Move over, Rain Tail—there's a new ultraminimal rear fender in town. The Plume is a recoiling mudguard that is deployed by unrolling the coiled strip of stainless steel and 'retracted' with a simple flick. The hardware slides neatly onto a bicycle seatpost and it looks something like a sideways cupholder when not in use, functioning something like a reverse slap-bracelet.
Note: Animated GIF for purposes of illustration only
Founders Dan McMahon and Patrick Laing met three years ago in London and have been developing the Plume for about as long. Now that they've filed a patent on the recoiling design, they're pleased to present their creation to the public via Kickstarter.
It's certainly a clever solution to a common problem, and the Kickstarter page duly features a couple examples of what Sparse deemed to be "bike hacks," i.e. variations on DIY mudguards. The main advantage of these ad hoc fabrications is that they're inherently disposable; the tradeoff is that they're ugly as sin.
The Plume is a far more elegant way to stay dry, at least as a light-duty solution: I've found that seatpost- or saddle-mounted (in the case of the Rain Tail) mudguards are useful for moderately inclement weather conditions; for anything more than a steady drizzle, not so much. Thus, the Plume is best suited for those who care about preserving the clean lines of our beloved machines; those who'd rather preserve their own bodies are and always will be better off with full fenders.