Mudguards aren't just about keeping your clothes clean and dry while cycling in the wet - the right set of guards will also help protect your bike's frame and components, meaning less cleaning and weather damage.
No matter what kind of bike you have, you'll almost certainly be able to find a mudguard which fits, but some bikes are more difficult to install mudguards to than others.
Luckily, there are now many innovative mudguard solutions so whether you have a full-suspension mountain bike or a race bike with close tyre clearance, there should still be something suitable.
A set of full mudguards is the best protection you can get for you and your bike.
These long fenders extend far enough to stop all the muck thrown up by your wheels. They also protect your bike very well because the rear guard extends down far enough behind the rear wheel to protect your frame and drivetrain from splatter.
Most full guards also have a rear mudflap. This stops mud flicking up and hitting the rider behind you, so they are good for groups rides. When properly attached, they are sturdy and rattle-free.
The disadvantages are they take a little longer to fit and they won't fit every bike. Usually to fit full mudguards, you need to check you have eyelets on either side of the front fork, and another pair of eyelets near the rear dropouts. You also normally need brake bridges on the fork and rear of the frame that you can screw the upper tabs to.
For bikes that are problematic when it comes to standard full mudguards, there are easy-to-fit clip-on mudguards.
These mudguards do not need the usual eyelets to attach to the frame. Instead, they use rubber bands, straps and clips to fit onto the rear stays and front fork of the bike.
Some of these guards are also very narrow and close-fitting, so they will sometimes fit close-clearance road bikes where normal guards will not fit.
Clip-on guards are sometimes not suitable for hybrids and road bikes with disc brakes. This is because the disc caliper mount on the fork and chainstay gets in the way of attaching the strap or clip mounting. Also, some clip-on guards have a top mounting that will only attach to a rim mount, which disc braked bikes will not have.
Mountain bike mudguards are a bit different to road and hybrid guards. They need to allow for much more room between the guard and tyre so they won't be clogged by mud.
Also, because of the complications of attaching fenders to suspension mountain bike forks and frames, they are mounted differently. This means that even if you don't have a mountain bike, if you have a different type of bike that you can't fit full or clip on mudguards to, for instance some disc-braked hybrids, you may be able to use mtb guards instead.
Front mountain bike mudguards are usually fitted by simply plugging into the bottom of the front fork crown with a bung. You can also get front guards that simply strap around the down tube, although they do not provide as much coverage.
Rear mtb guards usually just fit around the seatpost. They are extremely quick and easy to fit.