BBB's BFD-22 SlimGuard Fenders are lightweight full-length mudguards supposedly capable of accommodating pretty much any road frameset and tyres up to 30mm. Hmm... For the most part I'm pleased to agree, but on the basis of several weeks' testing, I'm not convinced they'll perform convincingly with 30mm tyres.
Curved seat tubes will require forgoing the rear's lower section, and compatibility with builds such as my beloved 'Teenage Dream' proved more involved than BBB's promotional video suggests.
There are refreshingly few parts. Four powder-coated mounting brackets, two sets of resin-coated aluminium stays, four composite mudguard pieces and a rubberised clip for tethering the rear's lower section to the seat tube.
Having removed both wheels, slacken the brake mounting bolts, slip those brackets between the calliper's knurled washer, and nip tight with your 5mm Allen key.
Slide the stays aboard the lower guards and plug them into the mounts, then reinstate the wheels, clipping the stays aboard the hub's quick release skewers.
Close the quick releases and give the wheels a quick spin to check nothing's binding. Now introduce the front piece, and theoretically you're rattle-free and road ready...
I had to slide the lower section along, file that rear-mounting bracket and swap to a nigh-on slick 25mm tyre to create the 5mm minimum clearance required. The stays also needed some trial and error tweaking during the formative 20 miles; a drop of model glue was also necessary to prevent them creeping out of alignment over washboard surfaces.
That done, they've proved the best means of tethering 'proper' guards with said frameset and they look good. As long as you've remembered that precautionary lick of glue they'll remain unobtrusive and completely rattle-free. Those looking for SKS Longboard-rivalling coverage will be disappointed, but it's pretty close to standard narrow-section chrome plastics with 23-25mm section rubber.
There's no danger of damp derrières and disgruntled riding companions, though you need to bargain on a little spatter adorning your rear triangle and fork crown areas. The bottom bracket shell and front mech also get a dousing, depending on how low-slung you can get the rear guard.
Along waterlogged lanes, mud and silty detritus can also accumulate briefly between the tyre and mudguard, but binding was never an issue and it bailed within three revolutions of the rear wheel.
Day rides and/or longer commutes in these conditions also demand overshoes if soggy feet and sullied shoes are to be avoided, and given their ingenuity elsewhere, some plug-in rubberised mud-flaps wouldn't be a big ask at this price point. I found some nice examples at the bottom of my bodge box and glued them on, with pleasing results.
The rubber strap that tethers the rear guard to the seat tube isn't particularly supple, and it split within the first 100 miles. Again, a quick rummage and a scrap piece from a long defunct light set came to the rescue, but annoying just the same.
Subjectively, these have proved a real hit with me, solving the full-length mudguard headache presented by this particular bike, and in that respect, to me they're worth the money. Objectively, in stock form, overall protection is good rather than great with tyres exceeding 23mm, and they're let down by some minor details.
If you cannot fit full-length chrome plastics and don't want to go the bespoke route, these are well worth a closer look. If you were prepared to accept less protection, Crud's Roadracer Mk2s and similar designs are much cheaper options.
Work surprisingly well on bikes that traditionally rule out full-length guards, but more refinement is needed to justify price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: BBB BFD-22 SlimGuard Fenders
Size tested: 28"
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?
BBB says: "Rain makes you wanna stay at home, the last thing you think about is taking your bike out for a spin. With that knowledge we designed our SlimGuard fenders. A slim, wraparound fenderset for road bikes with tires up to 30mm. All without messing up the looks of your bike. The SlimGuard has got your back. The fenderset mounts to the brake-bolts and quick-release axle. Its unique mounting system provides stability, just sitting 5mm above the tire. No reason to get wet anymore!"
I reckon 23-25mm is pretty much the limit if you want decent protection, but nonetheless, a clever, effective solution to an age-old problem.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Front and rear full fender set for road bikes.
Aluminum rods for enhanced stability.
Mounts to brake-bolts and Quick Release axle for a stable and clean fixation.
Matt black slim fit design makes it barely noticeable.
Provides full protection from spraying mud and debris.
Compatible with tire clearance of only 5 mm.
Suitable for tires up to 30 mm"
Generally well made.
Doesn't rival more traditional full-length guards but vastly superior to most of this genre. Minimal parts and decent quality construction mean they're very solid and unobtrusive.
Not cheap compared with traditional full length chrome plastics. However, meets the design brief very well in the main.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These are the first mudguards I've come across that really tackle the problem of marrying full-length guards and fag paper frame clearances. Minimal parts means fitting to racier contemporary builds is a 10-minute job, although a tyre swap, judicious filing of the brackets and a lick of glue where guard and stays met were necessary to achieve the 5mm clearances stated on my test rig. Expect to find spray and spatter adorning the rear triangle and bottom bracket shell on very wet rides, but overall, they're a vast improvement on others of the clip-on class.
On paper 30mm tyres are possible, although depending on the frameset concerned, 28 is pretty much tops, 23-25mm ideal.
Rattle-free, protection to rider and machine doesn't match that of more traditional, let alone über-long audax versions – the bottom bracket shell and front mech will still get a liberal soaking, ditto feet. Overshoes are a must.
At this price point, plug-in rubberised mudflaps are a missed opportunity, although you could pop rivet some aftermarket/homemade versions in situ.
On very mucky roads, the rear momentarily clogged with leaves and other muck but this is just mildly annoying rather than dangerous, and said contaminant flushed away in about three revolutions of the rear wheel.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The first to really fit my beloved road bike! Generally well conceived, made from good quality materials and completely rattle-free.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of mud flaps was disappointing at this price-point, and the rubberised seatstay strap felt a little low rent.
Did you enjoy using the product? Definitely
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? A godsend for bikes that rule out more traditional full-length guards, but there are much cheaper options.
Use this box to explain your score
Overall a great set of mudguards that meet the design brief handsomely. However, they are relatively expensive and, while hardly a deal-breaker, the lack of mudflaps at this price point is disappointing.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)