I put some SKS fenders on the commuter bike 6 months ago and last night was the first time they've been used in anger. I've had a dream run in a typically rainy Auckland and apart from wet roads and a bit of drizzle I've managed to dodge the worst of it. That's until Wednesday night. Wednesday night it bucketed down.
What a difference they make. My back and bum were bone dry and my feet only got a little damp (despite wearing sandals!) because I was crashing through every big puddle I could find to test them out. A home-made mud-flap on the front should fix that, my next project.
I remember riding my ten-speed in the rain to high-school in the 70s. The objective was to get as wet as possible and the ultimate was to soak people walking on the footpath as you rode through the torrent in the gutters. You didn't seem to mind sitting around wet all day when you were 13.
The Nasty-Evil-Bike sits outside the front door awaiting garage access
When I got the bike in the garage at home I noticed masses of grey sludge on the top of my rims. It looked like mud, but I soon worked out from the blackness of the braking surfaces my brake-pads had been dissolving on the mostly downhill run home. These are 15 year old MTB rims and they are rough as hell and almost worn-through. Little bits of aluminium occasionally come loose and embed themselves in the pads which makes a horrible scraping sound until I dig them out with the tip of a knife. The wet weather braking is as good as the discs on my Pugsley but I'm a little nervous about a "catastrophic wheel failure" at an in-opportune time. Time to learn wheel building I feel.
Dissolved brake-pad and rim