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First Commuter Bike--Fender Problems

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First Commuter Bike--Fender Problems

Old 03-07-19, 11:39 AM
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First Commuter Bike--Fender Problems

After years of getting by on a Frankensteined road bike, I finally took the plunge and bought myself a full-on commuter and envisioned myself out on the roads more since I'm now less brave about winter-riding on the road bike.

Reality, I bought the bike over a month ago and have completed exactly one round-trip on it. It was a slight impulse buy from Performance on a close-out deal. First lesson learned, no deal is worth it if you're not mechanically inclined. The back tire was rubbing against the fender on the test ride so Performance took care of it before I picked up the bike the next day (after a thorough inspection I was told). After the first trip, the tire was rubbing against the fender again. I tried adjusting it but a plastic mount snapped...Long story short, Performance said, sorry, can't help, all sales final and we're closing. Reached out to Breezer, though it took awhile, they finally responded and initially it seemed they would both provide the part and pay for the labor at the LBS. Then they backed out and only provided the plastic mount.

I received the mount yesterday and spent a good 90 minutes adjusting the fender (along with the rack) and the end result is that the tire still rubs against the fender--just in different spots, dependent on how I adjust the stays. Fundamentally, I think I may need to go beyond adjusting the mount and stays...as the fender is not centered over the tire. There is much more room on the derailleur side and very tight on the disc brake side. The wheel doesn't spin true either, but I'm not sure because it's not really true or because of the rubbing against the fender.

Tips and advice on how to proceed? I'm loath to go to the LBS as fender problems can be fiddly so I'm worried about the labor cost. What if it needs twiddling forever? On the other hand, if this is beyond my basic mechanic thumb, that may be my only choice.

Here is the bike in question. I wondered if the fender may be too small the tire size, but the front fender seems to fit the front tire just fine.

Breezer Bikes | 2017 Liberty 1R+ ST | Bike Archives

Eh, maybe it was a good thing my road bike doesn't have fenders. My Dahon folder has fenders but it has been, knock on wood, trouble-free. I'm a fender problem newbie.
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Old 03-07-19, 01:12 PM
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First things first, make sure the wheel is true. Here is a video on how to do it if you don't have a truing stand. Using a zip tie is also popular


I haven't used fenders much, so can't help you in that regard.
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Old 03-07-19, 01:39 PM
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First (oops, our condiment-eponymous friend beat me to point 1), true the wheel, or get it trued. It's easy to let a wheel without rim brakes go out of true; with old-school brakes you'd have more incentive. In your case, the incentive is the fender. Tight clearances call for a trued where.

Second - is this a quick-release wheel? If so (actually, even if not....), check that the axle is centered in the dropouts. If it's not, that will "cock" the wheel left or right, which may be what you're seeing with the uneven clearance.

Another possibility, should NOT be the case with a new-ish bike, but you never know..., the rim may not be centered between the axle locknuts. One poor-man's way to check that is to put the wheel into the frame backward. **NOTE / DISCLAIMER** I've never worked on a disc brake bike, so unless you're sure there's clearance to do this, on BOTH sides (rotor on the drive side, cassette on the caliper side), don't try this. Maybe someone with disc brake experience, who has tried this trick, will chime in. Anyway, imagine if the rim is not centered between the outer nuts on the axle. That would cause the whee to run too far left, or too far right, between the stays. So what happens when you mount it the other way? If indeed this is the issue, the phenomenon "reverses" itself. In your case, instead of the tire being too far left, it'll be too far right. That would mean either the wheel is not _dished_ properly (refers to relative distance between the hub flange and the rim, left vs. right), or the spacers, washers, etc. on the axle are not arranged properly.

If reversing the wheel doesn't change anything, then you're back to the fender still not being centered, or possibly the axle not really even/straight in the dropouts. Or even (again, should NOT be with such a new bike, but you can't assume....) the possiblility of the rear triangle not being straight.

Did you get a look at how the tire sits between the stays, before installing the fender? It'll be hard to tell with the fender in place, but "bare naked", you can probably eyeball whether the wheel rruns centered between the stays.
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Old 03-07-19, 01:51 PM
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A pic of your situation would help. I have several fenders where the stays bolt into a metal bracket at the fender & for one reason or another that metal bracket is just skinny enough to rub the tire knobs. A firm tug to spread things out a bit did the trick.

Fenders & stays are flimsy by design. A tug & a pull usually does the trick. Button head screws can buy a few millimeters depending on where.
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Old 03-07-19, 02:10 PM
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pics & vids would help. get yer post count up & show us
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Old 03-07-19, 03:37 PM
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This thread is worthless without pictures.
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Old 03-07-19, 06:29 PM
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Thank you for the advice so far, I'll give the wheel and its placement a closer look.

True about photos--either tomorrow or this weekend, I'll get the bike out into some natural light and take some photos. Not sure about videos, I don't have a stand so I can't the bike/wheel into motion and video at the same time.
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Old 03-07-19, 06:35 PM
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So at some point I had a rubbing fender on one of my bikes. I went to the LBS - explained the problem. They took a look, adjusted things after a few minutes and sent me on my way. No charge in the transaction at all. Maybe the LBS will like you too!
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Old 03-07-19, 09:37 PM
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If the above doesn't work...
Sometimes it's a very simple matter of bending the fender stays, the thin (usually silver) parts that hold the fender running from the hub area to the fender. If the fender needs to move left, bend the left stay with your hand outward. If right... If the fender is too low, loosen the stay attachment and move the fender up and retighten.
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Old 03-08-19, 08:43 AM
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Fitting fenders is one of those jobs that nobody likes. In fact, an LBS would probably assign the job to their least experienced mechanic (just like Performance likely did). I'd say that you are probably just as able to fix this as any shop guy. The fact that you can get it to rub in a different spot tells me that it may be easier than you think (and may just be related to how the wheel was mounted. I'm looking forward to pictures.
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Old 03-08-19, 09:41 AM
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There other way to go about this if you don't have surgical level mechanical skills where you can firmly seat the fender to the exact spot you want within 0.5 millimeters.....is to just raise the fender up a half an inch. It will have plenty of clearance and still do the same job. It just won't look as perfect because it won't be draping down over the side of the tire.

Remember the only thing the fender is doing it keeping water from spraying up onto you. The water coming off the tire is spraying directly outward from the tire. So if the fender is sitting up a half inch higher off the tire...it's still catching all the water that is shooting straight up.
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Old 03-13-19, 10:14 PM
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Sorry for the delay--have been busy during the day. New at sharing photos here, hopefully these are viewable. Black on black doesn't show well so not sure how helpful the photos will be.




The brake side where it's tight and I can't adjust.


Brake side where I can adjust the fender by the stays.


Some adjustment flexibility.


Derailleur side where I can adjust via the stays.


More room here on this side but again, at this end, I can't adjust via stays.


More room on this side than the brake side.



Hmmm...thought this angle would show the fender wasn't centered on tire.


Trying to show the wheel placement?


Last edited by tdonline; 03-13-19 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 03-13-19, 10:18 PM
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Video here.


Last edited by tdonline; 03-13-19 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 03-14-19, 04:27 AM
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Thatís an interesting sound almost like metal on metal clicking rather than rubber on plastic. That is some tight clearance for sure. I forget how those stays adjust maybe itís a matter of repositioning them on the fender meaning since the back part of the fender appears closer to the tire you shud rotate the stays toward the back to lift it away a little more? As for getting it even on both sides I think thats a matter of eyeballing it from the rear as you position the stays. If the screws are underneath youíll have to adjust w the screws loose then take the wheel off to tighten them. Itís a matter of time and patience
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Old 03-14-19, 06:26 AM
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Maybe it isn't the fender at all. Is the tire centered & even both axially & radially? With clearances as close as yours, any deviation in tire could be the difference.
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Old 03-14-19, 08:02 AM
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Hard to tell from the photos and video. Warped rotor? Turn the wheel to where it makes the noise and move back and forth to determine the origin of the scraping sound.
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Old 03-14-19, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Hard to tell from the photos and video. Warped rotor? Turn the wheel to where it makes the noise and move back and forth to determine the origin of the scraping sound.
Exactly. Do this, and shine a flashlight under the fender if it's hard to see. Also, check the tire for gouges that will help reveal the point of contact.
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Old 03-14-19, 12:10 PM
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You need to re-seat the tire, or it has a bulge.
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Old 03-17-19, 12:09 AM
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That fender looks way too close to me. Maybe you need smaller tires.
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Old 03-20-19, 10:15 AM
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^^^^^^^^^see above post^^^^^^^^^^^

IMO the factory clearance is a little optimistic. 40mm tire probably overkill anyway, a 35 or 38 would likely suffice and give a little better clearance.

EDIT: I hadn't watched the video when I posted this. Now that I've seen the video I can see the bulge. Bulge no bueno.

Last edited by Phamilton; 03-20-19 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 03-20-19, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
You need to re-seat the tire, or it has a bulge.
+1. Wheel looks taco'd in post #12 , or at the very least the tire looks poorly seated in post #13 .
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Old 03-20-19, 11:18 AM
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The bulge in, or improper seating of, the tire needs to be addressed FIRST. This needs to be done regardless of the fender fit. It's a safety issue; fix it, and the fender issue may go away.
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Old 03-20-19, 12:08 PM
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I find it really annoying when someone comes here for help, posts some not particularly useful pictures and a video, and despite several people trying to give suggestions, doesn’t follow up. Best advice at this point is to pay a bike mechanic.
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Old 03-25-19, 08:57 AM
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Smaller tire or bigger fender. Lots squeezed into a tight spot there.

Also, fender setup is as much art as science. Lots of tugging and fudging, bending and shaping and adjusting. Mechanically crude yet difficult and delicate work. Every set of fenders Iíve ever installed has involved workarounds and often ďbonusĒ hardware that wasnít included with the purchase.
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Old 03-27-19, 05:12 AM
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+1, make sure the tire is seated properly. This may be a royal pain in the ass, but it has to be done. I sometimes deflate the tire, rub dish washing soap under the bead all the way around on both sides, inflate gradually, listening for a pop here and a pop there, spin occasionally to see how it's doing... and hope for the best. Once the tire is seated properly, proceed to the next level.

Once the tire is seated, as mentioned, the fender problem may go away. But I don't like the way the fender is mounted at the dropout end. Looking closely at the photo on the Breezer website, I don't think the struts on OP's bike are attached the same way. The strut consists of a wire V that cannot be adjusted, so the adjustment is made entirely on the angle of the black plastic leg between the V and the frame, and on OP's bike the plastic leg seems to be between the frame and the rack, while on the Breezer website photo the fender leg is mounted outside the rack. Changing this may help. Fender adjustments of this kind are also a pain in the ass, but not really as bad as seating a tire.

Uh, good luck!
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