Grouptest - Mud Guards: Part 2
Mud guards aren't the best looking or most streamlined component that you put on your bike but during the winter you'd be mad to overlook putting on mudguards in some form. Mudguards are there to fulfill one goal and one goal only... to keep muck and dirty water out of your face, mouth and eyes so it's easier and altogether more comfortable to ride your bike.
We have taken some of the most popular mudguards in existence today from prestigious brands such as Crud with their 9th generation down tube mounted "Crud Catcher" right up to present day designs from Mucky Nutz with the fork mounted Bender Fender and rear moto style fenders from Topeak to give you a helping hand when it comes to choosing the number 1 solution when it comes to staying mud free and may even leave you with a tiny amount of style credibility when out on the trails, but no promises...
Missed part 1 earlier in the week? Check it out here!
Mucky Nutz Gut Fender
We have a prototype Mucky Nutz Gut Fender here on test which mounts on the downtube much like the original Crud Catcher but far more minimal and weighs a mere 30grams. It is attatched like all other Mucky Nutz products with Velcro strapping but could also be used with Zip ties if more security was required.
The Gut Fender did an amazing job of keeping the muck off my jacket and eyes the whole time throughout testing and I didn't ever have any issues with annoying vibrations during riding. When used in conjunction with a Bender Fender or Bender Fender XL the coverage offered by the 2 guards is unbeatable and I came home from one of the muddiest trail rides I have ever undertaken with a completely clean.
Awesome performance and great compatibility will make this an awesome mudguard when it finally hits the shelves!
Mucky Nuts Butt Fender
The Mucky Nutz Butt Fender is a rear defender from the innovative guys at Mucky Nutz that mounts on the rails of your saddle to keep your rear and back from getting muddy from rear wheel spray. It's essentially a piece of well cut Thermo plastic and nothing more that comes in at a bargain £7.50!
The Butt fender is incredibly simple to fit but it somewhat fiddly especially if you have big fingers. The guard needs pushing under your saddle and seating on the rails in the holes that are purpose cut for it but once you know what your doing it could be done in 10 seconds!
The Butt Fender is one of the only real rear mud guard solutions that we felt was trully compatible for a full sus bike as there are no issues with tyre clearance during the full travel of the wheel. With this guard on I did find I had a tendency to get my shorts caught on it while getting on and off the bike and when getting over the rear wheel. The Butt Fender performed reasonably well at stopping the muck and you certainly won't have to worry about it weighing your bike down.
Simple, lightweight and effective but not a good option hardcore riders who like to spend time over the rear wheel.
Powa Products Dfender
The Powa Products Dfender mud guard was designed by Fabien Barel his mechanic Paul Walton and Chris Porter from welsh suspension tuning wizards Mojo Suspension Hoodoo.
This mudguard was designed for the wettest riding Wales and the rest of the UK has to offer. The Dfender is however pretty practical when it comes to catching the wet stuff but it does come in at a whopping £60 price tag and is only available to fit fox forks and some selected Rock Shox models.
They proved to be quite a tight fit on our Rock Shox Boxxers but once it's in place its absolutely solid with no movement or vibration. Initially we weren't keen on the graphics but they have definitely grown us. In terms of performance this thing is absolutely amazing. First time out at a soaking wet Forest of Dean uplift and we stayed completely clean!
Incredible performance that will keep you clean even in the worst of conditions but limited compatibility on certain forks and questionable styling let it down.
Topeak Rear Defender mk.2
The Topeak rear Defender is a large rear fender type mudguard that features a quick release type buckle that mounts on the seat tube and can be adjusted to get the fender in the correct place over the wheel by adjusting the 2 allen key bolts. The guard features a flexible tail end to reduce the chance of breaking the fender when crashing.
The quick release buckle to fit the guard can be used in 2 positions to fit all sizes of seatpost from the monster bottom part of the Rock Shox Reverb on the Lapierre all the way down to the more standard sized post on the Ibis shown here. The 2 points of adjustment meant resonable compatibility with full suspension designs allowing you to get the guard exactly where you wanted it over the wheel while still working throughout the wheels complete travel.
Not exactly a looker but fitting and performance were reasonable. It's definitely quite a hefty lump of plastic to store and will weigh you down on the bike a little.
Here we have a pack of both front and rear mud guards on test from Cycraguard.
The pack consists of a front fender that is mounted on the downtube of your frame using rubber straps to loop over the tube and hold it in place. The rear Cycra guard is a large seatpost mounted fender that can be put in 3 different positions on the bracket to deal with different wheel sizes and to get the fender in the optimum position catch the most muck and keep it off your back.
I am suprised fitting the rear Cycraguard to an Ibis Mojo SL Special Blend wasn't featured on the 80's hit show, The Kypton factor. It was one of the most awkward and complicated fitting of any mudguard I have ever come across. The front however was a brilliant design that would be compatible with nearly every bike on the market.
Adjustment of the guard on the after it has been fitted is also extremely limited from the 1 extremely stiff pivot point near the seatpost. Once it was in place it did stop mud but I'm not entirely sure it was worth the hassle of installation !
A story of 2 halves... The front guard is great but the rear guard was the most awkward guard I have ever had the pleasure of using.
So the time has come to pick our favourite mudguard from the 12 we have had on test...
For us it's gotta be the awesome Mucky Nutz Bender Fender. It's near impossible to overlook the awesome performance and compatibility of the simple and lightweight plastic fender and it's even better when combined with the Gut Fender, a truly formidable combination! We won't ever be without one on most of our bikes throughout the winter!
An amicable mention must also go out to the neoguard which came in a close second!