Bike Fenders Round-Up

Best options for keeping your bike, body and face dry

Gear
MudHugger Fender

The Mudhugger front fender is a well-constructed high-end option.

With over 20 inches of rain this month, NorCal residents (such as your author) are left scrambling to find good fender options. Most of us have lived without them during the recent long-term drought, but all the sudden it seems puddles and running water are going to be present on our trails for a while.

Good front fenders keep water and muck off your face, while rear fenders are tasked with keeping your shorts dry. But which fenders do the job without getting in the way, or causing other aggravation? Press play to hear about some of the options we’ve been testing during these rainy days.

Mudhugger

The priciest option of this group is also one of the best. Durable, molded plastic fenders stay on the bike securely and provide great coverage. Front fender: $30 | Rear fender: $38 | More info at www.themudhugger.us.com

MarshGuard

The simplest and smallest of the front fenders in the lot is the original MarshGuard. It is a flat panel cut from an ingenious template and shaped upon installation. It’s not large or extremely effective but it’s effective enough to keep water and mud out of your eyes. Standard fork fender: $16 | More info at marshguard.com

MadeRad

Based on the MarshGuard design, we included these in the round-up because they are fun creations by master painter Tony Baumann. Printed front fender: $23 | More info at: www.maderadbytony.com

SKS

This is the ultimate set of fenders for fat bikes and plus bikes. They are big, secure and keep their shape very well. Coverage behind and in front of a 29er wheel is also excellent. And the wide, long seat post mounted fender has an adjustable tension belt to secure it in place. Fatboard set (front and rear): $55 | Shock board XL front: $25 | X-Dry XL: $20 | More info at www.sks-germany.com

Blackburn

The front fender is frame mounted and the rear is positioned in place by a pivoting arm. Construction is very robust and installation is tool-free. Splashboard Fender Combo: $25 | More info at www.blackburndesign.com

That’s what we have in the test rotation so far. The Mudhugger is the best but it is pricey and the rear has an “interesting” look. The SKS fenders provide great coverage and great construction. The Blackburn set is a good value.

What fenders are you using this winter?


About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • preston says:

    I run an SKS shockblade up front all year round. In the PNW there seem to always be muddy spots even in the Summer and I’m just used to seeing that thing up there.. I’ve tried the little mudhugger styles but they always catch a lot of rocks in them especially with the bigger tires and the coverage is not nearly as good as the larger SKS. The little release mechanism breaks after 1-2 rides so I have to zip tie them to the crown anyway. Always funny to see my friend’s mud splattered faces while mine stays 100% clean, can’t figure out why everyone around here doesn’t use fenders. Maybe people think they are dorky, but I think the full style fender actually looks cool and very moto.

  • sicboy541 says:

    I also live in the PNW and have tried just about every front and rear fender out there and have found Mudhuggers to be the best performing and long lasting by far. The rear fender in particular is great as post mounted fenders are impossible with most every dropper post set up. Post mounted fenders can twist around and frankly, you still end up with a skunk stripe. With the mud hugger I now rarely have any mud on my backside. They seem to fit more FS suspension designs with the exception of Kona’s process models. Regarding front fenders, I have to go with Mudhugger again. While there are other designs that fit under the fork arch(Marshguard etc) their’s has much better coverage and is of a stronger plastic. I used to run the SKS, Topeak type that fit into the steerer tube under the crown and always still had to ziptie them to the crown as they’d eventually fall off or twist around. Plus they sit quite high off the tire allowing more debris/water to get by.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      skunk stripe!! I like that sicboy531. Yeah, the Mudhuggers nip the splash in the bud, right near the source! Seatpost mounted ones end up mounted so high (to account for travel that only the high center line is protected. Seatpost stuff really is for hardtails ideally.

  • hpiguy says:

    No love for Manitou owners from anyone but Mucky Nutz it seems. Been running the stubby front MN fenders on my bikes for a couple seasons now and they’re still going strong. I don’t generally ride in the wet or mud though, as in our area, that will do permanent damage to the trails.

    • Perfectbike says:

      Weird how in the USA we don’t ride in the wet or mud but it’s a norm in the UK. Something to think about.

      • Francis Cebedo says:

        >>Weird how in the USA we don’t ride in the wet or mud but it’s a norm in the UK. Something to think about.

        People have different tolerances for sure. But the trail and landscape have different tolerances too. In Seattle or Vancouver, where it rains constantly during the rainy season, the terrain and the trails are armored with rock and sand to drain properly. So they actually hold up to wet weather riding. Other terrain where it’s sticky mud with no drainage, riding in the rain is not a good idea.

  • Nick Gilling says:

    Probably a product that is relatively unknown outside of the UK, but has had very favourable press here are the Mudguardz http://www.rockguardz.com/mudguardz.html, these are handmade by a small group of mountain bikers in a variety of sizes and in my experience provide a much better coverage that anything else, I decided to replace my Mudhugger with one after seeing just how much filthier I was than a friend who was running a medium Mudguardz, plus you can get them in Carbon if thats your bling thing.

  • jason robinson says:

    fenders are for whimps

  • Perfectbike says:

    Mucky Nutz available on Amazon. Lots of colors and options. Should be included in this list.

  • John Halak says:

    +1 for Mucky Nutz…easy to install, works great and a great price.

    • JD Dallager says:

      +2 for Mucky Nutz. Had one up front for 2 years now. Big difference in dirt in the face and on the stanchions/downtube. Easy to install and maintenance free.

  • Outside! says:

    I tried an SKS when I first got my Pike with boost spacing, and the fender was two small for the wide stanchions. I ended up trimming it down and using it to shield the bottom link on the rear suspension. Which of these front fenders work on forks with boost spacing?

    • zooey says:

      Interesting idea!

      It was flooded with rain in SoCal last weekend, and I purposely rode through deeper puddles (on the road), and saw that there was a solid stream of water being directed at the BB, from the rear tire. I was worried about my BB bearings after that, so I rode it the next couple days to make sure nothing seized up from sitting unused. Hard to imagine what people with VPP and DW Link style FS bikes do to cope.

  • zooey says:

    I have only a Marsh Guard front and I can see value in the downtube fender (ex. Crud Catcher). When I am charging out of the saddle, my chin is usually pretty close to the headset, which is above the back of the front wheel. The downtube only blocks so much muck being flung straight up, and I can feel the cold splatter on my face, which discourages me from charging.

  • Soulrider says:

    I use “Rockgaurds Molded Fender” works great it’s is a molded fender like the mud hugger, I use a muck guard in the back and ride all year round PNW

  • MikeC says:

    Axiom. Got one for the front, ordering one for the back today – $16.95 ea

  • Ed B. says:

    I’ve used the SKS in the past and switched to the mudhuggers around a year ago. The SKS rear fender was always getting knocked out of place and was mostly useless. Once I added a dropper post, it became completely unusable. Unlike the other rear fenders listed, the mudhuggers attach to the rear triangle. It isn’t affected by suspension or dropper posts and it can be placed in close tolerance to the rear tire where it is most effective.

    It may be a few dollars more, but the money spent on the others is money thrown away if you throw rear suspension or dropper seatposts in the equation.

    After thought… I ride a 26″ and wish I’d have went with the longer rear. 650b guys will want to get the 29er version for sure.

  • Dave T. says:

    I’m surprised Mucky Nutz wasn’t included. They offer a few options.

    https://www.muckynutz.com/

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