If you own a Fat Bike you already know how those wide tires can throw more mud than a Chicago politician in a tight race. One time I came home from an off-road ride so thoroughly covered in mud that my wife asked me if I had crashed in a mud puddle (boys will be boys). Last winter I used the SKS Grand M.O.M. Oversized Rear Mudguard on my Surly Necromancer Pugsley because it was the widest mud guard I could find at the time—it was wider than most MTB fenders, but not wide enough for a true Fat Bike. Fortunately, Portland Design Works now sells front and rear fenders that are specially made for Fat Bikes—the Dave’s Mud Shovel Fenders. My Grand M.O.M. fender has found a happy home on one of my other mountain bikes and the Dave’s Mud Shovel is the only thing I use on my Pugsley.
The Dave’s Mud Shovel rear fender is 5.5″ wide by 22.5″ long and attaches to your seatpost with a small adjustable clamp (like the one some bicycle taillights use). Folks, if you ride your Fat Bike off-road (and isn’t that why you bought it in the first place?) then you need this fender now! It’s possible that a little mud or snow will find a way around the fender, but to me it seems like it stops about 99% of it. This fender, as well as the front fender, have the signature of their inventor, Dave Gray, on them.
The Dave’s Mud Shovel front fender attaches to your down tube with two sturdy rubber fasteners. This fender is 6.5″ wide by 19.5″ long and will help keep your bottom bracket and crank sprockets clean. To get to my favorite off-road trails I have to ride my bike over a couple of miles of surface streets and normally when there is a lot of slush on the roads my legs get really wet—this fender seems to block a lot of road spray.
Both of these fenders are very flexible and at first I wasn’t sure about their durability. However, after a lot of miles on sand, mud and snowy off-road trails I can honestly say that these fenders far exceeded my expectations. As an added bonus, if you ever have an unplanned dismount (crash is such an ugly word) these fenders will probably escape totally unharmed.
Great Tip: The Mud Shovel is easy to clean once you get home, but there is an easy way to keep mud and snow from sticking to your fenders in the first place—just coat the bottom of the fenders with PAM no-stick cooking spray before you go out for a ride. The PAM will wear off after every ride, but it does an incredible job of keeping crud from sticking to your fenders. One more suggestion: Buy your own can of PAM, don’t take the one your wife has in the kitchen cabinet—apparently some wives don’t approve of you taking items from the pantry out into your garage (or so I’ve heard).
Not For Everyone: The bad news is that the front Mud Shovel is so wide that you can not use it if you have a Salsa Anything Cage attached to your front fork. The problem is that if you have anything in your Salsa Anything Cage it will hit the front Mud Shovel when you make a tight turn. However, if you don’t mind trimming the fender with a cutting knife I am sure you could make it work.
One Caution: I own several grunge and mud guards that attach to the down tube of my mountain bikes just like the Mud Shovel does and all of them fasten the same way, i.e., with two rubber fasteners. In the strongest terms possible I want to urge you to take the front Mud Shovel off your bike after every ride—if those rubber fasteners stay on your bike all winter it will probably discolor the paint. I had that happen with a different mud guard two years ago and I still can’t get the stain out.
Great Packaging: Both the front and rear fenders come in a flat package—all you have to do is punch the fender out of the surrounding shell. I was able to install the fenders in about five minutes each the first time I used them, but it is much quicker now (just a few seconds).
The rear Mud Shovel retails for $28, and the front Mud Shovel for $20. Both of these items are available from the Portland Design Works Website. You can also buy these fenders from your local bike shop.