Our guide to the best mudguards for winter riding
Unless you like getting an eye full of mud, then you’ll be wanting to take precautions to stop mud flinging up from the front wheel into your face this winter. A front mudguard is the best way, and there are loads on the market offering a range of protection.
Cast aside any worries that a mudguard doesn’t look good on your bike, we’re seeking improved performance in the winter here and keeping the mud out of your eyes will let you ride faster when the trail gets boggy. There are plenty of choices on the market, as this roundup of the six best mudguards shows.
The most famous of all mudguards, and one that has been around since the early days of the sport. It’s changed a lot over the years, but the basic concept remains the same - a piece of plastic zip tied to the down tube. They are easy to fit to just about any bike no matter how large the down tube is, and work well to prevent a reasonable amount of mud and spray from hitting your face. The window of protection is pretty narrow though, and very limited when turning the front wheel. Better than nothing however, and they look good on any bike.
[part title="RapidRacerProducts Neoguard"]
The Neoguard is a piece of neoprene that fixes between the crown and arch of the suspension fork. Surprisingly effective at preventing mud from being flung off the top of the wheel at higher speeds, which you then ride into. Combined with a Crud Catcher it’s a good setup. There is nothing to stop you using an old inner tube and a handful of zip ties to make your own though, but if you want a neater solution and can’t be arsed making your own, the RRP is a good option.
[part title="Mucky Nutz Bender Fender"]
Mucky Nutz Bender Fender
These became suddenly very popular a couple of years ago, and now it seems nearly every other trail rider rocks one. Again, like the RRP, you could make your own (some precise cutting up of an old water bottle) but the Bender Fender is so smartly finished and well priced that you’ll just look like a cheapskate if do make your own from an old milk bottle. It fixes via strips of Velcro to the fork legs and brace. In use it’s very similar to the RRP, and stops a lot of the water and mud from being flung of the top of the wheel at high speeds.
[part title="Rock Guardz Carbon Mudguard"]
Rock Guardz Carbon
Relatively new on the market is the Rock Guardz Carbon mudguard (featured on sister site Dirt earlier this year - read here). It’s entirely manufactured from carbon fibre so looks pretty bling on the bike, plus it’s light and extremely tough. It fixes to the fork in a similar fashion to the Bender Fender, using zip ties instead of Velcro. Once in place it’s very secure and although clearance is limited between the tyre, there’s enough space for mud and stones to pass through. The best thing about the medium version (three lengths are available) is because it wraps so much of the front wheel it keeps 99% of the mud from hitting your face. It’s more expensive than most of the other mudguards here, but does offer far more protection from mud. If you’re riding several times a week it’ll soon pay for itself.
[part title="Mudhugger "]
Like RockGuardz, Mudhugger is another new small British outfit with an interesting range of mudguards that look just the ticket for winter riding. They produce a front and rear mudguard available to fit different frames (there’s an Orange-specific version for example) and the plastic ‘guards fit to the frame using zip ties. The front mudguard has a short front flap and a long tail, while the rear mudguard wraps most of the top section of the rear wheel. Fitting mudguards to full suspension bikes has always been a problem, the typical solution has been seatpost mounted ‘guards. These are far more preferable, and because they sit so close to the tyre they are a lot more effective. A good option if you’re looking for complete front and rear mud protection.
£39.99 front + rear / £18 front / £23 rear
[part title="POWA Products DFender"]
POWA Products DFender
For the full motocross look, the mighty POWA Products DFender is the biggest mudguard here, and offers the most potential protection from the mud. It’s also the most expensive. It fits to the brace with fork model-specific clamps, and is currently available for Fox 32, 34, 36, 40 and RockShox forks. Impressive coverage but not so easy to fit to a fork, and impossible unless you have a Fox or RockShox.