Friday, 4 July 2014

Giant Defy Mudguards or "Fenders", Review

Giant's hugely popular Defy range of road bikes have mudguard eyelets front and rear. However, clearance under the brake calipers is tight. Giant produce mudguards (finders in English(US)) for the Defy, Avail, Rapid and Dash frames. However, I've heard people, even shop mechanics, say that these don't fit on a Large Defy frame. This post is about my attempt to fit them and I'll give my opinion at the end.  
Those are stainless steel braces that go round the brake caliper area. They are 700c x 35mm. My Large size Defy 4 has 700x25mm tyres. The frame does not have a chainstay bridge, but it does have a hole in the seat tube (behind the bottle mount area) to mount a mudguard. However, the slot in the forward portion of the rear mudguard (at right in the photo above) does not reach this hole. So, the first thing is to test fit it in position, mark the position for a new hole and drill it like this:
Then I put some electrical tape over the slot (no need to allow the muck through!):
That's the only modification required. The whole gubbins then attaches as normal, which is totally straightforward. I decided to use a rubber washer on the inside (made of inner tube) to prevent cracking the plastic as I tightened the bolt and to help with vibration:
From the other side, here is the rubber bung (grommet) that the bolt goes through before tightening into the seat tube hole:
Very sensible design. Here is the rear mudguard all fitted. It's very easy to line up and keep off the tyre:

The front guard posed no issues at all. Here's the bike with the mudguards fitted. I think the "fenders" look quite neat:
All in all, they look and feel like good quality items and there seems to be nothing on them that rusts. They are very low profile and coverage is better than SKS Raceblades. The Giant mudguards seem more sturdy than Crud Road Racer Mark 2's, maintain clearance from the tyres very nicely, and they don't have any brushy things, as on the Crud's, to contact the rims. However, they have traditional wire mounting rods, unlike the Cruds or SKS which have break off parts for safety. They provide a great solution to turn your road bike into a commuter or winter bike. It is possible that they would fit other road bikes too, but you'd need some kind of mod to attach the rear one to the seat tube. Time will tell how long they last, but so far so good. Oh, and in my view, it's not right to say that they don't fit on a Large Defy frame. Sure, one needs to drill a hole in them, but that's easy. Overall, I rate them very highly: 4 Stars out of 5 (would be higher if the arms were the break off type).

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