If you're looking for great protection from road spray from your rear wheel and don't have mudguard mounts (or much technical knowhow), the £8.99 Zefal Swan Road is a great option – for both permanent and temporary use.
Mudguards have always been a product I've been hesitant to attach to my bike. Not being the most practical person, I always feel an attempt to fit them properly – to the seatstays – will only ever result in annoying rubbing and/or mud clogging up what little wheel clearance I have. I'll never get it fitted cleanly and running smoothly, so I never bother.
That's now changed with the Zefal Swan. Because it only fits via a sturdy yet simple bracket to the seatpost, there's no faffing around with fiddly support struts, and it eliminates the issue of clearance altogether. The bracket fits by a screw-on mechanism, which when fully unscrewed releases and unclips from the seatpost for removal. It really is super simple – and coming from me that's quite a statement.
This is all well and good, but does it actually perform? Absolutely. I've ridden with the Swan attached throughout our very wet and windy Christmas, and it's done a brilliant job of keeping road muck away from my back. Adjusting the mudguard is as simple as loosening the bracket and twisting it side to side or sliding it up and down the seatpost, and the 45mm width compensates with a little extra coverage because, inevitably, it doesn't sit quite as tight as your 'traditional' mudguards.
Additional adjustment comes from an angle adjuster, which means you can ensure the Swan sits closely to your wheel. I had mine lowered to within 2cm of the tyre, which provided coverage aplenty in tandem with its well-considered length.
Another factor I was worried about was the potential for flapping, seeing as the Swan is fitted only by the seatpost bracket with no extra support. That worry was quickly dispelled – the mudguard remains remarkably static even when riding over rough roads and potholes, which means coverage is maintained. Occasionally, I found the bracket had loosened over the course of a few rides – but just checking it before you go out or once at a coffee stop or brief pause sorts this small downside out.
The Swan weighs in at 150g, which, frankly, I didn't notice. This means your bike's responsiveness is uncompromised, and makes it suitable for both summer use when the weather isn't so good as well as full time winter employment too.
Additional features? Just one: the bracket has a reflective circle integrated within the screw-cap. It means you get a little extra visibility from behind, although because the bracket never sits quite straight on the seatpost (by curious design), its appeal and effectiveness is slightly limited. That said, it's nice that it's there and makes the most of the design such as it is.
So, we have here a light, surprisingly sturdy, well-made and very effective rear mudguard that's easy to fit (and because of the extra clearance, easy to clean). At its rrp of £8.99, it's a real steal – and if you're not keen on fitting a full-length 'traditional' rear mudguard, it's a no-brainer.
A great value and great performing rear mudguard, pure and simple
road.cc test report
Make and model: Zefal Swan Road Rear mudguard
Size tested: Black, Wheel Dia: 700c / 28''
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Zefal says: "Rear mud-guard attaching to the seat post with the MDTURN system. Adaptable on all seat post. Its shape follow the wheel for an optimal protection. Mounting without tools thanks to MD-Turn system."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Blade width: 45 mm / 1.8"
- Material: Techno-polymer resin
- Mounting: On seat post / adjustable clamp all type of seat post - Ø 25 – 32 mm
- Weight: 150 g
- Wheels diameter compatibility: 700c / 28''
It's sturdy and isn't going to break anytime soon. The bracket loses its tension after a few rides – but you'd check your bike for general maintenance anyway, so why not that too? No problem.
Throughout the whole of Christmas, in rainy and muddy conditions, I totted up a grand total of three spots on my back. Fantastic performance.
I can't foresee any faults coming, so great marks here.
150g was hardly noticeable on my Allez – a bike I like to ride all year round.
£8.99? What's not to like about that?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly – almost flawlessly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy fitting, and great coverage.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It doesn't quite protect people following your wheel as much as a full mudguard. For me (and more so for them!), that's the only noticeable downside.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, 100%.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding