Review of Velo Orange 45mm 700 smooth aluminum fenders.
Recently I took part in an annual Polar Ride on January 1st. There was no snow this year but it had been raining a lot and there were a few sprinkles on that day. There were maybe a hundred riders of all sorts, including many cyclocross racers. The course was entirely dirt road which was often pot-holed and very muddy. Most of the bikes were mountain or cyclocross, and a type I hadn't seen on the road before; the 29er. I rode my Sporterra fitted with 40mm aggressive studded snow tires and plastic fenders. Almost no-one else had fenders, which really surprised me. There was a bike washing station provided, and it was surely needed as everyone was covered in mud literally from head to toe. I however, was quite clean due entirely to the fenders. So, I decided to fit fenders to my other bike. It's a steel frame bike that I don't ride in the winter mostly because of the liberal use of salt here on the roads. That other bike is a Casseroll, a randonneur style that traditionally has silver colored metal fenders, so that's what I got. Velo Orange smooth polished aluminum, the cost with shipping was 67 US dollars on sale. They arrived promptly by FedEx, and were packaged well. First impression was that they felt very light without seeming flimsy. If fact, the bag of hardware seemed to weigh as much. I liked the stays which are one piece and wrap around the fender. I believe this adds strength and stiffness to the installation compared to my other set. All the holes were pre drilled which sounds like a good thing but isn't. I would have preferred to drill them myself in another location as the position of the front stays invites toe overlap. The stay-to-fender design detail also contributes to this because the stay is spaced out from the fender a bit. It's really close but may be fine. I wrote to customer service about this and received a reply right away, there are options using different hardware if I decide to. Anyway, the installation went well and there was enough of a variety of hardware supplied to accommodate my bike. They are lookin pretty sharp and are in fact much stiffer than the plastic ones on the other bike. Also, the front fender goes down quite a bit more which should provide more protection. I haven't ridden it yet outside to see if there are any rattles but I really don't expect any. Another choice would have been stainless. They presumably are more durable, but I just wanted to save some weight. The fenders are 45mm and the tires are 32 (actual) and the margins turned out very good. The exception is a larger margin at the chainstay bridge, necessary because of my horizontal dropouts. I had bought a nifty little spring loaded bolt at the same time from VO that improves this but ended up not using it. Seemed like it would require an extra hand, and I have a hard enough time getting the rear wheel off. Because of the dropouts that is, the fenders haven't made it worse. So at this point I'll give them a cautious recommendation, I'll update in the summer.
Oh, that's me in the pic wearing the look of determination. (and the yellow helmet cover)