Pugsley fork-end spacers

Laziness, I like to say, is the mother of invention.

The story goes something like this. I have a Pugsley, which I like to ride both in the winter snows, and at any other time of the year that the urge strikes me. I also like to ride in all weathers, and particularly in the rain. And yet, I am at the same time a creature of comfort — or at least certain comforts. One of the things I find uncomfortable (not to mention unsightly) when riding a bicycle is a cold, wet ass sprayed with grit — the proverbial skunk stripe.

This means that I wanted my Pugsley to wear fenders, like most of my other bikes. Production fenders (like balloon slicks for the road) are not available for the Pugsley — not for any amount of love or money. So I did what one usually does in such a situation: I entered “pugsley fender” into Google and trusted to the multifariousness of the internet to see me right. Besides a couple of very nice home-brewed solutions and one very expensive bespoke fender set, I happened across a gentleman in Minneapolis that makes Puglsey fenders from thin sheets of PVC and custom-bent aluminum bar-stock.

Pugsley, with fenders in my crap-strewn garage

They are not what one would call light, but their coverage is excellent and they are somehow very Pugsley — if you get my drift.

However, not all was beer and cheese curds in fat-bike land. A spacer was required to keep the lower end of the rear fender from running into the front derailleur cable, which in turn set the fender back just far enough to graze the rear tire when the axle is set all the way forward in the Pugsley’s horizontal fork ends.

Pugsley, viewed from her capacious rear.

The normal response to this problem involves just sliding the rear wheel back slightly, centering it, and clamping down the quick release. However, this wasn’t good enough for me, for two reasons. First, after my recent experience with QR rear wheels in horizontal fork ends at the Almanzo 100 (short version: not good), I simply didn’t trust it. Second, being the lazy man that I am, I simply didn’t want to have to think about whether the QR would slip, or whether the wheel was centered. Instead, I just wanted it to be so in order that I could go riding — which is the whole point, don’t you think?

I’m sure someone out there is saying to themselves right now: “You think about this shit more than you should…and why don’t you just use a Tuggnut with the QR adapter while you’re at it?” Again, two reasons.  My present inventory of Tuggnuts are in use on the newly rebuilt Albatross and I didn’t want to buy another one at $25 a pop. And, I wanted to be something that I didn’t have to fiddle with — and we both know that Tuggnuts + QRs are fiddly.

The lazy man's solution.

So, I present to you the solution: each rear fork end now wears — as a sort of functional jewelry, mind you — a crank bolt of regular stack height (not a single-ring variety) with a 5mm-thick spacer on the outboard side. Crank bolts have 10mm outer diameter, just like a rear axle, so they fit nicely. The spacer is there to provide something thick and solid for the QR to butt up against. I originally had a spacer on both the inboard and outboard sides of the fork end, but the inboard one interfered with the cassette and prevented the wheel from spinning freely.

It’s a solid, non-fiddly and completely free-to-me solution (all the parts came from my capacious drawer full of heretofore useless crank bolts (where did they all come from anyway?).

Time to go riding. It’s a good thing it’s raining, or all this would have been for nought.

Postscript: I was wondering whether I’d come up with anything original here (and doubting it) when a mere two hours later, while perusing the VeloSolo site, I ran across this. So much for originality.

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