Mudguards Buyers Guide

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Riding in the winter without mudguards is a recipe for turning up at your destination like you've been dragged through the proverbial hedge. However, mudguards aren't just about keeping your clothes clean - they also help to keep your feet and legs dry and warm, as well as protecting your bike's frame and components.

There are a few options to choose from when it comes to mudguards, and what's best for you depends on the amount of protection you're after, as well as what will fit your bike. The two things to keep an eye out for are clearance (the distance between your frame and wheels), and if your frame has eyelets. Eyelets mean you should be able to fit full-length mudguards (depending on clearance). If not, clip-on mudguards are what you'll have to go for.

Full-Length Mudguards

full length mudguards

Full-length mudguards are the holy grail, offering the best protection for you, your bike, and those cycling behind you. As their name suggests, they're long and cover a good proportion of your wheels in order to protect you from the majority of spray. Unfortunately they don't fit every bike, which is why this guide doesn't just end here.

Your front wheel kicks up a lot of spray which can soak your feet, leaving them cold and sapping you of energy and motivation. This is why some front full-length mudguards have a mud flap on the end, providing you with extra protection and helping to keep your feet dry. A mud flap on the rear mudguard will in turn protect anybody riding behind you.

Full-length mudguards also offer the best protection for your bike, helping to keep water, salt, and grime out of the components.

To fit a set of full-length mudguards your bike needs to have eyelets on both sides of the front fork and both sides of the rear dropouts, and some may require brake bridges too. Your frame also needs to have enough clearance under the brakes and behind the seat tube. Though a bit tricky to set up, once these are on they're sturdy and can handle many rides.

Clip-On Mudguards

clip on mudguards

If your bike won't take full-length mudguards, then clip-on mudguards are your next best bet. Easy to fit, clip-ons do the job without the hassle. They usually attach to your bike's frame with various clips and straps, or even rubber bands.

Since they're usually a lot shorter and don't wrap around as much of the wheels, they can't offer as much protection from spray, but they also weigh a lot less which makes them an attractive option for speedy road riders.

Even though they'll often fit bikes without eyelets, there will still be issues with certain road bikes thanks to their limited frame clearance, and bikes with disc brakes might not be able to use them.

Mountain Bike Mudguards

mountain bike mudguards

Don't let the name fool you - an MTB mudguard will in fact fit pretty much any bike. So they don't get clogged with mud they don't sit as close to the wheel as traditional mudguards, and they also mount differently due to the many different MTBs on the market (with suspension, without, 29er tyres etc.). The front mudguard attaches to the down tube, and the rear attaches to the seatpost. These mudguards are much easier to mount than the above two, and they can also be removed in seconds.

Again, they offer less protection than the full-length variety, but they'll still help to keep that spray at bay so you don't turn up to work with mud all up your back.

Other Options

ass saver

If none of these are the ones for you, then the aptly named Ass Saver may be just what you're looking for. This rear mudguard is incredibly simple, consisting of a pliable piece of plastic that fits under your saddle and clips onto the rails. It's not super effective, but for a light and cheap solution it'll literally save your behind.

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