If there is one piece of kit which can help make road cycling in bad weather more comfortable, ie more bearable, it’s the humble mudguard. Keeping spray off the body helps keep you drier for longer and therefore can make a huge difference to your comfort and temperature regulation.
You’ll be amazed at how much less water actually makes its way on to the body once road spray is eliminated. This is also handy in mechanical terms as it can keep dirt and grit away from the frame and some vulnerable parts prolonging the life of the bike.
Mudguards keep feet drier and therefore warmer, this is one of the first visible differences you will notice when using them. Goodbye to the dirt spattered face or front of your jersey and no dark line up your back from water sent up by the back wheel means less chance of soggy rear unless of course it’s coming down from above.
With such positives from using mudguards you’ll wonder why everyone isn’t using them. One of the major reasons is that modern frames do not have mudguard eyelets on the frame and forks for traditional fixed mudguards to attach to. Couple this with and close clearances in frame geometry which leaves very little room between frame and wheels to actually fit a mudguard.
Crud Road Racer MK2
This is where the Crud Road Racer MK2 Mudguard comes in. This flexible hard plastic mudguard doesn’t need traditional eyelets or lots of room between frame and wheels to work.
It can attach to practically any road bike providing all the benefits of a traditional mudguard without needing any of the traditional frame fittings.
They are designed and manufactured by the makers of the legendary mountain bike mudguard the Crud Catcher who came up with the idea a few years ago with immediate and overwhelming success.
Merlin Malt CR with Crud Road Race Mk2 Mudguards fitted
The mudguards are entirely plastic and come in sections which join together with small plastic screws and thumbnuts to keep them in place. The stays attach to lugs which are held in place round the forks and rear stays with rubber O rings.
A zip tie through the guards hold them on to the brake caliper bolt and on the rear guard at the bottom bracket there is two holes for attachment with a small and large zip tie. It may sound primitive but it really does work.
The fittings are designed to break away in the result of an accident to prevent them going into wheels which is good to know. After sales care from Crud is excellent with some small parts viable separately direct from the manufacturer.
In fact interaction with the end user is something they Crud are well commended for; they welcome feedback on their products and use this information on any updated versions.
Everything is in here and not a single metal part in sight
Fitting the mudguards for the first time takes approx 20-30 minutes from getting out of the box, assembling and attaching to the bike (transferring them between bikes after this will probably take you about 10 minutes once you know the tricks).
It will probably take a few more minutes fettling to get the rear guard into the correct position so have a couple of extra zip ties at the ready in case you need to move or secure something more.
The front guard is much simpler to install and will only take a few minutes to get into the correct position.
Once you have them set up correctly these guards will work as well as any traditional guard. OK, they may take a bit more fettling then traditional guards to get a perfect fit but once done it’s worth it.
Despite the minimalistic looks they have all the coverage in the right places with more protection round the front mech area and a choice of lengths for the front guard tail piece.
In fact, the mudguards are so small that on dark frames they are hard to spot at a distance so won’t spoil the look of your bike. Weight is not an issue either as al in they weigh less than 200g.
We’ve used these on several race bikes with close clearance tolerances and after initial fettling for each bike’s intricacies have worked fine along with several brands of 23mm tyres.
Although they may look flimsy they are quite tough and have taken quite a battering over several winters without fault. They have been perfect for use on old race frames with close clearances which have now become training bikes and if I had one bike to use all year round I’d definitely fit these during the winter.
Don’t just take our word for it on how good these mudguards are; check out the rave reviews from people who have bought and tried these in the customer comments on the Merlin Cycles Crud Road Racer MK2 Mudguard webpage