For some, mudguards aren't cool – but neither is that mud stripe up your bibs and back. So what should you do? Chuck a few quid over the counter for Zefal's discreet clip-on Shield Lite M Under Saddle Guard, that's what, and enjoy a dry derrière.
There have been a few of these on the market for a while now, and you'll even see the pros using them on the TV, but as far as I'm aware the Zefal is the best fitting.
Being stamped out of a sheet of polypropylene, the Shield is simplicity itself, shaped to bend into and out of position in a matter of seconds.
As long as you have a standard-railed saddle (a rail either side), the Zefal will fit no problem. I've tried it on round tubed and even square section carbon with no issue. The rear two round cutouts slot neatly into position.
What differentiates the Shield from others like the Ass Saver or Velox is that the front section, which bends down to meet the rails, has more cutouts for location. This means it is more stable in use; maybe not by much, but enough to make a noticeable difference.
On a wet day you simply unfold it to provide coverage, and while it's not going to offer the rain-saving ability of a full mudguard, it does a good job of keeping the worst of the muck and soggy chamois syndrome at bay.
So far it's been swapped between various bikes and the bend lines aren't showing any signs of weakening after being constantly folded and unfolded, so it should last a while too.
The price matches that of the Ass Saver and Velox, but obviously you can shop around for better deals. I personally think the Zefal is worth paying the full whack for anyway, so any discount is a bonus.
The only downside I can see is that it is only available in black. Otherwise, it's a great little rain shield that works really well for keeping your shorts dry and clean.
Secure fitting spray guard – in any colour you want as long as it's black
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zefal Shield Lite M Under Saddle Guard
Size tested: 100x330mm
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, "Shield Lite M is a lightweight, discreet mudguard which fits perfectly to road bikes. Easy to fit, it can be stored under the saddle and quickly unfolds when needed. It won't add any weight to your bike and will also protect you from rear wheel spray."
That's pretty much it in a nutshell.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Dimensions: 330mm x 100mm x 0.7mm
Mounting: Saddle mount
Stamped out of a sheet, there isn't much to go wrong. The notches and bends are in the right place for easy fitting to every saddle I tried.
It's very good at what it does, keeping that mucky brown spray stripe away from your shorts and jersey.
So far it's resisting the constant bending/unbending from under the saddle and doesn't seem to be weakening anywhere. At this price it is a disposable item.
The same as the others on the market at 15g.
Full retail from what I can find matches that of the Ass Saver and Velox versions.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's good at keeping the majority of spray off your kit.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The secure fitting method.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not keen on the looks.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Zefal is about a simplistic as you can get: fold and fit. Personally I prefer its fixing method to that of the Ass Saver and Velux, which is why I'm giving it an 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.