I love a bike with a set of full fenders that boasts a tight fender line. And although I live in Southern California, where we don’t get a lot of rain (though it is raining right now), I run my current Randonneuring bike with full coverage fenders. So, when Portland Design Works (PDW) sent us its Full Metal Fenders for review, I was excited to try them out.
But, you’re probably asking, why me … why the editor who lives where the annual rainfall is less than 11 inches annually?
Yes, the fact is, I don’t really need my bikes to have fenders, but I love the look of my Rando bike with full-coverage fenders … and take a gander at that fender line. Ooh, la, la!
Back in November, I received a pair of Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders. I received the 700×55 size in anodized black aluminum. I unboxed them, tossed the packaging, and put them aside for a bit. I didn’t get to install them until later in the month.
When I finally got around to getting them installed on my bike, I’d forgotten that I received the 700c version and proceeded to install them on my Rando, 650b bike. It was my mistake, but they actually installed… fine. The only issue I had was that I received the version of the fenders without the “disc brake adaptor.”
Turns out there is only a disc brake adaptor option on the 650 Beast 55mm when ordering the fender kits. Which is a bit ironic as that is the size I should’ve received. On the other fender kit sizes, it looks like you have to add the Disc Brake Spacer Set separately. I actually assumed that all fender kits would have some sort of disc brake adaptor included with them nowadays. And, I still think that all fenders should.
Besides having to make some snips to the stays, and a slight mod to the way the front fender attaches to the bike (using the mid-blade fork mount instead), the Full Metal Fenders were installed without any issues. Even with the wheel size difference.
The instructions were well listed out and explained the steps well. It came with all of the stainless steel hardware I needed (sans the disc brake adaptor).
Shortly after I installed the fenders, our rainy season was upon us. I got to use the fenders for what they were intended for this last month or so, as we’ve been getting a decent amount of rain (for my area) so it worked out perfectly.
I managed to get in a few rides right after 2-3 consecutive days of rain, plus got caught in a small storm on the tail end of another ride. As expected, the full-wrap Full Metal Fenders did their job really well, keeping the mud and water from flying up into my face, all over my shoes, or up my back end. The included extended-length mud flaps added to the fenders’ ability.
As a bonus, the fenders kept the water away from the raw (although treated) underside of the leather saddle.
I did notice that the PDW Full Metal Fenders, in the 55mm size measured true to size at 54.9. Which they say will fit a 47mm tire max. By comparison, my polished Velo Orange fenders measured out to 59.4, which fit a smooth tread 50mm tire without issue. In that case, you would want the PDW 650 Beast fenders which measure 65mm.
I really liked the way that the black fenders looked on the black bike and thought they looked pretty boss. But, I have to say, I do prefer the added 5mm width and rounded look of the polished fenders, at least for this bike — it keeps the classic Rando bike aesthetic.
I take my fully fendered Rando bike on a lot of mixed-surface rides from long, fast, fire roads to the very occasional steep, technical descents to fast buffed singletrack. And the Full Metal Fenders performed completely noise- and rattle-free (something my other fenders don’t do).
The fenders attach to the bike with safety tabs ensuring that if a rock or debris gets sucked into the fender line to get stuck between the tire and fender, the fender will break free.
The double rear stays that come on these fenders are like night and day when it comes to how much rattling and noise they made when riding off the beaten path. They were quiet, with the rear fender barely being able to be manipulated or moved by hand while the bike is standing still.
The Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders are a great addition for the rider who has to deal with the weather while riding, a commuter who wants to stay clean on the way to the office, or a cyclist who just thinks fenders look sick on bicycles.
The fender kit weighs in at 694 g for the model I received (700×55). These are a well-thought-out set of fenders that came with everything I needed to have a successful installation (just pick the right brake configuration). If you were having issues getting the perfect fit, PDW offers a Special Hardware Kit to help with that.
Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders come in a size to fit just about every frame’s clearance. I highly recommend them.
At $139, the fenders come with a lifetime PDW warranty.
Check out all of PDW’s products by clicking the link below.