Thursday, July 11, 2013

Eeek! A Naked Bicycle!

Since this is a family blog, let's just call this photo a "tasteful, artistic nude":

I had a rattling fender that turned out to be a cracked fender, so in a fit of pique, I just ripped both of the darn things off. Now, before the Bicycle Quarterly devotees get all over me for using those horribly inferior plastic fenders, bear in mind that this humble set of Planet Bike polycarbonates had lived for ten long years across four different bikes. Not bad for a $25 investment. That's $2.50 per year, or $6.25 per bike. Had I done a better job installing (and reinstalling, and reinstalling) them and not tried to manhandle this last installation (there was some over-aggressive Dremel artistry this time), methinks they would have gone a lot longer.

I've only been rocking the unfurnished basement for a few days, and I can't wait to get some proper mudguards back on the thing. First of all, it just looks wrong. Skinny-tired carbon race bike with its wanton wheels exposed? Sure. But a chubby-tired steel all-rounder? Gotta have some spray-deflectors to look right. Second, even in this week's relatively dry conditions, I'm getting schmutz all over my water bottles. I couldn't care less about dust on my legs, but dust on the thing I drink from? Ick.

The weird thing is, I actually ride differently without fenders. I'm more conscious of the surface, looking for the cleanest line. It's annoying. So I ordered up more Planet Bike polycarbonate, because, heck, why mess with what works? I do have some ideas for custom mounting tweaks to make the installation stiffer, prettier, and even longer-lasting, but I'll save that for when I have fenders in hand.

Having a bike stripped of fenderage does provide a rare opportunity for some Grant Petersen-esque tire clearance porn, though. Hey, if it's what you're into, who am I to judge?

She's wearing 700x32 Panaracer Paselas (which measure true to label) and Tektro R556 extra-long-reach brakes. I'll bet the next size of Pasela would easily fit, or (dangerous thought brewing) some cyclocross knobbies. Proof positive that the current (er, quasi-current) iteration of the Raleigh Clubman can be a real wolf in sheep's clothing with a few well-chosen modifications.

So there you have it. Illicit bike photos. You'd better clear your browser history now.


Anonymous said...

Nekkid wheels? The scandal of it!!

Hey, we're adults and can handle it. Besides, it does make it easier to keep an eye on the condition of the tires. I've been surprised at least once when I've pulled out the rear wheel for some sort of maintenance and was a bit shocked at how bad the tire tread was looking.

Better get some new PB fenders on the poor bike before it dies of shame, though. -smile-

Steve in Peoria

Steve Fuller said...

Kenda Happy Mediums or Small Block 8s would fit in there just fine. You know you want to toss on a set of knobbies and cruise some of Iowa's finest limestone covered byways with me. :)