Planet Bike MTB Fenders vs. Cascadia Fenders. Winner: Portlandia

After tearing down and rebuilding/greasing/plumber’s-taping/etc-ing my cranks/BB this winter and failing to exorcize the constant creaking I did what any sensible cyclist would do: I tossed the parts in the bin and bought new ones.

Problem eliminated!–but on the very first rain day I was reminded of the limited coverage of my Planet Bike MTB fenders which blasted a rooster-tail of dirt, trash and road salt into my brand new bearings for a half hour.

To protect my investment (and to some degree my shoes) a replacement for the fenders was in order. I fired up my one-click Amazon Prime machine and had some Planet Bike Cascadia fenders two days later.

Useful information (photos, not measurements) comparing the two was scarce online but I thought I’d take the chance. Worst case scenario I have more serious looking fenders. Best case: they work.

They arrived in the middle of a week of rain so immediate installation was needed. I only had time to do the front one but thankfully Planet Bike uses the same exact hardware on both so they appeared to be a matched set. Turns out that Frankensteining is ok so long as it’s kept in the family.

Front fender lightning review

If you enjoy getting your feet, legs and entire drivetrain of your bike filthy get the Planet Bike MTB fenders. If you enjoy riding through puddles laughing meniacally and only getting lightly spritzed the Cascadia is the only thing that makes any sense at all. With the Cascadia lets you ride in a straight line again, only avoiding puddles that you fear may be hiding potholes and chasms.

Planet Bike MTB front fender next to Planet Bike Cascadia Fender
A couple of inches make all the difference in the world; now only a light spritz ends up on my shoes and drivetrain.

Front Fender Winner: Cascadia.

Rear Fender lightning review

The Cascadia rear fender is a bit odd. The extra length in the back is very “polite”. It seems to be made to keep water out of the face of those riding behind you. I mean, OF COURSE my commute sees me regularly flirting with 25mph speeds with throngs of roadies trying to hold my wheel. My 26×2.25″ wheel. While I’m wearing two layers on my legs and 5 on top. All of which are baggy. Plus 35lbs of panniers on my bike rack.

Anyway, it’s a nice visual match with the front fender but entirely unpractical for New York commuting as:

1: In my small apartment the “garage” is my foyer. You can see my old MTB fender just barely fits in my bike stand:

planet bike MTB rear fender fit with feedback bike stand
Close call: Very little clearance between Planet Bike MTB rear fender and Feedback bike stand
Planet bike cascadia rear fender is too long for the feedback bike stand
Cascadia Rear Fender vs. Feedback bike stand. Cascadia loses.

2. In order to fit inside NYC elevators you need to wheelie your bike at a 90˚ angle to the ground. Here, too, the MTB mud flap just scrapes the ground.

planet bike mtb fender elevator wheelie
Though it’s a close call, the Planet Bike MTB rear fender is elevator-wheelie capable (and probably wheelie-wheelie capable). It goes without saying that the Cascadia Rear does not do 90˚

Rear Fender Winner: MTB

Fender “Set” Winner: Portlandia

So if you’re an urban commuter I find the combo of the Cascadia front and MTB rear fender is the most functional answer. Since the hardware is identical it does not look terribly mismatched.

Planet Bike Portlandia configuration
The Planet Bike “Portlandia” configuration for urban commuting

If your bike’s entire existence is horizontal go all Cascadia.

There is no reason I can think of to get only the MTB set due to the uselessness of the front fender. IMHO if you are riding on dirt trails that require the extra clearance you probably have no business using fenders at all.

One Thought to “Planet Bike MTB Fenders vs. Cascadia Fenders. Winner: Portlandia”

  1. John

    Great article.
    I commute in DC. I ride the Metro (aka “subway”) in the morning (I don’t have the legs for 26 miles/day, but enjoy 13). Bicycles are allowed (though not from 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM). I need to ride the Metro elevator, and if it is crowded, I need to do the “wheelie” that you described.
    It is a bit of a rare problem, I don’t think too many people get it.

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