Kewl Design Alert: Smart Ass - The Temporary Bike Fender With The Cute Name

Bike commuting - it's surprisingly popular year-round in Ottawa, considering the insane temperatures in the winter. Not to mention the slush and ice and windchill. (Clearly I would not be a year-round bike commuting aficionado even if I didn't live out in the burbs) But there are those of you who love it.

You have all the gear. Some of it weighs you down, and so when you can, you might avoid items that impose extra weight. Well how about if you could do away with those pesky fenders when you don't need them? Afraid to get caught in a sudden downpour and be forced to go to your meeting with a line of mud up your behind?

Fear no more, friends! Smart Ass is here! This ingenious little emergency fender attaches quickly to the base of your seat for emergency use (see aforementioned sudden downpour) and then folds up neatly to tuck under your seat when not in use. Made of polypropylene, it is bendable and lightweight enough to carry around for emergencies without adding extra drag.

Now polypropylene is pretty durable and can withstand wide ranges of temperatures but I do wonder if there might be a couple of design changes required to make this design durable enough for good old Canadian winters. Here's what I suggest:
  • substituting the polypropylene for lightweight carbon fiber, to withstand all the folding and unfolding at extreme temperatures
  • making it just a bit longer and wider to better withstand the salty spray from slush-covered roads (if you notice in the video, the backpack still seems to be getting some of the spray and the rider's butt seems wet on the areas not protected by the Smart Ass. A wet backpack inevitably may still mean a wet bottom, especially in slushy conditions).
Granted, the Smart Ass will never substitute an actual fender which sits closer to the tire and eliminates most of the offending spray before it gets anywhere near the rider, but this might make a good backup for folks who are concerned about adding extra bulk to their ride. So what do you think? Would you use it? Do you think we should convince the fine folks at Ass Savers to develop a more robust version for winter use? Hmm, I think I smell a KickStarter project... ;)

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