Nice ride, awarble. I have to agree with you on the looks thing, but if you are expecting to ride a lot in the rain, the fender will have to help with the rooster-tail effect from wet roads. To answer your question, if I know that the expectations for rain are 60% or higher, I just don't ride, otherwise I chance it when I can. I keep a rainsuit in my tailpack for work commuting just in case. Don't have the fender on my bike and have wondered about ways to cut back on the backwash too.