1 Mar 2016
MUDGUARDS: WHY USE THEM? AND HOW TO CHOOSE THEM
Mudguards might not be the sexiest accessory, but the truth is they bring huge advantages for very little weight or cost. They can actually boost your performance, simply by keeping you drier, warmer and more comfortable – you can ride and train longer and harder when you’re not soaking wet, frozen and miserable.
The benefits of mudguards are:
• They keep your feet drier and consequently warmer
• They stop you getting a brown streak up the back of your shorts and jersey…
• They make pack riding far nicer / possible
• They protect your brakes, mechs and lights from water and filth
• They add little weight for the benefits they bring
Riding alone or in a group, mudguards keep you dry and improve visibility
You’d be surprised how much of the soaking you get in winter is coming up from the wheels, especially the front. The spray can rapidly soak your feet, while mountain bikers – check out FSA’s MTB wheels – must contend with flying mud affecting their vision.
Different bike types have different needs, of course, and not every mudguard will fit your bike. These are your main options, starting of course with road bikes:
Full-length ‘traditional’ mudguards
They’re the most awkward to fit, but for road bikes once they’re on, they’re the toughest type and can take all kinds of action without needing readjustment. They also give the greatest protection, especially if they include a flexible mudflap at the end.
Can you fit them? First you must check your bike has the necessary eyelets on the frame and fork – if it’s designed with them, it’ll also have enough clearance behind the seat tube and beneath the brakes. The brakes may need to be long-reach to wrap around both a mudguard and a tire that’s 25mm or bigger. Such mounts are most common on touring and Audax bikes, but they are also starting to appear on more racier carbon frames.