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It is pretty obvious from the name what mudguards do, but do you need them? After all, they can ruin the sleek aesthetic of your bike.
During winter, you will inevitably end up riding in the rain on wet and grimy roads, or muddy and puddle filled trails.
It is not much fun riding along getting sprayed with dirty surface water from the road and salt in the water can play havoc with the moving parts on your bike.
A set of mudguards will fend off the worst of this mess and will also prevent riders behind you from getting sprayed. Lots of cycling clubs even have rules demanding that you use mudguards in the winter months.
While mountain bikers are probably not adverse to getting covered in mud, a mudguard on a mountain bike serves the important function of stopping mud flying into the riders face.
No one wants an eye full of mud or a blob of dirt on their glasses.
Most mountain bikers will also use a small front mudguard in dry conditions as they do a great job of catching dust and small debris that gets kicked up by the tire and might otherwise end up in their faces.
Rear mudguards are not generally used but they do exist if you want to have one.
Quick Answer: The 7 Best MTB & Road Bike Mudguards
- Crud Crudcatcher 09 Mudguard
- Race Face Mud Crutch
- Yopoon Front MTB Bicycle Fender Mudguard
- Zefal Deflector FM20 Front Clip-On Mud Guard
- SKS Raceblade Pro XL Road Bicycle Fenders
- Planet Bike Hardcore Hybrid Fenders
- SKS Bluemels Stingray Bicycle Fender Set
The first four mudguards are meant for mountain bikes and the last three are for road bikes. Let’s get to it!
Best MTB Mudguards
You may not like the way this downtube mounted mudguard looks on your bike but there is a good reason why the Crud Catcher has been so popular for many years.
It does a great job of catching nearly all the mud thrown up from your front tire and unlike fork mounted mudguards, there is nothing to get clogged up. However, it cannot protect you from spray that gets thrown forward and then blown back into your face.
Combine it with a Mud Crutch (see below) and you have complete protection.
It is high quality and very durable and some frames even have specific eyelets on the underside of the downtube to mount it. For all other frames it can be mounted with the included rubber rings. I would rate the Crudcatcher’s as the best MTB mudguards.
A glorified version of a DIY mudguard made from an old inner tube, this lycra and elastic mudguard stretches around your fork crown and arch, filling in the gap.
This forms a shield to catch any mud or water thrown off from the front tire. The stretch of the material allows it to conform as the fork compresses.
While it does a great job of catching larger, problematic lumps, all the dirt it does stop ends up being redistributed by gravity onto the fork seals.
Yes you could get out a craft knife and start slicing up an old tube (do people even have tubes any more in the age of tubeless?) but the Mud Crutch saves you the trouble. Paired with a crud catcher you will have the best mud protection around.
The minimal and affordable Marshguard ensures that your face stays free of dust and other trail debris that your tire throws at you. It will also catch a fair amount of spray and mud but you are still going to get covered in it.
It mounts to the fork arch and legs using zip ties. The design also protects the fork wipers to some degree. Thick mud can build up and clog but this is easily cleared by giving it a good tap.
Many colors and branded models are available to match your style. You can even mount one at the rear to protect your frame bearings.
Enduro race teams demand high performance products. This mudguard was developed with the Polygon Hutchinson UR enduro team, so you know you are getting a product that performs well and helps pro racers ride fast.
The Deflector mounts easily whenever you need it thanks to velcro straps. You can also mount it permanently with zip ties.
It fits all wheel sizes and nearly all forks but the fit comes quite close on 29” tires, which makes it a bit more liable to clog in certain conditions. The long front and rear of the guard catches as much spray as possible.
Despite the great looks and performance, the price of the Deflector is surprisingly low. These are the best MTB fenders for the money!
Best Road Bike Mudguards
These easy to install plastic mudguards clip on to frames with no eyelets. Each mudguard consists of two parts that join together with steel brackets, which are themselves held by the brake caliper bolt.
The body of the mudguards is held up with thin steel supports. These clip into thin eyelets held by the QR skewers and will break away in a crash rather than breaking. The eyelets are incompatible with thru-axles.
In terms of protection, these mudguards fit closely to standard 700C tires up to 28mm wide. They will keep your behind and feet nicely dry as well as prevent the showering of riding buddies behind you.
There are a few gaps at the fork and the seat tube where spray gets passed though, so you will not stay entirely dry. I think the Raceblade XL’s are the best road bike mudguards.
These fixed mudguards are constructed from stiff polycarbonate. The rounded shape encloses the tires well and the long rubber flaps at the ends also curve around the tire to stop almost all spray from getting where it shouldn’t.
Mounting to frame eyelets is easy and the rear uses a plastic bridge as opposed to the metal bridge at the front. Presumably this has something to do with durability. Breakaway clips are provided.
The size of these mudguards along with the large rubber flaps makes them quite heavy but this shouldn’t bother you too much if you want to stay dry.
In a world of boring mudguards that come in black or…black, SKS have made the Stingray a bit more exciting with a variety of colors on offer, including matt black if you want it.
Stingray mudguards are actually intended for gravel bikes with 28-38mm tires. They are likely to be too wide to fit your road bike without cutting them down. The steel stays connect to frames with fixed mudguard eyes.
Once fitted you will enjoy the full length spray and mud protection that they offer. You will also enjoy the five year guarantee and probably the best road bike fenders, especially considering the price!
Types of Mudguards
There are differences between the mudguards used on road and mountain bikes as well as variations on how the guards are mounted.
Road Bike Mudguards/Fenders
Mudguards for road bikes generally cover the whole top portion of the tires. They come in two varieties, either fixed or clip-on. Fixed mudguards attach to eyelets on the frame. If a frame does not have eyelets, clip-on mudguards must be used.
Of course, clip-on mudguards can also be used on frames with eyelets. Mudguards for road bikes are usually constructed from aluminum, plastic or carbon.
Mountain bikes use shorter but wider mudguards to incorporate wider tires. Small plastic mudguards attach to the fork arch and legs to protect the fork seals and catch dust and mud before it gets thrown into the rider’s face.
These small guards can also be mounted on the back of the frame to protect the linkages and bearings on full suspension bikes.
Longer fork mounted mudguards are intended for sloppy winter use and there are also mudguards that mount to the downtube and prevent the worst of the spray and mud hitting the rider.
Zip ties or velcro are the usual method of mounting mudguards to mountain bikes.
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best MTB & road bike mudguards to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a mudguard I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.