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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best road bike mudguards 2023 — choose fenders that’ll keep you dry and comfortable on wet rides

Keep road spray off you and your bike whatever the weather with our pick of the best mudguards

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The best road bike mudguards (or ‘fenders’, for our friends across the Pond) make cycling a more pleasant experience in wet and changeable weather – and that’s much of the time in the UK – by preventing a lot of the spray created by your tyres from turning you into a soggy mess.


If you've never used mudguards, you’ll probably be surprised at how much difference they make. A lot of the water that covers you when you ride in the rain doesn’t come directly from the clouds, it’s thrown up from the road surface by your tyres, especially in lovely British drizzle.

Mudguards are key to keeping dry – or drier than you’d otherwise be – in typical British conditions. That’s especially true in winter when water tends to stay on the roads for longer. If you’re riding year-round, make sure you have some of the best bike lights to keep you safe too. 

Mudguards are also a vital courtesy on group rides. Sit directly behind a bike that’s not fitted with mudguards on a wet ride and you’ll soon realise just how much water tyres can spray up. A long rear mudguard, preferably with a flap, keeps spray out of the face of the rider behind you. Many clubs and riding groups demand mudguards over the winter.

Full-coverage bolt-on guards are the most effective option on any bike that can take them and that will be used all year round. If you want some of the best road bike mudguards and your bike lacks mudguard eyelets, there are lots of options from full-length guards designed to squeeze into the limited space to clip-ons that at least keep your bum drier.

We've split our top picks into four categories: full-length, clip-on, mountain bike/gravel-style and micro mudguards. Some of these do cross over, in that one of our full-length picks doesn't actually require eyelets and a lot of our clip-on selections do provide quite a lot of coverage, so be sure to check them all out before deciding what's right for you. 

Best road bike mudguards: our top picks

Full-length mudguards

Kinesis Fend-Off mudguards

Kinesis Fend Off mudguards

8
Best full-length road mudguards for stiffness
Buy now for £44 from Winstanleys Bikes
Look good
Work well
Quiet
Fairly pricey
No breakaway mounts on the front

'When you live in the UK, you gain an appreciation for a good set of mudguards,' says Kinesis of its Fend Off guards. And true to form, they are a good set of mudguards. Very good, in fact.

Most of your road bike mudguard options out there are plastic, or plastic with a metal core. These Fend Off mudguards are anodised aluminium, and as such they're considerably stiffer than most. Kinesis has only used a single stay on the front, and that's plenty to keep the guard firmly in place. At the back there are two stays and a bridge mount, but again the guard is stiff enough that you could dispense with the bridge mount if, for example, you have a frame with no seatstay bridge. With it in place, the guard is very rigid and quiet.

SKS Chromoplastic

SKS Chromoplastics Mudguard Set 65mm 28

9
Best road mudguards for keeping you dry
Buy now for £32 from Merlin Cycles
Great quality and well thought out
Super-wide size provides excellent protection
5-year warranty
Fitting takes care and time
I'd have liked more reflective details

The SKS Chromoplastic mudguards are one of the best-known, and very highly regarded full-length options. They’re made by sandwiching aluminium strips inside a plastic housing. The resulting profile is quite deep which makes it stiff and sturdy. Stainless steel stays fix them in place and the Secu-Clips on the front means they pop out of the mount if something gets caught between the mudguard and tyre, rather than locking the wheel and putting you on your face. You get a generous mudflap on the front mudguard and a reflector on the rear. They’re available in several sizes to fit tyres from 20 to 45mm.

M:Part Primoplastics

M:Part Primoplastics mudguards

8
The best full-length road mudguards for fit and adjustment
Buy now for £32.89 from Tweeks Cycles
Simple to fit
Easy to adjust
Rattle-free performance

M:Part Primoplastics mudguards are a hassle-free solution to keeping your backside dry and your bike clean. With easy fittings and high levels of stability they make a great choice against others on the market.

At first glance, the Primoplastics look pretty similar to what could arguably be called the market leaders, SKS Chromoplastics, but we found the M:Part guards just a little better, in just about every way.

PDW Full Metal Fenders

PDW Full Metal Fenders

7
Best full-length mudguards with their own fit system
Buy now for £99.99 from Condor Cycles
High-quality metal construction
Fit to race frames
Not cheap

The PDW Full Metal Guards are full-length mudguards that come with their own fitting kit that bypasses the need for mudguard eyelets by using tabs that attach to your bike's quick-release skewers. They're not cheap, but they are very effective, and ours proved very durable too.

Clip-on mudguards

SKS Veloflexx

SKS Veloflexx Mudguard Set

8
Best clip-on mudguards for versatility
Buy now for £28.99 from Rutland Cycles
Solid construction
Quick fitting/removal
Adjustability
Parts availability
5-year warranty
Disc brake bikes only

The SKS Veloflexx Mudguard Set is a strong, silent way to stay muck-free on a modern bike. Designed for disc-brake frames with suspension forks, they can even be adapted to gravel bike needs with a bit of fettling.

At 65mm in width – that's 2.6in in old money – these cover everything from gravel or cross-country tyres up to pretty hefty trail bike rubber. They're aimed at hybrid and mountain bikes, but prove good at more than that.

SKS Speedrocker

SKS Speedrocker mudguard set

8
Best mudguards for protection for fat-tyred road and gravel bikes
Buy now for £41 from Merlin Cycles
Easy to fit
Room for really fat tyres
Free from rubs and rattles
Riders following you will wish the rear guard was a bit longer

The SKS Speedrocker mudguards are easy to fit, provide room for really fat tyres and are free from rubs and rattles. Their only significant fault is that riders following you will wish the rear guard was a bit longer.

SKS has done a bang-up job of the Speedrockers. They'll fit around tyres up to about 38mm, as long your frame has room for them. The front comes in two pieces to avoid the perennial problem of squeezing a guard under the fork crown and the rear has a sliding component to fit against the seat tube.

The front guard is long enough to keep your feet dry, though it's not as ground-tickling as SKS's Longboard guard, and the rear does a decent job of keeping the wet off your bum. However, it only extends around the tyre to about the 10 o'clock position, so spray off the lower segment of the wheel is thrown up at anyone following your wheel.

Flinger Race Pro Clip

Flinger Race Pro Clip Mudguards

9
Best clip-on mudguards for all-round performance
Buy now for £46.99 from High On Bikes
Easy and quick to fit
Adjustable stays
Good coverage
Would benefit from extra length at the back and storm flaps
32mm tyre coverage looks tight

We're big fans of Flinger, with our reviewer Liam applauding the "near-perfect performance from an easy-to-use clip-on mudguard at a sensible price".

All Race Pro guards accept a maximum tyre size of 32mm. If you want to commute on your regular road bike while still protecting yourself from spray then these are a great shout. They're super quick and easy to install and stay secure once they're on, with the stays fitting to the frame via a rubber band that can be cut to length.

SKS Raceblade Pro

SKS Raceblade Pro/Pro XL

9
Best temporary mudguards for solid mounting
Buy now for £36.99 from Tredz
Keep you clean and dry
Hugely adjustable
Solid mounting

The SKS Raceblade Pro sets a new benchmark for temporary mudguards. Infinite adjustability and solid mounting make for an excellent package. There are now two models of Raceblade: the Pro and Pro XL. The Pro (355g) is shorter and has skinnier tyre clearance than the Pro XL (365g), which once fitted comes pretty close to replicating the coverage of a fixed mudguard.

Over a month or so of short, long, dry and soaking wet rides on old steel and new carbon bikes, both the Pro and Pro XL worked flawlessly. They hang on tenaciously, don't move of their own accord, and are easily adjusted back into place if knocked.

SKS Raceblade Long

SKS Raceblade Long Mudguard Set

8
The best clip-on mudguards for overall performance
Buy now for £39.95 from Fawkes Cycles
Act like regular full-length mudguards
Mounts can be left on your bike permanently
Lacks disc brake mounting options

The SKS Raceblade Long mudguards clip into mounts at the brakes and hubs that can be permanently left on your bike. Once they're on, they act like regular, full-length guards.

The Raceblade Long Mk IIs reward a healthy willingness to fettle, especially on modern disc-braked bikes. The ability to bend and cut the stays to required lengths and adjust their position on the mudguard (or even remove one stay completely) means, with a good eye, they will go onto pretty much any bike. We've even managed to fit them to a bike with very tight clearance under the rear brake bridge by simply fitting the clips upside-down so they go over the top of the brake.

Once they are on and adjusted, they work very well indeed. The strong multiple stays hold the guards firmly without any rubbing, and should they get severely knocked, a bit of bending/use of a 2mm Allen key gets things back in shape.

Crud Roadracer Mk3

Crud Roadracer Mk3 mudguards

8
The best clip-on mudguard for length
Buy now for £28 from Merlin Cycles
Quick and simple to fit
Not completely rub-free

As long as you've got 4mm between the top of your tyre and the inside of your rim brake calliper, the Roadracers will slide in. The Mk3 version is the longest of any clip-on mudguard, almost as long as full-length mudguards, and has a front mech protector too.

You don't need mudguard eyelets. Roadracers attach to the frame with what looks like industrial-strength Velcro. That makes the Roadracers incredibly light at just 262g for the pair.

The weight is saved because Roadracers do not use the four metal stays used on conventional mudguards to keep the guards from touching the wheel or tyre. Instead, the Roadracers have plastic stays that support them from the centre.

Fitting these is remarkably easy; it's possible to get a good setup in just 15 minutes. The all-plastic construction means Roadracers are more fragile than chromoplastic guards, an issue for some riders.

Mountain bike/gravel-style mudguards

Mudhugger Rear Gravel Hugger

Mudhugger Rear Gravel Hugger

9
Best clip-on mudguard for gravel
Buy now for £18.99 from Pro Bike Kit
Secure
Easy to fit
Effective
Slightly shonky looks
Heli-tape necessary to save paintwork

The Mudhugger Rear Gravel Hugger is adapted from the successful mountain bike version and adjusted for gravel bike sizing. Designed for those gritty winter rides, it is a sturdy performer as long as you can tolerate the looks.

The Gravel Hugger secures with the supplied cable ties, and the handy fitting video on Mudhugger's website is clear and easy to follow. The Gravel Hugger is designed to fit most seat stays (with angles approx 40-55 degrees) and tyres up to 50mm wide.

Zefal Swan Road Rear mudguard

Zefal Swan Road Rear mudguard

9
Best mountain bike-style mudguard for the road
Buy now for £6.25 from Merlin Cycles
Great value
Impressive performance

If you're looking for great protection from road spray from your rear wheel and don't have mudguard mounts (or much technical know-how), the Zefal Swan Road is a great option – for both permanent and temporary use.

It fits via a sturdy yet simple bracket to the seatpost, so 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.

Micro mudguards

Zefal Shield S10

Zefal Shield S10

8
The best micro mudguard for simplicity
Buy now for £6.5 from Merlin Cycles
Simple to fit
Effective
Sturdy

The Zefal Shield S10 is a minimalist rear mudguard that offers a decent amount of coverage to the rider and has a sturdy fixing system. For a cheap and cheerful fix, what's not to like?

For starters, it literally takes a few seconds to fit. The clamping area is grooved to accept most standard saddle rails and you just clip the mudguard on. For added security the Zefal comes with a Velcro strap, just to make sure that everything stays in place. Once fitted, we got no movement from it even when riding on gravel tracks and rough byways.

Ass Savers Win Wing

Ass Savers Win Wing

9
Best micro mudguard for keeping you dry
Buy now for £22.2 from Ass Savers
Stops that wet bum feeling
Easy to fit
No help for anyone following you
Needs careful positioning

Simple but effective, the Ass Savers Win Wing keeps your bum dry by harnessing the power of physics to make a light and minimal rear mudguard that nevertheless works well.

Sitting really close to your tyre, the Ass Savers Win Wing is in exactly the right position to catch water that's thrown off the tread at a tangent. 

It Just Works and in terms of what it's like to use there's not much more to say, except that it's also stable and rattle-free.

How to choose from the best road bike mudguards

faq-icon
What do mudguards do?

Mudguards stop water and dirt from your tyres spraying upwards over you, your bike, and anyone riding behind.

You’ll be surprised at how much difference they make. Unless it’s raining hard, most of the wetness you feel when riding without mudguards is likely to have come from the road and your tyres. Mudguards keep you drier and more comfortable.

Think mudguards aren't cool and that they'll spoil the lines of your bike? Think again. Even professional cyclists fit mudguards to their training bikes through the winter.

Mudguards can even offer a performance advantage. Yes, really. By keeping you dry and comfortable, they allow you to train more effectively than if you’re wet and cold. By keeping as much of the water off your body as you can, you're going to be able to ride for longer, and faster, when the roads are wet.

For commuting, mudguards are a no-brainer. If you want to cycle to work through the winter, mudguards go a long way to ensuring you stay reasonably dry. If you have to carry a rucksack a rear mudguard will stop it getting covered in dirt, and then leaving a trail of dirt through your workplace.

You might think mudguards look daft on your carbon race bike, but that’s better than a brown line up the back of your jacket and sodden shoes from the front wheel spray.

We sometimes hear people say that road bike mudguards ruin the clean lines of their pride and joy, but if it's the difference between being dry or absolutely soaked and covered in road muck from head to toe, then we'll happily use them. We're more interested in keeping dry so we can keep cycling when the weather isn’t good.

If you're riding in a group, those following your wheel will appreciate your mudguards. Many clubs and riding groups demand mudguards over the winter.

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What the the different types of mudguards

Mudguards fall roughly into three types:

  • Traditional full-length mudguards commonly fitted to touring bikes
  • Clip-on plastic guards that will attach to most road bikes
  • Mountain bike-style mudguards that attach to the down tube and seatpost

This choice means there are mudguards to fit just about every type of bike, from a carbon race bike to a flat bar commuter.

We’ll go through each of these different mudguard types below

faq-icon
What are the advantages of full-length mudguards?

Full-length mudguards are commonly referred to as traditional mudguards, because they’ve been around for many, many years. They are most often a permanent fixture on touring bikes. Due to their length and sides, they cover a large percentage of both wheels and provide the best protection from spray generated by the wheels.

Some full-length mudguards are longer than others. Some have a large rubber flap on the end of the front mudguard. The longer front mudguards really help to stop your feet from getting soaked through. There's a surprising amount of spray kicked up by the front wheel and your feet are right in the firing line. The longer the front mudguard, the more chance of your feet staying dry. Having a long rear mudguard will keep spray from hitting the person following behind you when you're riding in a group too.

The other advantage of these mudguards is that they offer the most protection to the bicycle. They keep all the water and mud away from the rim brake callipers (if your bike has them), which really don't like being dowsed in gritty water, and it's the same for the front derailleur. They also keep water away from a saddle bag and rear light that you might have attached to the saddle/seatpost, so that's another plus for mudguards.

Full-length mudguards are very sturdy. They mount to your frame at the brake callipers, eyelets at the dropouts, and to the chainstay bridge behind the bottom bracket. They can take a bit of time to set up, but once in place they will survive a lot of abuse.

In order to fit full-length mudguards you need a frame with enough clearance under the brakes (if your bike has rim brakes rather than disc brakes) and behind the seat tube. That means the chainstays are a bit longer, lengthening the wheelbase.

If your bike has rim brakes, you’ll usually need long-reach brake callipers, especially if you want to use mudguards with tyres that are 25mm or larger.

The fact that full-length mudguards can only be fitted to frames with the necessary mounts and clearance does limit them, but there are plenty of bikes designed to accept them. Most common are those that fall into the touring/Audax category, with a variety of frame materials including the most common: steel, titanium and alloy. It’s also possible to buy a carbon fibre frame with the necessary eyelets and clearance for these mudguards.

> Check out 11 of the best mudguard-compatible carbon fibre road bikes 

Not everyone wants, or has space/money for a second bike built specifically to take mudguards. Luckily, bicycle designers have cottoned on to this and many regular road bikes come with concealed mudguard mounts. Without mudguards a bike like this looks like any regular road racing bike, but look close enough and you'll find mounts that allow it to be a mudguard-equipped winter bike.

The Canyon Inflite, Grizl and Grail also have unique mudguard mounts and Canyon have designed their own mudguards, made by SKS, to be compatible with these mounts, so there's plenty of choice if you look around.

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Who should buy clip-on mudguards?

If your road bike doesn't have mudguard mounts, there are still a lot of mudguards options available to you.

Clip-on mudguards don’t require the frame to have eyelets or long-reach brake callipers, or extra clearance. Instead, they attach to the frame using simple fastenings like rubber bands, Velcro or zip ties. This gives far more versatility than full-length mudguards as you aren’t hindered by bike choice, and it means you can keep riding your favourite road bike through the winter if you want to.

Clip-on mudguards usually don’t wrap as much of the wheel as full-length mudguards, nor have the sides or front rubber flap. This means they don’t keep as much rain and spray off your body or bike. However, they do keep most of the water off and can make a huge difference on wet roads. They can easily be removed and stored in the garage during the summer.

Clip-on mudguards are also much lighter than full-length mudguards, and some people might just want to fit a rear mudguard for those winter club runs where you're forced to spend the whole ride at the back if you turn up without mudguards. No one wants a face full of water and mud from following someone without mudguards.

Fitting clip-on mudguards can be fraught with compatibility issues, which usually focus around the limited clearance on regular road bikes. It's worth having a read of our reviews first, and checking with the manufacturer to see which bikes they're compatible with.

faq-icon
What are mountain bike-style mudguards?

Mountain bike-style mudguards will fit almost any bike, and offer loads of clearance regardless of frame design. On the flip side, they offer less protection than other types of mudguard. Your feet will still get wet, your bike gets no protection, and they don't shield the rider behind you.

Mountain bikes, because of the huge variety of design thanks to factors like suspension and huge tyres, need a mudguard fitted very high above the wheel. The solution is a rear mudguard that clips onto the seatpost so the height above the wheel can be adjusted, and a front mudguard that's attached to the down tube.

These mudguards are useful for commuting bikes, especially where clearance might be an issue because of frame design and/or wide tyres. The simplicity of fitting makes them attractive, and they can be whipped off in a minute too. While these mudguards don't provide 100% protection compared to full-length options, they do keep a surprisingly large amount of spray off.

The seatpost-style mudguard is one favoured by quite a few professional riders, but they’re more for keeping your own back dry than worrying about the rider behind you.

Similarly, a mudguard attached to the down tube also offers the same simplicity of fitment. Protection from front wheel spray is limited to riding in a straight line through; the mudguard obviously doesn’t track the front wheel through turns.

faq-icon
What are micro mudguards?

In the last few years we've seen the advent of a new type of minimalist guard that we're calling micro mudguards. These fit in seconds, offer protection from the worst of the elements when you need it, and when you don't you just whip them off and stow them, usually under the saddle.

These are ideal for those people who either live somewhere it doesn't rain a lot but who don't want to get caught out when it does, or for those who don't ride that often in the rain, but likewise don't want to get caught out when it does.

faq-icon
How do I know what size mudguards I need?

The best mudguards for your bike will depend on your wheel size and tyre size.

The tyre size is usually written on the side of the tyre. It might say 700C x 28mm, for example, or  650B x 47mm.

The first number refers to the wheel diameter (although 700C doesn’t mean that the wheel has a diameter of 700mm) while the second number refers to the tyre width. Many tyre widths are given in inches.

You want a mudguard that’s designed to fit your wheel size and that’s wider than your tyre – to be effective and to avoid rubbing. Most brand give a maximum tyre width for each mudguard in their range. Check on their website for compatibility.

For example, SKS says that its Bluemels Style 28in 56 Set is compatible with wheel sizes 27.5in (650B), 28in and 29in wheels, with tyres from 32mm up to 47mm. 

If in doubt, ask the retailer before you buy your mudguards.

faq-icon
What if you want full length mudguards but your bike doesn't have eyelets?

Don't worry: no front and rear mudguard eyelets does not mean you have to forego full-length mudguards. There are a number of attachments available to help you attach mudguards to your bike, eyelets or not.

The best known is the P-Clip, basically a small clamp/bracket that fits to the bike's frame and fork legs to allow you to then fit the mudguards. P-Clips are readily available and come in a variety of widths and materials and at a variety of prices, topping out around the £4.50 mark for some Tortec P-Clips.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Add new comment

9 comments

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 3022 posts | 6 months ago
1 like

Mudguards can significantly reduce spray thrown up onto the rider, but unless they pretty much go down to the ground they are of very limited benefit to following riders. It seems that the tyre pattern is far more important in that regard, some tyres certainly seem more prone to picking up water and flinginging it upwards rather than sideways.

Avatar
Xenophon2 | 427 posts | 6 months ago
1 like

I gave the ass-savers win wing a try though I was very sceptical.  To my surprise, the contraption works just fine.  Very minimalist, stays in place perfectly, doesn't require cutting metal and easily removeable.  Won't do anything for the guy riding behind you though.  They have a front wheel solution as well but on that one I'm a bit less enthusiastic.  

On  a commuter or when riding in a group they're pretty much indispensable, though I don't like the esthetics.

Avatar
marmotte27 | 572 posts | 6 months ago
1 like

No Honjos, no Gilles Berthoud?

Avatar
quiff replied to marmotte27 | 1420 posts | 6 months ago
1 like

In the same vein, Velo Orange

Avatar
BALE® | 4 posts | 6 months ago
1 like

Honjo (SimWorks / Rene Herse) mudguards? Quality.

Avatar
bob smyuncle | 20 posts | 6 months ago
2 likes

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose fenders.

Avatar
ChuckSneed | 213 posts | 6 months ago
0 likes

Only one person in my club doesn't use mudguards, nobody wants to be behind him. Don't be that guy

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 3195 posts | 6 months ago
0 likes

Lifeline (wiggle) mud guards are worth a look.  Far less fiddly than SKS IMO.

Plus anyone fitting more than 1 set of metal stayed mudgaurds should invest in a pair of bolt croppers - takes the pain out of cutting the rods.

Avatar
quiff replied to Secret_squirrel | 1420 posts | 6 months ago
4 likes

And a pair of safety glasses - takes the pain out of the shrapnel