Blackburn Cloudburst fenders are probably the first of the clip-on type that I've truly warmed too, primarily as they're full length, thus keeping the infamous salty spatter from engulfing the front mech and seat tube. Nonetheless, they are on the skinny side and while the materials are every bit as good as we've come to expect from Blackburn, fitting them still takes an hour or so and a drop of threadlock comes in handy.
The guards themselves are made from the sturdy, flexible PET-laminated aluminium that resists the elements unbowed for many years. Ours were 35mm wide, which seems ideal for cross, hybrids and Audax bikes with more touring-style frame clearances. They work best with 28-32mm rubber. You can squeeze them round 35-38mm tyres but you get fag paper clearances and plenty of overspray on your fork blades and chain/seat stays.
The replaceable rubberised mud flaps could do with being a wee bit wider too but are similarly stout and won't catch on the floor when you pop a bike up on its rear wheel to manoeuvre through a tight space. Completing the kit are horseshoe shaped nylon bridges-cum-guides for the single, stainless steel stays. There are three different widths, theoretically allowing the most tailored aesthetic. These slide aboard the guard courtesy of two lips, held tight by a 3mm Allen bolt.
Go steady mind since the internal brackets like nothing better than making bids for freedom beneath fridges and similarly inaccessible regions. I found this stage best performed on a work stand, wheels removed and with guards loosely bolted to fork and seatstay drillings. Frames such as my cross inspired fixer with mono stays will necessitate drilling of the mudguard, since the resin bridge won't yield to suit.
Stays slot with interference fit into their guides, though benefit from a drop of thread lock to prevent them springing loose over rougher roads. Overall effect is extremely tidy, light years away from Heath Robinson shorty types, though retro reflective stickers would improve nocturnal presence. Silence has been the order of things, although particularly choppy surfaces induced the odd rattle and occasionally provoked the guard to momentarily bind against tyre sidewalls, something I attribute to single stay design and needing revision.
Among the more convincing of "clip ons" but mono stay concept could be improved.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Blackburn Cloudburst
Size tested: 700c x 35mm
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?
Blackburn clearly feels this is self explanatory. Essentially they are full-length, quick(er) fit chrome plastic guards available in narrow to mid section widths-ours were the commu-tour typical 35mm, though in practice we're talking 700x28-32mm
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Super durable PET/aluminum laminate
* Easy installation with adjustable mounting clamps that won't damage fender
* Breakaway safety stay attachments
* Replaceable molded rubber mud flap
* Available in 3 sizes to accommodate all tires and wheels
Broadly to Blackburn's usual high standards.
Good-close to traditional, full length chrome plastics.
Some question marks around mono-stay design but calmed somewhat by lifetime guarantee.
Offer better protection than most of the clip-on genre, though go broader if in doubt.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Installing the cloudburst is a little trickier than some but patience rewards with decent fit, pleasing profiles and reasonable protection from rain/spray. Beefier mudflaps would be welcome and a drop of thread lock on the mounting hardware makes a world of difference too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good coverage, nice materials and minimal rattles.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Fitting proved a little fiddly and I would recommend a drop of threadlock, especially where stays feed into their nylon brackets.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for more conventional Audax/Cross inspired builds.
About the tester
Age: 39 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)