The Bluemel mudguards have a rich history that extends back to the 1800s and feature an iconic squared profile. For 2022, SKS has revamped the classic Bluemels with upgraded features and blacked out aesthetics. While the fenders are offered in a number of variations, in this review we’ll be looking at the $74.99 700 x 28-37 variation in both the standard finish and the upgraded matte black $84.99 STYLE version. These are bolt-on fenders and require mounting eyelets or SKS’s optional mounting clamps. The Bluemel fenders are constructed using an aluminum core with plastic coating for durability and lightweight. SKS includes full instructions and extensive mounting hardware to accommodate a variety of bike geometries. As with other SKS fenders, these include the break-away safety system that allows the struts to separate from the bike if a branch or debris gets stuck in the wheel.
The SKS Bluemel fenders combine modern aesthetics with the classic Bluemel square profile for a variety of bike setups.
|Retail Price||$74.99 / $84.99 (STYLE version)|
|Rating||8.7 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in g)||566 / 843 (STYLE)|
|Likes||+ Iconic fender shape|
+ Lightweight yet rigid enough for all-weather use
+ Highly adjustable design works with variety of bike geometries
|Dislikes||– Setup is time consuming|
– STYLE version of fender lack cutouts for BB attachment
|Where to Buy (US)||SKS US|
The SKS Bluemel fenders come in an oversized SKS branded cardboard box with large cutouts that allow you to see and interact with the fender pieces. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Bluemel fenders
- Rubber inserts for mounts
- Bag of hardware
- Metal struts + plastic rear fender attachment piece
- Installation manual
Despite the large size of the fenders SKS has done a great job minimizing excess packaging with only a few zip ties and a plastic bag to contain all the small parts. Note, you’ll need some tools like an Allen key, 8mm wrench and potentially a metal saw which are not included.
With multiple mounting points and available adjustments installing the Bluemel fenders can be quite time consuming. The included instruction manual is well written but has multiple optional steps so we’d recommend taking your time. Total installation time depends on each bike and whether you need to cut the metal struts down and took us about 30 minutes. The first step is to connect the nuts and washers to each of the strut connectors and loosely tighten them down. We’d recommend using some pliers to help push the nuts into slots as it’s a very tight fit. It’s important to use the proper orientation of the connectors as these have a directional break-away system that only works in one direction. The metal strut clips onto a clip on the inside of the fender. The front fender is bolted onto the fork crown as well as the mounting tabs on each side of the bike.
Installing the rear fender requires first setting up the strut connectors and again loosely fitting the bolts and washers in the proper orientation. The strut also clips into the a tab on the backside of the rear fender by applying a bit of force while sliding it in. Next you’ll want to install the attachment clip between the rear seat stays using the provided hardware and clip the fender into it. To secure the tip of the rear fender there is an additional mounting point near the bottom bracket. Depending on your bike geometry you may need to use spacers and a small 8mm wrench to tighten the rear nut. The standard version of the fenders has a cutout to make this fitment easier while the STYLE version does not and may require some force to push into place. Finally the strut connectors attach to the side eyelets to secure the rear fender in place.
Each of the struts can be extended approximately 2” to help position the fender by loosening the strut connector bolts and pulling the struts outward. If the struts are too long, the issue we had with the rear fender for our Decathlon Triban RC 520, you’ll need to cut the struts. As the saying goes, measure twice and cut once to avoid cutting the struts too short and ruining the installation. We found that a Dremel with a metal blade worked well to cut the struts down to length. SKS recommends installing the fenders at no closer than 1.5 cm to avoid rubbing or having debris get stuck between the fender and tire. Dialing in the installation can take quite a while, especially if you’re a perfectionist as there are a lot of adjustment points that have to be duplicated on each side of the bike.
FIT & FINISH
Visually, it’s easy to identify the SKS Bluemel fenders as they have a distinctive square fender profile. Even though the design dates back to the original 1800s Bluemel models, it looks modern and sharp whether it’s installed on a beater or a race bike. The Bluemel fenders offer extended protection with 960mm front fenders that extend in front of the fork and 1300mm rear fenders. SKS offers the fenders in a standard black or silver finish as well as a matte black STYLE variation that’s shown here. Not only is the STYLE variation more stylish, but there is also a flexible rear rubber spoiler that helps keep you dry. While the Bluemel fenders will protect you from spray off the rear fenders, riders behind you may still get a little wet as they don’t extend all the way down like SKS’s other fenders.
Compared to the SKS Speedrocker or SKS Raceblade XL fenders, the Bluemel’s have a more modern appearance thanks to the square profile and integrated strut attachment points. As bolt-on fenders, the Bluemels aren’t something you’d want to install on your bike the morning of a ride. Instead, we’d recommend installing the fenders for rainy weeks or seasons to keep yourself dry while commuting, racing or getting training miles in. The fenders themselves use a combined plastic and metal construction that SKS refers to as a “sandwich” technology. It helps the fenders have a rigid feel that full-plastic fenders lack while still being lightweight. Branding on the fenders are limited to a few SKS logos.
ON THE ROAD
We installed the STYLE version of the fenders on our Decathlon Triban RC 520 just in time for a rare California rainstorms that kept our local roads wet. Installation was a bit time consuming but once the initial positions are set you can remove it and re-install it with minimal adjustments. With multiple attachment points on each fender, the Bluemel fenders securely attach to the bike without any vibrations. Even on pothole filled roads we had no issues with the fenders moving or any rubbing between the fenders or tires. The extended front mudguard and rear spoiler provide full coverage from wheel spray which keeps your back and feet dry. As with most long front fenders, you do need to watch out for toe-overlap when making tight turns and could lead to an embarrassing fall if it catches you off guard. We’ve been lucky enough to not have to test the emergency strut breakaway system (note it is a one-time use system that requires replacing the connectors) but felt safer knowing the feature was there.
Overall, we found the SKS Bluemel fenders to be a great modern refresh of the classic Bluemel fenders. SKS has retained the iconic square profile the Bluemel fenders are known for while adding more modern aesthetics. Whether you choose the standard Bluemel fenders or the matte STYLE variations, SKS has enough variations to cover everything from skinny road bikes to wide touring bike setups. The bolt-on design requires some patience to install and adjust but has been thoughtfully designed with extra spacers and different length bolts to accommodate a variety of bike geometries. We found the full fender coverage kept us dry and protected from tire spray off the front and rear wheels. The main negatives of the Bluemel fenders in our opinion is the time-consuming setup and the fact that the STYLE version lacks rear fender cutouts for easier installation. That said, if you’re looking for full fenders with classic lines and modern features then the SKS Bluemel fenders are an excellent choice.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by SKS US. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.