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The venerable SKS Chromoplastic mudguard has been a staple for audaxers, tourers and commuters for decades, and the latest incarnation is everything you'd want: sturdy, well made and decent value.
The Chromoplastics are made by sandwiching Aluminium stips inside a plastic housing. The resulting profile is quite deep which makes it stiff and sturdy, and it carries the now-trademark pattern of black strips and see-through channels. Fixing kit is all steel, with a fixed bridge at the rear and a sliding one at the front for better adjustability.
Beefy 3.4mm stays fix them in place; there's SKS's Secu-Clip at the front too which holds the stays securely but is designed to pop out in an emergency such as a stone caught under the guard. You can fit them to the rear too if you're running a fixed or hub gear, as it makes it a good deal easier to get the wheel out. There's a mud flap on the front guard and a reflector on the rear.
Fitting the guards is fairly straightforward but they're not the easiest; I found the plastic covers for the stay ends a bit bothersome and they're no better functionally than a simple rubber end cap. A decent set of bolt cutters makes chopping the stays to size a simple job. Once they're on, they're on; these aren't the kind of mudguards you throw on on a whim. You need half an hour to do a decent job of it and get everything nice and tight.
The P35 version that I tested is rated for a 20-28mm tyre (they're available for up to 60mm tyres) but a 28mm would be a real squeeze as the 25mm Zaffiros on my bike were pretty snug. Pretty snug meant barely any spray though; the profile of the Chromoplastics does a super job of keeping you dry and they're a sensible length too.
If the road surface is really wet you'll still get water splashed at your feet but you won't get spray from the tyre, and your riding buddies sat on your tail will be happy bunnies too. If you want to be really nice to them, fit a long flap at the rear. The front was a bit rattly at first but a bit of judicious plierage locked the brake bridge in place and kept them quiet, and they've been perfectly behaved ever since.
All mudguards rub from time to time but these SKS units are better than most thanks to the sturdy construction. The tight fit around the tyre meant the odd bit of sidewall rub on the climbs, but that's more down to flex in the wheel than any issue with the mudguard itself.
Normally the benchmark of a particular product is one of the most expensive available, but you can spend a lot more than the £34 you'll pay for these and get guards nowhere near as good.
An institution for a reason: they're sturdy, they're not expensive and they work.
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Make and model: SKS P35 Chromoplastic mudguards
Size tested: 20-28mm
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Solidity of the guards, classic look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
end caps are overly fiddly.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.