Urban Velo

SKS RaceBlade Clip-on Fenders

sks1 Clip-on fenders are a handy accessory for those with road and track bikes with tight clearances, and without fender mounts. In fact, without fender mounts there are few choices for even partial coverage other than some sort of clip-on mount with variations like the SKS RaceBlade that closely follow the tire performing most like “real” fenders. RaceBlade’s have been around for a long time and are an oft-seen part on bikes that see rain only some of the time.

RaceBlade fenders are meant to fit 18-23c road tires, truly meant for riding skinny tires in inclement weather. Using simple rubber straps and feet, the RaceBlade’s attach to just about every traditional diamond-framed bike out there. The front fenders even include alternate feet meant for skinny carbon legged road forks if that’s your style. Once attached, you can adjust the curvature of the fender and where it sits in relation to the support arms by sliding it fore and aft in the black plastic mounts, necessary to prevent the fender from rubbing on the tire or interfering with the frame. I would prefer that more than friction held the adjustments in place, as I’ve had to readjust them from time to time after locking up or otherwise bumping the fenders but it hasn’t been a deal-breaker in practice. That said, I did find the RaceBlade’s more challenging to setup than other fenders with independently adjustable support arms with nuts and bolts holding them in place. And on certain bikes I found the raised plastic mount that tied to fender to the support arms interfered with my downtube no matter how I adjusted it, but in the real-world fenders always require some fiddling to work properly anyway. It is par for the course.

sks2 One thing to keep in mind with clip-on fenders like these is that they simply do not provide the protection from the elements like a full conventional set, especially the front fender. It helps to keep your body and face clean from road grime, but as far as keeping your feet dry it doesn’t do much. On the flip side of this, it also doesn’t change any of the characteristics of your bike in terms of toe-overlap – since the front fender does not extend down as far as others, if your bike doesn’t have toe-overlap now it won’t with these clip-on fenders. Those of us not used to overlap have been known to curse loudly about it with full coverage fenders, or at least I have. The rear fender suffers this same fate to some degree, allowing road spray to get to your calves, but it’s not as pronounced as the front. Some riders have reported swapping the front and rear fenders within the mounting brackets for more front coverage and drier feet, but I’ve honestly not tried this.

sks3 Setup properly, the SKS RaceBlade fenders are worth the roughly $45 asking price. Easy on, easy off is key and the protection from road grime is as good as it gets without full fledged fenders. These will prevent a stripe up the back and keep your body dry, even if your feet do end up wet from splashing through the puddles. Highly recommended, clip-on fenders Available in either black, carbon, silver or white in the 18-23 size, and a larger 25-32 XL size in all but white.

14 Comments

  1. EvilkohlMarch 18, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Especially the rear fender is far too short (front reach) to prevent the rider from getting soggy.

    I presume all the steeled roadbikers don’t mind, but its nothing for a commute through rain or even medium wet streets.

  2. jamesmallonMarch 18, 2009 at 7:21 am

    I have the Planet Bike version. There is a way to use them for full coverage, but you need to buy two pair:
    - long one in the regular spot on the back
    - short one inside the rear triangle
    - long one behind the fork
    - short one in front of the fork
    Everything’s covered but the brakes. Beats paying for a new bike!

  3. MikeMarch 18, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Does anyone know if you can use ore convert to the standard supports?
    I’ve got skinny tires but have fender mounts on frame/fork.

  4. bradMarch 18, 2009 at 8:49 amAuthor

    You may be able to, but even if you could why not just purchase conventional fenders. SKS makes those too. The smallest size fits a 20mm tire.

    http://www.sks-germany.com/sks.php?l=en&a=product&i=6409800121

  5. critninjaMarch 18, 2009 at 9:08 am

    i have a couple observations having used these for a few years now:

    - the rear fender stays may contact the canti studs on a cross frame, making it difficult to get the proper positioning to prevent rubbing
    - curved seat stays can pose an issue as well
    - bladed forks pose a problem in keeping the fender centred (sounds like the newer versions you tested have addresses this)
    - you can secure the fenders in position by installing a small sheet metal screw through the underside of the fender into the black “knuckle” preventing the fender from shifting around
    - i have found the rubber straps still move no matter how tight you make them

    on a ride last week i finally had enough of the constant rubbing and adjustment issues and removed them mid-ride – tossing them in the garbage. i have settled on a seatpost mounted SKS fender for the time being.

    if SKS could make the frame “clamps” more sturdy i think they would have a winning combo – maybe a hose-clamp type fitting found on many light brackets could offer a more secure attachment.

    having said all that, damn! – those white fenders are pimpin’!

  6. Bryan @ Renaissance BicyclesMarch 18, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I was a little reluctant to try these on my skinny-tired commuter bike. I had low-cost “plasticy” fenders on a mountain bike a while ago and was disappointed the fender rattle, tire slap, and constant need for adjustment. Bottom line … they were just cheap and not suited to the constant “shock” of off-road riding.

    However, I still needed some fenders for my commuter bike which has zero clearance and lacks mounts. And after riding these fenders over the winter, they are exactly what I hoped. These fenders are lightweight, attractive, good quality, and resilient.

    I found the installation really simple. After installing many traditional fenders for customers (which usually takes at least an hour), I had these in place in about 20 minutes. Apparently, your mileage may vary.

    From my experience, if you don’t have the ideal option of traditional quality fenders (either because of clearance and / or lack of mounts), then I highly recommend the SKS Raceblade.

  7. FrancoisMarch 18, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I fully agree with Critninja, no matter you do, the straps are constantly sliding down the fork and seatstays, especially on bumpy downhills. It’s OK if you need them from time to time, but not for everyday commuting during spring or autumn…

  8. RocBike.com | The RocBike Review » Links of the Day: March 18, 2009March 18, 2009 at 11:45 am

    [...] SKS RaceBlade Clip-on Fenders – protection from puddles for road bikes with tight wheel clearances or lacking fender mounts. [...]

  9. SJMarch 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve used zip ties instead of the rubber straps. I don’t have any issue with the fenders moving position. Of course you lose the quick removal, but I don’t mind, just leave them on all the time.

  10. Kevin Saunders - KGS BikesMarch 18, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I use these fenders and think that they are great. I do wish they were a little longer in both front and back but don’t mind the fact that they don’t go in front of the rear brake bridge. Having relief from the sandy wet ass on long wet rides is fantastic.

    I do use zip ties and once adjusted, the fenders go on in a couple of minutes.

    There is still no solution for the fact that everyone wants to draft me and I get nasty from the person in front with no fenders!

  11. Elliott @ Austin On Two WheelsMarch 19, 2009 at 1:57 am

    I reviewed the SKS Race Blade fenders a few months ago, and this summary is pretty accurate. They protect your upper body from the worst of the spray but are no where near as good as conventional, full fenders. They’d definitely be a godsend in group rides on a rainy day, but I’m not sure they’d get you on your daily commute totally dry. Still, for bikes that can’t handle conventional fenders, they are your best choice.

  12. DarellFebruary 4, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    A question for you folks who are using these on 23c tires: Does it make more sense to go with the XL for more width and less fine-tuning, or are the skinny ones good enough?

    Oh.. and who runs 18c tires, btw? Show of hands?

  13. MichaelFebruary 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    for extra coverage on the front and read fenders I have cut strips of plastic bottles and attached them to the end of the fenders. You can use zipties or poprivets, like extended mudflaps to keep the guy behind you from eating spray, and your shoes dryer from spray coming off the front wheel. As far as the inside triangle on the rear, ride faster.

  14. Alexis PoletDecember 4, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Any of you guys know if I’d be able to fit these on a modern BMX? – Yes, I commute to work, 17 km and back on a BMX. Thanks

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