New outfit Squaretree offers superior (& weatherproof) wood mudguards

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

by nick_rearden   November 30, 2011  

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 user comments

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Innovation like this deserves reward, just wish I could afford.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [966 posts]
30th November 2011 - 9:30

0 Likes

Given the flat plane that is the front mudguard, wouldn't water just splash out sideways and cover your feet?

neildmoss's picture

posted by neildmoss [201 posts]
30th November 2011 - 9:39

1 Like

"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?

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [861 posts]
30th November 2011 - 10:06

1 Like

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

posted by worthydolt [14 posts]
30th November 2011 - 10:18

1 Like

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...

posted by step-hent [695 posts]
30th November 2011 - 11:55

1 Like

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

posted by Karbon Kev [681 posts]
30th November 2011 - 12:22

1 Like

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...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7444 posts]
30th November 2011 - 12:26

1 Like

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.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [861 posts]
30th November 2011 - 13:11

0 Likes

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.

posted by step-hent [695 posts]
30th November 2011 - 13:44

1 Like

step-hent wrote:
Road.cc - any chance of a test?

we'll see what we can do...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7444 posts]
30th November 2011 - 13:52

0 Likes

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:

Screen shot 2011-11-30 at 13.52.31.png Screen shot 2011-11-30 at 13.51.36.png

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
30th November 2011 - 14:03

1 Like

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

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4151 posts]
30th November 2011 - 14:21

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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.

posted by David Portland [89 posts]
30th November 2011 - 15:14

0 Likes

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...

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [412 posts]
30th November 2011 - 15:21

0 Likes

Lust!

cheers m'dears

2011 Rose Pro-SL 3000 Road
2006 Lemond Alpe d'Huez Broken
1997 Marin Sausaulito Urban bimbling/shopper
1980 Orbea project

daviddb's picture

posted by daviddb [123 posts]
30th November 2011 - 17:16

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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.

posted by Velo_Alex [65 posts]
30th November 2011 - 18:41

1 Like

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.

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

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
30th November 2011 - 22:23

1 Like

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@gmail.com

Stacey + Simon

posted by Stacey [1 posts]
30th November 2011 - 22:42

0 Likes

My inner chi wants to know what they weigh. Anyone?

posted by arowland [96 posts]
5th December 2011 - 11:17

2 Likes

we've got some winging their way here, so when they land your inner chi will be the first to know

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7444 posts]
5th December 2011 - 11:43

1 Like