We love mudguards, in fact, as mechanics, we’re passionate about them! Thoroughbred race machines aside, every bike could benefit from them and for three very good reasons.
1: They keep you dry and clean. 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 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… get 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. It’s no fun being stuck behind a rider flinging dirty water into your face. So… get some mudguards! Those riding with or behind you in traffic will appreciate it.
3: They keep the bike dry and clean. For us 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 is water and grit ingress. Tyres 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 brakes and straight up into the headset bearings. The front wheel throws 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 surfaces and so on by further water before turning into a grinding paste perfect for destroying components, thus causing you to have to pay us to bring the machine back to life. So… get some mudguards! You’ll be able to ride safe in the knowledge that you’re no longer doing needless damage to the machine.
What sort of mudguards should you buy? For machines used primarily on the road or along bike paths, full-length mudguards are perfect. 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 ReflectorGuard, which remains our mudguard of choice. Its additional features (reflective strips, rear reflectors and front flaps) add to practicality. For bikes with sufficient tire clearance (the gap left between the tires and the frame of the bike), these are the mudguards to go for.
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 start to ramp up, so why wouldn’t you protect them? Crud Products Road Racer Mk2 is the only mudguard that we’re happy to fit on machines that don’t have the clearance for a more traditional style. They have two neat little features that we love: a set of ‘caterpillars’ aligned with the rim, quietening noise and cleaning rims to improve braking in the wet. Secondly, an additional scoop near the front mech to keep this sensitive area even cleaner.
Off-road riders can also benefit from a range of good quality products. We recommend either the Neo-Guard or Enduroguard from RRP: we and many a riding buddy are very happy with them. Rear mudguards on mountain bikes? Controversial. Nevertheless, if it’s been pouring down and you want to minimise the ‘I’ve had an accident’ look, then we’ve most success with Mudhuggers beefy offerings.
What about lights? This one’s so much simpler! Lights are mandatory when riding in the dark. Given that a budget set of safety lights is about a tenner, there’s no excuse.
We want to support Bristol’s riders by offering better quality lights at a better price. We’ve become a big fan of USB rechargeable lights these past two years: they’re more powerful than any AA or AAA equipped unit, more portable, and you never need to buy batteries again. A set of Infini Lavas is only £36 with our discount (normally £44). They’re super bright for their size and can be quickly slipped into your pockets when heading into a pub, café, or simply leaving the bike in town. For those who need to see as opposed to merely being seen, the Inifini Super Lava has just been rebooted at a stunning 300 lumens for only £41.50! Ryan rides ones of these with a standard Lava at the rear and only has to recharge about once a fortnight. The Super Lava is also the perfect ‘get me home’ light if riding off-road in the woods and your main beam fails, making dark country lanes a thing of the past.
Finally the ultimate utilitarian lighting setup: dynamos. We love dynamos for many reasons. They’re bright, provide free power, are much harder to steal than their portable counterparts, and you can never forget them! Currently www.RyanBuildsWheels.co.uk is offering £10 off standard labour rate for all wheel sets that include a dynamo as well as offering 10% off all parts. Once your wheels are built we can happily set them up for you in shop for a small labour charge.
Just need lights on the cheap? Worry not. While we definitely advise investing in quality kit we’ve also ordered a good selection of battery powered lights in singles and sets that you can fit and forget starting at £7.20 for high powered Rear 3 LED safety light, or a pair for £13.50.
We’re always happy to answer your questions about any of the above, so pop in for a chat!