Commuter diaries - mudguards on conventional road bikes, functional yes, faff yes!

by Flo K   October 12, 2011  

I have been deliberating for a while now whether to take off my mudguards on the road bike? They have never really come off since last year (which says a lot about riding this summer), yes they are practical and useful for commuting but they do spoil the lines and are (in my opinion) a faff to fit and maintain on a conventional 700c road bike. I have just got back from a lunch time spin for an hour and while I appreciate not having a wet arse, they did rub on the entire ride especially when out of the saddle, so off they have come! So what next, waterproof clothing or just the acceptance that we live in a country with a prevailing westerly wind that brings inclement weather. I say, just get out and ride!

Flo K

23 user comments

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There are guards and guards. If you've wedged a set of conventional guards into a space they don't really fit then they will rub. A set of Crud Roadracer 2 will fit all but the tightest race frames. I presume we are talking the red number seen loitering provocatively by the K&A canal back in June?

Neil

Wooliferkins's picture

posted by Wooliferkins [49 posts]
12th October 2011 - 13:22

3 Likes

They do ruin the line of a nice road bike. Next time Aldi or Lidl get the cheap waterproof trousers in buy a pair and make them into shorts to avoid the wet Harris situation.

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
12th October 2011 - 14:48

9 Likes

No, they are good guards from a reputable brand. I have tried the CR gen 1 and didn't get on with them, will have to try gen 2.Thanks. Red bike by canal. Interesting?

posted by Flo K [178 posts]
12th October 2011 - 14:57

3 Likes

IME, SKS chromoplastics are fit & forget. I've not touched mine since I fitted them, on either the Long Haul Trucker (P50s, over 42c tyres) or SCR2.0 (P35s over 23c tyres).

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [423 posts]
13th October 2011 - 7:47

3 Likes

I've been using sks raceblades on a Giant Defy frame all year, the weather has so frequently been so bad I've not even bothered with any other bike, but it does mean I need to fit time in to do some maintenance on what was supposed to be my winter bike after using it all summer.

the_mikey's picture

posted by the_mikey [148 posts]
13th October 2011 - 8:44

4 Likes

I'd rather "ruin the line" of my bike than get a wet arse, sopping shoes and grit and mud everywhere. I can put up with rain much more agreeably than water and crap thrown up from the road. Anyway, it's a good excuse to own a winter bikes with clearance, guards and wider tyres as well as something sleeker for the better weather.

If there isn't enough clearance for proper SKS or Tortec guards then try the Crud Roadracers. The people I know who have used the Race blade type say they don't keep much of the spray off.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2057 posts]
13th October 2011 - 8:50

4 Likes

Mudguards are always a pain on road bikes as so many road bikes just don't allow for them.

I've just fitted mudguards to a new winter frame as my previous frame had too little clearance for guards that fitted under the brake arches. Still a bugger to fit and still using cable ties at the top fitting rather than the useless fittings provided.

I would suggest waiting until the end of January 2012 for the new SKS blades which slide on front and back of each wheel to a metal bracket that fits onto the brake bolt - showcased somewhere on this site.

Until I see a pair for real and attached I won't be sure but they do seem the perfect answer to easy fitting and removal at last.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1093 posts]
13th October 2011 - 8:54

3 Likes

If you want a wet arse and crud that turns to grinding paste all over your m/c as well as mess up your kit by all means forgo the guards. It is though good manners to have guards when in a bunch as it means that you are not kicking up a wall of water into the face of the cyclist behind. This happened to me the other week and it didn't take me long to push to the front as a result Big Grin

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1068 posts]
14th October 2011 - 17:02

5 Likes

You have to be making a short journey for mudguards to be worthwhile. If you aren't wearing waterproofs you will get everywhere else within a relatively short period of time.

Let's face it, if you are cycling regularly expect to get wet and plan for it. Mudguards haven't been part of that plan for me for well over 20 years.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [292 posts]
14th October 2011 - 19:06

3 Likes

Mudguards are for anorak wearers. Get wet, put your lycra in the washing machine and have a shower. No problem man.

Andy

posted by jazzdude [61 posts]
14th October 2011 - 23:54

4 Likes

It must be hard staying that cool, Andy. Erm, man.

Not so cool, though, surely, having a brown stripe going upwards out of your bumcrack.

Crud cards are crud as far as I'm concerned. My missus had a pair of crud2 guards for about 60 miles, then they got a twig up their rear end. They didn't like it up 'em at all, cracked up, went to pieces, about three peices as I remember. Had to throw them in a bin outside the cafe.

I've got some proper chromoplastic guards on my Bob Jackson winter bike with 25c Conti 4 season tyres, an excellent combo, seen me through three winters so far without problems. Guards prevent spraying everyone else in a group. Anyone without them when it's actually raining amongst my riding mates comes in for flak and is often ordered to stay at the back, shamed. But they are all over 40, which is inherently an uncool thing to be of course.

They don't spoil the lines of a winter bike, they look right there, plus you don't mind the extra weight on a winter bike as you would on your cool carbon beauty.

posted by bikeylikey [173 posts]
15th October 2011 - 9:18

2 Likes

I use SKS cromoplastic guards which are extremely reliable. They take time to fit, trimming the stays to length, equalising the clearance around the tyres. Once done, you can forget them unless you bend the stays by careless parking or crashing.
I finish by adding a club friendly flap on the rear guard (why do they not include one?)which stops and spray off the back tyre reaching the person behind. Its amazing how clean you can stay after a whole day in the rain when everyone has these.
The protection isn't just for the rider, it's amazing how much cleaner the bike stays, even more important when the roads are gritted. Headsets are very vulnerable without guards in winter. Move to disc brakes and bike stays even cleaner.
I must admit though in spring, its great to take them off, or better still break out the carbon racer!

tailwind10's picture

posted by tailwind10 [27 posts]
16th October 2011 - 21:03

3 Likes

posted by robbyrob2000 [5 posts]
17th October 2011 - 7:56

5 Likes

Back in the Carlisle CC.,(Fulham, London, around 200 years ago), I used just the rear mudguard (in the winter)to protect those behind me. Never bothered much, before or since, with the front 'guard, mainly because riding into a headwind, it acts as a sail slowing you down and inter-fering with the steering somewhat. Wet feet? you'll get that with or without the 'guards, I find.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [306 posts]
19th October 2011 - 1:33

3 Likes

@PhilRuss

I suggest that you try either Longboard or RaceBlade Long (as soon as they are released) from SKS. I used to think just like you do but since installing Longboards on my commuter I've totally changed my opinion on that. They are hardly-believably good and really do protect you from getting your feet wet. They do slow you down a bit but still it's much better than getting wet and freezing on a cold day (just think how much THAT would slow you down!).

Really, really give them a chance!

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [197 posts]
21st October 2011 - 19:33

3 Likes

So what next, waterproof clothing or just the acceptance that we live in a country with a prevailing westerly wind that brings inclement weather

the latter. Or, take up an indoor sport.

posted by andyp [1073 posts]
24th October 2011 - 9:25

7 Likes

I can't understand why some people think 'guards "spoil" the look of a bike any more than, say, gears, or brakes, or a saddle pack, or tyres on the rims.

A neatly fitted set of 'guards are unobtrusve and more than worth their (small) weight.
If you are in a group and only one other guy has them fitted, you will either have to "slow down" to his speed (not actually measurable) or he is getting fitter than you by riding a "heavier" bike than you, but at the same speed.

It's just laziness if riding alone, or selfishness if riding in a group.

Binky

posted by davebinks [129 posts]
25th October 2011 - 17:41

5 Likes

This blog talks a complete and utter load of pants. As Bike Snob quotes go "A bike with fenders/mudguards shows the bike is actually ridden in all conditions. Riding a fenderless bike in the city is like wearing a sleeveless t-shirt and fingerless glove combo. - it's a bad parody of toughness"
When you are riding a bike, you don't actually see the bike anymore. This is just fashion and vanity over common sense. Mudguards look ok - The blogger obviously cares more about what other people think (though nobody really cares).. Perhaps it is the case of "Loving the bike more than loving the ride"

posted by aloadofpants [15 posts]
26th October 2011 - 23:20

3 Likes

mikroos wrote:
@PhilRuss

I suggest that you try either Longboard or RaceBlade Long (as soon as they are released) from SKS. I used to think just like you do but since installing Longboards on my commuter I've totally changed my opinion on that. They are hardly-believably good and really do protect you from getting your feet wet. They do slow you down a bit but still it's much better than getting wet and freezing on a cold day (just think how much THAT would slow you down!).

Really, really give them a chance!


[[[[[[[[[ Okeydokey, I'll look into it, and thanks. But there's also the aesthetics...uncluttered wheels just look great!
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [306 posts]
29th October 2011 - 2:31

3 Likes

Love the 'laziness/vanity' comments. For some, this may be the case. For others, we just don't consider them necessary. Why put something on your bike which you don't consider to be useful? I mean, I ride in Lancashire all year round, but have yet to fit a huge umbrella to my bike. I'm going to get wet. And I really am not that bothered about it.

posted by andyp [1073 posts]
31st October 2011 - 14:38

3 Likes

If you are vain and/or lazy, this might be the best solution yet...

http://road.cc/content/news/44209-eurobike-faves-video-sks-raceguard-lon...

they're on test at the mo, stay tuned...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7504 posts]
31st October 2011 - 14:58

2 Likes

Nothing but Vanity, and nobody really cares - true that if it rains, you are going to get wet anyway - but riding in London, it's not the rain I am worried about.. nice gutter water mixed with some urine perhaps? Pass me the fenders please, discussion over

posted by aloadofpants [15 posts]
2nd November 2011 - 23:11

6 Likes

Even pro racers David Millar and Michael Barry both insist on full mudguards for their training bikes:

http://bicyclespecialties.blogspot.com/2009/12/bikes-cobbles-and-mudguar...

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2057 posts]
14th November 2011 - 11:29

4 Likes