DIY: Fun with Fenders

Technically, this should have been categorized as a DIWYF — do it with your family! Without my dad and my brother, there’s no way these Velo Orange Fluted Fenders would have made it onto Le Peug. I had read about fender installations before purchasing mine, and the one thing that all the stories had in common was the potential to get into something difficult–something that required special tools or customization. As luck would have it, mine required both.

Twas the week after Christmas, and we wheeled Le Peug into my Dad’s garage.

Le Peug before

Le Peug enters the garage . . . he doesn't know what he's in for

First step was to clean the bike and touch up the 30-year-old paint job. Dad promised that his 3M compound could take out all but the deepest scratches, and that Wenol, an extra-strength German metal cleaner, could make the dull aluminum rims shine.

tools

cast of characters

As usual, he was right. Check out these before/after shots. That compound cream worked miracles. If you think your bike needs to be repainted, try this first — but keep in mind that it does remove some of the paint, so be cautious.

portion of seat tube near bottom of photo has been cleaned

stays

stay at top of photo has been cleaned

After cleaning the frame with compound, we touched up the scratches with some white paint. Once that dried, it was time for wax. Now, the frame is back to blinding white and looks almost like new.

The clean, touched-up frame -- like new!

That took a couple of hours, and a lot of elbow grease, but it was the easy part. Next, we had to figure out how to install the fenders. Le Peug’s brake and stay clearance was tight, so we had to reshape both the front and rear fenders a bit.

And because the screw on our brake bolt wasn’t long enough to attach the fender, too, we had to come up with a makeshift L-bracket. Luckily, right about that time my brother wandered into the garage. He scrounged up some scrap metal and got to work.

Charlie bracket

Charlie drills the custom bracket

One fender down! I study the instructions for our next step.

The other major modification? Shaving down the front sides of the rear fender so that it would fit better between the chain stays behind the bottom bracket. Sorry, but I did not take pictures of this process since flying sparks were involved.

We replaced the wheels and cut the extra length off the stays (more sparks!).

Both fenders on, we replace the wheels.

Then we wiped the frame down again, removing some of the marks we had made with wrenches, etc, during the installation. And here’s the finished product!

front fender with custom bracket

Charlie wasn’t happy with the L-bracket was, since it was so visible and made of two different colored metals, but I like it — the gold matches the decal on the bottom tube and it is distinctive.

all done

my finished beautiful bicycle

While I don’t really enjoy day-to-day bike maintenance duties (refilling tires, yawn), projects like this feel different. Taking the bike apart, cleaning it, installing the fenders and putting it all back together gave me a better sense of how my bike works. And seeing the finished project was oh-so-satisfying: Le Peug looks better than ever, and our painstaking custom installation means a perfect fit with no rattling. I’m now saving my pennies for the next upgrade on my list: a Brooks saddle.

What’s your latest DIY project?

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45 thoughts on “DIY: Fun with Fenders

  1. Jon Grinder says:

    I wish I had been able to include such cool fenders in the original build budget. Le Peug looks awesome. I’m so glad he went to a good home!

  2. Trisha says:

    @Jon Grinder — no worries; it was a fun DIY project. The original fenders were great for the past year! Le Peug was an amazing find; so glad you let me know about him.

  3. E A says:

    Love DIYs that include the help of family/friends! :-) Lookin’ good!

  4. calitexican says:

    how fun! i agree, to work on your bike with family (and friends) definitely is great for quality time spent and to learn how bikes work. as women, i believe most of us weren’t encouraged to spend a lot of time in a garage figuring this stuff out while we were growing up. not anymore! :)

    • Trisha says:

      @Cali, you’re so right. My brother grew up working with my dad in the garage and I did not, even though I think I would have enjoyed it. Once I was older, though, Dad taught me how to change oil and a tire, which felt very empowering. :) It’s good to know how things work.

  5. Dave says:

    Nothing quite so adventurous, but I took my vintage Raleigh (http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/3900560425/) and got a nice Pletscher rear rack for it (http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/4168904403/), and then this weekend, some nice panniers from Linus (http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/4287676929/). On the slightly more adventurous (and tedious) side – I had to replace the bottom bracket spindle. It was a bit of a trick finding one that would work, since they obviously don’t make them anymore. Thankfully, I found one, and I’m back on the road.

  6. Anne Hawley says:

    Your dad must be an awesome guy! Looks like a really fun day with family, and the outcome is beautiful!

    • Trisha says:

      @Anne: thanks! Dad had a project of his own he was working on so it was especially nice that he took the time to help me with something that didn’t have a motor. :)

  7. Dave says:

    That’s the Busch and Muller Lumotec Retro headlight, it’s a halogen light with an LED standlight, and I’m running it off the Sturmey Archer front dynohub, but it runs great with a tire dynamo as well (have the same light plus an Axa tire dynamo on my Electra Amsterdam).

    The shiny fenders look great on the Peugeot, beautiful bike!

  8. dukiebiddle says:

    That is one serious man cave. Jealous!

  9. Erich Zechar says:

    Neat – I put those same fenders on my wife’s Raleigh Mixte, and it certainly wasn’t a simple affair. Her fork was too narrow, so I had to crimp the front fender a bit to fit it. The rear was too narrow at the chainstays like yours, but even worse – the bridges had no holes in any of them so I had to use P-Clamps. Oh well, it took a few hours of work but it came out looking spectacular. Glad to see affordable aluminum fenders on the market, as well.

    I’m surprised you didn’t just use a fork crown daruma for the front instead of an L-bracket – is VO not packaging those in the fender sets anymore?

  10. Trisha says:

    @Erich Zechar — Nope, there was no daruma included. They did include all the other hardware, though, and for the price I can’t complain. The fenders look great on that Raleigh, too!

  11. Tinker says:

    I too, want a Brooks, but I suspect its not in the budget. It would be a nice touch to put a B135 on my Torker Cargo-T, and that would be almost the final touch, but its too darned expensive. I may settle for a Velo Orange seat, a Brooks knock off.

    Other upgrades include a larger bell, and English-style white fender paint on the fender bottoms. I’d like to upgrade to dual Fiamm-electric horns. Maybe an eight speed hub in a few years. A new gear on the rear wheel to give me higher top speed? Just buying the “ideal” bike is insufficient, of course.

  12. lemony says:

    Wunderbar! Congratulations to all of you.:)
    Lem

  13. Bryan says:

    Last week, I put SKS fenders, new pedals, a Pletscher rack, and a Brooks B-17 on my 1988 Trek 400. It feels like a brand new bike! Although, next time I do something like that, I’m heading over to your dad’s place.

    Getting a Brooks is a good idea. It’s not just hype. I’ve got B-17s on two bikes now, and I’m very pleased.

  14. Spencer says:

    This is great. I like the VO stuff a lot (plus Tom & Chris are good guys), but I think a lot of customers are put off by the fact that you need to do a little work to install their fenders and racks. It’s great you wrote this!

    Spencer Wright
    Traffic Cycle Design

    http://trafficbikes.com

  15. philippe says:

    Solid work !
    But rather than a Brook, try to find a vintage “Idéale” for your french bike.

  16. Dottie's Gram Bev says:

    Looks GREAT! Your father is a true artist. :)

  17. sara says:

    I am well impressed by the skills in Trisha’s family. So, so love our Brooks saddles & agree that it is well worth the penny-saving.

  18. Dwainedibbly says:

    Nice job, and much more of an adventure than simply bolting on something cheaper. I like to think of these episodes as “the sprinkles on the cupcakes of our lives”. :)

    I’ve been thinking of Velo-Orange fenders for my commuter, too, especially after seeing them in person on many of the Oregon Manifest bikes, but I can’t decide if I want hammered, fluted, etc. Too many choices!

    I’ll second Philippe’s suggestion of an Ideale saddle for Le Peug.

  19. beautiful transformation! job well done.

    i should pick up some of that aluminum polish, my 30-year old weinmann rims are looking dull.

    i’m confused– it looks like you used the daruma bolt for the L-bracket. or is that a different bolt that i see? i’ve installed honjos only once, and i had to shorten the daruma bolt, otherwise it would have rubbed on the tire.

    VO does sell very nicely sculpted L-brackets for their fenders, and i’m sure they’d work equally well with honjos. but your DIY bracket is just fine!

  20. That’s so cool! I wish I knew how to do that!! I also wish my dad and brother would be as helpful as yours were! lol

  21. I concur that these things are a nightmare to install; great job!

  22. Trisha – Le Peug looks great! Gleaming and shiny!

  23. Ann says:

    My last DIY project was part of winterizing–installing fenders and creating my own studded tires. This summer, I had several. I added an electric power assist kit (I retired to the far northern US Rockies and my knees didn’t like all the steep hills–they now get help on the worst ones.) I also added LED turn signals front and back and a brake light that gets triggered when I press the rear brake lever. (It was driving me nuts that younger drivers thought I was waiving when using the hand signal for a right turn.) You can see the front turn signals in this photo–there’s a set in the back, too.

  24. Adrienne says:

    That’s funny. I just bought the same fenders for my old mixte! Before they go on the whole thing is coming apart so I can clean and repack the bearings and BB and try to do something with the paint…. I usually do that stuff with my husband. He loves to obsess about how to make things work : )

  25. Scott says:

    Those fenders and the paint touch up really make your bike look awesome. Pretty cool that you have access to a custom machine shop and a fam who is willing to help take your bike up a notch!

    The brooks will def be worth it!

  26. Johnny says:

    Beautiful!

    This adds more depth to the concept of “family biking” also. :)

  27. Cherilyn says:

    WOW! Very inspiring. Thanks for taking the time to post the process.

  28. Charlie says:

    @Trisha – It did have a daruma (if I know that that is, I think that is the eye bolt), but like Trish said the brake bolt was too short to accommodate it. The bolt had a really short head and was Metric so it would have taken awhile to get one.

  29. anna says:

    Wow, very cool.

  30. Lorenza says:

    Trisha I absolutely love Le Peug… I am not kidding but I really want one just like it, the mixte frame is just so stylish :) What a fantastic DWIY job you guys did!

    Anyhow for the time being I will enjoy Pash, one bike for me is enough ;) L xxx

  31. The bike looks terrific. I’ve put some fenders on my road bike, as well as my new Trek Soho S, and I barely know how to turn a wrench. With a dad-person around, it would have gone a lot smoother, I’m sure! Your bike looks great. I’m going to try some of that 3M stuff.

  32. I am trying not to covet these beautiful fenders – it looks great. You do have a wonderful dad!

  33. Scott says:

    Mixties are so cool

  34. Elisa M says:

    I love it…how fun!

  35. ian menzies says:

    Thanks for this how-to. I recently restored a similar Peugeot for my daughter. Being a vegetarian, she elected to use a ‘Charge’ faux leather saddle and handle bar tape. Looks just as good as the Brooks but at a quarter the price and more comfy, in my opinion.

    PS: I am extremely envious of your Dad’s workshop!

    cheers,

    Ian

  36. Trisha says:

    @ian menzies — Oh, thanks for the tip Ian. I’ll check out Charge. @phillipe, I would love to have an Ideale but they never seem to turn up on eBay and I don’t know where else to look! Suggestions?

  37. andrew lee says:

    your front fender can be better installed:

    have your dad check out this diagram here:

    you can see the head of the bolt you used for that L-bracket actually goes up INTO the fork. and it attaches to the bolt that holds your front brake caliper to the fork.

    should take all of 5 mins to make the adjustment! go get at it!!

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  39. Chevere says:

    My La Peuge has an Ideale saddle which is French and similar to a Brooks, but not as boxy-looking. They’re hard to find, and thus expensive.

    • LGRAB says:

      Oh, I’m jealous! I’ve scoured eBay for a reasonably priced Ideale, and was hoping to find one when I was in France a couple years back. But no dice.

  40. Chevere says:

    My La Peuge has an Ideale saddle which is French and similar to a Brooks, but not as boxy-looking. They’re hard to find, and thus expensive.

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