Fenders on your bike, are they really necessary or are they too much of an eyesore to keep them on? That mostly depends on the conditions that you will be riding through. Fenders or mudguard perform a very important function. If you’ve even been biking without one through a mucky, muddy area, you’ll understand. You could end up with a mouthful of muck and mud, or you could end up with a dubious-looking stain running down your back.
Even if the weather is not particularly wet, the mud guard can be useful in protecting you from dust and debris o the road. And it’s not only you who’ll benefit – so will the riders behind you.
Mudguards have come a long way since the early days. The benefits outweigh any aesthetic considerations pretty fast. It makes sense from a maintenance standpoint as well. The guards prevent too much mud ending up in delicate areas on your bike. Which means less caked in dirt for you to have to worry about. But, more than that, it also means that your bike can keep going for longer in miserable conditions.
So, in short, get yourself a fender and install it. They are pretty reasonably priced and easy enough to install on your own. Do make sure that it is going to fit your bike before making your final decision.
Is There a Difference Between Road Bike and Mountain Bike Fender Models?
Road Bike Fender Models
These are usually made to cover the top area of the tire. You will either have them fixed in place or as a clip-on accessory, depending on the bike. If you want a fixed type, your cycle’s frame must have eyelets that it can be attached to. If these aren’t present, clip-ons are the only option. You could always use clip-ons on frames that have eyelets if you prefer to do things that way. The fenders in these cases can be plastic, carbon or aluminum.
Mountain Bike Fenders
These are usually a fair amount shorter, but also quite a bit wider because of the difference in tires. You can get smaller guards like some of the models reviewed below that are placed on the arch of the fork and on the legs. These work by catching the mud and dust and so preventing it from flying up and at the rider. You can use a few of this type of guard to protect different areas on your bike.
There are also guards that are longer and mounted onto the fork, as well as those that are placed on the downtube. Both do an admirable job of keeping the rider drier. These models will usually be made from tough plastic and will need to be attached to the frame with cable ties or strips of Velcro.
It’s important to read through the instructions carefully so that you can get these installed in the optimal position. Once you have found the right spot, make sure that they are securely fastened.
How to fit your MTB Fenders
Are you ready to start enjoying a cleaner ride? One look online and you’ll come up with hundreds of different models. It’s an overwhelming range of choices. Don’t worry; we have you covered. We’ve gone through hundreds of models to bring you our top choices.
We rated these on performance, price, and functionality. Ready to see which brands came out on top?
Fifty-Fifty Mountain Bike Fender
- Simple and effective,proven protection from front wheel spray and flying debris,keep you and your bike cleaner
- Compatiable with Bicycle Front Fork and Rear Seat( for disc brake use only),it protects your fork stanchions and bridge from getting caked, reducing the need for cleaning and servicing
- Four-point fixed to avoid sliding and easy to form the shape to makes your bike look much cooler after installation
- Super sturdy and light weight,it's thick enough to be durable but flexible enough to get it to fit your bike
- Easy to install,come with 6 heavy duty zip ties and Installation instructions
Fifty Fifty are know for their grips, but they also do a good range of MTB fenders. This is a simple piece of protection that fits snugly in place to protect you from the dirt your bike kicks up and other debris. It is useful in that it keeps you from eating mud and also saves you a lot of time cleaning your bike later.
This model will work to protect the rear seat (only use for disc brakes) and front fork. The bridge and stanchions of the fork don’t get caked in mud. This improves their longevity and reduces the need for maintenance.
• Fixes in four points, so it stays in position.
• Flexible so you can fit it perfectly, no matter what type of tires you have.
• An attractive option.
• Simple to install – just attach with the zip ties provided.
• Will fit sizes 26 inches to 29 inches, and also bikes with bigger and fatter wheels.
• Good price.
• It is strong, but we wonder how much punishment it will be able to handle when it comes to larger debris.
SKS Rowdy MTB Fender
- 20 or 24 inch wheel compatible
- Durable plastic construction / Metal and plastic harware
- Rear mounts onto the seatpost of bike
- 205 grams
- Rear fender can pivot to adjust coverage
SKS is a trusted name in biking circles. This model of mudguard is slightly different in that it is made specifically for your kid’s bike. It will fit wheels of 20 inches to 24 inches and will help keep your young MTB enthusiast a little bit cleaner and safer.
• You mount it on the bike’s seat post.
• It is very lightweight.
• Made of high-quality plastic and comes with metal hardware.
• Highly durable.
• Has a multi-adjustable design which means it can be fitted to just about any type of frame.
• Only suitable for a kid’s bike.
SKS Rear Mudguard Xtra-Dry Mountain Bike Fender
- Fender is an update of classic backscratcher fender, named for the shape; long and straight, with curve at one end
- Quick-release strap grabs onto seat post or seat tube; pivot behind quick release to adjust angle of fender
- Long, narrow fender surface keeps chamois from getting too soggy, and rooster tails from soaking your back
- Made of shock-resistant, performance plastic; 140-gram weight
- Compatible with any seat post; recommended for all types of wet-weather cycling
This is an undated version of the traditional backscratcher model. Why does it have such a weird name? Because it is extremely long, is straight and then curves on one end. It is attached by means of a strap instead of cable ties, which is useful when it comes to adjusting it to get the best angle.
We do have to give fair warning – if you are doing a lot of wet weather commuting, the strap could be an issue. This is more of an accessory for muddy, dirty and fun mountain biking.
Because of the length of this model, you are not going to be affected by rooster tails. It is lightweight at 152 grams. Worried about the extra weight weighing you down during a longer ride? Think of all the mud that is not going to end up caking your cycle and self, and you’ll realize this is a good trade-off.
This is an affordable option and one that is great to keep in the car if the weather looks iffy for your ride, or if the ground is very wet.
• High-performance, shock-resistant 140-gram plastic that will last well.
• Will work for any type of seat post.
• They are ideal for wet-weather biking of any type.
• It is 95mm wide and 600mm long, so it provides plenty of cover even if it does twist a little.
• Easy to remove so it can be stowed when not needed.
• Keeps mud off the top of the saddle as well, making it easier to get on and off your bike.
• Not that easy to set it up at first because you need to get the strap in the exact right place. Be prepared to work on this a bit. Once you have it right the first time, it is a breeze to use.
• It can be unwieldy.
Mucky Nutz Face MTB Fender
- It is fitted as close as possible to the knobbly bits for optimum 'muck' catching
- It can be used on all wheel sizes
- It protects your fork stanchions and bridge from getting caked, reducing the need for cleaning and servicing
- It's small but effective; Don't just take our word for it; There's loads of positive chit chat on the forums and in the online mags
- It's the lightest mtb mudguard available
We have to be honest, we took a second look at this because the name cracked us up. That said, it turned out to be a serious contender. This model is also attached at five different points and the goal is to get it as close to the wheel as possible without impeding the wheel’s progress. It’s versatile too – it will work with all double bridge and forward bridge fork designs. You can place it in the front, at the back or on the fork itself. You decide where you need the most protection.
When you take it out of the packaging, you’ll be taken a little aback at first. It is small, and weighs only 30 grams or so. It comes with Velcro that you have to cut up into five lengths. These lengths then fit through the slots and attach the fender securely to the bike.
Fair warning – this isn’t the easiest job, so tackle it with patience. Once you get the first couple of Velcro strips attached, though, it becomes a lot easier.
You may be wondering how effective it could possibly be, considering its small size and that it weighs a piffling 16 grams. It’s highly effective. Why? Because it is so close to the wheel. So, it doesn’t matter how much your bike twists and turns, it remains effective at protecting you from mud and water.
Strength-wise, it holds up well to crashes and, despite being flexible, it’s not that easy to break.
• Small and light-weight.
• Fits a wide range of bikes.
• Secured in five different places – it won’t shift easily.
• Highly effective.
• Installation is a bit fiddly.
How to Make Your Own Mountain Bike Fenders
If you want to get creative and make your own MTB fenders, then check out this video below from the Global Mountain Bike Network
Buying Mountain Bike Fenders -- The Verdict
That’s all, folks. That’s our round-up of the best mountain bike fenders. We’ve changed things up a little by including something for younger bikers as well, so be sure to let us know if you’d like more reviews like this one.
In terms of the overall best performance, the top honors were difficult to award. First place goes jointly to the SKS Xtra Dry and the Mucky Nutz Face Fender. Both perform the same basic function in very different ways and both are highly effective.
You’ll need to decide which works best for you. We do hope that this review has been useful to you and that it will help you make your final decision.