Friday, April 10, 2009

To Build A Fender

Most are familiar with the Jack London's story, "To Build A Fire", a cautionary tale about how a series of minor mishaps add up to catastrophe.

I'm beginning to feel that I'm midway into such a process with my VO fenders. Readers wishing to refresh themselves on this saga should start reading here, then here, then finally here.

This morning, after yesterday's bumpy rides yielded more fender/tire contacts, I decided that pending the job of moving to two fender/stay attachment points per stay, I would remove the leather washer from the eyelet and ensure that the fender is as precisely centered on the tire as possible. This is intended to be a provisional measure to reduce the incidence of fender/tire contact.

To remove the leather washer, I removed the front wheel, loosened the stay/eyelet mount, and removed the eyelet nut from inside the fender. Leaving the eyelet on the stay, I then pushed the fender inwards a bit to free the eyelet bolt from the fender and swiveled the eyelet on the stay so as to remove the leather washer. I then began reassembly.

As I was tightening the eyelet nut, the wrench suddenly went loose. The eyelet had failed. Sorry for the grainy, unfocused pictures.

The Velo Orange eyelets are open on one side. Here is what an intact one looks like.

While this simplifies installation, the open side causes stress concentration on the closed side. The Honjo closed eyelets don't have this issue:

In case anyone is wondering, I wasn't using a breaker bar. This is the dainty tool that was employed.

The Velo Orange eyelets are probably ok for light or general use, but not for a long-term bomb proof application. Ultimately, they will probably fatigue fail, although depending on conditions, it could easily be longer than the fender lifetime. However, I'm judging them insufficient for my application and ordering some more of the Honjo eyelets, enough for two per fender.

I did install the Honjo eyelet.

In addition to its stronger design, it is lower profile and presents a slightly cleaner appearance than the Velo Orange eyelet that remains, for the time being, on the rear fender.

After my experience with the front fender, I wasn't brave enough to remove the leather washer from the rear fender, since I only had one Honjo eyelet in stock.

I'm far from giving up on the Velo Orange fenders, though. The fenders themselves are far more rugged than Honjos. It is looking like a fully ruggedized setup will be two Honjo eyelets per stay combined with the Velo Orange fenders.

The Honjo eyelets are about $4.00 each, so this adds $16 to the setup costs. In addtion, one would then have two extraneous VO open eyelets. It would be nice if a fender package containing 4 Honjo eyelets instead of 2 VO eyelets were available for commuters, rough stuff riders, and others looking for the most reliable and durable setup possible.

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