggage racks. That means that installing the front fender also means installing the front rack since they are mounted to the frame with the same bolt.

I have a Shimano 105 Golden Arrow headset which judges outward quite a bit. It meant that besides the original washer I added a single smaller washer on each side of it.

I mark the stays with a permanent marker. The choice of where to cut the stays is obviously a personal one. I cut them where to protrude from the fender clamps for about 5mm. I also put an extra mark on the lower stay so I now which one goes where. The stays are not mounted in the center of the wheel so one stay will be cut shorter than the other one.

The stays are made of incredibly strong stainless steel. I needed new saw blades to get through them. In the picture you can see I placed a file at the top. If you don’t you’ll have a hard time keeping the blade in the right place at the start.

When the sawing is done I use the same file to smooth out the sharp edges of the stay.

When sawing and filing the stays is done, I put them back into place, tighten the bolts, test if the space on either side of the wheel is the same and spin the wheel to see if it moves freely within the fender. You can clearly see I had to remove the left stay to shorten it a bit more.

A final clean and the front fender is done.

Step 2 Installing the rear vintage road bike fender

Installing the rear vintage road bike fender works basically the same. 4 contact points with the stays and the fender, and 2 for the frame. The measuring and sawing is also the same. Obviously the fender is longer, has a light in my case and different fender mounts to attach them to the frame.

The screw for the lower mount needs a bit of grease. This screw is very apt to rust and seize in the frame.

And that’s how you install vintage road bike fenders ! If you like this article give it a thumbs up. If you have any questions or suggestions for new articles, let me know in the comments below. Cheers.

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