Picture of License Plate Bike Fender
Build a bicycle fender from a license plate!

Fenders are nice to have when you need to ride in wet weather. Road gunk spraying you from below is a lot worse than rain pouring on you from above. 

I wanted a fender for my 26" front wheel. Turns out a license plate works perfectly. It's the right length and width and can be bent to any shape. Plus it's highly reflective for night riding. 

Unfortunately for us Yanks, U.S. license plates are too short and fat for the job, but European style plates seem to have the perfect dimensions (520mm x 110mm).

Luckily for me I had a souvenir plate from Germany that my sister gave me. I had no problem deeply offending her by destroying her gift. It says "BITBURG 05." Bitburg is a small German town whose claim to fame apparently is that Reagan caused some controversy by visiting in 1985.

If you are in Europe (or apparently certain former colonies), the first step will be easy for you. Go outside with a screwdriver and steal the license plate off the first car you see.*

I didn't need a rear fender because my rear rack already blocks any spray. You would probably need 1.5+ license plates to cover your rear tire. 

* Disclaimer: don't do that!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
This fender attaches to the bike in 3 places: each side of the fork and at the fork crown.

You will need:
-a long skinny European style license plate
-a piece of flat aluminum bar stock (I forget the exact dimensions but about 1/8" thick, 1/2" wide, and 30" long)
-2 u-bolts (the smallest size that will fit around the blades of your forks - mine had shocks and so may have been thicker than yours)

-shears that can cut through sheet metal
-a drill
-a pop rivet gun and 1/8" rivets(or some small screws and nuts would work instead)
-pliers or a vice are useful for bending the metal
kodiackjack2 years ago
I saw this 'able, and thought I would share that you can buy euro license plates online @ http://www.customeuropeanplates.com
I love the idea... I did one with a Hot Wheels track in college.
LucDaRocka14 years ago
"(if you happen to bike in a post-apocalyptic war zone). "

I loved that comment!
I want to see a Mad Maxish bicycle! :D

Nice job and nicely written. To bad that I don't own a bicycle, as I don't need it. Well, nobody is perfect in this world! :o

SHIFT!4 years ago
Can you spell "Instructables"?
lxc6 (author)  SHIFT!4 years ago
SHIFT! lxc64 years ago
LOL, what I meant was it would be cool to have a fender bike spelled "Instructables" for the office.
St Jimmy4 years ago
I wonder, if you used this on the back wheel of a motorbike, if it would be legal as an actual license plate
lxc6 (author)  St Jimmy4 years ago
Try it out and let us know if you get ticketed!
St Jimmy lxc64 years ago
Unfortunately for whoever gets paid for ticketing, I do not own a bike or a bike license. If I did, I would have already tried this, and undoubtedly would have come back to my current license-less situation
DAVID_A4 years ago
nice where can i Liberate a euro plate like that here?
Schnapril4 years ago
Bitburg's claim to fame is actually Bitburger Beer. It's super popular in Germany. It's my husband's favorite. He'd be pretty jealous of that sweet license plate you scored. Bitte ein Bit! Check it out.
lxc6 (author)  Schnapril4 years ago
Oh yeah, I've seen Bitburger Beer but I never made the connection.
uzziah04 years ago
Looks great. Did you try to get the aluminum arm to connect to the bolt of the wheel itself. It might look better and not have the ubolts on the fork.
I think that is how the bought ones do it.
Gives me some ideas for my bike.
lxc6 (author)  uzziah04 years ago
Yeah, I would have attached it straight to the skewer, but the dropouts are blocked by the suspension forks sticking out to the side. That is a simpler and more elegant solution though.
silveravnt4 years ago
Awesome Fender!
My only suggestion would be to finish out the U bolts better with some acorn nuts. Great job!
lxc6 (author)  silveravnt4 years ago
Good idea; it's a bit ugly as is.
jmengel4 years ago
I like this fender, especially the reflectiveness of it. Great idea. I bet you can find european style license plates on eBay.
lxc6 (author)  jmengel4 years ago
ak088204 years ago
I guess US cyclist will have to settle for aluminum roofing shim material.