Alongside our continuing 20% off all D-locks, each month we put on a superb offer of really useful and/or amazing things that make riding your bike more enjoyable. This month, mudguards.
Mudguards (or ‘fenders’, if you prefer) should be an essential part of your bike, be it your daily commuter, regular road ride or winter MTB. Here we’ll take a look at the how’s and why’s, give you some tips on what to avoid, share some of the favorites that we keep in stock and even get a bit of shiny bling out of the cupboard for you to consider for your next purchase.
We love mudguards, in fact you could say that, as mechanics, we’re passionate about them! Almost every bike should have them and for three very good reasons:
1: They keep you dry and clean. Okay, so if it’s absolutely tipping it down then both you and you beloved steed are still going to get a soaking but when it comes to keeping the wet down to a minimum and keeping you dry and comfortable this is a must. Soggy feet and a soggy rear end caused by wet kicked up from front and rear tyres makes one cold and miserable. The argument for ‘just buying some waterproofs’ doesn’t necessarily hold up here; you never know when you might face the next downpour and all of that grime and salt from the roads isn’t going to do the lifespan of your garments any good. So… buy some mudguards! You’ll be able to ride for longer and in more comfort.
2: They keep other riders dry and clean. Either on the daily commute or in the winter training peloton, it’s considered bad manners not to have mudguards. There’s nothing worse than being stuck behind a rider who, without consideration for those they share the road with, flings dirty water into your face. So… buy some mudguards! Those riding with or behind you in traffic will appreciate it.
3: They keep the bike dry and clean. This is the crux of the matter. Fitting mudguards will save you money. The number one culprit for worn or seized bearings, chains, cogs, calipers, cables, pads, and rims that we see day in day out is water and grit ingress. Those tyres we just talked about don’t just throw water onto you, but on to all of the parts of the bike. Wheels chuck plenty of moisture into your front and rear calipers and straight up into the headset bearings. The front wheel spends plenty of time throwing the roads’ finest grit and moisture into rear mech, chain and cassette/freewheel, while the rear wheel messes with your bottom bracket, pedals and front mech. All bikes need regular cleaning and lubrication to stop a build up of grime around these sensitive areas, but with mudguards this need is much reduced. If not cleaned, this grime gets pushed into the pivots, bearings, rim surface,s etc by further water before turning into a nice grindy paste perfect for destroying components, thus causing you to have to pay us to bring the machine back to life. Soooo… buy some mudguards! You’ll be able to ride safe in the knowledge that you’re no longer doing needless damage to the machine and can afford to buy more coffee each month! Simple!
So…what sort of mudguards should you buy? This will depend on your bike, but by and large for machines used primarily on the road or along bike paths and not intended for serious and regular off-road use, then full-length mudguards are the way to go. Avoid those that only attach to your bike frame at the front or attach to and stick out from your seatpost.
Germany’s SKS make solid and dependable full-length mudguards starting with basic Commuter, before the sturdier and classic Chromoplastics or the fantastic coverage offered by the Longboard. Tortec also offer the pretty amazing ReflectorGuard which remains our mudguard of choice. Its additional features (reflective strips, rear reflectors and front mudflaps) further adding to the set’s practicality. For bikes with sufficient tire clearance (the gap left between the tires and the frame of the bike), these are the mudguards you want and this covers all hybrids, touring bikes, pretty much all early ATB-type machines, cross bikes and some road bikes.
In non-race situations it’s just as important for your road bike to be fitted with mudguards. After all, these are the machines where price and quality of components really starts to ramp up, so why wouldn’t you protect them? Crud Products Road Racer Mk2′s are incredible and are the only mudguard that we’re happy to fit on our own machines that don’t have the clearance for a more ‘traditional’ affair. Not only are they sturdy but they have two neat little features that we love. Firstly, a set of ‘caterpillars’ that fit on either side of the mudguard stays and are aligned with your rim, quietening any noise and also cleaning your rims and improving braking in the wet. Secondly, down near the front mech they have an additional scoop to keep this sensitive area even cleaner.
What about off road riding, then? We’ve found that when riding a bit more aggressively for short periods on varying terrain, it’s best to choose something small at the front to keep mud out of the eyes. RRP’s Neo and Enduroguards are the answer here. Much to Ryan’s chargrin we just tend to put up with a bit of wet at the rear these days, although the Enduro’s can also be used here. However, for those longer cross country rides where you don’t run the risk of getting too bashed about then some of Topeak’s Defenders can work a treat, although we’ve found a lot of mudguards, especially those for the rear, have trouble staying in place under tougher conditions and are easily knocked and damaged by falls.
Finally, what about all that bling, or a bit of minimalism? Well, we stock Ass-Savers for those who either stubbornly refuse our advice (!!!) or simply want to keep things simple: fixed and single speed riders can stop getting caught out in the wet and keep their bums dry with these things in a flash. They also have extra long and extra wide versions for Road Riders and MTB’ers alike. Want to get flashy and got some extra dollar to spend and want something shiny and classic? A bit of retro chic that harks back to the good old days while also looking plain old awesome? An upgrade for your Audax machine perhaps? Then the ONLY way to go is polished or hammered stainless steel. We stock the fabulous Velo Orange gear peddled by the good folks over at Freshtripe which is an absolute joy to work with and the finish of which is superb. Also from Freshtripe (and with an RRP of £145!), maybe you’d like to pick up a pair of Latt’s Carbon Laminate Fenders or the simply stunning WoodGuards shown below: wow! I know where my next paycheck is going!
Ride safe, stay dry, fit mudguards!
Ryan and the workshop team
Offer Details:15% off RRP on all mudguards until the Tuesday 7 October. Fitting of mudguards £10 additional labour or £15 for Velo Orange Stainless Steel. Many Sizes in stock but special orders necessary for certain items.