Fenders or Mudguards

We find traditional fenders or mudguards are not the best solution for bike touring. Instead, we use the simple deflectors sometimes used by mountain bikers. We have several reasons:

  • Deflectors are a major weight saving over a set of fenders.
  • Fenders are a real nuisance when boxing the bike for shipping.
  • During logistical moves when moving a bike (unboxed) by bus, train, or boat, fenders tend to get caught, and can become bent or misaligned.
  • Other touring cyclists we know who use traditional fenders are forever tightening loose screws and adjusting alignment. The deflectors are held in place by cable ties, and we have never touched these.
  • In extreme conditions mud can clog up under the traditional fenders and impede rotation of the wheel.
  •  A forward deflector doesn’t create the toe overlap that some find is an issue with a front fender.

The rear deflector mounts under the rear rack with cable ties. Its extension beyond the rear of the rack is remarkably effective in preventing water and mud from going up your back.

Rear Deflector

To protect your front derailleur from that last bit of muck thrown forward by the rear wheel, mount a simple MTB front fender (no stays) behind the seat tube, attaching its ends to rear fork and chain stays.

MTB front fender used to cover front of rear wheel

A simple forward deflector shield mounted to the underside of the down tube catches most of the road goop thrown upward and rearward by your front wheel. Velcro strips are provided for mounting, but punch a few extra holes if you have a water bottle cage below the down tube (as shown) or add cable ties if the Velcro wears out.

Front deflector

Deflectors are available in Canada from Mountain Equipment Co-op for $5.75 each. A set of front and rear deflectors costs less than half the price of a set of fenders ($24 a pair at MEC). Our deflectors weigh 114 grams for the set and are manufactured by Mountain Cycling Accessories (MCA).  For comparison, a Rainrunner DLX Fender set weighs 852 grams.

One response to “Fenders or Mudguards

  1. Pingback: Fenders or Mudguards – hanlinsblog

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