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Art meets craft in handbuilt guards for those who care about design and style

Simon Muir, a furniture maker and cyclist from Edinburgh and partner Stacey Hunter who comes from a background in design & architecture have teamed up to make mudguards that are finely hewn enough to embarrass anything but the classiest bikes.

According to Muir, "The philosophy behind the design is to keep everything simple and our attention to detail is exceptional. We think honesty to materials and an eye for form and colour sets us apart from our competitors. The muddle of plastic and ill-fitted mudguards on many bikes makes for an ugly, confusing sight - we wanted to offer a well-designed alternative to cycle owners who care about detail and style."

At £142 plus £8 shipping anywhere in the UK, the new Woodguards from Squaretree are not likely to challenge SKS chromoplastics for sales but with builders like Donhoe and Feather asking customers to wait six months for £1,000 plus frames that are as much about art as craftsmanship, it seems only right to pay as much attention to the mudguards as any other carefully chosen component. And at least you'll know these have been made and married to the finest stainless steel fittings in Scotland.

The 'guards themselves are laminated from a combination of reclaimed weatherproofed timber with contrasting and durable Formica on the 'wet' side - the only comparable wooden guards that we can think of are the legendary Fast Boy Fenders - which are all wood and come in two flavours light or dark made from maple and cherry so maybe not quite as weather protected as the Woodguards. Standard width for the Woodguards is 40mm for 700C wheels with timber and colour choices as follows:

Timbers

  • Macassar Ebony
  • Cherry
  • Walnut
  • Beech
  • Sweet Chestnut
  • Rippled Ash

Formica colours

  • Baby Blue
  • French (Vivid) Green
  • Tricia (Apple) Green
  • Clementine Orange
  • Blaze Red
  • Lead Gray
  • Alpino Cream
  • Polar White
  • Martinique Aqua

Details: www.woodguards.co.uk

 

20 comments

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antonio [1126 posts] 4 years ago
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Innovation like this deserves reward, just wish I could afford.

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neildmoss [306 posts] 4 years ago
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Given the flat plane that is the front mudguard, wouldn't water just splash out sideways and cover your feet?

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joemmo [1164 posts] 4 years ago
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"we wanted to offer a well-designed alternative to cycle owners who care about detail and style" - as opposed to those who care about function, value for money and staying dry?

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worthydolt [13 posts] 4 years ago
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Dear hipsters,

"The muddle of plastic and ill-fitted mudguards" on my bike stop me getting a gritty stripe up my arse. That is all I require of them. They are not a statement of my inner chi nor a reflection of my aesthetic values in an angular world of brutal modernism.

kthxbai

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step-hent [723 posts] 4 years ago
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Hey guys, no reason why people can't care about form AND function... I've had some of the Curano C-Lite mudguards on one of my bikes and, whilst having a near-flat profile, water doesn't spray out and hit the feet any more than on my SKS guards or the alloy guards on my other bikes (and though the mudflap on the SKS guards makes them superior, there's no reason why you couldn't add a mudflap to these). Is there a reason why people who want a bike that works well can't also want it to look pretty too?

My only issue with these is the price - there are lovely looking wooden guards for about half that price, although they dont have the coloured formica strip on the inside. hmmm...

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 4 years ago
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Look nice but I doubt they are totally waterproof somehow, this is wood we're talking about after all.

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dave atkinson [6251 posts] 4 years ago
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my main issue with completely flat mudguards in the past has been that the front of the front mudguard bounces up and down and slaps on the tyre. it'll be interesting to see whether that's the case with these...

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joemmo [1164 posts] 4 years ago
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step-hent - of course we can but it's relatively easy to design something that looks beautiful but doesn't work particularly well for its intended purpose then post-justify it with twaddle. I'm sure they look fabulous on a white pedestal in a design boutique but somewhat less splendid when dripping with road slop.

Personally, I think a pair of SKS guards are a much better expression of form following function, appropriate use of materials and the principles of good industrial design.

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step-hent [723 posts] 4 years ago
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joemmo - I certainly don't disagree that it's easier to design a nice-looking but poor-functioning product than one that does both jobs. And that it's easy enough to try and flower it up with marketing BS. But since no-one posting claims to have tested them, it seems a shame to slate them just because they've tried to market them at those who want a more attractive product.

Road.cc - any chance of a test?

As for SKS - insofar as it is possible for a mudguard to be pretty, I wouldn't consider them high up the scale. There are some lovely alloy guards (Honjo and the various copies, for example) and I've had colour matched guards which look lovely on the bike, but the SKS design doesn't sit in the same league on the aesthetic front, for me. But I definitely agree that as a piece of industrial design focused on function, they're superb.

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dave atkinson [6251 posts] 4 years ago
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step-hent wrote:

Road.cc - any chance of a test?

we'll see what we can do...

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nick_rearden [436 posts] 4 years ago
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Jeez, I'm the biggest fan of SKS functionality and value but I don't only own one bike and one day I would like to own something like the Donhou piece of art that won Best In Show at Bespoked. Maybe it will have mudguards as beautiful as these Woodguards and, to be honest, I don't expect they will get used for anything as wet and muddy as the - SKS protected - 30 miles around the lanes I've just finished. Maybe it will never happen but does that make me a 'hipster' just for thinking about doing something so frivolous. Cheer up, some of you. Life and even cycling sometimes is grim enough without taking all the simple joy out of the things we're doing for fun. Now check out this practical and beautiful leather washer on the Bespoked Donhoe:

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Tony Farrelly [2869 posts] 4 years ago
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worthydolt wrote:

Dear hipsters,

"The muddle of plastic and ill-fitted mudguards" on my bike stop me getting a gritty stripe up my arse. That is all I require of them. They are not a statement of my inner chi nor a reflection of my aesthetic values in an angular world of brutal modernism.

kthxbai

I think the fella who makes these is a cyclocross rider actually… I haven't got any mudguards (well not on my bike) so they aren't an expression of my inner chi either* but if they are an expressionn of anyone'e inner chi I don't have a problem with that.

*the stripe up my back might be though

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David Portland [83 posts] 4 years ago
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Karbon Kev wrote:

Look nice but I doubt they are totally waterproof somehow, this is wood we're talking about after all.

I'm pretty sure that wood has been successfully used for things exposed to the elements before. Houses, boats, lock gates, that sort of stuff.

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andylul [410 posts] 4 years ago
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I was worried about putting the silver chomo-plastic 'guards back on my Ribble Audax, thinking they'd make it look crappy, but I glanced over at it from the sign in at the Evans RideIt on Sunday and it looked magnificent...

There were plenty of others with rattly race blades, zip-stripped compromises and full-on proper muck-catchers - I thought mine looked as good (or as bad) as all of them.

Once I'd completed the 80km round muddy back lanes of Sussex, it didn't look so good but then I didn't look like a negative of Pepe Le Pew, replete with gritty stripe and an evening of gusset scrubbing was avoided.

30 minutes with the Fenwicks and a hosepipe and all is gleaming again...

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daviddb [134 posts] 4 years ago
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Lust!

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Velo_Alex [73 posts] 4 years ago
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As I said to the Woodguards guys via Twitter "Congratulations, you've become the Rapha of mudguards!"

Not a criticism of them at all, I think the mudguards they have produced are beautiful. Is it sensible to make something like this to be, ultimately, covered in cack? That's down to the individual.

Just because they may not appeal to you for whatever reason is no justification to call anyone who may want them or *shock* actually buy them a hipster. There's nothing wrong with appreciating quality and beauty.

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WolfieSmith [1326 posts] 4 years ago
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I've never had a pair of mudguard fittings that EVER did the job - or trouble free mudguards on a road bike that had enough clearance for guards. Everyone I know uses a bespoke jiggery pokery of file this and cable tie that. I've had to take off the front guard this weekend as it just rubs whatever I do. I'm looking foward to the new SKS (end of Jan FFS! Like bringing out beachballs for Halloween.. ) which slide on to a thin blade mount as featured on this site in Sept.

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Stacey [1 post] 4 years ago
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Thanks to everyone who has commented on woodguards; it's fantastic to hear what people in the cycling community have to say about our product.

A pair of woodguards are winging their way to Nick at road.cc for a test run.

There are simply so many different takes on the mudguards -and questions that merit thoughtful answers- I hope we can take the liberty of directing readers to an interview with Brian at the well-respected http://www.thewashingmachinepost.net/

We discuss where the idea for wood mudguards came from (Portland), our thoughts on design (Dieter Rams' 10 Principles for Good Design), durability, weather-proofing and maintenance and additionally, the question of why mudguards were unfashionable for years but are now less so...

All further queries are more than welcome - people can contact us via http://squaretreecycle.tumblr.com/ and squaretreecycle [at] gmail.com

Stacey + Simon

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arowland [150 posts] 4 years ago
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My inner chi wants to know what they weigh. Anyone?

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dave atkinson [6251 posts] 4 years ago
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we've got some winging their way here, so when they land your inner chi will be the first to know