Fenders . . . What can you really say? When there’s a need, there’s a need. They keep you and your bike clean. They’re there. Glamorous? Bling? These are not terms normally associated with fenders. Not so with the full wood beauties being turned out over at MK Fenders (www.mkfenders.com). Both glamorous and bling worthy, these fenders are functional works of art. I’ve seen other wood fenders out there and most are flat and just cover the tread of the tire, falling short on the sides (and protection). These MK fenders are the real deal – full coverage wood fenders.
MK Fenders are fully custom and handmade in Greene, Iowa. The idea behind MK was hatched by two brothers, both cyclists with one being a cabinet maker, who set out to build full coverage fenders that were both functional and really stand out. Of course, since they are custom, choices and options abound. You can get them made in 16 different types of wood, three different tints, two finishes (gloss and flat), a range of wheel sizes (20”-29”), and various lengths/wraps/widths (up to 130mm wide!) that really make them customizable to suit your needs. They even do wood inlays, integrated mud flaps, and now offer a modified rear fender that eliminates front derailleur interference. All fenders are finished with a high quality epoxy and a marine grade varnish. The undersides of the fenders have a thicker finish for some additional protection from the elements. Sets of fat-bike fenders (110mm) start at $265 including hardware with custom options (like the mud flaps) adding to the price. A bit on the steep side for fenders to be sure but these aren’t your typical offerings. A quick check of the Internet shows other wood offerings for about the same price. You’ve got to pay if you want to play.
My first impression upon taking these out of the box was “Damn, they’re huge!” I knew they were going to have to be wide but to see 110mm of fat tire covering wood fenders is an impressive sight. Next was how smooth they are. The curves/radius are so spot on that it’s hard to believe that they’re made of wood. The test fenders I received are finished with a black tint and a sanded matte finish. With the black tint you really can’t tell they’re wood unless you see them in bright light, which even then, only allows the wood grain to show through just a little. This stealth look was fine by me as my bike is murdered out and these would keep with the black on blackity goodness. Once installed, they look awesome and really blend in with the rest of the bike. Since these are custom, you can have MK apply any stain or finish you want. While a lighter tint would really show off the beauty and craftsmanship, for my particular aesthetic, the subdued nature of the black was near perfect (I personally would have made the tint just a little lighter so the wood showed through just a bit more while still maintaining its blackness). The hardware kit that came with the fenders is extensive to say the least. Included were two fender stays and lots and lots of mounting hardware.
About all that hardware . . .
Next up is Part II: The Install. Look for it next Tuesday!