Mudguards for bikes

Mudguards. Those things that the cyclists in front of you never seem to have when it’s raining.

If you’ve cycled for long enough you’ll no doubt be aware of all the gunk on the road that you always tell yourself you should one day clean off your bike. Fortunately, a good set of mudguards goes a good way towards keeping this mud, petrol residue and water off you and your bike. Which is good, because they really don’t do sensitive components of your bike any good.

All but the two full coverage mudguards below are available for between £5-£20. These cheaper mudguards will fit most bikes and don’t need holes and points on your bike. A quick check of your bike will tell you if it has enough clearance to squeeze mudguards in-between the frame and wheels.

*This is an update to the 2011 post to include a little more detail and up-to-date products*

Removable mudguards

These mudguards are intended to only be put on when it is raining and they only protect the rider. They are often only for the rear to prevent mud spraying up your back. They are cheap but need to be taken with you when you leave your bike if you want to stay in possession of them (As I found out the hard way…).

Some examples:

Ass-Savers Ass Saver

These little pieces of plastic stick under your saddle and stop the worst of the road splatter ending up on your rear end. They are cheap and can be wiped off and stuck in a bag when it stops raining. You can buy them in pretty much any bike shop and many of them have custom options.

 

 

PlumePlume mudguard

Not your standard removablemudguard, the Plume is fixed
onto your seatpost so not easily removable, but it does roll up and tuck out of the way when it is not raining. It installs by removing the seat post and therefore can be left on your bike fairly happily.

Mountain bike

These are a little more comprehensive than removable guards. They are primarily intended for mountain bikes so have adjustability to provide large clearances between the guard and tyre. They can work well in cities as well and come in front and rear versions as well as ones intended for narrower road tyres. However, again mainly protect the rider rather than those behind them. They are also fairly easy to remove and so could be stolen.

Some examples:Crud Racepac

Crud Racepac

Wide enough to cover larger city tyres or mountain bike tyres, these guards are good for bikes ridden on and off road. They are available in two sizes, one for 26″ and one for 29″ tyres.  are also light and cheap so great if you only want to use a mudguard when going off road or on the worst weather days.

 

 


Zefal Swan Road MudguardZwan mudguard
A rear guard much like the Racepac but narrower and more suited to thinner tyres and road bikes. These bikes often don’t have the clearance for a guard on the down tube behind the front wheel and so only a rear guard will be used anyway. This one from Zeal is easy to fit and adjust.

 

Clip on full mudguards

These clip onto the forks and the rear chain stays and are intended to fit bikes without mounting eyelets on the frame. They are primarily aimed at road bikes with thin tyres, but ones for wider tyres are available. They protect the rider front and back and provide a good amount of coverage from spray flicking up at riders behind as well.

Some examples:Lifeline clip on

Lifeline Narrow Road Clip-on

These are a great value option if you don’t have mounting points on your bike. They come in two different sizes for narrow or wider road tyres and provide decent protection for those traveling behind you as well. The front guard does not cover the front of the wheel, which is great for bikes with really minimal clearance between the tyre and the fork – particularly an issue if you have added fatter tyres to a road bike for comfort or traction.

 

Crud RoadRacerCrud RoadRacers mk II

These mudguards are great for road bikes
that have very tight clearances between the wheels and frame. They loop around the stays and everything is integrated so they are easy to put on and off. They provide great coverage so are excellent for group rides and commuting. They are also really light, so no excuses that you are trying to minimise weight as much as possible.

Full mudguards

Full mudguards cover about half the wheel and mount onto eyelets on the frame. They often have rubber flaps to further extend coverage but not limit manoeuvrability. Full mudguards fit quite close to the tyre and so need to be purchased in a size compatible with the tyres. The low clearances also mean they are not good if you want to go off road on muddy paths. They are however fairly secure and not easily removable so less likely to be stolen, which compensates for the often higher price of these units. If you have a dedicated city or touring bike though, these really are the best kinds of mudguards to get.

Some examples:SKS mudguards

SKS Mudguards 

Lightweight, durable plastic mudguards for bikes with eyelets on the frame. They are available in several widths to fit skinny tyres or wider hybrid/touring tyres. They offer full coverage and stop road slim flying up behind you. They also have a handy little reflector on the rear one.

 

PDW Full Metal Fenders

Full metal fendersThese are lovely, premium fenders made from aluminium and available in 2 widths. They mount onto the frame and you can get a disc brake adaptor if you need it, although it will fit without on some bikes.  They are very robust, look lovely and are some of the only mudguards available in metal – great if your bike has a certain aesthetic. A further upside is they can be drilled to mount a light on the back.

 

 

What mudguards do you use on your bike?

 

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26 Responses to Mudguards for bikes

  1. Gaz 23/11/2011 at 12:19 pm #

    I use the SKS Bluemels on my SS. A very good mudguard. I even added a rear mudflap for better protection. http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6044/6227563157_38e8a74808_b.jpg

    I’ve used the Crud Raceblades, good if your bike doesn’t have the fittings and has narrow tyres, a little bit flexible for my liking.

    I wish more people would use mudguards, or at least fit the MTB ones properly, i see far too many that cover their rear lights, rendering them useless as nobody can see them.

  2. Howard 23/11/2011 at 12:35 pm #

    SKS raceblades also need a mention for roadies and those commuting on the wrong bike (TM). Easier to get on and off than Cruds, but the protection isn’t quite as good and the front derailleur isn’t covered.

  3. bostonbybike 23/11/2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Don’t forget the unique inflatable mudguard by Topeak: http://www.topeak.com/products/Fenders/AirFender_a1
    No idea how effective they are.

    MTB mudguards have this one big flaw that they don’t really protect well. The rear one is usually too short so water will still be splashing on your back. But again, a MTB is usually not designed to carry any mudguards at all.

  4. Corin 23/11/2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Can I also mention that a road bike-style rear mudguard is more considerate towards following cyclists as it means they don’t get sprayed quite so badly in wet conditions!

  5. ian... 23/11/2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Re: proper full mudguards.

    These can be made to fit some bikes not designed for them by attaching with P-Clips…as as far as any meaningful protection goes…anything less just doesn’t compare.

    I’ve had full guards on all my bikes since getting sick of wearing all the mucky wetness from the road 3 yrs ago. A big plus is that they also protect everything else that they keep the water off ;>)

    On the last few pairs of SKS guards fitted, I’ve repositioned the forkcrown bracket to drop the guard down further to keep feet dryer still.

    • Vladimir 25/11/2011 at 1:45 pm #

      yeah, they sure can! P-clips are really quite useful! It’s surprising that almost nobody knows about this!

      • Andreas 28/05/2012 at 2:55 pm #

        Thanks for heads up on the P-clips – must admit I’d never heard of this! Love when I get useful comments like this one 🙂

    • Miles 01/04/2016 at 10:37 am #

      P clips saved the day when fitting full length to my Genesis a few years back.
      I recently fitted some Crud Roadracers but only managed the rear (the most important). The front was impossible to fit and later I found out all Focus Izalco people suffer the same way. Research your frame first!

  6. Tim 25/11/2011 at 11:19 am #

    I am told that a good pair of full mudgaurds puts off cycle thieves as they are so unfashionable as are racks and panniers. Needless to say I have all three, and I am happy to say never had a bike pinched in forty years cycling!

  7. Goonz 25/11/2011 at 12:11 pm #

    I have mudguards for my MTB but have removed them as I prefer aesthetics of my bike than practicality.

    A little bit of splash is nothing if it means my bike looks slick!

  8. Shreds 25/11/2011 at 12:50 pm #

    SKS and their fore runner ESGE chromoplastics are simply the only road guards worth considering. Used them for over 25 years amd thousands of miles and cannot fault them.

    Wish I had the patent on them!

  9. Shades 25/11/2011 at 2:44 pm #

    I just replaced my front SKS mudguard after 11 years. The only thing is the instructions are hopeless. The trick is to assemble them on the bike without the black end caps on. Move them around till they fit right and tighten the nuts on the struts. Mark a point on the struts beyond the nuts, allowing enough space for the end caps, and disassemble, remembering which side of the wheel each of the struts go. Cut the excess off the struts (a Dremel with a cutting tool worked well) and refit onto the bike with the end caps attached. My old mudguards had push-on end caps so it disn’t matter how much strut stuck out, but the new caps integrate with the retaining nuts, hence you need to leave them off until you get the fit right.

  10. Daniel 25/11/2011 at 3:40 pm #

    I resisted mudguards for a while but have just fitted stainless steel Gilles Berthoud mudguards – very impressed, no rattles or shakes and keep the running gear so much cleaner. (http://danmitch.tumblr.com/post/13219158928/fitting-gilles-berthoud-mudguards) Surprisingly I think they look good too.

  11. Phil 01/12/2011 at 3:00 pm #

    I’ve just put full mudguards on my mtb-commuter conversion, only to find them a bit short for my liking. Fortunately, I have a piece of black Correx from which to fashion a pair of mudflaps.

  12. john k 22/04/2012 at 3:23 pm #

    You guys should stock “Ass Savers” folding mudguards. Much cheaper, smaller and visually appealing than the full windsors above, and when not in use, tuck inside your saddle.

    I want 10% of your profits from this sensational idea!

    • Andreas 28/05/2012 at 2:52 pm #

      Can’t believe I missed the Ass Saver mudguard the first time round – thanks for the heads up!

  13. Emily 31/03/2016 at 4:39 pm #

    Hey All,
    You know the drill by now – this is an updated post to make sure that the links work and the products are still available. Just add your comments and advice for fellow London Cyclists below!
    Cheers!

  14. Toria 31/03/2016 at 6:47 pm #

    I have the PDW guards. They look great, and are relatively easy to fit.
    I ride a 48cm, and it’s not easy to find a guard for smaller frames with the toe overlap. The front is a wonderfully close fit to the wheel. The rear did rattle slightly until I got the clamp in the right place.

  15. Chris 01/04/2016 at 10:19 am #

    I’m going to vote down the Zefal Swan. Its great value, but because of its shape you can still get splashes on your back, and your feet get very wet while cycling.

    I wouldnt buy it again!

  16. John H 01/04/2016 at 10:24 am #

    Have just removed my Specialized Plug and Play from my Diverge.
    Being customised for this bike I really thought they would be the answer…..no such thing.
    They rattled all the while and despite ongoing inspection it never stopped.
    I read the reviews and despite many warnings I went ahead and bought/fitted them.
    They looked great and provided good “mudguarding” but the rattle was too much to take.
    Specialized as usual were no help, did not answer emails or provide any comfort whatsoever.
    I love my Diverge Smartweld, having replaced the Phenom saddle( a pain in the ass) for my Fi’zi;k its a wonderful bike.
    But Specialized Plug and Play Fenders best avoided, if you appreciate a silent ride.

  17. Simon B 14/04/2016 at 6:38 am #

    PDW highly recommended. Not least because there are the longest on the market meaning very little spray coming at you if you are following a bike fitted with these.

  18. Big D 21/04/2016 at 12:37 pm #

    I use SKS Velo 42 Urban mudguards on my Hybrid bike and they are great. I’ve tried a few different designs and still ended up with a muddy back or neck. What I discovered was that if I looked over my shoulder and I could see the tyre tread, then the water and mud would find me. The SKS Velo Urban rear mudguard has a lip on the end of it and passed the ‘looking over the shoulder’ test. I can’t see any part of the tyre tread and my back is as clean as a whistle. Here is a link for more information:
    https://www.sks-germany.com/en/products/velo-42-urban-2/

  19. Descalzo dave 25/04/2016 at 9:56 pm #

    Use the arse saver(we are in britain !)tho have been using it for months jammed in my crame !

  20. Big D 26/04/2016 at 1:32 pm #

    SKS in Germany are the manufacturers not the country you have to buy them in lol. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk.

  21. iamWill 27/04/2016 at 9:11 am #

    I use the Raleigh Elements mudguards, similar to the SKS mudguards, on my ORRO FE Street bike, fitted with 700x25c tyres!

  22. Loukas Lagoudis 14/06/2016 at 10:50 pm #

    Hi All,

    I need some help.

    Where I can buy a top cover rear wheel fender/mudguards similar to the share bikes( London Barclay’s bikes)

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