Fenders and Tire Clearance

We’ve had some questions about fenders and tire clearance so thought we would write a quick blog post. There is an ongoing debate “out there” about the balance between safety, tire clearance and aesthetics. Lower clearance between the tire and the fender looks slick but the chance of a piece of debris lodging between the two increases. We have set up the Velo Routier with a the higher clearance but with an eye to good aesthetics. Our current bikes come equipped with 38mm Pacenti Pari Moto 650B tires under 46mm wide fenders. The clearance between fender and tire is approximately 10mm. The tires also have no problems fitting between the chain stays. We have had enquiries about fitting 42mm Grand Bois Hetre 650B tires. These tires will fit. We have tested a set on the Velo Routier on the country back roads of Alberta Rockies without problems. The clearance will only be about 5mm under the 46mm fender. A 50mm fender would probably be better for clearance but it would be a very tight fit on our bikes. See the attached photos. Please feel free to send us your pictures if you ride our bikes with 50mm fenders. As we finalize our 2015 design in the next couple of weeks, we are considering “squishing” the chainstay a touch more. The final decision will be based on practicality, ridability and safety. Enjoy the journey, Angus.

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2 thoughts on “Fenders and Tire Clearance

  1. For what it’s worth, I’ve had no issues with clearance running 38s with your 46mm fenders – this experience being over a variety of roads, paths, and conditions. I attribute this, at least in part, to the tires themselves. To explain, understand that I run fenders on nearly every bike that I build up. One of the disconcerting things if one has never run fenders before is the sound of a piece of gravel getting picked up by the tire and then tossed radially around its circumference, bouncing willy-nilly through the channel of the fender. It might be the size of a pebble but sounds like a boulder! For whatever reason, the Pari Moto 38s seem to not pick up nearly as much gravel as other tire/fender/bike combinations I’ve configured.
    One suggestion for those concerned about “sucking up” branches and other detritus: you might consider incorporating breakaways on the fender stays as SKS has done. Granted, it does take away from the classic aesthetic a tiny bit, but perhaps that might be balanced out by peace of mind. Regardless, some of the onus remains on the rider – watch where you are riding and avoid running over branches if possible.
    Great bike, by the way.

  2. 50mm steel GB fenders fit well enough with two minor problems. The rear requires some trimming to fit between the chain stays, and the front mounts a bit higher than a narrower fender, so it won’t allow the front bake arms to expand all the way when released. Getting the front wheel on and off without deflating is a challenge even with 38mm tires. More flexible 45mm 700c chromoplastic fenders would probably be an ok alternative.

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