Some people don’t like the look of mudguards on a sleek road bike but there’s no doubting the practical benefits. Here are six reasons why you should consider fitting them this winter.
The most obvious reason for fitting mudguards is that they’ll keep gunk and water from flying up and getting all over you, keeping you drier, warmer and more comfortable than you’d otherwise be. If you’ve not used them before you’ll be surprised at just how much of a difference mudguards make across a wide variety of different riding conditions.
No, really. Cycling is more of a challenge when you’re wet and cold. By helping you stay dry, mudguards allow you to focus on training, if that’s what you have in mind. You’ll also be likely to stay out on the bike longer if you’re comfortable, rather than cutting things short and heading home because you’re not enjoying it.
In many clubs mudguards are compulsory for wet weather riding because they stop spray being slung up from your tyres and soaking the rider behind. Even if you’re not in a club, anyone you ride with will appreciate you using long mudguards when there’s water on the road.
Okay, nothing's going to keep your bike completely dry when you’re riding in the rain, but mudguards will cut the amount of dirty water that gets chucked up by your tyres and into the moving parts. Bearings don’t like water and your drivetrain isn’t fond of mud, so fitting mudguards helps from a maintenance point of view.
Use mudguards and less water and grit gets flicked up from the road onto your glasses or into the face of the rider behind you, so it’s good news in terms of vision.
We all know that brown line of mud that gets sprayed up the back of a cyclist’s jersey from a rear wheel. It’s not the coolest look and it can be virtually impossible to get out of light coloured clothing. You don’t get it if you use mudguards.
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.