Fiddly to fit, but tough and effective once you're over that hurdle
Zefal Shield R30 road mudguard set
6 10

Zefal Shield R30 mudguards are a new option for those who want a dry bum in the winter despite riding a close-clearance road bike. They do keep the spray off, once you've puzzled your way through getting them installed.

If you ride a road bike with no mudguard eyes and and you want to stay dry when it rains, you have three widely-available choices: Crud Roadracer Mk 2s (£29.99), SKS Race Blade Long (£44.99) and these new Shield R30 guards from French accessory maker Zefal.

Once they're fitted, the Shield R30s do indeed keep your bum dry. They also have a fairly long rear section so they'll reduce the spray you fling over anyone behind you, an important consideration unless you're a real Billy No-mates. The front mudguard comes a long way round the wheel too, which makes it very effective at keeping your feet dry.

Shields are made from what Zefal describe as 'technopolymer resin' and looks like thick, tough moulded nylon. There's more material here than you'll find on a RoadRacer, and they're noticeably more robust, though not as tough as SKS' plastic/aluminium laminate.

The stays are steel, which also helps keep the guards stiff as well as being hard to break. If you get something stuck in your wheel, they should pull out of the frame clamps rather than break.

They mount using a combination of O-rings, rubber ladder straps and plastic clips, with metal stays that are held in clamps on the frame, tightened by T10 Torx screws. If all that sounds complicated, it is. Of the alternatives, SKS Long Raceblades are the easiest to install, while the Zefals make Crud's slightly fiddly Roadracers look straightforward.

The problem is that there are lots of bolts, straps and widgets here. Parts need tightening that the Ikea-style instructions fail to mention, and the directions give you no help in deciding which of certain optional parts you should use.

For example, the U-shaped metal stays are held in place by plastic blocks that are attached to the mudguards with self-tapping screws. You have to tighten these or the mudguard will slip sideways in the block and rub.

The mudguard is held in place at the brake by a rubber strap that grabs a plastic piece under the brake bolt. That part clips into the top of the mudguard. That squanders the precious space between the tyre and seatstay bridge that's always the limiting factor in cramming mudguards into a road race frame.

You get several spacers that go between the mudguard and the brake. The instructions imply that they allow you to adjust the angle of the mudguard, but on my bike the guard ended up so close to the tyre here that was a superfluous option. To be honest I can't see how you'd ever need it.

The rear mudguard ends at the seat tube, and when I say ends I mean just that. It simply stops with no way to pull it away from the tyre. I took a hot skewer to it and put a zip-tie round the seat tube to stop it rubbing.

As you might be gathering, these are fiddly guards to fit. Once they're fitted, they work well enough, though they lack the front mech protection of the Roadracers or the easy removal of the Race Blade Longs. They're less fragile than the Roadracers, which tend to break under very light loads so there's no chance of them getting snagged in your wheels, and they provide a little bit more coverage on the front wheel than the Race Blade Longs.

If you want mudguards that are fairly tough, and provide good coverage, the Zefal Shield R30s are worth a look, but give yourself plenty of time to nut out the assembly.

For lots more on mudguards, see our buyers' guide. /content/buyers-guide/96939-buyer%E2%80%99s-guide-mudguards-keeping-you-dry-winter


Fiddly to fit, but tough and effective once you're over that hurdle.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Zefal Sheild R30 road mudguard set

Size tested: n/a

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:

The Shield R30 has been expressly made for road bikes. This mudguard ensures stable mounting via its U brackets and offers the best protection by covering almost the entire wheel.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

MD-QUICK FIXATION -> Easy to mount and remove.

ROAD BIKES -> Made for road bikes with a 30 mm width.

WHEEL COVER -> Better protection of the rider and following companions by covering more than 80% of the wheel.

U STAYS -> Keep the mudguard rigid. No vibrations even on rough terrain.

ADJUSTABLE CLIP -> Adjustable mounts tube to fit each bike's geometry.

EXTRA LONG SPOILER -> Included for optimal protection.

Blade width : 30 mm / 1.18''

Material : Technopolymer resin

Mounting : MD QUICK

Weight : 370 g

Wheels diameter : 700c

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Nicely moulded parts, everything well-finished.

Rate the product for performance:

Not quite the coverage of a Roadracer, but a little better than a Race Blade Long.

Rate the product for durability:

Not as tough as a Race Blade Long, but a lot more robust than a Roadracer.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

Roadracers are well ahead in this department; Shields sit between them and Race Blade Longs, but this is one category where I don't think weight really matters that much.

Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Generally very well. The long front guard keeps your feet dry - wet feet are a pet hate of mine - while the extended rear flap reduces spray in riding buddies' faces.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Long front guard, decent rear flap.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Fiddly assembly, short section between rear brake and seat tube.

Did you enjoy using the product? Using yes; assembling not so much.

Would you consider buying the product? No.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only if they were very mechanically adept.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

In terms of keeping you dry while riding, these guards are a solid 8/10. But their assembly fiddliness really pulls them down. If ease of fitting had a score category they'd be a 3/10, which makes their overall score 6/10.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 46  Height: 5ft 11in  Weight: 85kg

I usually ride: Scapin Style  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding,


Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.


koko56 [330 posts] 4 years ago

Looks like a good alternative. IME crudguards tend to wiggle and rub slightly as a result, however the durability was fine for me and what took it out was wearing through from rubbing on the tyre, made all the more strange that 1 winter no problems with 25mm tire, next was rubbing even with 23, only on the back though after many adjustments.  7

Raceblades are a lot sturdier and are as close as you are gonna get to traditional mudguards, but they can be brittle and because they are so sturdy vibration goes to all the weak spots causing them to snap in places, which paired with the brittleness can leave you with large chunks missing rather quick!

End of the day though, a winter frame is just so much better! I long for one!  4

bikeylikey [237 posts] 4 years ago

Good review, well considered and well described.

I've tried Crud 1s, which shattered after a month because of a twig. Crud 2, same thing happened after a few weeks. I wrote to Crud with a mild complaint, they said the 'guards did what they were supposed to do, i.e. break when an obstruction enters, as a safety measure. I suggested a 'pull out' system, like SKS use, or even just a flexible flap which would snap up when an obstruction enters, but of course they wouldn't want to go to the expense of redesigning and retooling etc., ending up with a more expensive product. Also they must make a lot of money in re-sales after breakages, which presumably they wouldn't want to give up. Everyone I know who's tried Crud 2s has broken them. They also wobble around quite a bit, and there's very little clearance under the brake.

At the other end of the scale, I've had SKS chromoplastic guards which have lasted for 20 years and more with no trouble at all. The stays pull out if an obstruction enters, and the material is extremely tough, flexible but with just the right amount of stiffness. You do need the clearance for them though, and they are on the heavy side with the sturdy steel stays.

I find the short 'guards which attach with rubber ladder straps to the stays, not to mudguard eyes, are fine for racing bikes without much clearance (I've got some, I forget the name). They keep you dry enough, they're not much trouble to mount. they are just not that good for keeping the person behind you dry. If you tend to go out alone, they are good enough.

Bigneilsmith [13 posts] 3 years ago

After trying to buy crud catchers for two separate LBSs, only to be told that I don't wanna buy clip on guards (despite asking for them and there is no option on my frame), I got these from Decathlon. I am getting fed up with LBSs not listening to what I want, and am going more and more online to purchase.

Anyhow, despite what the review says, lay all the parts out on the table, and it is a common sense for to piece it all together. All done in 20 mins with no tools. Having bought crud catchers before these seem more substantial, cover the tyre and frame well and are pretty unobtrusive, and all for £20. I think they look pretty good too. Bargain.