Mud, it’s an integral part of winter mountain biking. Unless you move to California for the winter (something that has passed our minds here at TWB), you really have to embrace it if you want to keep mountain biking through the winter in the UK.
While you can get away without a mudguard (and many do) we reckon fitting one is a good way to make riding muddy trails a lot more tolerable. Stopping mud – not to mention cow poo – getting in your eyes keeps your vision clear so you can see where you’re going, and that’s a pretty useful benefit, especially on fast, steep and technical trails. Plus it means you don’t get too many strange looks in the pub afterward. Well, not as many as you might usually get.
There are plenty of choices on the market, and here are eight of the best mudguards.
Crud Catcher £8.99
This is one of the most well-known mudguards in the mountain bike world. It’s simple, light and easy to fit, and reasonably well effective, though the coverage isn’t amazing because it doesn’t track the front wheel when turning. Still a good option and many swear by them, and better than no mudguard at all.
RapidRacerProducts NeoGuard from £7.49
The Neoguard is a really simply mudguard, basically a strip of neoprene stretched between the fork crown and arch. It’s pretty effective considering how simple it is, and is good at preventing mud from being flung off the top of the wheel at higher speeds, which you then ride into. 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 bother making your own, the RRP is a good option.
Mucky Nutz Face Fender from £8.99
This style of mudguard, a shaped piece of plastic that you zip tie to the fork arch, has become hugely popular in the past few years. The Mucky Nutz is easy to fit with four strips of Velcro passing through pre-cut holes. One benefit is the extremely low weight, handy if you’re a weight weenie (and who doesn’t worry about a few grams here and there). The company makes a range of mudguards, there are different sizes to suit different bikes, and this one can even double up as a rear mudguard, just attach to the rear stays. There is a ton of colours to choose from too, so you can match your bike.
Zefal Deflector Front Clip-On Mudguard £11.99
This mudguard provides really good mud protection because it fixes to the fork and follows the front wheel when you turn, so it’s always shielding you. It fixes to the bike with a bung that presses into the bottom of the fork (it’s worth checking compatibility) so it doesn’t require any zip ties. It’s pretty light and durable so a good option for winter mountain biking.
Topeak Defender XC1 and XC11 29er Mudguard Set £39.99
This Topeak Defender mudguard set is ideal if you want to fully kit your mountain bike up with front and rear mudguards for complete protection from the mud being sprayed up from both wheels. The front mudguard attaches to the fork legs, and the rear mudguard to the seatpost, so they’re very quick and easy to install.
Rock Guardz Mudguardz CG440 Evo2 mudguard £45.50 (medium)
Who doesn’t like a bit of carbon fibre? This might look like an extravagant solution, but it offers incredible protection from mud being sprayed up by the mudguard. In our testing this one kept virtually all the mud out of our face, meaning we didn’t get mud in our eyes and negating the need to wear any cycling glasses. It’s manufactured in the UK and easily attaches to the fork very securely with four zip ties, and it’s sturdy one in place. It’s incredibly bombproof too, we’ve been running on here at TWB for a couple of winters and it’s still going strong.
Mudhugger Standard Front & Rear Mudhugger Pack £39
If you want a front and rear mudguard set, the Mudhugger is a highly effective setup. There’s a range of mudguards to suit different types of bikes and the plastic mudguards attached to the frame and fork with 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 seat post mounted ‘guards. A good option if you’re looking for complete front and rear mud protection.
POWA Products DFender mudguard from £41
If you like to make motocross sounds when you’re riding your bike (how old are you?) then you must get the POWA DFender mudguard for the complete motocross appearance. This one mounts directly to the suspension fork brace so there are no fiddly zip ties or velcro straps to faff with, and that means it’s very secure. It also has the advantage of not scratching your expensive suspension forks. The protection provided on a muddy trail is superb, best in class stuff. Downsides? It’s only compatible with Fox and Rockshox suspension forks.