Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Planet Bike Cascadia ALX Fenders

 New for 2016, the Cascadia full coverage fenders in aluminum.
Today I want to walk you through these new fenders I just got from Planet Bike called the Cascadia ALX. These are much like the Cascadia models which are plastic over aluminum, only these are fully 6061 series aluminum. They feature similar rubber tipped ends which are double riveted. The hardware is all stainless steel, and the stays are "V" style making the fenders even more rigid. Finally, there are release tabs on the front fender for added safety.

Cascadia ALX fenders come in nine sizes covering six different wheel diameters and come in three widths for 700c alone. The ones I have are the "wide" 700c versions which are 50mm wide and recommended for 40mm tires.

Got disc brakes? These fenders are disc brake compatible and come with the required spacers and long bolts to make that fitment possible. I have cantilever brakes on my Black Mountain Cycles "Monster Cross" rig, so my installation was pretty straightforward. I already had some ancient Planet Bike "Freddy Fenders" model fenders on my BMC and they were great, but I always wished they had more coverage than they do. Something was better than nothing, and the Freddy Fenders were pretty good at dealing with the abuses of commuting and gravel travel, so I kept swapping them in every Winter for at least some coverage and protection from the muck and mire.

Those big, rubbery extensions come down a lot further on the tire than my previous fenders did. 
All stainless steel hardware and aluminum fenders for protection against corrosion. 
There is plenty of clearance available on these Maxxis 40mm Ramblers with the 50mm Cascadia ALX fenders. 
The rigidity of these fenders is exceptional.
Installation was easy and didn't take longer than 15 minutes. I used the bolt on my front rack to mount the front fender under the crown, which preexisted here, but otherwise all the included hardware was perfect and did the job well.

I have a 4-ish mile commute route to work which includes some off-pavement mud, dirt, sand, and water crossing when it is wet. It was very wet on the maiden voyage for these fenders, and to be honest, I was concerned about the mud, which can clog under a fender easily when it is its usual sticky self. Fortunately, Planet Bike designed in copious amounts of adjustability when they designed the Cascadia ALX which allowed me to run the fenders off the tires far enough to account for sticky goo when I encounter it.

That mud clearance came in handy, and I was certainly happy for having it, but I was surprised to not be hearing the usual clattering and buzzing of the big tires off the back end of the fenders as I bounded over curbs, banged along rough grassy track, and bombed down a steep embankment or two. The one piece "V" stays and the aluminum fender material are stiffer than my old plastic, clad aluminum core fenders with the two piece stay design, so fender movement was minimized to the extent that I wasn't getting the characteristic clatter I got with the Freddy Fenders. Quiet fenders? Awesome!

Of course, longer fenders also meant a cleaner bike and rider, so that was also very much appreciated. My first impressions are quite favorable on these $65.00-ish dollar fenders so far, but I will also be running these on gravel soon, so we shall see how the Cascadia ALX fares in that scenario. Stay tuned for that story later......


Todd Tillinger said...

Good Morning, what front rack (and bag) are in the photos, and how much clearance is there between the rack and fender?

Guitar Ted said...

@Todd Tillinger- The rack is a Velo Orange Pass Hunter rack, the bag was from a small outfit named Cristobal which seems to be gone now. It was their "El Cofrecito" model.

Clearance between the fender and the rack is zero if you consider that the Pass Hunter rack has a mount for the fender under the cross bar of the rack. That mount/braze on touches the fender there.

I don't have the fender mounted there, as I would have to drill a hole there to do it, but it does not rattle and I don't need the fender to be mounted at that point. If I had a fender that extended forward of the mount a significant distance, I could use that mount, but again- not necessary and it does not rattle at all.

Barturtle said...

Would be interested to know if those 50mm wide fender will fit with the 40mm MSO's inside the fork of the Tamland. I tried the 45mm Cascadia Hybrid with them, but the profiles didn't line up right, and needed more space than available to clear at the crown.

Guitar Ted said...

@Barturtle: I'm going to say it won't work. My 40mm MSO's and the previously mentioned Freddy Fenders *barely* worked out and these fenders are wider than those are. They will not fit under the crown of a Tamland fork. Which is why I wished that Raleigh could have found a way to get a sloping crown fork on there, like my BMC has. They said it would have been too expensive for the price point they were trying to hit, so uni-crown it was.

PAS said...

I Will be interested to hear how quiet these fenders are. I had the regular Cascadia fenders on my road bike and eventually took them off because the noise from the vibration on the front fender was too much for me. Unless I was on smooth asphalt, the front fender forward of the fork vibrated like crazy. Hoping the ALXs are more rigid.

Guitar Ted said...

@PAS- After 6 months of use, the second to last paragraph on this post still rings true for me. Quiet as a fender can be, except when your tires grab a chunk of gravel and it scrapes along the under side of the fender. Otherwise, yes, these are really quiet, solid fenders. I recommend them to my friends all the time.

PAS said...

I thought I skimmed over all the main points except I missed the answer I was looking for. Thanks for pointing it out.