Hands On: PDW’s Dave’s Mud Shovel Fat Bike Fenders
Fat bikes are known for getting dirty. Whether you’re riding in snow, slush, mud, sand, you name it – those big tires can throw some serious roost. While clearly candidates for a good pair of fenders, there are several things that make fitting fenders to a fat bike no easy task, things like tire size, toe clearance, and durability to name a few.
Portland Design Work’s answer? Dave’s Mud Shovel fat bike fenders. Modeled after their skinny bike Origami fenders, the Mud Shovels are extremely easy to mount, light weight, and offer a lot of coverage.
More details on the Mud Shovels after the break!
You will find the Mud Shovel fenders hanging in your LBS as basically a hang card that holds the mounting hardware. Turns out that the hang card is also the fender, and after punching the fender form the rest of the card, you’re ready to mount it up and go. Less packaging, easier display, pretty clever.
Mounting is a big hassle with a lot of fender designs, so thankfully this is one of the areas the Mud Shovels really shine (just like the original Origamis). On the front Shovel you will find a simple dual rubber strap that loops around the down tube of the bike and then through the plastic cradle holding everything in place. The rear is also affixed via strap, though this time it is a quick release strap that is adjusted with an allen key and then opened and closed by hand.
Both front and rear fenders then attach to the brackets by way of 4 snaps, like you would find on clothing. This means you can very easily detach the fenders by undoing the snaps, rather than removing the brackets. This is especially useful on the front fender since the bracket is fairly unobtrusive and the rear has such an easy quick release. The snaps also mean that should you crash hard enough to dislodge one of the fenders, it will likely pop off before it breaks – a useful feature when you’re dealing with fenders the size of skateboards.
Set up and adjustment of the fenders is dead simple, with the only real adjustment other than positioning is a thumb screw on the rear fender that allows you to change the angle. Finding a proper fit on my Pugsley was easy, and while it looks like the rear fender sticks up quite a bit, it hasn’t gotten in the way.
As far as functioning as actual fenders, the Mud Shovels surely provide a lot of coverage. At the slower speeds typically associated with riding fatbikes through serious slop, the fenders were more than adequate, keeping the majority of spray and chunks of debris off me while riding. Even with the flexible nature of the fenders, large chunks of mud, rocks, etc. were all given the shrug. If I have one complaint, it is that without any coverage of the front tire in front of the head tube, road riding in the rain causes spray from the front wheel to get in your face. This is not something unique to the PDW fenders, but something you see on just about any downtube mounted fender.
All said and done, the PDW Mud Shovels seem like a great option for fat bikers looking for big tires coverage that keeps off most of the crud, and can be installed or removed at a moments notice. The best part of it all is that at $20 and $28 for the front and rear fender respectively, the Mud Shovels are a complete bargain.