11/03/2016

Product Review: SKS Fatboard Fender Set


When I first saw the SKS Fatboard Fender Set at Interbike in 2015 I knew this was a product I had to do some field testing with.  So I contacted SKS-USA and requested a sample for a review and they were kind enough to send a set out, but with a warning on the package.


For those of you unfamiliar with this product, it is a two-piece reinforced plastic fender set that measures 5.5 inches wide by 19 inches long.  The front fender mounts on the downtube using straps with Velcro fasteners that will fit just about any tube shape.  The rear fender has a tool-free quick-release powerstrap attachment system that mounts to the seatpost with a two-hinge arm to fit any bike's geometry.  These fenders work with tires up to 5 inches wide and weigh in at 353 grams.


I wanted to put them to the test in a wide variety of conditions, so I took some time throughout the following year to see how they performed.  This would include mostly wet conditions during the Winter, Spring and Fall.  All types of terrain were ridden during this testing period including pavement, groomed winter singletrack, gravel and places where there were no trails.

My first experiences would be on some wet commutes to work on warm December days.  Wet pavement and puddles were everywhere along my route and those big tires can really kick up water, especially when rolling fast. As far as keeping me dry in these riding conditions, they did the trick so I didn't have to worry about all of that pavement spray getting on me.


In the early Spring when the singletrack is too wet to ride I switch my focus to gravel.  With all of the Spring melt the roads can get a bit messy and I prefer not to get covered with that peanut butter gravel mud.  As you may know, Minnesota Springs can be windy and when riding into a headwind, the front fender did act a little like a sail and slowed me down a bit, but the benefit of not having mud kicked up into my face was worth it.


This Fall in Minnesota has been very wet and my local singletrack has had frequent closures so I tend to venture to some spots where I can ride that won't cause trail damage.  This is where the Fatboard Fender Set was really put to the test.  Lots of puddles, sand and mud would have normally covered me on these rides, but I'm glad I had these fenders on.


They provided plenty of coverage whether I was rolling plus (27.5x2.8), fat (27.5x3.8) or really fat (26x4.7).


For the really wet conditions, my feet still did take on the occasional big splash but I found that if I wore neoprene shoe covers my feet would stay warm and dry.  In colder conditions I would wear my 45NRTH W√∂lvhammer boots which are waterproof making wet feet a non-issue.


With a significant amount of time for testing, the SKS Fatboard Fender Set performed well in regards to keeping me dry and relatively mud free.  Installation is quick and the two-hinge arm for the rear fender made it easy to get the right positioning, even with a seat bag installed.  The rigid reinforced plastic used in the fenders was strong so I didn't have to worry about cracking them during freezing conditions to knock the ice off.

They did a great job overall and I no longer ride messy conditions without strapping them on. Would I recommend them to my fatbike friends? Definitely yes.  I have had other fatbike fenders in the past and these are by far the best I have tried.  If you're a fatbiker that likes to ride everything, you'll want to add these to your fatbike arsenal.


The SKS Fatboard Fender Set is available at Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops for $55.

Disclosure:  SKS-USA provided the review sample for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

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