Mudguards are fantastic in the winter. I won’t ride a bike without them at this time of year. But while mudguards keep the cyclist who has them on their bike well protected, most rear mudguards aren’t quite long enough to protect the cyclist behind you from receiving a face full of spray.
The solution is to make a mud flap, a long piece of material that attaches to the rear mudguard and essentially extends the reach of the rear mudguard to provide extra coverage. That’s a useful thing if you ride with a local club or group of cycling buddies. It works best if you all have mudguards of course, but that’s a rare thing these days, but if everyone in your group has them, there won’t be any muddy faces in the cafe afterwards.
Instead of making your own extended mudguard flaps, which is what many cyclists do (just turn up to an Audax to see an assortment of homebrewed flaps) TopFlaps is a new company based in Leeds that is offering custom made mud flaps to save you the hassle of doing it yourself.
The flaps can be made with any design you want. Just send them a design, such as your club logo and colour scheme, and they’ll return a customised mud flap, complete with all the fixings you need. You’ll be the envy of all your riding mates. And they’ll all want to ride on your wheel.
The idea to form the company came about when founder Adam made his first mud flap out of a flexible chopping board, then progressed to a children’s breakfast placemat. The development advanced from there. A batch were produced for the Alba Rosa cycling club and sold for charity.
They proved popular. So popular that he has now supplied many other cycling clubs. And as well as targeting cycling clubs, TopFlaps also offers a bespoke service if you want to get one with your own design. The mud flaps are supplied with all the fittings needed to attach to mudguards, and they’re printed on both sides.
If you’ve been thinking about adding mud flaps to your winter bike but haven’t gotten around to making your own, then it could be worth checking out TopFlaps. They cost £12 each and that includes everything you need to fix to the mudguard, and free next working day delivery. That's quite a bit more expensive than cutting up a plastic bottle and making your own, but they look smartly made and save you a lot of hassle, and time.
If you're interested, head over to www.topflaps.co.uk to find out more.
There are other mud flap options. The poshest is the Brooks Leather Mud Flap which costs £14.99.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.