Do you want a carbon fibre road bike with mudguards? We’ve picked out 15 bikes that combine the performance of a carbon frameset with the practicality of mudguards.
The combination of carbon fibre frame and mudguard-compatibility makes for true year-round performance bikes that'll put a grin on your face whatever the weather
The advent of disc brakes has enabled designers to combine high-performance materials with mudguards; it's no longer necessary to try and squeeze guards under a rim brake caliper
There's a spectrum between bikes like the Cervelo Caledonia-5 — very much an endurance race bike — and out-and-out gravel bikes like the Vitus Substance CRS-2. In between you'll find versatile bikes like the Merida Scultura Endurance 7000-E
Check out our guide to disc-equipped aluminium bikes for a selection of cheaper rides that almost all take mudguards
Your choices used to be very limited, but that's changed in the last couple of years. A few years ago I wrote an article about mudguard-equipped carbon road bikes being The Next Big Thing. It didn't happen quite as quickly as I expected but there is now a lot more choice if you really want a carbon fibre road bike that will take mudguards. Some of the world's biggest bike brands — notably Giant and Trek — have something for you, as do many smaller companies.
Why might you want carbon fibre road bike that is compatible with mudguards? If you want the performance and weight benefits of carbon fibre for summer sportives, but don’t want to skimp on the practicality of mudguards for grinding through the winter weather, then you want a mudguard-equipped carbon road bike. Fit some mudguards for the winter, take them off for the summer.
One thing that's helped manufacturers get on board with mudguard-compatible road bikes is the rise of disc brakes. To squeeze a mudguard between a tyre and a standard rim brake is tricky. The fork legs have to be slightly longer, or the seatstay brake bridge a little higher, and the brake pads lower in the caliper. It's doable, but it means using up all the brake pad height adjustment. With disc brakes, it's easy to make room for mudguards and fatter tyres.
There's nothing to stop you fitting clip-on mudguards to a regular carbon road bike, but clearance can often be a problem, and they're never as secure or reliable as proper full-length mudguards. Most of these bikes have hidden eyelets that accept proper mudguards and don’t ruin the smooth lines when no 'guards are fitted.
The growth of adventure and gravel bikes is also having an impact because these bikes more than any other are really being designed for the demands of today’s cyclists. In many ways, adventure bikes are a modern update on the classic touring bike, with the benefits of bigger tyre clearance brought about by the disc brakes. These are bikes that are being pressed into service for weekend training bikes, sportive challenges, Audax, touring and even commuting.
If you want a carbon road bike that can take mudguards, here are 16 options for you. Few of these bikes are pictured with mudguards because they're an optional extra, but a set of mudguards is a relatively small cost and they're easy to fit. A good bike shop will do that for you at the point of purchase.
If you want a drop-handlebar bike that'll take mudguards, best bet is to start with a brand's gravel bike line. Bikes intended for versatility in riding usually offer you versatility in bum dryness too, and so it is with Cannondale's Topstone range, which feature mudguard mounts and a removable seatstay bridge.
In fairness to Cannondale, their Synapse endurance road platform also boasts tucked-away mudguard eyes so you can ward off the wet on a Synapse too. Carbon Synapses start at £2,300 for a Shimano 105-equipped bike.
If you can live without disc brakes, then the latest carbon-framed road bike from Boardman is an absolute steal with a Shimano 105 transmission and long-drop brakes leaving room for 25mm tyres with mudguards (and 28mm tyres without).
The 7000-E tops the new Scultura Endurance range from Merida, and is a more relaxed, less aggressive version of its Scultura race bike. It still offers plenty of performance and comfort, but it's more suited to those big rides – and, thanks to large tyre clearances and mudguard mounts, you can use it whatever the weather too.
The new Orro Terra C 105 Hydro is a stable carbon bike that's quick on the road, with the strength and confident handling required for heading on to gravel and other hard-packed trails with the appropriate tyres. Mudguard and rack mounts make this a versatile option that can cope with everything from commuting to adventure biking.
One of the most noticeable characteristics of the Orro Terra C 5800 Hydro is its stability, and that's apparent whether you're tackling uneven roads or negotiating busy traffic. I've been riding it a lot in both environments – for blasts out in the sticks and for commuting to the office – and it has a settled, confident feel with enough agility to handle more technical situations.
Ribble's Endurance SL Disc is a bike that we'd happily ride and race all year round. It handles well, remains composed over broken tarmac, climbs quickly, and can hold its speed on the flat too. The customisable spec makes this an easy bike to get right for your riding aims and budget.
If there's one development in road bikes over the last few years that's made mudguard compatibility easier for manufacturers it's disc brakes. Freed from the need to mount a brake just above the tyre, bike makers are able to provide space for both fatter tyres to better cope with the UK's crumbling road surfaces and mudguards. Bikes like the Ribble Endurance SL Disc are our prediction that carbon bikes with mudguards would be a Big Thing finally coming true.
Specialized characterises the Diverge as a gravel bike, but fit smoother, skinnier tyres than the stock rubber and it's an extremely capable road bike too. There's plenty of room for mudguards and if you want to switch between weekday Tarmac and weekend dirt, the latest version will take 700C wheels with 47mm tyres and 650B wheels with 52mm tyres.
The Diverge has never failed to impress. When he reviewed the 2017 Diverge Comp Carbon, Jo Burt loved it so much we thought he was going to marry it. David Arthur called the uber-expensive S-Works edition of the current iteration "one of the best adventure bikes I've ridden … a sophisticated ride with buckets of capability for going fast and tackling big journeys over varied and challenging terrain … a comfortable, long-distance cruising bike on the road, with fantastic poise and cornering ability".
If you're wondering where Specialized Roubaix endurance bike is, it doesn't have mounts for mudguards, an inexplicable omission.
The Monsal from Forme Bikes is one of the new breed of bikes designed to take on a multitude of riding on a variety of terrain. There is obviously the old 'Jack of all trades, master of none' risk, but the Monsal won't let you down, it's fun to ride pretty much everywhere and it excels away from the tarmac.
On the road, the Monsal has a sort of mild-mannered ride thanks to a high level of neutrality in the handling. That doesn't mean it's dull – far from it. You can still point this thing downhill and have a blast through the bends with its long wheelbase aiding stability.
The gravel and adventure trend is ripping through the cycling industry at a rapid rate, and even the most race-focused bike brands aren't immune to its appeal. Orbea has stepped into the ring with its Terra and produced a blisteringly fast and highly capable multi-terrain bike that is as fit for an adventure as it is for commuting and winter training with the addition of mudguards.
First and last impressions are: it's bloomin' fast! With a stiff and responsive carbon frameset, the Terra is one of the flightiest gravel and adventure bikes we've tested. The low weight and high stiffness help, giving it almost road race bike-like responses on the road, yet it's stable and controlled on rough and loose surfaces.
The Focus Paralane offers a fast and comfortable ride with a healthy dose of practicality and versatility. It's crammed with all the latest technology and a host of interesting details, but what really matters here is that they all come together to form a very cohesive package that provides near class-leading performance. It's not a gravel bike, but with space for up to 35mm tyres it can still handle a bit of the rough stuff.
On the road, the lightweight frame with its comfort-enhancing carbon layup and tube profiles, along with the skinny seatpost and 28mm tyres, provides a smooth ride that is up there with the best in this category. It isolates you from the worst road buzz but without completely detaching you from the road surface passing beneath the tyres. It's a really nice balance and rewards the cyclist that wants some involvement in the ride but without being shaken to pieces.
The Caledonia and Caledonia-5 replace the C3 and C5 in Cervelo's range and slot into a category Cervelo calls 'modern road' meaning that they're intended to tackle Tarmac, broken surfaces, potholes and dirt roads.
The Caledonias have full carbon fibre frames with space for up to 34mm tyres, and mounts for mudguards, though fitting guards knocks the tyre capbility back to 31mm. They're not cheap, though, with the base model Caledonia with Shimano 105 at £2,799 and the Caledonia-5 Dura-Ace Di2 running at £9,699.
The Genesis Datum bagged the road.cc Sportive Bike of the Year 2015/16 award. It’s a bike that straddles the fine line between an endurance bike and a gravel/adventure bike, with details that trace their way back to a cyclocross bike, particularly the tall fork with its huge tyre clearance. There’s space for properly wide tyres – 33mm will go in a treat – and even with proper full-length mudguards fitted there is space for 30mm tyres. If you want your cake and be able to eat it, this could be the one for you.
Now if you want a bike with disc brakes, massive tyre clearance and a carbon fibre frame, the gravel/adventure category is the place to look. GT’s Grade came along just as the style of bike was spreading from its birthplace in the US to the UK, and it’s a bike that is well suited to British roads and cyclists. And of course, the frame has mounts for mudguards and, depending on the exact choice of tyre, can be modified to suit your requirements, whether it’s weekend club training rides or the daily commuting.
Trek tucks away the mudguard mounts on its Domane endurance bikes so you hardly notice them, but they're waiting unobtrusively until you need them. The cheapest model in the range, the Domane SL4 above, has the signature IsoSpeed decoupler in the frame and, like all carbon fibre Domanes, disc brakes.
The latest version of Tifosi's do-everything Cavazzo now has space in the frame for 45mm tyres, or even fatter 650B rubber, and is available in a 'commuter' build with mudguards. It’s tapping into the gravel/adventure popularity and the promotional spiel talks about it being a “multi-terrain carbon adventure road bike”. The bike has discreet mudguard mounts, maintaining the clean lines when they’re not fitted.
The range includes probably the least expensive bike you can buy with Campagnolo's stellar Ekar 13-speed groupset, the Cavazzo Ekar, above, for £2,999.
British brand Whyte has a good handle on the demands of the British cyclist. The Wessex is a lightweight carbon fibre road bike, with disc brakes and eyelets for mudguards. And with Shimano’s hydraulic disc brakes, 25mm tyres and sub-9kg weight, it’s a bike that combines comfort, control and performance in one very smart package. Here’s a bike you could commute to work on during the week, and tackle a hilly sportive at the weekend. Whyte has designed its own mudguards which integrate seamlessly with the frame and fork and cost just £30.
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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.