Love them or hate them, mud guards are an important part of any UK riders armoury.
I admit to hating them, even to the extent that after countless Mountain Mayhem Battle of the Somme type mud experiences I steadfastly refused to adorn my bikes with them. Beauty is in the eye of the bikeholder and I didn't want to spoil bike lines with massive great big wings stuck out over the rear wheel. My brief flirt using a 'free with a mag' crud catcher ended with a crash and I could never be arsed to buy and fit another.
I first came across the Mucky Nutz brand on another blog, the writer explained the lightweight nature of the item and that it was fixed only to the saddle rails to allow ease of fitting and removal. I promptly ordered on and it has been with me (either on the bike or in the rucksack) since.
Up front though, I've not had much and during a ride a couple of weeks ago I saw a lad with a Bender Fender. I liked the low profile design and the same simple design which copied across from the rear guard. Heading to the website when I got home I browsed through the units on offer and then found the Bender Fender 'Lite' in the clearance area, having been reduced to £4.50.. bargain.
When it arrived it was flatpacked in an envelope with a 30" length of double sided Velcro zip tied to it. Fitting was a breeze (even for a technical incompetent like myself).
Firstly I cut the Velcro into 5 same size lengths and then fed it through the hole in the fender, around the fork stanchion and secured it on itself. I’d read a review that it could be a little tricky to fit, but I guess taking the wheel out means free uniterrupted access. I worked on the side fixings first and then on the fork bridge, pulling each one to align the fender over the wheel, balancing coverage and clearance.
Overall, fitting took me 5 minutes and a quick spin of the front wheel showed no areas of rub.
So far, so impressed.
So far, so impressed.
My first ride out was a perfect opportunity to test the function of the fender. The weather has been truly atrocious, heavy and prolonged periods of rain have turned even the most weather resilient trails into a series of puddles and the hardiest of riders have been calling off rides.
Into the Forest of Dean and I was keen to see how the guard performed, I acknowledged when I placed the order that due to the short length, I was still going to get some splash up but I admit to being incredibly impressed, even through horrible thick mud and then free flowing water the guard performed incredibly well. The down tube was testament to the effectiveness of the bender fender at the end of the ride, looking far less spattered than normal.
Not only is it efficient, but it's low profile looks mean that for me, this is going to be a permanent fixture to the bike and will be transferred when the new one arrives in a few weeks time.
For a simple, effective and good looking solution to the eternal problem of mud in the UK I highly recommend anyone get the Mucky Nutz Bender Fender! Available here