02 August, 2007

Installing VO or Honjo Fenders

I should write some instructions for installing metal fenders for those of you who have never done this, or who think it's difficult. But first some observations on the new VO fenders:

  • I'm pleased to report that all the hardware fits and works perfectly.
  • There are even little marks on the stays to help you center them.
  • Installing VO fenders is almost exactly like installing Honjo fenders.
Tools required:
  • 8mm and 10mm open end wrenches
  • Alan wrench set
  • Drill with a 5mm bit (and sometimes a 3mm).
  • Hacksaw or big wire cutter for cutting stays
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • A file and sharp punch or nail are also nice to have.
Attaching the Fender Stays:

Attach the stays to the fenders using draw bolts. I like the bolts about 15cm from the aft end of the fenders, but the exact distance is not critical. Some model fenders come with one draw bolt per fender, others with two. Our Honjo extra long models are pre-drilled for the bolts. On other models, mark the location of the bolts and make an indent with a punch or sharp nail. Drill a 5mm hole for each bolt.

Thread the stay into the draw bolt and secure the bolts to the fender with a washer and locknut. If using two bolts per fender you'll need to flex the fender and stay to insert both bolts at once.

Installing the front fender:

If your bike has a fender boss under the fork crown, as VO frames have, simply drill a matching hole in the fender and secure it to the crown with a 5mm bolt and washer. But be sure to use a leather washer between the crown and fender. The leather washer absorbs vibrations and cushions the fender, helping to prevent cracking at the bolt hole.

If using a VO or Honjo L-bracket, drill two 3mm holes and mount the bracket as shown in the photo. Secure it to the brake bolt.

If using a fork crown daruma, hang the daruma from the brake bolt and drill a matching 5mm hole in the fender. Again, the extra long Honjos are pre-drilled. Secure the fender with a flat washer and nut, but only after adding a leather washer between the crown and fender.

Place the R-clips on the stays and screw them to the eyelets on your front dropout with 5mm screws. Hint: removing the quick release skewer makes it easier. Adjust the stays for a perfect fender line. You'll notice that the stays are too long; mark and cut them to length with a hacksaw or wire cutter. File or sand down the ends so they aren't sharp.

Installing the rear fender:

Ideally the front edge of the rear fender should extend a few centimeters below the chainstay bridge. On a VO or other well-designed frame there will be bosses at the brake bridge and the chainstay bridge and plenty of room for the fender. All you'll need to do in that case is drill matching holes and screw the fender into place. Again, don't forget the leather washers.

On many production frames things are a bit more difficult. You may even have to bend or trim (with tin snips) the front of the rear fender to make it fit between the chainstays then bolt it into place through the hole in the chainstay bridge. But don't do this yet; first install the sliding bridge bracket. The VO version is made of mallable metal that you fold over the fender; the Honjo sliding bridge bracket slides on over the fender from the end.

Bolt the bridge to the brake bridge and slide the fender forward to the desired location. Now drill the hole to bolt it to the chainstay bridge. Remember the leather washer. Pinch each side of the sliding bridge bracket with pliers to lock the fender in place and so it doesn't rattle

Finally attach and trim the stays to the dropout eyelets as you did on the front fender. Check that all the screws, nuts, and bolts are tight, (don't forget to reinstall those quick release skewers) and go for a ride.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The fenders look great. I was just wondering why you couldn't use the same L bracket for both the front and rear fenders. Why does the rear fender have the sliding bridge bracket?

Anonymous said...


If your bike has a fender boss under the fork crown, as VO frames have, simply drill a matching hole in the fender and secure it to the crown with a 5mm bolt and washer. But be sure to use a leather washer between the crown and fender. The leather washer absorbs vibrations and cushions the fender, helping to prevent cracking at the bolt hole.



Some frames are going to require a lot larger spacer than just a leather washer. The Kogswell P/R, for example, was designed to use a 1 cm spacer between fender and fork crown in order to get a correct fender line.

I had a lot of difficulty finding a rubber spacer when I was building up my P/R. I could easily find rigid plastic spacers, but I wanted something a bit more flexible. I ended up buying a rubber plug, sawing it in half and sanding it down on very coarse sandpaper to fit, and drilling it through the middle to allow the bolt securing the fender to get to the fork crown.

--sfp

C said...

My big piece of advice on fenders is tools: Get a Dremel tool! You can use it for drilling the holes, cutting the stays, and smoothing the cut ends. Also great for making clean cable housing cuts.

Those fenders look great and they're only a couple bucks more than the plastic models. I can't wait for the 650b version.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Anon, The reason that sliding bridge brackets are used on the rear fender is that it make getting a perfect fender line simple. You mount the fender, then push it forward or back in the bracket until it's perfect. Just pinch the bracket to lock it into place.

SFP, That's interesting about the P/R. I wonder if the reason for the extra space is that the fork was actually intended for a 700c wheel? You can get stock 700c forks very cheaply in Taiwan. Watch out for the rubber, unless it's a compound formulated for outdoor use it might disintegrate or harden and crack in a year or two. That's why rubber washers should not be used for fenders. A slice off a wine bottle cork might work.

Anonymous said...


SFP, That's interesting about the P/R. I wonder if the reason for the extra space is that the fork was actually intended for a 700c wheel? You can get stock 700c forks very cheaply in Taiwan. Watch out for the rubber, unless it's a compound formulated for outdoor use it might disintegrate or harden and crack in a year or two. That's why rubber washers should not be used for fenders. A slice off a wine bottle cork might work.


Perhaps Matthew anticipated that new red superwide Grand Bois 42x584 and left room for it... ;-)

What would cause hardening and cracking in an outdoor mode, UV exposure? Ozone? I went with a rubber plug because I was trying to emulate what comes with Berthoud fenders. If it's UV, it's certainly a well-protected location. There's a better chance for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than UV rays to get up in there between the fender and the fork crown.

That said, I'll certainly look at it from time to time!

--sfp

Chris Kulczycki said...

SFP, Many types of rubber are fine outdoors. Tires do quite well outside ;<). But some rubber washers just disintegrate; I don't know why this is.

Anonymous said...

I have long regretted not finding and following such clear and well illustrated instructions for installing my Berthouds.

Your instructions are much easier to follow and your photos are more on point than Jitensha's for Honjos or the meager instructions I got with my fenders.

I now can look forward to the day when I need/can afford to replace my fenders.

Thanks

BpF

Chris said...

In regards to the fender spacing on the Kogswell P/R, I think the extra space is intentional to accommodate off-road 650B tires if/when they become available. Some elegance is sacrificed for versatility as it is billed as a P/R not a P or R uniquely. The fork uses a crown custom made for the P/R so I don't think they are "off the shelf" 700c forks, although the blades may be 700c stock.

Chris said...

Chris, will the wider ridged fenders fit under a Mafac Racer centrepull? I think the Motobecane pictured is using DiaCompes or Wiennmanns which are a bit wider at the pivot bolts.

Anonymous said...

I recall Bicycle Quarterly saying that a single fender/stay attachment point like you have pictured is inadequate and that two bolts are necessary to avoid cracking.

The reason why the Kogswell P/R requires a 1 cm spacer under the fork crown is to that the fender clears a Tektro 556 sidepull. To suggest that it is a stock 700c fork is ridiculous.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The fenders do fit with Mafacs.

That's funny about the double mounting points because I asked Honjo to start sending two bolts per fender rather than the previous single bolt. The single mounting point, however, is adequate on VO fenders because the metal is a little thicker and the fender is a bit stiffer than a Honjo or Lefol. We have specified double draw bolts on the next shipment because folks like them.

I still don't get the fork crown and spacer deal. If it's a custom casting the mounting hole could simply be higher. We use a wide crown on our 650b city bike that works perfectly with Tektro XL reach brakes without a spacer. But I did notice that the Tektros are just too long to look right on our Rando frames which use a different crown. Do the Riv. bikes require fender spacers? I've really never paid any attention to this on other bikes, but I should since we're going to do a built-in-Taiwan 650b frame and fork.

Anonymous said...

Our kindly host asked,
Do the Riv. bikes require fender spacers? I've really never paid any attention to this on other bikes, but I should since we're going to do a built-in-Taiwan 650b frame and fork.

My Saluki requires a spacer with Berthoud fenders. It's included in the parts kit.

--sfp

JoelMatthews said...

I have the Waterford built Homer Hilsen with VO's extra length hammered honjos.

I used a very slim rubber marine washer between the fork crown and the fender. Mainly for the seal and sound dampening. Probably could have gone without it.

n.b.: The Hilsen is built up with a lot of VO and VO like parts and is a variation on the the French city bike theme. I am a rotten and reluctant photographer, but will try to send pics to the blog soon.

carlj said...

They sound great. Wondering if the 46mm width will fit a Riv. Rambouillet?

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...

Whoops, can't edit comments.

FYI, to clear up any confusion:

The fork crown on the P/R is not a custom crown -- it's a Long Shen LC44.

http://www.longshen.com.tw/ch_products_view.asp?Pidno=200606150074

The P/R forks are made specifically for the P/R frames, they're not some off-the-shelf part. Mine barely fits a 700x28c wheel (without fenders).

Adam said...

Aargh. Blogger won't accept hrefs, and cuts off long lines. What year is this?

Anyway, Google for "Long Shen LC44" and you'll find the page I attempted to link.

Neil A said...

If I'm installing non-VO or Honjo fenders with the U-stays y'all sell, how do I decide if I need 1 or 2 drawbolts per fender?

dorina said...

The rubber plug idea is the best to use for needed spacers. I found nylon spacers at the hardware store, but will probably craft rubber ones as well.

Two other observations;

Rear fender. If you take a straight edge and 'draw a line' along the chainstay, it coincides nicely with the rear edge of the fender on many cycles in Jan Heine's book. This makes sense, coinciding lines are generally more harmonious aesthetically. It also gives you 2-3 inches of fender in the front to hang below the bottom bracket. This helps protect the sprockets a bit more. It displeases me aesthetically to break past the lines of the chainstays in this place, but it can be blacked out easily with flat black paint. Note that it would make sense to first line up the rear of the fender, then drill the front hole first. Mount that, and then drill the middle hole by the brake. Make sure you insert your correct spacer before you mark the hole. Masking tape on the fender is a great way to give your pencil a surface to mark.

Second, I wish the front fenders were not pre-drilled in at the bottom. I would have preferred mounting the wire not so low. Again, putting my straight edge on the wire, the line coincides with the bottom of the sprocket; I would have preferred the freedom to line it up with the bottom bracket. Out of curiosity, I again consulted Jan Heine's book and noted that Herse angled his low while most, and in particular Singer, mounted higher. Mounted so low, the front fender leaves me with the feeling that it has a "scoop quality".

Please don't think I intend to needlessly 'nitpick'. I have noticed many times that the mounting of fenders have a strong effect on the overall aesthetic harmony of a cycle. The Toei machines reveal this clearly. : ) Ciao!

Mark said...

Help! I am trying to install your smooth fluted honjo fenders in the 43mm width, but I am unable to figure out how to make use of all four draw-bolts to attach the stays to the fenders.

The problem is the height of the draw bolt above the level of the fender's top surface versus the profile of the curve in the aluminum stay.

The fluted fender seems to dictate that the bolts be placed either in the centre of the fender (a single bolt set-up) or on the two flat surfaces closer to the edge of the fender (to make use of two draw bolts for added strength); to mount the draw bolts anywhere else on the fluted fender means that you don't have a flat surface for the draw bolt washers to push against.

But while four draw bolts are supplied with the fender to accommodate 2 bolts per fender, the stay itself is still shaped for one bolt usage it seems, because it fits tightly to the sides of the 43mm fender and will not accommodate the height of the draw bolts if they are used in the flat portion of the edge. (Feeding the stay through the two bolts will also be an issue I suspect, though it could be worked around I suppose by adding the locknuts after the stay is positioned.)

I don't think that trying to adjust the shape of the stay is the solution here, but perhaps I have not properly understood the problem?

If anyone who has experience using two draw bolts per stay has any advice to offer I would be very glad to have it. Likewise, if two bolts per stay are really overkill then perhaps I will go without...

Thanks very much!

Chris said...

Mark: Huh? I think you're over-thinking it. They supply 4 draw bolts in case you want to do something unusual with the extra 2 but you only need 2. Each bolt goes at the rear of each fender and holds the U-part of the STAY to the FENDER. Not the stay end to drop out.

The stays get the little clips at the dropouts.

Note to Velo Orange: Great fenders but I'd like to see the rear fender front end get tapered. 45mm fenders will not fit into road frame chainstays without pinching bad and I (and a lot of others) have to cut the fenders to fit. Just try to get 27" x 1 3/8" tires into your 45mm fenders on a road frame... not happening. What's wrong with a slightly tapered end?