Zefal Shield G50 gravel fender review - great value, simple and sturdy guards
A great chunk cheaper than the alternatives these guards punch well above their weight. Just don't expect to fit them quickly
The Zefal Shield G50s fenders / mudguards do an excellent job at protecting both you and your gravel bike from the winter wet and filth. They'll take up to a 50mm tire, have a really solid construction and are nice and stable even on fast and rocky trails. They're a bit heavier than some other guards and a pain to fit but given they cost 60% of many other guards we're ok with that.
Sturdy guard that can accommodate large volume tires
Time consuming and awkward to fit
Attachment points collect lots of dirt
Based on the road Shield R35s, the Shield G50s are a gravel-specific fender / mudguard offering from accessory experts Zefal. They're designed to fit wheel diameters from 650b to 700mm and tire widths of up to 50mm which should deal with all your gravel-tire needs.
We took them out for a spin to see how they compared to the rest of the best fenders / mudguards for gravel bikes.
Zefal Shield G50: Construction
The Zefal Shield G50s are a sturdy thick guard made from ‘technopolyer resin’, i.e. strong plastic. This makes them a bit on the heavier side than some at around 500g for the set. They’re fairly broad meaning they can take 650b and 700cc tires up to 50mm wide which is useful for those who like to run porky tires on their gravel bikes.
Zefal Shield G50: fitting
My first impression of the Shields was that they’d be easy to fit as the design appears really simple. Oh, how wrong I was. An hour and a half later with the help of my long-suffering assistant I was finally done. Without boring with all the details, here’s the run down...
The guards attach using Zefal’s MD-Fix fastening which is best described as a giant zip-tie that slots into a housing on the guard and attaches with a bolt. But it’s incredibly awkward to size up and slot together whilst holding the guard at the same time. This is made more difficult as, at this point, you don’t know exactly where on your stays / fork the guard will fit so you’re not sizing to an exact point. The most awkward part of this is cutting and wrapping the protective rubber strips that sit underneath, particularly on the narrow seatstays for the rear guard fitting. After several attempts I shunned this approach and went for one of my go-to bike protectors, a trimmed length of old inner tube. Finally with everything in position you need one set of hands to hold it together and another on the hex key to tighten up.
Once the guards were finally fitted I then had to drop out the rear wheel and swap over the extension piece that sits at the top of the guard (there are three lengths to choose from). Like the fastenings, it’s difficult to size this up as you go as you don’t know exactly where the guard will sit until it’s on. Annoyingly the extension piece is attached with a tiny little screw which is on the inside of the guard (and so subject to the full force of the wet and dirt off the tire).
Zefal Shield G50: The ride
Once fitted the Shield G50s do their job simply and well. On the trails they were absolutely fuss free, not a single rattle or chafe on the tire, even when riding some wholly inappropriate trails on a gravel bike. Having just swapped over from riding with the SKS Speedrockers I’d assumed that I’d get less protection from the Shield given they’re quite a bit shorter ( the rear of the G50s is 560mm, and the front is 460mm). I was pleasantly surprised how little spray made its way past, even when travelling reasonably fast on puddle-strewn roads. The ability to get the guard nice and close to the tire will have helped this and off-set some of the disadvantage of the short(-ish) guard.
With a bit of a tweak in positioning they did a good job with my chunkier 650b tires too, easily accommodating the 2.1” diameter.
The only real downside of the guards was those pesky fittings which do their best at collecting a load of muck and are awkward to get clean.
Zefal Shield G50: value and conclusion
At $43 / £35 for the set, the Zefal Shield G50s are one of the cheapest of sets of guards we’ve had on test. In fact, they’re about 60% of the price of the SKS Speedrockers ($75 / £52) and Mudhugger Gravelhuggers ($68 / £48 for set).
Design, coverage and tire volume size the Zefals are most closely matched to Mudhugger’s Gravelhuggers. As a direct comparison the Mudhuggers are far easier to fit, remove and clean but are more expensive and don’t sit as snuggly to the tire so there’s more spray, particularly on the rear.
The Zefal Shield G50s are an effective set of sturdy fenders / mudguards for your gravel bikes that can accommodate big volume tires as well as slicker rubber. They’re a bit on the heavy side and a pain to fit but when you take into account their price, there’s really not much to grumble about.
Zefal Shield G50: specs
- Weight 226 g + 248 g (with mud flap 20 mm)
- Wheel Ø 650b / 700c / 28''
- Max. tire width recommended 50 mm
- Rear fender dimensions (L x W x H) 560 (with mud flap 220mm) x 54 x 210 mm
- Front fender dimensions (L x W x H) 461 x 54 x 210 mm
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Rachel has been writing about and reviewing bike tech for the last 10 years. Cynical by nature, Rachel never really trusts the marketing hype and prefers to give products a mighty good testing before deciding whether they're worth buying or not.
Rachel's first riding love is mountain biking where she's been European and UK 24hr Champion on more than one occasion. She's not just confined to the trails though and regularly rides - and occasionally races - on gravel and road too.
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