Car Less Ohio

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Product Review: Civia Market 48 Fenders

Ever since I got my Surly Cross-Check a couple of years ago, I’ve been debating whether or not to put fenders on it. I don’t use it as a cyclocross racing bike; it’s more my “light and fast touring bike” or my “slow and comfortable road bike.” My mind was made up for me when I saw the new Civia Market 48 Fenders.

My Cross-Check came in the Misty Mountain Grey color that Surly made a couple of years ago, and it’s one of a couple of bikes that I have worked to maintain a consistent color scheme with as many of the components as possible. For this bike, I’ve used red, from the headset and spacers, bottle cages, and mini-pump, right down to the spoke nipples and brake pads. When I saw that the Civia Market 48 Fenders are available in Red, I knew it was a match made in heaven.

Civia is a relatively new brand in the bike business; their main focus is high-end commuting and utility bikes for the discerning transportation cyclist. Like Surly and Salsa, they are owned by mega-distributor Quality Bicycle Products, so by using these fenders on my Surly, I’m still keeping things “all in the family.”

The Market 48 Fenders are made of anodized aluminum, and have a nice long mud flap on both the front and rear, similar to the extended flaps on the Planet Bike Cascadia Fenders. The flaps are attached with two rivets each, to keep the flaps from twisting.

The front fender went on without much trouble, with a standard fork crown bracket made of sturdy stainless steel, just like all of the other mounting hardware.

The only real hitch in the installation process was the seatstay bridge support for the rear fender. Most fender makers give you a molded plastic piece that you slide along the length of the fender until you get it into the proper position. Civia provides this piece as a straight, flat hunk of metal. I guess the rationale was that a matching stainless steel bracket would look better with all of the other mounting hardware, but if it were pre-bent to match the shape of the fender, it would scratch the finish of the fender as you slide it into place.

So, the process of installing the rear fender involved these steps:

  1. Remove rear wheel.
  2. Remove both rear brake caliper arms to give yourself room to work.
  3. Bolt side fender struts in place to fender eyelets near rear dropouts.
  4. Bolt front end of fender to the chainstay bridge.
  5. Loosen side strut adjusting bolts to position fender height near seatstay bridge.
  6. Carefully eye up and mark the position needed for the seatstay bracket.
  7. Un-bolt side struts and front end and remove fender from bike.
  8. Carefully position the seatstay bracket where marked from Step 6, and carefully bend it to match the shape of the fender.
  9. Wrap the extra length on both sides of the bracket around to the underside of the fender, and clamp tightly into position with pliers.
  10. Bolt seatstay bracket to seatstay bridge.
  11. Bolt side fender struts in place to fender eyelets near rear dropouts.
  12. Bolt front end of fender to the chainstay bridge.
  13. Reinstall rear wheel.
  14. Re-attach rear brake arms.
  15. Loosen and re-tighten side strut adjusting bolts to center and further fine-tune the position of the fender.

In step 6, I used a piece of thick double-sided rubber tape to mark the bracket position, then just left the tape in place as I bent the bracket around the fender. This helps to fill any gaps left between the bracket and fender (due mainly to my imperfect metal-working skills), and prevent any future shifting and rattling in the bracket-fender interface.

All fender installations tend to have their tricky points that are impossible to anticipate until you’re knee-deep in the process. This bracket was an unexpected curveball even for a relatively experienced fender-installer such as myself. All of the mounting bolts and other hardware you should need are included with these fenders, although I ended up using two of my own spare bolts on the seat stay and chain stay bridges to find a more ideal length.

The “48” in the name of the Civia Market 48 Fenders refers to their width, in millimeters. I’m not sure why they felt the need to include it in the name, since Civia doesn’t make any “Market” models in other sizes; maybe Civia plans to in the future, though. They are theoretically compatible with up to 700x40C tires. My Panaracer T-Serv Messenger 700x35C tires run a bit wider than the name indicates; more realistically like 700x38C. The Market 48 Fenders seem to have just enough, without any noticeable rubbing, at least in the workshop environment. I think a 700×40 might be pushing it almost too far. These tires are almost due for retirement, and I’ll probably be going with something a little narrower, like a 700×32, in the near future.

With Northeast Ohio under a foot or more of snow at the moment, I have not had a chance to give these fenders a true road test yet. But they appear to be a very solid, functional, and not to mention quite attractive addition to my Cross-Check’s red wardrobe. For those not into making their bike look like Santa’s sleigh, the Civia Market 48 Fenders also come in Black, Silver, and Gray. The suggested retail price is $55. If they don’t have them in stock, your favorite local bicycle shop should be able to order them for you.

A New Year's Velorution

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but as my riding mileage dropped way off last month with the onset of bitter cold weather, I figured the new year would be a good excuse to start walking the walk, as well as talking the talk, especially as a co-founder of this blog. So, I began riding my bike to work yesterday.

The worst part about bad-weather riding, in my opinion, is not so much being out in the weather itself. It’s the additional activity required before and after the ride: planning the additional clothing that you need to wear for the ride, and packing more clothes that you’ll have to change into once you arrive at your destination. So, advance preparation is the key more than ever to killing the motivation-killers. Get into a night-before routine–set out your riding clothes, pack your at-work clothes, and make sure your bike and gear are set up and ready to go.

Speaking of bike preparation, I recently added the final touch to make my winter commuting bike ready for action. I needed a rear cargo rack. Mountain bike frames with disc brakes and no rack mounting eyelets present a challenge for carrying cargo. First, I tried mounting a standard cargo rack using clamps around the seatstays for the lower arms of the rack. It held firm, but this caused the rack to sit in a more forward position, which in turn caused my heels to hit whenever any pannier was hanging on the rack.

So, I came across the Axiom Odysee Full Suspension Rack. As the name implies, this rack will work on full-suspension mountain bikes (as long as they don’t have suspension pivots on the seatstays). However, it’s the ideal solution for any bike that has disc brakes and/or lack of rack eyelets. Your rear wheel must have a standard quick release. The design principle is similar to the popular racks from Old Man Mountain, but the price is much more reasonable.

The lower mounting points on the Odyssee Full Suspension Rack use elongated metal plates, with holes through which you thread your rear quick release skewer. The upper mounting points on the rack are made up of two rigid metal support brackets and a pair of clamps that attach to any point on your seatstays. The support brackets are adjustable, so you can get a level rack setup no matter what the angle of your seatstays is.

Here’s what it looks like on my bike. It was an unexpected benefit that it still left room for my seatpost-mounted fender between the rack and the tire. My Axiom waterproof panniers fit very well, as you would hope, leaving plenty of clearance for my size-10.5 hush puppies.

I have never seen any store carry the Axiom Odyssee Full Suspension Rack, but most can special-order it for you. Ask for QBP item number RK6622; they’ll know what you mean. Suggested retail price is $46.99, which includes all the brackets, clamps, and other hardware you’ll need to make it work, and comes in any color you want, as long as it’s black.