The Old Duct Tape Coat Hanger Bicycle Fender Trick

I once stayed with a Warm Showers host that saw the flimsy plastic Planet Bike fenders on my bike and asked if they worked.  I noticed his look of disapproval just before I noticed his bike had fancy $100 metal fenders.  The plastic ones do work, and cost about $40.  Perhaps they don't look as slick, but they are for keeping dirty road water off my backside and shoes, so who cares?

On my trip riding down to Georgia to hike the Appalachian Trail I had a hard time finding fenders, even cheap plastic ones, I could use on my road bike with 28mm tires and no eyelets. So, I got creative. And cheap(er). 

If looks don't matter, here's how to make functional fenders using duct tape, coat hangers, and zip ties.  I used them for 1500+ miles of riding before the tape started to fray and get brittle. They still kept the water off, but I figure I can afford a few feet of duct tape every 1500 miles. I used the same coat hanger.

This isn't rocket science, so if you don't feel like reading the instructions, take a  look at the pictures and give it a try.  Not much to lose, and your bike frame may require different attachment points anyhow.

Step 1 Materials & Tools
  • 3-4 metal coat hangers.  With the thicker metal. Not the flimsy ones. 
  • Zip ties (UV resistant is better).
  • Duct Tape.  Extra wide if you've got it.
  • 2 pairs of pliers
  • Wire cutters
Step 2 Decide how much coverage you want.  Cut coat hangers to appropriate length. Flatten two pieces of coat hanger as best you can with pliers. Lay parallel and make a duct tape coat hanger sandwich (sticky sides in with the coat hangers in between).

I attached this partial rear fender to my seatstays.  Note the exposed coat hanger on the right end for bending and hooking onto zip ties.  Flatter is better, but doesn't need to be perfect. 

Step 3 Bend the fender to the approximate curve of the tire. Attach the end of the fender with exposed coat hanger to the seatstays above the rear brake by bending the hanger ends and using zip ties.  Use duct tape to protect the frame. If making a full fender put the fender through the seatstays and attach on the seat tube above the front derailuer. See the last pic with full fenders. Let the fender sit on the tire for now.

Step 4 Cut two support pieces of coat hanger about the radius of your wheel.  Bend them straight.  These will attach from the seatstay to the fender to hold up the fender.  Leave enough room on each end for bending the coat hanger to make attachments.

Step 5 Attach supports to lower part of seatstays. Bend the ends of the coat hanger and hook onto the zip tie and tighten.

Step 6  Attach the supports to the fender by poking the coat hanger through the duct tape and clamping as pictured.   I generally attach it to make about a 30 degree angle.

Step 7 Bend the coat hanger supports, and fender if necessary, to get the fender in a position that doesn't rub on the tire and that will cover the water coming off the tire.  It probably won't be perfectly straight, but it doesn't need to be. Leave a little extra space to prevent rubbing as some movement is likely if you are pedaling hard or on a bumpy road.

I made this version attach to the seatstays so I could remove it when the roads are dry.  Don't tighten the zip ties too much if you plan to take on and off.

Here is my setup with a full front and back fenders. Attaching the front fender to the front fork is a little tricky.  I used some string to allow it to rotate around the head tube and front fork.

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