Portland Design Works full metal fender/fender review – perfectly quiet, beautifully crafted

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The Portland Design Works Full Metal Mudguards/Fenders provide complete coverage from rain and road spray for you and your fellow riders.

Low reflective bibs further reduce splashing, even protecting your shoes. It comes with a variety of attachments to help bikes without eyelets as well as those set up for traditional fenders/fenders. They come in an anodized matte black finish and looked really stealthy when installed.

Well built, stiff once on the bike and completely quiet when riding, these are the best bike fenders/mudguards I have ever had the pleasure of installing or using.

Portland Design Works Fenders

Complete kit of options, as supplied

(Image credit: Paul Grele)

Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders: Construction

The Portland Design Works Full Metal Mud Flaps / Fenders are made from anodized aluminum and feature laser graphics on the rear and an embossed alloy head badge on the front fender. The size tested is 37mm wide and can accommodate tires up to 30mm, although there are other sizes available. I used my Genesis Equilibrium frame which already has eyelets and deep drop brake calipers, along with 28mm tires. The fenders are plastic and are reasonably flexible. They both have a large reflective panel too.

About the installation, PDW says that: “if time and patience are two things you are a bit lacking, ask your local bike shop to do the installation” These are wise words in the world of fenders / fenders. However, it has to be the most beautiful installation of any fender that I mounted already! A really simple adjustment which, together with their beautifully thought out instruction booklet, was a joy to do. I’m sure the single leg seatstays and stiff fender helped with that.

Probably the hardest part of the build was mounting the Omega-shaped stand that rests on the support legs. There are two small bolts that have to pass through the bracket, through the fender into a threaded plate, and trying to catch the two threads was a bit fiddly. Once engaged, it was easy.

I weighed the components like this:

Front: 110g

Rear: 171g

Mounting kit used: 165 g

Remaining unused pieces: 55 g

This made my setup 446g, which is 100g lighter than my previous M Parts fenders/fenders.

Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders: The Journey

Once mounted I was happy with the stiffness of the setup, there was no wobble and therefore no tire rub. It was really easy to adjust the seatstays to sit fairly close to the tire, but still with room to stop rubbing. I also really liked the matte black anodized finish, I thought it looked really understated and understated.

So on to the driving… Basically they didn’t wobble and buzz the tires, nor did they make any noise other than a little “donk” when a particularly heavy drop off the road was hit. Getting out of the saddle on a slope and pushing hard rocking the bike from side to side is normally a test for the stiffness of a fender but again silent…

There is a bit of toe overlap (which is more due to the bike than the fender) but whereas before I grabbed the seat stay end cap with my shoe, here I couldn’t as the seat stay is taller and curved around the ‘guard. In low-speed maneuvers, I found that I wasn’t catching the fender either.

One drawback, which is a result of the long fenders, is that you can’t put the bike on its rear wheel (and straighten it) to move the bike around in tight spaces.

Tested in average rain, I saw no overspray on the sides of the fenders/fenders, only the end tips, as you would expect. Obviously I got wet, but that was mostly rain, not road spray.

Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders: Value and Conclusion

$129/£100 for a pair of fenders/mudguards is a lot, especially when you can get some nice ones for almost half the price. Well-built Kinesis Fend-Off mudguards cost $65/£60, for example, and also offer a noise-free experience.

However, Portland Design Works all-metal fenders were the easiest to install, looked great, were well made, and most importantly, offered great protection.

Unless you like to look like you’ve ridden the Paris-Roubaix and you’ve gotten grimy or your riding buddies have their faces full of spray, mudguards/mudguards are the friends of winter cyclists. They also keep much of the dirt out of your frame and components. Before buying fenders / fenders, be sure to check which type can be fitted to your bike.


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