After the weekend debacle of riding a race-orientated bike in winter conditions, it was with a sense of necessity that I grabbed the SKS Bluemels guards from the shelf to fit them prior to this evening’s Thursday night road session.
These are a special edition matt version of the mighty Blumel guard. I normally fit the SKS Chromoplastic guards which have small beaver tails at the rear of each guard. Their full length coverage does mean that I stay pretty free of road spray, but the small tail on the rear guard still allows a small degree of spray up into the face of a following rider.
These Bluemel versions, however, have mighty wide beaver-like tails at the rear of each guard which look as though they will provide considerable extra protection, not only to the rider behind but also welcome additional relief from spray coming from the front wheel. Potentially very impressive.
As always with good quality mudguards, it is worth taking time and care when fitting. The Bluemels are no exception. The stays need fitting first and then marking when in place to allow accurate trimming of the stainless steel stays to fit your bicycle. Around 20mm was nibbled off the stainless steel rods before fitting. A small amount of additional tweaking is required before I am completely happy with the fit; the front edge of the front guard needs to come down a little but some manipulation of the support at the brake will rectify this.
Our versions are the super slim, Olympic racer, 35mm profile. The range goes all the way up to a 53mm-wide guard for trekking purposes. The front guard has the Automatic Stay Release system which, in the event of an object becoming caught between the tire and the guard, will allow the stays to detach from the fork so you will not come to an abrupt stop.
The matt black finish means that the full length guards are very subtle on any bike, the Test Rig looks rather fine with them on in my view. If you still feel the need for extra protection the SKS Longboard guards provide even more coverage of wheels dropping lower at the rear of each guard. We have never found the need to go quite this far, relying on high quality overshoes as part of our deep winter, wet weather kit.
There is a fairly comprehensive set of bolts and brackets with the guards which should allow you to fit them to pretty much any long drop frame. A stainless clip which holds the leading edge of the rear guard in at the chainstay bridge is not required on the Test Rig as it has a handy threaded hold, ready for a guard. We have event seen the Chromoplastic versions of these guards customised to fit racier bikes with short drop brakes but some trimming of the guard itself is required.
All in all, the SKS Bluemels Matt are a welcome seasonal addition to the Test Rig, and will we hope provide all the road spray protection we require. Now bring on the rain.