The SKS Speedrockers are designed to give full-ish and stable coverage on gravel bikes that don't have frame mounts for fixing traditional full guards. The guards themselves do a pretty good job in keeping bike and rider clean, although the two-piece front fender does allow some muck through without an obvious design advantage. The guards are rather let down by the crude attachment arrangement which collects a lot of dirt and isn't hugely stable on the front of the bike.
The stays give good stability
Fiddly mounting system which collects lots of dirt
Front guard hard to align and limit gap to forks
Velcro straps on front guard are difficult to tighten
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The Speedrockers are just one of a dizzing array of guards produced by the German fender experts SKS.
They are full-ish guards designed for gravel and CX bikes with room for disc brakes and have a bolt-free fixing using a two / three points with stays for additional stability.
We took them on some winter adventures to see how they measured up against our other best fenders / mudguards for gravel bikes.
SKS Speedrocker: Construction and fitting
The Speedrockers are plastic with aluminium (black) stays and rubber and Velcro fixings. They fit 27.5” and 700c tires but only up to 1.65” / 40c width so won’t suit those monster-cross style tires.
Fitting these guards is one of those jobs that takes you far longer than you feel it should, over an hour in my case. In fairness it was only the first fitting that took quite that long, but I’ve still not found a way to stop the rubberised U-shaped mounting inlay pieces jumping across the shed to play hide and seek as I try and cinch up the straps.
The rear guard is actually quite straightforward; it’s just the measuring and trimming of the stays that takes time. After that you just need to pull the snug rubberised strips round the mounting clips whilst making sure those inlays don’t make a bid for freedom. There’s also a Velcro strap to your seat tube and the option to remove a short piece of the guard if it fouls your frame.
The front guard is far more fiddly as it sits in two pieces which are awkward to align and uses Velcro straps which don’t tighten and grip in the same way that the ones on the rear guard do. Even adjusting the hinges I couldn’t get the front section of the guard to sit neatly over my tire and there was quite a gap between the fork crown and the guard as the bracket on the fork sits quite proud.
The two-part front guard strikes me as a curious arrangement; the guards are disc specific, so the gap isn’t to allow room for a brake - meaning that I can’t really see the purpose, given there’s pretty much always room to run a guard over your tire and through your forks.
SKS Speedrocker: The ride
There’s no doubt the SKS Speedrockers give good coverage. Whilst you might not believe it from the photos, I came home from this particularly filthy winter ride remarkably clean which is far more than can be said for my riding mates. But, this coverage is far from perfect, there’s a whole lot of muck that hits the front of you and your bike through the gap in the front fender.
Secondly, to clean this lot effectively, you need to completely remove, and therefore, refit the guards. There are just so many places for the muck to go and potentially wear your frame and damage the guards too. A simpler mounting system – such as that on the SKS Raceblade Pro XL Stealth Series or using frame mounts if you have them – would avoid this problem. At least the rear guard mounts are much easier to clean than the front Velco’d ones.
On the subject of the front Velcro fixing, not only does it get dirty and is awkward to clean, it doesn’t do a very good job either. Even when I’ve tightened it as much as I can manage the guard gradually slips down the fork until it scuffs on the tire. There must be a reason that SKS use a different fixing on the front than the rear (which is used on many other SKS guards, too), I’m just not sure what it is.
Other than the slipping front guard, the Speedrockers were pretty stable with the additional fixing from the stays stopping any untoward flapping around.
SKS Speedrocker: Value and conclusion
At $75 / £52 the Speedrockers are priced similarly to the majority of other gravel fenders / mudguards that are currently available, such as the Mudhugger Gravelhuggers ($68 / £48 for set) and SKS Raceblade Pros $75 / £50.
The SKS Speedrockers should appeal to riders who want a full and stable guard on their gravel / winter bike but don’t have the mounts to run a traditional bolted set. However, the two-piece front fender and crude design of the mounting arrangements isn’t as stable and effective as it could be. It also results in a set of guards with so many nooks and crannies to collect mud that the effort of cleaning them seems greater than going without and just washing your kit and bike.
SKS Speedrocker: specs
- Material: Plastic
- Colour: Black
- Weight: 408 g
- Wheel size: 27.5" (650b)", 28 "
- Tire width in inches: 0.9"-1.65"
- Tire width in mm: 23-42 mm
- Length front fender: 500+210 mm
- Length rear fender: 950 mm
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