I’ve been riding and tweaking my 26″ wheeled Surly LHT project bike. One thing it definitely lacked was fenders. In my opinion fenders make a bike look finished and classy fenders take it to the next level of sexy. I had been waiting to make up my mind about which tires to stick with and what size wheels I was going to use. I started off with 26″ wheels and 2.15″ Schwalbe Big Apples. I have a lovely set of Velo Orange 650B rims in my office that was thinking about using on this bike and if not some narrower 1.5″ slick tires I also considered as possibilities. If money was no object at the moment I would likely have gone with the 650B wheels, but that would require new hubs and a custom wheel build plus new brakes as well as new levers. That’s a few too many $$$ for me to spend at the moment when the I have wheels that work. I’ve decided the monster truck feel of the Big Apples makes me pretty happy and I have a 700c LHT with 35mm tires if I want a more speedy flavour of Trucker.
Fenders aren’t hard to install – especially a set of VO fenders, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle this job. For whatever reason I was in the zone yesterday morning so I got down to business installing this 60mm VO stainless ATB fender set.
Stainless fenders are a bit heavier than their aluminum brothers, but they make up for it by being very stiff and strong. This LHT isn’t about being a featherweight or even touring across the continent. It’s about a practical, fun bike that’s ready to get stuff done around town.
The Velo Orange fender kit comes with everything you need to install the fenders. It took me about 20mins/wheel once I got going. You can do it faster, but I recommend taking your time and checking twice at each step before you go on to the next.
I do like a fender that follows the tire reasonably evenly. I don’t get too anal about this, but it’s worth spending an extra 5mins now for a great looking fender install you can enjoy for years.
The 60mm fender width is just enough for the ~54mm tires. Both the tires and the wide fenders give the 26″ wheeled LHT a purposeful look – kind of like an American muscle car. Both fenders will get a mudflap as soon as I decide what to use. I have a set of Buddy Flaps that I haven’t installed which are the likely candidates.
I really liked the shape of the VO rando bars I started with on the LHT, but they were too narrow at the drops for my wide shoulders to be happy. Alix from Bike Mexico was complaining about her LHT’s drops and since she has narrow shoulders I gifted them to her so they would get to experience some Mexican adventures! Since I had a spare set of no name drop bars on my shelf I decided to use them for now until it makes sense to upgrade.
The other thing I wanted to change was my shifting setup. The downtube friction shifter isn’t making me happy with a cassette designed for indexed shifting. Unless I get the shifting position perfect the ramps and pins on the cassette try and “help” me by shifting the chain up or down to the next cog. I’ve got 3 options:
- swap in a 9spd indexed bar end shifter
- swap in a 9spd indexed downtube shifter
- get a 7 or 8 spd cassette without pins & ramps for better friction shifting
I’m not 100% sure which way I’ll go yet – probably whatever falls to hand easiest.