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Commute-proofing your bike with mudguards

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Article posted: 27/08/2013

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Adding mudguards to your bike turns into from a piece of sports equipment into something suitable for daily commuting use. Mudguards will not only keep you and your clothing clean, they’ll also keep your bike a lot cleaner too. There are a number of different types available suitable for a wide range of bikes. Let’s take a look.

Traditional full length mudguards

Full length mudguards offer the best protection for you and your bike. SKS are renowned as the best available, made from a laminate of plastic and aluminium and feature stainless steel fittings and special quick release safety tabs to prevent twigs jamming the front wheel. They’re well designed and last well. The only downside is that they can be tricky to fit and can make transporting the bike in a car a pain.

Will my bike accept full length mudguards? Not all bikes have the necessary tyre/frame clearance for full length mudguards, or the fixing points to attach them. Separate ‘p-clips’ are available from good bike shops to attach ‘guards to bikes with no attachment points but if your bike doesn’t have enough clearance you’ll have to use one of the other mudguard types. If in doubt, check with your local bike shop. 

 

‘Crud Catcher’ style guards

These are front and rear mudguards designed to fit onto bikes which don’t have the clearance or fitting for full length, traditional mudguards. The front guard usually attaches to the downtube with zip ties (some bikes have dedicated mounting bosses) and the rear attaches to the seat post. This type of guard affords some protection but cannot rival the effectiveness of a full length, close fitting mudguard. However, they are easy to fit, offer basic protection and are compatible with practically any bike, meaning if you want to put your mountain bike into commuting service, you can.


Clip-on ‘Raceguard’ type mudguards

German accessory manufacturer SKS began marketing short, clip-on, close-fitting guards for road bikes with minimal tyre clearance. Designed primarily for road racers adapting their bikes for winter training, they’re also eminently suitable for roping your road bike into commuting duty. They attach to the seatstays at the back and the fork at the front and are quickly removeable if you want to go racing at the weekend. Since SKS brought out their ‘Raceguard’ design, a number of manufacturers have began to produce their own variants.

 


Full length guards for close-clearance bikes

There are a number of other options for road bike commuters who can’t fit full guards. The most recent to hit the market is the Mk2 version of the Crud RoadRacer, a full length guard that’s been cunningly designed to fit road bikes with poor tyre/frame clearance and no mudguard mounts on the frame.

 

 

 

 


Micro fenders and other minimalist designs

For people who dislike the full length fender look there are shorter, lighter and less obvious styles of mudguard. UK based brand Genetic sell the Micro Fender, aimed at the fender curious and performance driven enthusiasts. Although these offer less coverage from vast amounts of water and winter muck, these are perfect for the ‘morning after a rainy night’ ride. Again like the Mk2 version of the Crud RoadRacer, these fit directly onto the dropouts of your frame, so need no prior mounts on your frame, and accommodate most road tyre sizes.

Another minimalist design is the cheekily-named 'ass-saver' - an ultra lightweight folding plastic splashguard that slips neatly into the rails of the saddle and keeps the worst of the road spatter off your backside. 

 

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