Due to the climate here in the UK, during Spring, Autumn and Winter most off-road trails will become very wet and muddy. This combination of water, grit and mud can create a grinding paste leading to increased wear on your bike components, particularly to the drivetrain, brake pads and dropper post.
Also, mud and water can get thrown into your face from your front wheel which can reduce your vision. Possibly worse is having mud and water thrown up by the rear wheel giving you a wet behind and making riding for any length of time in the saddle quite uncomfortable. For these reasons it is highly recommended to fit front and rear mudguards during the wet seasons.
A front mudguard really can help reduce the amount of spray coming up off the front wheel and into your face. Below I’ve listed several Front Mudguards currently available including my personal recommendation.
Mudhugger Front Race – Recommended
This front mudguard was designed and developed with the help of World Cup and Enduro World Series riders during 2014. There are several holes in the guard allowing it to fit different fork braces and it’s compatible with all wheels sizes including 26″, 27.5″ 29″ wheels. It will also accommodate plus size wheels with tyres up to 3 inches.
I’ve owned this mudguard for over 2 years now and am certain that it dramatically reduces the amount of spray reaching my face and glasses. Also, compared to most mudguards I think it looks quite stealthy as it follows the curvature of the wheel really nicely. For this reason I keep the guard on all year round.
The zip-ties have kept the guard securely in place and there are no visible signs of wear or damage during all this time. If you ever have to remove your front wheel to get your bike in the car you may end up bending the guard slightly. However, the guard has always bent back into shape perfectly. I highly recommend you try the Mudhugger FR and make your Mountain Biking and Off-Road cycling more comfortable and safer this winter.
You may be interested to know they also make a shorter version of this guard which offers less protection but a more discreet design called the Mudhugger Shorty
I don’t have any personal experience with this guard but Zefal generally make good quality products, so it may be worth considering if you’re looking for something a little cheaper. I believe it offers a similar amount of protection as the Mudhugger FR and is also suitable for most wheel sizes and up to 3 inch tyres. They also make a shorter version called the Deflector FM20.
The RRP Proguard is one of the newer products on the market. It’s similar in design and coverage as the Mudhugger and also compatible with 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ wheels. They claim the indent for the fork bridge gives an extra 4mm of tyre clearance.
With 24 holes in it’s crown it allows you to zip tie it to a variety of different fork designs. Therefore this guard might be worth considering if your suspension forks are a more unusual design. They also make the RRP Proguard Max which provides even more coverage. The max version is 21mm longer at the front and 68mm longer at the rear giving you the best protection possible.
Mucky Nutz were one of the first companies to produce this style of minimal front mudguard. It will help protect your fork’s stanchions and seals from getting dirty and reduce the need for cleaning and servicing.
However, it will not provide as much protection from dirt flying into your face. But if you just want a small guard that will help protect your forks components then the Mucky Nutz Face Fender might be the one for you.
A rear mudguard will help to reduce the amount of mud spraying up on to your back and bottom and also on to your dropper post (if you have one). It can also reduce the general amount of dirt reaching the rest of your bike causing premature wear to your drivetrain.
I have listed several rear mudguard options below including the one I use personally. All these mudguards attach to the seat stays or lower swing arms so are suitable for bikes with dropper posts.
This is the rear version of the Mudhugger I recommended in the Front Mudguards section of this article. It is suitable for bikes with 26″ and 27.5″ wheels and should easily accommodate up to 2.4-inch tyres. They also make a version for bikes with 29″ wheels.
I recently upgraded to this mudguard and have been very pleased with it. I’ve been on several rides during this very wet winter and it has kept the rear of me and my bike much cleaner than my previous mudguard. Also, having recently fitted a dropper post, it has kept this relatively expensive component protected from the elements.
It was very easy to install by securely attaching it to the seat stays using the provided zip-ties. They are several pre-cut holes which allow you to add as many zip-ties as necessary. However, after several rides the guard has stayed perfectly in place with just 4 zip-ties.
Some thick clear tape is also provided with the guard to protect your frame’s paintwork. It’s worth noting that the position and attachment method of this guard means they are compatible with most full-suspension bikes.
For these reasons I feel this is currently the best rear mudguard for Mountain bikes on the market.
I’ve owned this mudguard for several years, first with my 26″ wheel bike and now with my 27.5″ bike. They are suitable for both wheel sizes and very easy to fit. Although not as wide as some others on the market they do offer enough protection if you are running tyres up to 2.2 inches wide.
They are also compatible with full-suspension bikes as they can be mounted on the seat stays. This particular guard can also be used as a front mudguard by mounting them to the fork legs. However, they will not offer as much protect from muddy spray compared to a dedicated front guard.
During the time I’ve had this guard, it’s never come loose or moved and definitely reduces the amount of spray reaching the rear of the bike and my backside. You can also buy an extra extension flap and fit it to the end nearest the bike to increase protection. Please note – these are not suitable for bikes with 29″ wheels, for those I would have a look at the Zefal RM29 or Mudhugger Rear as mentioned in this article below.
This rear mudguard is suitable for bikes with 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ wheels and tyres up to 2.4 inches wide. I believe the mounting system is similar to the one used on the No-Mud guard and is therefore compatible with full-suspension bikes. Due to the wider design of this guard I suspect the Zefal Deflector RM29 will offer better protection than the Zefal No-Mud.
I hope this article has at least made you consider fitting some mudguards as I feel they help make mountain biking and cycling off-road in the wet months more enjoyable and could potentially improve the longevity of your bike components. Please leave a comment below if you think there are other mudguards that should be featured in this guide.
RRP also make a rear version of their Proguard which is versatile enough to fit a wide range of different bikes. There are 43 snap-off top holes allowing it to fit different styles of braces between seatstays. Although it’s quite short, I believe it’s designed to protect rear suspension components. Therefore this may be a good choice if you have a full-suspension bike and only want a minimal rear guard.