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Verdict: 
Easy-fit downtube-mounted front mudguard offering good protection at a fair price
Weight: 
110g
Contact: 
PDW Origami Front Fender
8 10

The Origami Front Fender from PDW is a downtube-mounted mudguard. Fitting and removing is easy, and it does a good job of keeping the worst of the mud from flying off your front wheel onto your legs or into your eyes, although it's never going to replace full-length guards. The price is fair too.

If tight clearances mean you can't put full mudguards on your bike for cycling in wet conditions, the Origami Fender is a good second choice. It would also be useful for people with only one bike (yes, really, we have heard of such things) alternating duties perhaps between commuting in the week and sportive riding at weekends.

Fitting is a two-stage process. First, the rigid plastic mount fits on to your downtube using two big rubber straps, rather than cable ties, and then the flexible plastic fender itself is joined to the mount via four press-studs.

The Fender is a sort of stretched oval in shape, wider at the base to provide a bit more protection from mud and water coming off the front wheel. It'll keep the worst of the muck from hitting your upper legs, body or face, but your lower legs and feet are unprotected, as they are with any guard of this kind.

Overall, the Origami Front Fender is very quick and easy to fit, and a lot less faff than fitting other types of 'temporary' mudguard, such as Tortec Razors, SKS Raceblades or Crud Roadracers. Those options provide more protection from spray and muck coming up from the front wheel, though, so it's a horses for courses situation

The Origami Front Fender is just as easy to take off when not required. According to the PDW website 'it even packs down to fit in a backpack when not in use', although I'd guess most cyclists would either have it on their bike or leave it at home, rather than carry it around in a backpack in case of rain.

The rubber straps are very long, and will fit any type of bike, even those with the most over-sized tubing. This makes fitting to a bike with a normal tube dimensions a bit tricky. There's a lot of spare rubber to tuck away, but once you're sure of the length you need, the straps can be trimmed to a suitable size.

I was a bit dubious about the press-studs being strong enough to hold the Fender in place, but I tested it on my road bike during a recent cyclocross sportive. Despite over three hours of constant vibration on the off-road sections and some fast descents on the road sections, the Fender never budged.

Cost is around £10, which is a bit more than similar downtube-fitting guards from other manufacturers such as Crud, but not an outrageous price for what you get.

Verdict

Easy-fit downtube-mounted front mudguard offering good protection at a fair price

road.cc test report

Make and model: PDW Origami Front Fender

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

This is a downtube-fitting front mudguard, aimed at bikes with no clearance for full guards or anyone who might alternate regularly between having and not having guards. The PDW website is brief and says just this: "Punch it out, fold it down and snap it on. The Origami Fender™ is super light, easy to install and fits on almost any bicycle's downtube. It even packs down to fit in a backpack when not in use."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

There's nothing more about the product, but if you haven't heard of PDW it stands for Portland Design Works. Their products are: "...designed by considering not only how to make what is already on the market better, but by becoming students of the details. We consider cost, efficiency, aesthetics, durability, and rebuildability. We also take fun into account, and at the end of the day that is why we are in this business."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Stronger than it looks.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

It's never going to be a good as a full-length mudguard, but protection is as good as can be expected from this type of product: it keeps mud flying off the front wheel from hitting your upper legs, body or face.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

To early to say for sure, as I've done only a few rides with this products, but the portents are good

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

The Front Fender is slightly heavier than some other downtube-fitting guards from other manufacturers, such as Crud, but it's physically bigger, so par for the course.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Cost is around £10, which is a bit more than similar downtube-fitting guards from other manufacturers, but not an outrageous price for what you get.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

As will all downtube-fitting from mudguards, it works only when the front wheel is pointing more or less straight on, and maybe 10 degrees either side of straight. If your wheel turns more than that, then the mud misses the Fender completely - but that's the same with any downtube-fitting mudguard, and the Fender is wider than some so give you a bit more coverage.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Easy to fit, sturdy, relatively wide so providing good protection for a guard of this kind.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not a deal-breaker, but its size and appearance is rather bulky. Some riders may prefer a more slimline alternative.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 53  Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm  Weight: 11 stone / 70kg

I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, an old steel classic  My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding and rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)

 

2 comments

Avatar
Liaman [67 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Apologies for the off topic comment, but the testers at Road.CC seem to be getting a fair bit of use out of the Merlin bike shown in the pictures.
I'm considering one as a winter/commuter/general work horse bike, how are you finding it long term?

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2893 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Hi Liaman,

Yes, we really liked it you can read our review here. http://road.cc/content/review/134131-merlin-performance-road-pr7

The only downer we had was that they'd already sold out by the time our review came out - although Merlin told us they were expecting more stock in this month, but I notice the website now says March. I also notice the price seems to have jumped quite a lot since we reviewed it a few months back - even so it's still a bargain.

If you can't wait until March then I'd recommend the B'Twin Triban 500 SE it's a fabulous bike for the money and Decathlon are currently selling it for £330. Here's our review http://road.cc/content/review/116333-btwin-triban-500-se-road-bike and here it is on the Decathlon website http://www.decathlon.co.uk/triban-500-se-road-bike-black-id_8306187.html