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Verdict: 
Very good wet protection for fat-tyred road and gravel bikes
Weight: 
370g

The SKS Speedrocker mudguards are easy to fit, provide room for really fat tyres and are free from rubs and rattles. Their only significant fault is that riders following you will wish the rear guard was a bit longer.

  • Pros: Easily fit just about any bike; hassle-free in use
  • Cons: Rear could be longer; toe overlap

SKS has done a bang-up job of the Speedrockers. They'll fit around tyres up to about 38mm, as long your frame has room for them. The front comes in two pieces to avoid the perennial problem of squeezing a guard under the fork crown and the rear has a sliding component to fit against the seat tube.

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The front guard is long enough to keep your feet dry, though it's not as ground-tickling as SKS's Longboard guard, and the rear does a decent job of keeping the wet off your bum. However, it only extends round the tyre to about the 10 o'clock position, so spray off the lower segment of the wheel is thrown up at anyone following your wheel.

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 01.jpg

SKS bills the Speedrockers mostly for gravel/adventure/touring riding so it's perhaps not entirely fair to criticise them for being less suitable for group riding, but they're intended for road bikes too, and that means group rides. I hope SKS has a longer version in the works.

The details of the Speedrockers are mostly really well thought out.

They mount to your bike with plastic mouldings at the ends of the stays. These hold Velcro or rubber straps that wrap round the seatstays or fork tubes. The fork crown and seatstay bridge aren't used as attachment points at all, so it doesn't matter whether they have holes or, in the case of the seatstay bridge, even exist at all.

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 03.jpg

The Velcro straps are for the fork, and they're quite long. Make sure you fit them so they finish on the outside of the fork blades or they'll flap around in your spokes, which is really annoying…

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 06.jpg

Undo a 3mm hex screw and the anodised aluminium stays slide in and out to adjust the length. At the shortest setting there's still a good 2cm of clearance over a 28mm tyre, so you really can pretty much go as fat as your frame will take.

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 05.jpg

The stays go over the top of the guard and they're covered by a plate that fits in a moulded recess. That means the outer surface of the guard looks very smooth and tidy, but there's a lump protruding from the inside of the guard toward the tyre. Inevitably, mud accumulates here if you ride in seriously messy conditions.

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 08.jpg

To be fair, mud always accumulates somewhere if it's sufficiently thick and sticky, which is why full mudguards for mountain bikes have never taken off; mudguards should really be called rainguards or wetguards. The Americans have it right: fenders, because they fend off spray.

> Buyer's Guide: 13 of the best mudguards

Anyway, this lump on the inside of the guard means you have to run it further away from the tyre and for the front guard that means you can get a lot of toe overlap. Very low-speed manoeuvres have to be ratcheted carefully to avoid snarl-ups. The stays are aluminium, so it'd be fairly easy to cut them shorter, unlike the hard stainless steel stays of some SKS guards, but that would only get you a few more millimetres.

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 04.jpg

The front guard comes in two pieces so you don't have to deal with that awkward space under the fork crown. The front piece has a little upward kick at the back that looks like an aerodynamic spoiler on a 1990s go-faster saloon car until you realise it's there to stop any spray that gets through the gap from being thrown up into your face. Clever.

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 07.jpg

The rear guard has one main piece that goes between the seatstays, with an adjustable extension to the seat tube where it's held in place with another rubber strap.

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 09.jpg

This is the only place where clearance might be constrained by the guard itself, and if there's not enough room under your seatstay bridge, you can always route the guard over the top of it. A bit of trimming might be necessary in that case.

SKS Speedrocker mudguards 02.jpg

Fifty quid is a lot of money for a set of mudguards, though they're a fiver less than the Kinesis Fend Offs that Dave tested earlier in the year. I'd say their quality and ease of fitting – and that they'll fit virtually any bike – makes them worth the money.

Conclusion

The SKS Speedrocker mudguards are just the job if you have a go-anywhere bike and don't want to get soaked when it rains. They're dead easy to fit and work very well. My criticisms are minor. I've lived with the toe overlap for several months without serious incident and got used to it, though my riding mates have made it very clear they'd like the rear guard to be longer.

Verdict

Very good wet protection for fat-tyred road and gravel bikes

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road.cc test report

Make and model: SKS Speedrocker mudguard set

Size tested: One

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?

SKS says:

"The SKS Speedrocker has been specifically developed for compatibility with gravel and adventure bikes, cyclocross bikes and road bikes with tyres exceeding 32mm.

"Proudly made in Germany, the Speedrocker offers incredible stability over the roughest tracks while also providing optimum protection in all weathers.

"At the front, protection is enhanced with a new dual-height front spoiler, which deflects water and mud onto the wheel and downwards, away from the rider's face. The rear mudguard utilises an innovative telescopic extension for greater coverage near the seat tube, and everything is held firmly in place with an all-new rubber fastening system to suit a multitude of frame designs, including integrated recesses for brake or gear cables as required.

"The Speedrocker also showcases an update to SKS's stay design, the ESC Vario Safety System. The sturdy but lightweight black anodised aluminium stays have been designed wider than normal, to run over the top of the mudguard, and covered by a protective plate. This not only gives the Speedrocker a sleek overall appearance but also maximises the available clearance between the tyre and mudguard."

Can't really argue with most of that, though the final claim is a bit flawed. Yes, the stays go over the top of the guard, but they're held by a recessed fitting that reduces the clearance between tyre and guard.

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

material: Plastic

color: black

weight: 408 g

tyre width: 42 mm

length front fender: 500+210 mm

length rear fender: 950 mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Everything is very tidily made and moulded.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

For mudguards like this, performance has two major aspects: ease of use and keeping the wet off.

They get full marks for ease of use. They're easy and quick to fit and remove. The shortness of the rear guard means they lose points for spraying water in your friends' faces.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
10/10

They keep you dry. That's a big comfort-enhancer in my book.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Fifty quid is a lot of money for a set of mudguards, but the Speedrockers are sufficiently well designed and made that the price is justified.

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

Very well. They keep the wet off your feet and bum, and fitting them is a doddle.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Ease of fitting.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Spraying water on friends from the rather short rear guard.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Fifty quid is at the high end of the range for mudguards, but I'm not aware of anything else that has quite the Speedrockers' ability to fit anything, so for that and the quality and finish, the price isn't unreasonable.

Did you enjoy using the product? Insofar as mudguards are something to get excited about, yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The SKS Speedrockers just miss being 'exceptional' by dint of their toe overlap issue and rear guard length, but their ease of fitting and effectiveness at keeping you dry merits a 'very good', so an 8 it is.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  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, mountain biking

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.

6 comments

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dodgy [256 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Doesn't look the headset bearing area is getting much protection.

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Rapha Nadal [1124 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Safe to assume that these went on without washing the bike first?!

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xerxes [52 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Unless your frame and forks don't have any mounting holes, I think a standard set of full mudguards might be better.

The first fitting can be a bit of a palaver, having to cut the stays to length and getting them to sit nice and evenly around the wheel, but once you have them properly set-up and adjusted, you can remove and re-fit them pretty quickly; just seven bolts.

Avatar
robbyrob2000 [13 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

There is an inspiring video on Youtube https://youtu.be/fOOvF1ZR8Ig

 

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Silversurfmonkey [23 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Had a set, sent them back. Best described as 'half-@rsed'. They're a massive faff to get on and off and probably only marginally quicker then fixed guards. You need three hands to fit the front guard and even then it's a pain. And, as others have pointed out there's little to no protection for the headset. For some strange reason they've run the rearmost stay inside the guard which in turn means you have to stand the guard off the tyre to the point that you lose coverage. They're nowhere near wide enough for tyres over 40mm either. Very dissapointing. Great name though

Avatar
Xenophon2 [102 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

I have these and functionally they do the job well.  Only three drawbacks, one of which is minor:

a) They take a bit of time and fiddling to fit and are not an item that you'll quickly slap on if you see it's pouring outside, only to remove them when the weather's fine.  

b) Toe overlap.  You need to be aware of this or it could lead to a nasty surprise when making a fast turn at (very) low speed.

c) There's no elegant way to stow away the excess strap at the front, short of cutting it off, which doesn't seem the recommended way.  Imo they should have gone with the rubber straps used on the back, which would have been a lot tidier.

So, are they worth it?  For the rear there are equivalent solutions that you can take off/put on a whole lot quicker and that cost a lot less.  They won't protect riders after you as well but if you don't care about that then this set has no edge.  At the front these work well.  If you have a meaty downtube then that would absorb most spray anyway but these will save your shoes  and bib from getting a soaking, as well as your face from spray that gets thrown over the handlebars at speed.  The price you pay is the toe overlap.  Realistically, I think you'll put these on a road bike that doubles as a commuter/winter trainer.  I put them on late fall, then remove them in spring, it's just too much work to simply put them on when it rains.  If you're even thinking about aero, simply forget about fenders and take the spray.