The race blade longs have arrived. here are the key points:
1. they were installed with a bare minimum of fuss. as soon as i realised the best policy is always to read and then wholly ignore the instructions, i was good to go. they clip around the QR on the wheel axle. you have to remove the springs. the only problem i had was that the small plastic expanding jobbie used to secure the mudflap to the mudguards does not hold in place with the metal washer supplied. i swapped it for a very short mudguard bolt and self-tapping nut. i felt suitably worthy and masculine after effecting this bodge.
2. they are really easy to adjust to avoid any issues with rubbing or noisesome nastiness. they have two very small allen bolts that allow you to adjust height. this is very nifty.
3. the use of two metal ‘L’ clips means that the mudguard does not have to go under the brake bridge. this is a real step forward and an insightful solution to a problem. Crudguards are bedevilled by this issue, they go right under the brake caliper and thus the clearance is so tight you can’t run anything other than 19mm tyres (I exaggerate, but only marginally) and most people i know who have piously stated just how goddamn wonderful crudguards are already have clearance for full mudguards.
4. they extend right down and are thus good at keeping spray off your riding companions. that’s if your riding companions have opted to wait, or instead put the hammer down when you are eating a banana and left you alone to bang your face repeatedly against a block headwind whilst they saunter up the road in their own belgian echelon. bastards. in which case next time you go out don’t use any mudguards and give them a mouthful of ebola-infected slurry from north somerset’s finest country lanes.
5. i have also road tested them this weekend. at first they did that slightly high pitched rubbing noise on a couple of occasions, but it then just disappeared, as though they settled in and were happy. i used them through 45 miles of filth and mess and they were grand. i used them again today and no problems whatsoever. also, my feet were utterly dry – a problem with the shorter race blades.
in conclusion, sks race blade longs are the answer to the following questions:
1. can someone please, for the love of god, find me a mudguard that is better than the crudguard, that doesn’t rub for four hours or flap around in the breeze and is in no way flimsy?
2. how can i convert my once proud race bike, which has now become my second best bike, into some sort of fast trainer, and avoid being persona non grata on the club run?
3. what mudguards should i buy for my only bike, one which i foolishly bought without mudguard eyelets, despite intending to ride throughout the vagaries of the english four-season winter?
i am very happy with them.