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Mudguards

Mudguard Guide

Why use mudguards?

Mudguards protect you from getting wet and dirty in poor conditions. You don't want a soggy bottom – that'll ruin your ride. These lightweight cycling accessories are designed to stop spray and rain being kicked up by your wheels into your face and up your back. When off-roading you never know what by flicked up into your eyes and mouth that could make you ill.

Mudguards can also improve performance in poor conditions. A good front mudguard with plenty of coverage will stop your feet from getting soaked with spray. Wet feet and legs get cold and a fatigue quickly – making it harder for you to push your limits.

Mudguards can also protect your bike. Dirt and mud can cause problems with brake calipers, mechs and other areas of the frame. Mudguards (depending on the type you buy, and type of riding you do) will also make cleaning quicker and easier.


3 main mudguard types

Full length 

Commonly fitted to hybrid and touring bikes.

These mudguards are also ideal for commuting so you get to work clean and dry. The long rear mudguard also keeps the rider behind clean.

Pros

  • Best coverage for you and the rider behind
  • Keeps frame protected from getting soaked

Cons

  • Only compatible with bikes that have eyelets
  • Can be fiddly to attach
  • Won't fit bikes with limited clearance

Clip-on 

Commonly fitted to road bikes.

These are the mudguards of choice for road cyclists who don't have eyelets on their bike. Simple fastenings make fitting and removal super -fast.

Pros

  • Fit most road bikes (even with minimal clearance)
  • Easy to fit and remove


Cons

  • Offer less coverage than full length mudguards
  • Often come in one width so can be compatibility issues

MTB mudguards

Commonly fitted to mountain bikes.

These mudguards are designed to mount the downtube or fork crown and clamped to the seatpost. Ideal for any bike with suspension.

Pros

  • Fit to almost any bike (regardless of frame design)
  • Very quick to fit and remove
  • Good for wide tyres

Cons

  • Limited protection (you will still get wet, but much of the spray will be stopped)

Check your frame for eyelets

First you'll want to check to see if your bike can fit full length mudguards. Look to see if there are small threaded eyelets on the apex of the fork and where your rear wheel fits to the frame (dropouts). Most hybrid bikes have these eyelets while mountain bikes and road bikes don't.

If your bike does not have eyelets then you will want to use clip-on or MTB style mudguards.

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.

Check your brake clearance (full length mudguards)

On bikes with caliper or v-brakes you'll want to measure how much clearance you have. There should be a 20mm gap between the top of your tyre and the mudguard and about 5mm either side. Depending on the thickness of your tyre, your brake arms may have to extend 50mm or over to reach the braking rim.

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. You may need to upgrade your brakes to fit full length mudguards.

On bikes with caliper or v-brakes you'll want to measure how much clearance you have. There should be a 20mm gap between the top of your tyre and the mudguard and about 5mm either side. Depending on the thickness of your tyre, your brake arms may have to extend 50mm or over to reach the braking rim.

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. You may need to upgrade your brakes to fit full length mudguards.

Your bike has front suspension

You can't bolt a front mudguard onto the apex of a suspension fork like you can a rigid one. You need an MTB specific guard. Usually these mudguards mount to your downtube, or under the fork crown with simple rubber straps or cable ties.

You'll want to make sure the mudguard doesn't touch your wheel when the fork is fully compressed. No MTB specific mudguard will keep you mud free, but they will guard against the worst of the spray.

Your bike has rear suspension

If you have a full suspension MTB you're main concern isn't likely getting wet and muddy. Rear MTB mudguards are compact and mounted to the seatpost. They're designed to catch the worst of the spray from riding up your rear.

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 altogether. Compact mudguards won't get in the way when you're hanging off the back of the frame on technical terrain.

Summary

Mudguards are one of the most useful cycling accessories. They keep you and your frame clean and dry. To make sure you choose the best mudguard for your bike follow the tips above. Full length mudguards offer the best coverage, clip-on guards are great for roadies while mud catching MTB guards keep the worst off you.

See our full range of cycling mudguards