Mudguards come in three main types – full length, clip-on and mountain bike style. Depending on your bike frame you may be able to fit some or all of these types.
Full length mudguards
These traditional looking mudguards are commonly fitted to hybrid and touring bikes. They're great for commuting too as they offer the most protection. The long rear mudguard also keeps the rider behind clean.
You will need a bike frame with eyelets – usually at the apex on the fork and where you rear wheel fits to the frame (at the dropouts). If your bike doesn't have eyelets (most mountain bikes and road bikes) you'll want can consider clip-on mudguards.
Clip-on mudguards are super easy to fit to your frame and offer a good amount of coverage for you and your frame. Simple fastenings make fitting and removal quick which is great if you want one set of mudguards for multiple bikes.
You can usually fit clip-on mudguards to road bikes with minimal clearance such as race bikes.
MTB style mudguards
Mostly fitted to mountain bikes, these mudguards are designed to mount to your downtube or fork crown and clamped to the seatpost. They're ideal for any bike with suspension and will fit to almost any frame design. Simple attachment means these guards are quick to fit and remove. These mudguards will offer limited protection compared to the other two types, but they will stop much of the spray.
Check your wheel size and tyre width
When buying a mudguard you'll have to choose one that will fit your wheel size and cover the width of your tyre.
You can find both these figures on the sidewall of your tyre. You will see a combination of digits such as 700x32 or 27.5x2.40. The first digit is your wheel diameter (size) and the second digit is tyre width. Road bikes are measured in millimeters while mountain bikes are measure in inches.
Check your brake clearance (full length mudguards)
There should be a 20mm gap between the top of your tyre and the mudguard and about 5mm either side. Most standard road caliper brakes offer up to around 40mm while deep drop (also known as long drop) brakes have arms over 55mm to allow room for mudguards.
Depending on the thickness of your tyre, your brake arms may have to extend 50mm or over to reach the braking rim.
What if my bike has suspension?
You can't bolt a mudguard onto the apex of a suspension fork like you can a rigid one. You'll want to make sure the mudguard doesn't touch your wheel when the fork is fully compressed.
If you have a full suspension MTB you're main concern isn't likely getting wet and muddy. If you run a dropper post you won't want the mudguard clamp getting in the way, so it's best to avoid having a mudguard.
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