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*
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…).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
These 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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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.