Handsome Cycles is a Minneapolis, MN based bicycle company, born out of the Alt, a landmark bicycle shop for the local cycling culture. In business for over 5 years now, they are starting to venture out into their own components, starting with the Mud Butler fenders. Matte black was introduced about a year ago, and they are adding in polished silver now.
The fenders have already been picked up by BTI, as well as sold by Handsome direct and through their nationwide network of dealers. Through one of these channels, you should be able to find them in your local bike shop, or get them right from the company.
We paid a visit to Handsome Cycles to see the new fenders, and pick up a set for long-term testing. Take a look inside for our first impressions…
It is quite easy for a set of fenders to look unruly. Keeping the attachment methods and struts in check is a challenge, but pays off by easing installation and improving appearance. At first impression, the Handsome Mud Butlers vastly improve on the majority of fenders out there simply by looking classy and clean. The pressed-in faux hammered look helps add a nice touch, but the simplicity of the hardware and struts is where the Mud Butlers shine above the competition. At 45mm wide, the fenders are intended for a tire around 35mm in width, although I set up the test bike with studded 38c tires, and there were no clearance problems.
Mounting is super easy. Each fender has one strut set, and those struts are one-piece, really simplifying the amount of parts. The front fender has the crown mounting tab pre-installed, and the rear has the chainstay bridge mounting hole pre-drilled. The bracket to attach the strut assembly to the fenders has cork washers, to allow the washer to compress, and prevent future rattles. The only cutting required was to the length of the struts once they were sized up, and that was easily accomplished with a large side-cutters and a few quick hits of a file.
One of the most unique features of the Mud Butlers is the rubber coated frame attachment. On a metal fender, this can be one of the main sources of rattling, so they took a common approach for tools and rack hardware, and dipped it in a PVC flexible plastic coating. It also made this piece nice and easy to work with during installation, making no worries of slicing hands open when bending it into place.
The fenders are pretty light overall, at just 577 grams for the full kit, including a few grams of packaging. Not bad for a set of metal fenders, where a typical plastic set of 45mm fenders would weigh around 500 grams, and other metal fenders might be 700 grams plus. That is no doubt helped by the primary fender part being made of aluminum instead of stainless, although aluminum is becoming more common for fenders.
Overall, the fenders installed simply, required almost no “adjustment by hammer”, and look sleek and clean. The most important aspect of a fender is they keep you clean, and on our first few test rides, they performed flawlessly, keeping the Minnesota slush snow at bay. For $65, they feel like a solid buy, especially considering a competing brand is selling an almost identical product for $67, although without Handsome’s unique features such as the rubber-coated bracket.
The Mud Butlers are currently available for sale in polished silver or matte black. Handsome is working on their e-commerce site right now, so they say the best way to get a set is to just pick up the phone and give them a call. We will be putting these fenders through the hard testing of a Minnesota winter, and will report back with a long term test.
Handsome has said their business is gaining traction with local bike shops around the country, with 90% of their sales going through that channel. They have recently closed their own retail space in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis (now the Chrome Hub), and have gone to a warehouse that better suits what they have become. If you want to see the product, they have been running pop-up stores with other similar brands, last month in San Francisco, and on Black Friday at MartinPatrick3 in Minneapolis.