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Is there a simple way to stop the mudguards on my bike rattling? They're securely connected, but when I go over bumps in the road they tend to wobble about and rattle against my front wheel.

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Have you got a photo? What type of bike is it? –  Phil Johnstone Oct 4 '11 at 12:33
    
I'll try and get a photo later –  fredley Oct 4 '11 at 12:46
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It's easy. Go around the bumps. –  xpda Oct 6 '11 at 2:05
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@xpda Have you been to Britain? –  fredley Oct 6 '11 at 8:56
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Cobblestones, sleeping policemen, potholes, and general decay... –  fredley Oct 6 '11 at 14:55

7 Answers 7

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think it's a problem that must be solved on a one-off basis, since there so many different fender/bike combinations.

First make sure the connections are really tight. Often they work loose over time. Then try to observe what's rattling. Some heavy tape applied to points that tend to knock against the bike frame may help. Different fenders that are stiffer and have more stays is another possibility. In some cases you may simply want to cut off, eg, part of the front fender extending forward from the fork, as that area tends to be less well secured and vibrates quite a bit. (Mine cracked at the fork and the front part fell off some years back, and I haven't missed it.)

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+1, Check for loose bolts. If you still can't find the source of noise turn your bike upside down, turn the wheels and check to make sure nothing is scratching the surface of the mudguards. –  Ambo100 Oct 4 '11 at 16:36
    
Be careful not to over-tighten bolts. If one snaps off, you'll need a screw extractor or a drill to get it out. –  Neil Fein Oct 4 '11 at 17:30
    
@NeilFein -- Sounds like the voice of experience. –  Daniel R Hicks Oct 4 '11 at 19:04
    
@Neil Fein - also don't cut off the mudguard stay 'extras' with Shimano cable cutters - they break them! –  ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Oct 4 '11 at 20:27
    
@Daniel - Indeed. Ended up replacing a fork after losing the screws in the eyelets, although that was a defective fork. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) –  Neil Fein Oct 5 '11 at 0:06

I use rubber patches from used tubes. It not always look nice, but besides dampening the rattling itself, they also dampen the sound propagation along the fender (depending of course on the amount of rubber). EVA could also be a good alternative.

Other think I sometimes have to make is to preload the metal plates which run from side to side along the fixtures (I have SKS chromoplastic fenders). If you bend them against the surface they rattle, than the "spring action" will keep the surfaces pressing against each other.

As a matter of fact, my front wheel is very silent EXCEPT when I take one hand off the handlebar (for example, to use the cycling computer or take the water bottle). Riding one-hand is even noisier than riding no-hands, because the front wheel oscilates laterally.

I think that's it, hope it helps!

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+1 I do the exact same thing. Almost anything attached to my bike has a small rubber 'washer' cut from an old tube between the frame and the item. –  Gary.Ray Oct 4 '11 at 14:30

I've had success with leather washers. They go between the mudguard and the screw-hole. The idea is to keep the mudguard from being able to pivot (and bang into stuff and make noise). FWIW, I run 35mm honjo fenders on 25mm conti tire.

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+1 for "unable to pivot". I realized pivoting is a key culprit with fender rattling and eventually breaking apart (happened very soon after I installed a front suspension). –  heltonbiker Oct 4 '11 at 20:46
    
Thanks for the tip. In the UK mudguards are quite important but I have never seen this on any UK bikes. Sounds like there is a 'resonant frequency' problem going on and that dampening that is what matters rather than padding out 'bits that rattle and rub'. –  ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Oct 4 '11 at 22:21

Another source of rattling can be the positioning of the fixings. If it's a road type then the stays can sometimes be moved along the mudguard to make the contact points wider and reduce rattling.

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"They're securely connected, but when I go over bumps in the road they tend to wobble about and rattle against my front wheel."

My bike developed the same problem after I put fatter tyres on the bike. The back mudguard is not noisy but the front one was. After a certain amount of 'rattling' the mudguard broke off, so let that be a cautionary tale for you! A close-fitting front mudguard can only take so much before it breaks, particularly if SKS chromo-plastic (rather than vintage steel).

Doing up the bolts and dampening them is not going to solve your problem. Only a narrower front tyre or a fatter mudguard will.

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Four days ago a german globetrotter going around my town (Porto Alegre, Brazil) broke his fork and got injured (just bruises, fortunately) because the front fender got "caught" by the front wheel, jammed and locked the wheel, while he was riding fast downhill with the bike fully loaded... :o( I think thats why SKS invented those "security" plastic snap-fits for use on front wheel... Never use the metal directly attached to the fork braze-ons! –  heltonbiker Oct 4 '11 at 20:49

For attaching the mudguards to the fork crown and top of the seat stay, use zip ties (cable ties). ie drill or melt four holes in the mudguard, then put the zip ties through these and around the fork/stays.

In my experience, this makes a big difference to stopping the mudguards rattling. The riveted brackets on SKS mudguards soon become loose and start wobbling, zip ties are much more solid.

Plus it can give a bit more tyre clearance, which is helpful if you want to use bigger tyres on a frame without much space.

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Zip ties need some little grippy shim in my experience (like some thin piece of rubber, like those things they give out for opening jars). –  Batman Mar 24 at 8:28

Hardware store, Plumbing section, very strong rubber washers. Might even be stronger than leather and very available. My rear fender has a clamp in the middle, that is where the old inner tube comes in. I have just found out I can use high density foam wether strip for the center fender bracket and it works great. 1/8 inch thick by 1/2 inch wide. It even has adhesive on one side to help it stay in place while installing. Just finished doing this to a Norco city glide and I can't make the fenders rattle even by hitting them.

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Welcome to Bicycles SE. Please consider editing your answer into complete sentences to more clearly describe how the parts mentioned can be used to solve the OP's problem. bicycles.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer –  jimirings Mar 20 at 13:32

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