Blackburn Dirt Merchant Fenders
Gear: Blackburn Dirt Merchant Fender Set
Cost: MSRP $34.99*
Use: MTB, Gravel, Road, etc., in wet conditions
Rider: Jason Mahokey, xxcmag.com
Editors note: This review was originally posted on the xxcmag.com Blog back in February of 2012.
Amazingly Stupidly, I made it almost 20 years of riding without using fenders. Seriously. And I have no idea why other than I am cheap to the point that I didn’t care about my back and chamois getting soaked with cold water and mud. That changed about a month or so ago when I was down at Terry Cycles in Alma picking up a rebuilt wheel and spied the fenders on the wall. The prices didn’t seem bad and a recent foray onto the cold, wet gravel roads left me “chapped” enough in places to nudge me over the line and hand over the cash.
There were a few options in stock and the prices were all similar. “Napper” (co-owner of Terry’s) recommended the Blackburn Dirt Merchant ($34.99 MSRP) based on his experience with the others slipping and getting all catttwampus when things got rough. The Dirt Merchant uses a Quickclamp that fits secure and snug to seat posts 22.2mm to 34.9mm in diameter.
The fender is sold alone or as a combo with a front down tube fender for just few bucks more ($34.99 MSRP). I figured while I was throwing the plastic around, I might as well splurge.
Well a month or so later I couldn’t be happier with the performance of the fenders. I mean when you get down to it, it’s just a fender- all it has to do is keep my caboose dry and stay put. It does both. The quick release, er I mean “Quickclamp” is a breeze to set up and stays put. Win.
The down tube fender uses rubber straps to keep it in place and I’ve had no problem with slipping. Although I did accidentally tear one of the bands a bit when I unnecessarily used my kung fu gorilla grip during set up. Bad move on my part. When things get REALLY soupy a front fender like the Topeak DeFender™ FX might be a better choice (although the web site recommends them for little 26″ wheels. Seriously??? How Euro.). On a recent muddy road ride I found myself ingesting more than my share of mud. Mmmm…. mud.
I’m pretty sure my bikes hate me and will get even with me by needing a variety of pricey drivetrain bitz come spring. I wish that the fender combo could keep the gritty Michigan mud of my ENTIRE bike, but I know that’s just not possible. It DOES keep my ass end dry and comfortable when things get wet out there though and there’s something to be said for that. I’ve used the fenders on both my hardtail 29er and my cross bike with dry chamois success.
Wow, who knew I could type well over 580 words about a fender? I think it was just and excuse to post some pics. It is a sweet fender set though. So don’t be a cheap ass like me, get some fenders. Life is too short to put up with a soggy bottom.
*Brakes were purchased by the reviewer at Terry Cycles in Alma, MI.