Planet Bike Grasshopper Bamboo Fenders
There is no doubt about it—wooden fenders look classy on just about any townie or touring build. Up until now they’ve largely been a small manufacturer game, and mainly a one of fashion since most wood fenders have had a flat profile less than ideal for actually keeping water off of your bike and body. This past year Planet Bike introduced the Grasshopper Fenders, an upscale $135 per pair offering that is as functional as it is stylish.
The fenders themselves are made from a three ply bamboo laminate with a marine grade finish applied to make sure riding them hard and putting them away wet doesn’t sink in and cause them to crack or rot. I’m not certain how it’s done, but the fenders feature a curved profile like every plastic and metal fender out there. All the mounting hardware is stainless steel and pre-installed, with a variety of bolts and spacers to make it possible to mount on most “standard” 700c configurations with or without racks and disc brakes. While not required by law stateside, the front fender features Euro-style release tabs for those occasions that your front tires picks up an errant stick or you really stick your toe under the fender, saving you from a faceplant or busted hardware. The fenders themselves are 45 mm wide and provide coverage up to about a 700c x 35 tire.
Installation is as easy as it gets thanks to the pre-installed hardware and independently adjustable v-stays on each fender, though the fenders themselves can’t handle total hamfist installations as well as plastic ones can—you should not force fit these fenders like you can other varieties. After some town use and particularly rough forest road and trail touring the fenders are no worse for wear, even if I’ve managed to lay the bike down a few times and made use of the front release tabs on an occasion or two. I wouldn’t expect the fenders to be as durable in the face of abuse as plastic or metal versions, but style comes at a price both to the pocketbook and to practicality. Some may be critical that the fenders do not wrap further down the tire and need a flap to fully protect your feet and any followers from road spray, but personally I didn’t find the coverage a problem though my opinion may differ if I was regularly spending hours in the saddle in the rain.
Are bamboo fenders for you? That is for each user to decide. They are certainly no more practical than other materials, especially given the price premium, but then again few things that look as good are. No doubt, these get noticed on the bike. People are drawn to them, and they can turn an otherwise ho-hum build into one that looks like a million bucks.
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