Now that I’ve given you an overview and a detailed install of the MK Fat-bike Fenders, the lingering question still remains – How do they perform?
Obviously full coverage fenders provide just that – full coverage. This winter has been a perfect time to test these black beauties out. Not one to let a dirty bike lay around, I had several outings earlier this winter without fenders that left me with a horrible mess to clean up at the end of my ride (not to mention myself!). There’s nothing worse than coming back from a great ride than having to spend the next hour getting caked on limestone grit out of every nook any cranny of your bike. In fact, so sloppy were my local gravel trails that I started skipping rides because I dreaded cleaning my bike afterwards. Since I’ve installed the MK’s that’s all changed. During this winter’s apparent absence, we’ve had plenty of less than ideal conditions for riding. With local single track closed, I’ve had to resort to mainly riding crushed limestone trails, which due to the (many) freeze thaw cycles, have been pretty sloppy. With the MK’s on I have been able to park my bike in the garage and skip what had become the post ride ritual of the wash down. Sure, there is a little bit of spray that escapes the reach of the fenders but by far, my bike is much, much cleaner than without them. This is especially true when compared to non-full coverage fenders, which help reduce spray but far from eliminate it, especially when it comes to keeping your bike (and you) relatively clean. So far I’ve gotten in about a dozen rides on the fenders and they are as rock solid as the day I installed them. No rattling, which means no rubbing, and my fixes for the stay issues have held up nicely. Overall, the finish on the fenders has help up really well. Since they’ve been covered in grit I have taken care when wiping them off so as not scratch them but this would hold true with any material.
During one of this winter’s warm ups, the trails were an especially nasty soup of limestone goop that I would haven’t normally even thought about riding but I figured I’d see how the MK’s held up. When I returned from my ride, my bike was a bit dirty, especially the wheels, hubs, and bottom bracket area, as is to be expected regardless of fenders, but the rest of the bike was really clean. Even better, so was I. Except for some spray on my shoes, I didn’t have a spot of mud on me from head to toe (or back!!). On a recent beach ride, the full coverage kept my legs nice and dry, which is a bonus when temps are hovering in the lower 20s and that lake water is near freazing.
I have not had a chance to test them out on single track, but I’d imagine that they would perform just fine. The only concern I would have is damage during a wreck or snagging one on a rock or root since they are full coverage. During a recent beach ride, I rode over a few large, tree-sized pieces of driftwood and as I rolled over them I caught the rear of the front fender. The fenders held up just fine but obviously wood, unlike thinner, more flexible plastic, doesn’t give a whole lot so the danger of snapping one is a bit higher. The long fender stays add a bit of flex but in a bad stack up, I’d be worried about durability. Like I said, they seemed to take the hit just fine but its something I will keep in the back of my mind as I ride. MK states that they are nearly indestructible, and while there is no doubt they are well built, I have heard of one case of breakage (they said nearly, right?).
One draw back I see is removal. If you’re like me and you like to run fenders on an as needed basis, removal of these fenders is a little more involved than other styles. There are all those standoff setscrews that need to be removed (10 in my case) and the clamps I used at the stays. Overall, it’s not that big of a deal but it will take you and extra 5-10 minutes to get them off (and another 15 to get them put back on and lined up). Other fenders like the SKS GrandMOM and GrandDAD, remove/install rather quick. Of course, these aren’t full coverage either and may not offer the protection you’re looking for.
I’ll plan on putting some more time and miles on the MK’s and I’ll report back on how they hold up. However, for the time being, I’m really impressed with both the fit/finish and the function. So much so, that I am contemplating ordering up a set for my cross bike!