The humble mudguard will be top of the list for most serious cyclists when thoughts turn to dressing the bike for winter. The breadth of frame designs, many without permanent mudguard mounts, means there’s a similar multitude of guards to choose from. Selecting the correct set for your steed requires careful consideration and ideally advice from the mechanic at your local bike shop, likely to have had the misfortune of wrestling all manner of guards onto all manner of bicycles.
Tyre clearance presents the greatest challenge, one exacerbated by the installation of broader, winter tyres (more of which on the following pages). Take a look beneath the fork crown to see just how limited space can be and choose your guard carefully. Clearance for the tyre rather than for the brake is the principal issue, although long drop calipers remove any cause for concern. Modern, dual pivot brakes should accommodate most designs, but single pivot units can squeeze a guard.
The SKS Raceblade Long is among the easiest to fit and the most versatile. Mounting plates onto which the guard slides fit behind the brake bolt. The stays are secured by the wheels’ quick release.
Be sure that the guard is robust. Lighter plastics can wobble when you’re up to speed, reducing their benefit, particularly to your riding buddies, and failures can be spectacular. SKS uses a reinforced material they call Chromoplastic. The Full Metal Fenders from Portland Design Works installed on the 2012 RCUK Winter Bike are as robust as the name suggests and can be fitted to bikes with or without permanent mounts.