It’s January, and if you don’t think full fenders are sexy then you must not live in the Pacific Northwest. Portland Design Works feeds your fetish with two additions to their excellent Full Metal line of alloy fenders, the “Road Plus” and “650 Beast”. Both models use stout, rolled aluminium fenders and durable mounting hardware, but they cater to new tyre and/or wheel sizes different from the previous two Full Metal fenders.
The older “City Size” and “Road Size” fenders ostensibly fit 700C x 35mm and 700C x 23mm tyres respectively. I have installed scores of the City size fenders, which have an actual width of 45mm, on a variety of disc and cantilever brake bikes. The City fenders are actually wide enough to work with upwards of 40mm wide tyres, but the stiff aluminium extrusion is too wide to fit under medium reach sidepull brakes. And before road disc brakes were a thing, medium reach sidepull brakes were defining feature of all-weather road bikes for decades.
The new “Road Plus” fender’s 37mm width splits the difference between the original Full Metal sizes. It should easily slip under medium reach brakes with tyres perhaps as big as 28mm. With enough frame clearance (most likely on disc brake equipped bikes), the Road Plus should probably handle the spray off 32mm tyres without issue.
I do have issue with PDW calling the 37mm fender “Road Plus”. The bike industry already kinda coined that term to describe the recently revived 650B standard as a basis for high-volume road tyres, typically in a 650B x 47-48mm size. But I suppose that PDW couldn’t help but relish the name “650 Beast” for just such a fender. The Beast fenders are a generous 55mm width with a curvature tailored to the 650B standard, relatively smaller in radius than 700C. The Beast doubles up the rear stays to give more support. Like the Road Plus fender, it replaces the rubber fender flaps with longer, lighter, flexible plastic flaps.
Both the Road Plus and 650 Beast come in a matte black finish, for $120 and $125 respectively.
There are of course other aluminium full fenders on the market, all of which are unapologetic copies of mid-20th century fashion. PDW’s modern style arguably provides a much better aesthetic compliment to today’s high-tech, disc brake bikes. If you want to pretend that your fender fetish is above such superficiality, I assure you that PDW Full Metal fenders are the sturdiest and easiest to install. But perhaps as a concession to the market segment compulsively attracted to shiny things, PDW now makes a polished silver version of the City Size Full Metal fender in addition to the established matte black and gunmetal gray options.