SKS RaceBlade Clip-on Fenders
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.
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.
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.