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6 reasons to get mudguards this winter — from the surprising to the obvious

Why they're good news for you and your bike

In the world of road cycling, the look of mudguards is often frowned upon. It is true that a sleek road bike looks the best au natural, but there’s no doubt about the practical benefits of mudguards. The best mudguards won't ruin the look of your bike and there are also lightweight mudguards that are easy to take off when you don't need them. So forget about excuses, here are six reasons why you should be fitting them this winter.

1. Mudguards keep you comfortable

The most obvious reason for fitting mudguards is that they’ll keep gunk and water from flying up and getting all over you, your riding friends, and your bike. Even if it is not raining, the UK roads are oftentimes wet from the overnight mist and the biggest puddles on the roads seem to never really dry up. 

This means that for a good few months of the year, cycling is done in wet conditions that mudguards can make so much better. 

2022 Moda Molto Gravel Shimano 105 Di2 - rear mudguard.jpg


2. Mudguards make you faster

This is true in the long term, whether you're training, racing or just commuting. Cycling is more of a challenge when you’re wet and cold and by helping you to stay dry, mudguards allow you to focus on the riding.

Not to mention, those long winter miles are a lot easier when you're not soaked to the bone, so having mudguards on means you'll be a lot fitter when the weather gets dryer again! 

3. Mudguards are better for your ride-mates

If you like to ride in a group, prepare to be forced to put mudguards on. Many road cycling clubs require mudguards for wet weather group rides and if you turn up with an Asssaver on your bike, prepare to ride back home alone. Because on a group ride, you are not only having the mudguards on for yourself, but even more for the pals you're riding with. 

So this means installing full-length mudguards, including a buddy flap, onto your bike is a must or otherwise, you'll be having a very lonely winter. 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.

2022 Brompton C Line Explore - mudguard flap.jpg

4. Mudguards improve your bike’s longevity

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 help from a maintenance point of view.

Cleaning your bike is also easier when you have mudguards on. Especially full mudguards block the spray from getting to your seat clamp, saddle rails, and all the nuts and bolts that function a lot better without a layer of road grit on them. And when you're cleaning your bike,

> Check out our mudguard reviews here

5. Mudguards can improve your vision

When you have mudguards on, less water and grit gets flicked up from the road onto your eyes, or into the face of the rider behind you, meaning that your vision stays a lot clearer. 

Even if you have the best cycling glasses on, the dirty road water will eventually make those so dirty that you cannot see anything. 

Dolan mudguards

6. Mudguards keep your riding kit better for longer

We've all been there, getting home from a wet winter ride and hopping into the shower, to witness all of the road muck washing off you and literally blocking the drain.

Just imagine how much of it is still left on your cycling kit, which leaves your washing machine begging for mercy. When you have mudguards on, your precious, and more often than not, expensive, riding kit keeps good and light-coloured for longer. 

IBF muddy rider smiling


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 technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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.

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OldRidgeback | 1 year ago

I'm not a fan of mudguards but getting a wet arse is worse. I've got one of those plastic ones that clips to the seatpost for the back. It does the job. I've a short plastic guard for the front and it's just long enough to work.

Adam Sutton | 1 year ago

Bought my bike with mudguards and never take them of, because you know, I use it as transport and not just fair weather cycling.

NotNigel | 1 year ago

Probably the best things I've bought this past year in terms of making me want to ride more whilst the weather's unsavoury.  Nothing worse than a soggy arse and feet.

ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

I never use mudgaurds, the spray stops people wheelsucking

wycombewheeler replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

ChuckSneed wrote:

I never use mudgaurds, the spray stops people wheelsucking

just use a shorter one, anthing that terminates above the wheel axle will do nothing for following riders, but will keep your bum and back clean. (added benefit of not being banned from cafes for ruining their chairs)

Still use a front mudguard, as that keeps the spray off of your own legs and feet.

AlsoSomniloquism replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

So you would prefer soaking feet and arse and potentially early replaced components on the off-chance someone might follow you once or twice a year? 

From your posts, I suspect your personality would keep most people away being as your "superior" riding skills can't seem to shake them. 

chrisonabike replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

Why doncha just drop 'em, Lance?

andystow | 1 year ago

One potential reason not to choose them: sometimes you have to stop to dig the mud out because the wheels won't turn any more.

It nearly happened on this ride last Sunday, but I stayed with the group with my bike making a lovely squeaky noise as the tyre scraped past the mud/gravel slurry inside the front mudguard. Everyone else had a mud stripe up their back, though, so I have no real regrets.

I think four or five times in over a decade I've had to stop on a ride and remove one or both wheels to unpack the mud or ice/snow that's preventing forward progress.

Sriracha replied to andystow | 1 year ago

Scary to think of all that clag coating your chairing and drivetrain instead, however!

levestane replied to andystow | 1 year ago

Good to see a front mudguard that actually guards feet and drivetrain, most you see don't. Extending the rear guard below the bottom bracket also helps.

marmotte27 | 1 year ago

And most of this applies in summer also, so get a randonneur bike (the mudguards of which will be a lot better than ones retrofitted to a bike that's not prepared for them).

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