A Guide to
There’s nothing worse than cycling through town and country when it’s wet – even when it’s not raining the spray from the road can soak you in minutes. Wet roads won’t just spray you with water either, but all the oil and pollution that vehicles drop onto the road.
A full set of commuter mudguards should offer as much wheel coverage as possible, which will minimise the water and debris that will otherwise get flung up towards you. Many commuter bikes have eyelets built on to the frame and forks to which mudguard struts can easily attach. If your bike doesn’t have any, don’t worry because you may be able to fit them with a set of Tortec P-Clips (depending on the frame’s tube diameter), or other adapters which may come with the mudguards. The Crud Road Racer MK2 mudguard set comes with rubber straps which don’t require any frame mounts – they just wrap around your frame’s tubes and use zip-ties to attach.
Commuter mudguards tend to come in plastic or metal variants, and are usually black or silver. Generally, pricier ones will last longer, with SKS commuter mudguards being a very popular option among commuters. The SKS Raceblade Long quick release set are some of the best commuter mudguards on the market. Some mudguards will also have mudflaps for extra coverage, or feature reflectors to help increase your visibility.
Fitting mudguards on commuter and road bikes can take a bit of time, as they generally have to fit around your brakes, but with a bit of patience, once set up they’ll keep you dry, clean and warm throughout the wetter months of the year!
Permanent road bike mudguards like the SKS range offer the very best in protection from road spray. They are available for a wide range of wheel and tyre sizes and require tools to fit.
Quick-release and quick fitting guards come in a range of styles. One example is the large, full-length blade-styles of the Topeak Defender range, which are simple to affix but reasonably bulky on a race bike. At the other end of the spectrum are the SKS Raceblades, which offer a half-way house between full permanent guards and quick-release systems, but require a little more time to fit.
By far the most minimal but effective rear road bike mudguard is the saddle-fitting Ass Saver which clips onto your saddle rail in seconds and protects your backside from the worst of road spray. It won't keep you completely dry, but it will keep you comfortable.
Mountain Bike Mudguards
These days, the small, neoprene fenders that strap onto your suspension fork between the lower leg brace and the crown, such as the RRP NeoGuard fork mudguard are popular. Fork guards are good because they are a minimal addition to your bike and as water and mud sprays off the front your wheel, they catch it before it gets flung into your face.
At the rear of the bike, MTB mudguards can help you avoid the brown-trouser look by catching mud before it’s thrown onto your shorts, back and pack. It might not sound like a big deal, but over long distances, the mix of mud and moisture can lead to chaffing and a chilly ride. Most rear mudguards fix to the seatpost, with the Crud Catcher being a bit of a classic. A novel approach comes from the Ass Saver , which is a mini fender that attaches under your saddle. They’re useful for catching the odd puddle splash, but might not keep you totally dry during a full-on downpour.
If you want complete and full protection, the best system is probably a full, fork attached front mudguard in conjunction with a matching rear. Topeak’s Defender set comes with front and rear mudguards, with the front attaching with a bung in the fork steerer tube, they’re one of the best mtb mudguards. Their plastic construction means they’ll take the odd hit, and their quick release mechanism means you can whip them off in an instant.