Best bike fenders / mudguards for autumn and winter 2022

They're hardly bling, but if you want to ride through winter in comfort, a good set of bike mudguards is a must. We've rounded up the best

Best bike mudguards

What are bike fenders / mudguards?

Let’s get this out of the way before we go any further. Bike mudguards are not cool. Some manufacturers – and even cyclists – refer to them as fenders, but even calling them by the same name as Jimi Hendrix’s guitar is not going to make them sexy.

But boy are they useful if you cycle in a climate like ours.

There are, broadly speaking, two types of mudguard: those for frames with mudguard eyes – ‘fixed mudguards’ – and those for frames without, known as clip-on mudguards. Of course even if your bike has mudguard eyes there’s no reason why you can’t use clip-ons like the Crud Roadracers if you’re looking for a lightweight, easily removable solution.

Why fit fenders / mudguards?

Shun them at your peril. Turning up for a December club run (opens in new tab) on a mudguardless bike will not win you any friends and there’s a good chance it will alienate people. Many clubs have rules about mudguards once the clocks go back to winter timekeeping: you can violate them if you like but you’ll be forced to ride at the back all day.

How did we test the fenders / mudguards?

We tested these mudguards on a bike with mudguard eyes, long-drop rim calipers and 25mm tyres. Since the all-road type of winter bike (opens in new tab) is configured differently from one to the next it isn’t feasible to comment definitively on frame and disc-brake compatibility.

Need more clearance? Check out our guide to mudguards for gravel bikes.

The best bike fender /mudguards tested

Full length bike fenders / mudguards

Image shows Portland Design Works' Full Metal Fenders / Mudguards.

(Image credit: Paul Grele)
Best for rattle-free experience

Specifications

Weight: 446g (as fitted)

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to fit (for mudguards)
+
Good looks
+
Fantastic instruction booklet
+
Well made
+
No tyre rubbing
+
Silent
+
Breakaway clips on both mudguards

Reasons to avoid

-
A little pricier than some others
-
Can't manoeuvre on the back wheel in tight spots as mudflap gets in the way

These anodised aluminium fenders / mudguards from Portland Design Works come in at an impressive 446g (as fitted) and they are able - with optional axle tabs - to fit bikes without traditional frame eyelets as well. 

To stop your toes from clashing with the stay end caps, the Full Metal fenders / mudguards use a single stay design that is kept higher on front fender than a double stay type. It made low speed manoeuvring easier, although there was still toe overlap on my bike but that's the bike and not the mudguards fault. 

PDW's full-wrap offering were remarkably easy to fit and setup, and having discrete breakaway clips at both ends which was a nice touch. Once on the bike they were super stiff which stopped any tyre buzz, even when rocking the bike from side to side on a steep hill. 

There are three widths available, and these 37mm wide mudguards are able to accommodate up to a 30mm tyre. They looked in proportion when using a 28mm tyre and there was a good amount of space to the side of the tyre.

Along with the silence, the stealthy look from the matt black finish keeps everything pretty discreet. These mudguards are really good and are well worth strong consideration despite the higher price than other options here.

Read more: Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders / Mudguards full review

best bike mudguards: SKS Bluemels Stingray

2. SKS Bluemels Stingray fenders / mudguards

Specifications

Weight: 474g

Reasons to buy

+
Coloured options
+
Five year guarantee

Reasons to avoid

-
At 50mm, a bit wide for many frames

Fair play to SKS – the Stingray is its attempt to jazz up the reliably humdrum mudguard by introducing colours such as ‘lime green’, ‘blazing red’ and ‘ocean blue’. In between the colours is a cool matt black and the whole underside of the mudguard is in the feature colour – thought not for long, of course, and the idea of ‘statement’ mudguards won’t appeal to everyone.

The Stingrays are wider than standard road bike-designated mudguards: SKS says they’re for ‘all road’ gravel-type bikes. We measured the Stingrays at 50mm across (it says 45mm), which is too wide for the brake bridge of an average winter road bike unless you trim them.

The Stingrays have full-length steel stays that are meant for bikes with braze-on, fixed mudguard eyes.

So they may not fit the traditional skinny-tubed winter training bike but if you have a bike that runs the 28-38mm tyres that the Stingrays are aimed at, they will do a great job at providing full-length cover and are built with the quality and durability that SKS is renowned for. They come with a five-year guarantee to prove it.

best bike mudguards: Kinesis Fend-Off mudguards

3. Kinesis Fend-Off fenders / mudguards

Specifications

Weight: 508g

Reasons to buy

+
Aluminium rather than plastic
+
Plenty of clearance
+
Optional mudflaps

Reasons to avoid

-
No "breakaway" clip

These new anodized aluminium mudguards from Kinesis are a good alternative to the reinforced ‘chromoplastic’ that market leader SKS uses, and the overall weight is on a par too.

The rear uses the same fixing points as a traditional fixed mudguard. The front has just one stay each side that can be easily bent to mounting points higher up the insides of disc-brake (opens in new tab) forks if necessary.

Since they have a single stay at the front a breakaway clip is not included. The end of the stay does fit the SKS-type clip, however, and is a solution if you’re worried, but there’s a degree of movement since they’re designed for a V stay and it doesn’t look right.

Fitting is straightforward, with plenty of clearance between mudguard and a 25c tyre. The squared-off edges turn slightly downwards rather than enclosing the top of the tyre, which means they can handle wider 28c tyres.

There are optional polypropylene mud flaps for front and rear that can be cut out from the included header card.

Dare we say it, the Fend-Offs actually look cool with their laser-etched graphics and matt surface, and they’ll last for years, too.

best bike mudguards: SKS Raceblade Long mudguards

4. SKS Raceblade Long fenders / mudguards

Specifications

Weight: 483g

Reasons to buy

+
Fit bikes without mudguard eyes
+
Compatible with close clearance frames

Reasons to avoid

-
Not compatible with thru-axles or axle bolts
-
Some areas of the frame are left exposed

The Raceblade Longs are for bikes without mudguard eyes. They’re a plastic mudguard of two halves, joined by steel brackets, the faces of which are held together by the brake caliper bolt. At the dropouts, the QR skewer passes through wafer-thin steel eyelets that clip to the ends of the stays – also working as safety breakaway clips – and clamps them in place. Obviously that makes them incompatible with thru-axles and track hubs.

The rear does not reach down as far as the chainstay bridge, meaning Raceblades can be fitted to bikes with close clearance between tyre and rear of seat tube.

It sounds complicated but it’s very easy to set up. Out of the box the Raceblade Longs fitted a standard 700C wheel and 25c tyre with no bending, hacksawing or fettling, achieving an impressively even gap from guard to tyre. A 28mm tyre would be pushing it in clearance terms.

The Raceblade Longs will keep your clubmates, your bum and your feet as dry as any mudguard, but the payback is gaps at the fork, seatstay bridge and bottom of seat tube leaving those areas exposed.

best bike fenders / mudguards: M:Part Primoplastics mudguards

5. M Part Primoplastics fenders / mudguards

Specifications

Weight: 558g

Reasons to buy

+
Plastic bridge may be more durable than a metal one
+
Built-in mudflaps

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than other options reviewed

Last year’s Primoplastics had ‘Pop-off’ couplings, but these use the traditional style where V stays pass through the wings of two steel stay carriers that are riveted to the underside of the mudguard – presumably to avoid accidental pop-offs.

The M Parts are the fixed mudguard type. They’re made from a flexible polycarbonate that is perfectly stiff when fitted thanks to its rounded profile.

The mounting procedure is exactly the same as that of the SKS Stingrays and breakaway clips for the front are included. There’s a plastic rather than steel bridge for connecting the rear to the frame’s brake bridge. It’s too early to say, but metal brackets tend to fatigue and fail eventually: maybe a plastic one is superior. Either way, mudguard bridges are replaceable.

The M Parts have built-in, rubbery mud flaps that are perfectly placed, wrap around the lower part of the tyre – something a flat flap clearly cannot do – and give both mudguards a good length and a welcome extra level of protection from spray.

If you’re weight-weenying you’ll notice that the M:Parts are the heaviest on test, but winter bikes are supposed to be heavy, remember?

Clip-on bike fenders / mudguards

Image shows Flinger Race Pro clip-on fenders/mudguards

(Image credit: Tom Epton)
Easiest to install and remove

Specifications

Weight: 440g

Reasons to buy

+
Five year guarantee 
+
Easy installation requiring only one hex-key 

Reasons to avoid

-
Some clearance problems, check before you buy
-
Straps look a little untidy

The Flinger Race Pro mudguards are an easy to install set of clip-on mudguards that fit securely to road bikes which that doesn't have specific eyelets for mounting 'guards.

They feel light on the bike relative to some other mudguards and, with excellent coverage, the Race Pros keep you, your mates and your bike much dryer than going bare or using an 'asssaver' style fender.

In the box comes a rear guard with stays attached, a rear guard extension, adjustable stays with an attachment foot, a short bracket and four rubber attachment strips. The attachment strips wrap around the seat and chain stays then link onto a hook in the bracket that holds the guard in place.

The guard is a tight squeeze, and so in the case of our tester, he couldn't fit the entire product to his road bike. That said, it was functional even with one part of the guards missing from the bike.

Read more: Flinger Race Pro mudguard full review

best bike mudguards: Crud Roadracer Mk3 mudguards

7. Crud Roadracer Mk3 mudguards

Specifications

Weight: 241g

Reasons to buy

+
Work without mudguard eyes
+
Fit bikes with disc brakes and wide tyres
+
Very lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Rear guard is on the short side

British brand Crud has thought of everything with this third version of the Roadracer guard that is designed for bikes with no mudguard eyes.

The Mk3 uses a super-sticky type of Velcro that is stuck in strips to the insides of the fork legs and seatstays. Alcohol wipes are supplied in the box and it’s essential to give the areas of the frame where the strips are to be stuck a very thorough clean first.

Keeping the fixing points up high means no fouling disc brakes and Crud claims the Mk3s are suitable for tyres of up to 38mm too. Since they’re relatively flat that seems feasible: they swallowed the 25mm tyres of a test bike. And they’re so light!

The rear comes in two halves: the bottom half can be left off if your bike has less than 4mm between tyre and seat tube.

Crud supplies stick-on brushes to stop the rear mudguard hitting the tyre, as it can do due to fewer fixing points.

The rear is a little short and needs a homemade mud flap.

Thanks to their versatility, light weight and ingenious design we would say the Cruds are the best clip-on mudguards in town.

What to look for in a bike fender / mudguard

The basic idea behind a mudguard is to stop water coming off the wheels onto your body: the longer the guards, the greater the coverage and the more protection they offer — full guards also keep a lot of salt-laden winter road spray off your bike. Very narrow guards or those that are too flat or far away from the tyre will also reduce protection.

As race-oriented road bikes have become lighter (opens in new tab) and more sport focused, fittings and/or clearance for ‘proper’ mudguards has fallen out of favour and many people don’t have the financial wherewithal or inclination for a dedicated winter bike. All is not lost, though. There are now plenty of options for the ‘close clearance’ bike, from simple clip on and off options that avoid the brake and normal attachment issues, right through to fenders that look like traditional guards but bypass clearance issues through clever design — and plenty in-between.

On the other hand, many makes have noted that riders want all-weather protection and many newer bikes have increased clearance for wider tyres and even some performance-oriented bikes include hidden mudguard mounting points.

Bicycle fender / mudguard fitting

Having a plastic cover close to your tyre means there is a chance of additional noise as flopping guards can rub on the side of the tyre or bounce up and down on top of it. No one wants to ride a noisy bike, so the quality and security of the fittings is just as important as the length and coverage.

Ease of bicycle fender / mudguard fitting

As the guards will be going on a bike that is also ridden ‘sans fender’, the ease of fitting and removal is important, as is the speed and simplicity. We like a mudguard set to be easy to keep together off the bike. Too many parts to get lost or slide under the fridge are never a good thing.