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8 Front Fenders for your MTB

Fenders For Fall (and Winter)

Words Andrew Major
Photos Dave Smith & Noted
Date Sep 20, 2018

Fenders For All

Front fenders keep crap (sometimes actual crap) out of my face, especially at speed when my big knobby tire wants to whip that sh*t straight into my (sometimes actual) sh*t eating grin. 

They also keep the worst kinds of sandy discharge off my fork seals, keeping my fork sealing, preventing damage, and saving me money. Fenders; is there anything they can't do?

*like that time a small rock used my fork arch as a base to launch an assault on the my stanchion. 

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Check out our NSMB.com & Ass-Savers fender collaboration. 

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With partial proceeds benefitting the Stevie Smith Legacy Fund.

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And a cool chainsaw graphic that definitely helps keep gloop off your face.

Below you'll find a few fenders that have graced the NSMB workbench. None of them are expensive, especially compared to the money and torment* they can prevent. I've personally broken an example of every fender listed below except for the Syncros bolt-on and RRP, both of which I've never tried, and the SKS Flap Guard which I have one ride on. I've never felt that one of these fenders owed me anything since they're recyclable, and relatively cheap.  

*I have a mental image of my buddy Bri, bent over in the pissing rain, mining his eye for an invisible asteroid with dirty fingers while performing a blue-language version of the Alphabet Aerobics

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

The classic original Mucky Nutz brings subtle coverage both my face and fork seals. Photo: AM

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

Why use five Zip-Ties when four works great? Photo: AM

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

Plenty of clearance in the Trace 36 with a 29x2.6" WTB Vigilante tire. Photo: AM

Zip-Ties 

I don't care about getting dirty but I prefer to avoid crashing due to dirt-induced blindness, eating deer feces, and having to landscape my eyeballs with booger-infused gloves. For my purposes, the most diminutive fender options work great while limiting the commuter look and the potential crash-carnage. I'll take the original Mucky Nutz, the Marsh Guard, or the Ass Savers for Zip-Tie arch fenders. 

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

The SKS Flap Guard is made of a soft plastic that is meant to hold its shape and take a sh*t kicking. Photo: AM

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

Lots of daylight in the X-Fusion as well as the Suntour Durolux. Four Zip-Ties get it done. Photo: AM

That said, having the fender extend ahead of my fork arch keeps the gunk down. Particularly when smashing through puddles. Whether the extra protection is worth suffering the commuter-chic look will depend on your perspective.

RRP Max Protection ProGuard offers loads of coverage

AJ tested the RRP ProGuard which unapologetically maximizes coverage. Photo: AJ

RRP ProGuard offers heaps of coverage

"The Max Protection ProGuard offers heaps of coverage and the flick at the rear essentially extends it without adding more length." Photo: AJ

RRP ProGuard arch mounting holes

Check out his Two-Minute Review for more in information on this low profile Zip-Tie coverage king. Photo: AJ 

More and more forks - DVO, X-Fusion, Suntour, Fox, etc - are coming with fender mounting points on the lowers. While a bolted on fender looks clean, it requires two, or four, tiny threaded holes for hamfists to strip out, not to mention a marginal increase in production cost. 

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These days I've been seeing more Marsh Guards locally than anything else. Photo: Pete Roggeman

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Tiny bolts and velcro get points for reusability, but I prefer the humble Zip Tie. Photo: Pete Roggeman 

In this era of internally routed everything, the once mighty Zip-Tie is no longer ever-present on our frames and, on top of looking clean, custom-manufactured bolt-on fenders are more easily installed and removed. Zip-Tie fenders win for mounting universality, lower cost, and generally lighter weight but there's no "here's mud in your eye" moment coming if you prefer tiny hex bolts. 

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

The Mucky Nutz Full Face Fender comes flat but folds into a contoured shape. Photo: AM

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

The shape is relatively adjustable depending on how Zip-Ties are positioned. Photo: AM

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

It appears to sit closer to the tire because of the shape but there is plenty of crap clearance. Photo: AM

Bolt-On

Some companies, like DVO and SR Suntour, ship forks with bolt-on fenders in the box for a some added value. Others, like Fox and X-Fusion, have handy holes drilled in the lowers without offering a fender to fit. For those with an aversion to zip ties, Scott Sports has responded with a super clean bolt-on option designed to work with Fox forks, 

Have a Fox fork and an aversion to zip-ties? Scott Bicycles answers the question "what the heck are the holes on the back of my Fox fork lowers for," with a super-clean bolt-on fender. 

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

Stock on some Scott bicycle models and available through their dealer network. Photo: AM

Fenders For Fall AndrewM

The fender is actually sold under the Syncros brand name. Photo: AM

SR Suntour's bolt-on fender interfaces nicely for a factory look. It's not something I leave on year round but the length and shape offer the best coverage of any bolt-on fender I've used. Install is fast enough that I've fired it on five minutes before a ride and it's solidly made.

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Suntour's Durolux fork hard mounts a fender using four screws. Photo: AM

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It's both cleanly executed and provides excellent coverage, a nice feature for those considering a Suntour fork. Photo: AM

Winning With Fenders

If this was a 'shoot out' I'd have to declare a winner, but all of these have a spot on someone's podium. You, however, will be the real victor after your 15-25 USD fender saves you from bleeding cash on extra fork maintenance and from digging detritus from your eyeballs.  

Comments

velocipedestrian
+2 grcgrc Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 20, 2018, 2:30 a.m.

I realised how valuable a fender is to me after discovering (one of) the reason(s) I ride so badly in the wet was leaning back to keep crap out of my eyes.

Reply

fartymarty
+3 ReductiMat grcgrc Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Sept. 20, 2018, 3:15 a.m.

It's funny because some in our ride group just asked for mudguard advice and I found this wee gem from Cathro... https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=38&v=veH4WRj5_p4

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AndrewMajor
0 Shrockie Rick Lyngen
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2018, 6:14 a.m.

Gold!

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+2 Garrett Thibault Andrew Major
AJ Barlas  - Sept. 20, 2018, 5:24 a.m.

Timing! I just copped a big goop of mud, nothing but net style straight to the eyeball while descending a tricky section of trail the other day. This with a Marshy and eyewear! Made me think it may be time for the “commuter” fender to go back on, haha.

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AndrewMajor
+1 AJ Barlas
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2018, 6:08 a.m.

This. Temporary blindness at a reasonable clip was the muse here for sure.

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fartymarty
+2 IslandLife grcgrc
fartymarty  - Sept. 20, 2018, 6:59 a.m.

I'm at the point I don't take my Mudhugger off (only to service forks).  It weighs next to nothing and there are no real downsides to running it all year.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 grcgrc
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2018, 8:58 a.m.

I used to run the regular Mucky Nutz / Marsh Guard all year round but prefer to take the longer fenders off outside of rainy season for no reason I can justify without sounding like a goof.

Reply

shoreboy
+3 legbacon IslandLife grcgrc
Shoreboy  - Sept. 20, 2018, 8:21 a.m.

I run a full length mucky nutz fender on the front (prefer the velcro to the zip ties) and rear of my bike year round.  The number of rocks and dirt I hear hitting the front fender even on dry days makes me appreciate how much it is saving me from getting hit in the eyes and face. The rear one is there to stop dirt/sticks/rocks from getting into the linkage and possibly messing up my frame.  Also helps to keep crap from accumulating on the dropper post to some degree.  Had some damage on my previous frame (DW link) with rocks getting stuck between the front and rear triangle.  They are so light and easy to install and remove, the benefits of running them year round are definitely positive.  In the winter, I usually go full mudhugger on the back.

Reply

legbacon
+3 grcgrc Andy Eunson Andrew Major
legbacon  - Sept. 20, 2018, 8:57 a.m.

I have ordered a Super-Dork Maximum Protection ProGuard to go with my rear Mudhuggers so I don't have to do laundry until the new year.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Sept. 20, 2018, 9:32 a.m.

Andrew:

Any info on the fit of the ProGuard with the Mattoc reverse arch?  With the nutz-type fenders, it's just a matter of re-positioning the holes (I make my own), but I'd like to get more coverage this season. I'm looking at the ProGuard, but the reverse arch may get in my way. If it's just a matter of adding two additional holes, it may still be worth it.

Thanks!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2018, 11:09 a.m.

I’ve done the same with Marsh Guard and Mucky Nutz and my rigid fork (no arch) with good results. 

I’ve never seen the RRP in person so can’t comment on that one.

Reply

mammal
+1 chachmonkey
Mammal  - Sept. 21, 2018, 6:16 a.m.

Thanks for the reply Andrew, regardless of outcome. I put an order in for the one with most coverage, so I'll update this comment once I try it out (in case anyone's paying attention at that point). I imagine I'll need to add some reinforcement material to the mounting area, aft of where they added it. We'll see how it goes.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 23, 2018, 10:17 a.m.

Cool - definitely post up!

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Sept. 23, 2018, 5:53 p.m.

they come with many hole options to accommodate most fork set ups.

Reply

flowrider
+1 Derek Baker
flowrider  - Sept. 20, 2018, 11 a.m.

I made my own out of a black plastic folder. This winter I'll likely put an old T.H.E. downtube fender (in sweet faux carbon fibre) that I've had forever on as well as I seem to take everything in the eye.

Reply

gdharries
0
Geof Harries  - Sept. 20, 2018, 11:02 a.m.

Similar looking to the Marsh Guard is the Beaver Guard, based in Canada.

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kekoa
0
kekoa  - Sept. 20, 2018, 11:23 a.m.

One thing I've noticed when I ride in your neck of the woods is that I don't see people wearing sunglasses either when it's sunny out or when it's wet. Being a long time contact lens user I'm almost never outside with some sort of eye protection. Am I just a wuss when compared to all you Canadians?

Reply

flowrider
+1 Andrew Major
flowrider  - Sept. 20, 2018, 11:34 a.m.

No it's just mostly wet here except for this summer when it was damn hot. Wet and glasses depending on the trail sucks. I don't ride fast enough to clear the fogging so I just ride with no glasses. I also have small eyes being an asian guy! LOL.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2018, 2:58 p.m.

I wear glasses a fair bit. Ryders clear anti-fog at night and on really dark days and a pair of their lightest adaptive anti-fog  lenses on brighter days.

In my experience glasses don’t work when it’s raining any kind of volume and when the humidity is high (I’m sweaty). If in doubt I’ll pack them up and wear them down until they’re useless but I can usually tell from the forecast if a given is good for glasses or not.

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ridestuff
0
Derek Baker  - Sept. 24, 2018, 1:02 p.m.

We get free Timbits at the hospital to replace missing and damaged eyes... ;)

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Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - Sept. 20, 2018, 12:06 p.m.

I've been using Marsh Guardz with the optional Stache add-on for a few years now. If it's really wet/muddy out I'll throw a SKS down tube guard on my bike as well. 

MudGuardz has some carbon fibre guards out now.  I should've ordered a DFender but they're fork specific.

Reply

MattyB
0
MattyB  - Sept. 20, 2018, 1:23 p.m.

I actually had an issue with the Chainsaw fender on a boost Lyrick. The arch was so wide that the fender didn't have enough of a curve to it and the tail could flop a little bit. Hitting rougher trails let the fender hit the tire and it was a bit terrifying

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2018, 11:37 p.m.

Those Lyriks have good clearance for a 2.8” now? The super light Ass Savers fenders definitely need the arch shape for structure. 

No problem with Boosted 34 or 36, but I’d guess it doesn’t fit well in the Durolux or the boost DVO forks either (not a big deal as the Suntour and DVO comes with a fender).

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
+1 Andrew Major
Tjaard Breeuwer  - Sept. 21, 2018, 8:56 p.m.

The new Lyrik has plenty of clearance for my Surly Dirt Wizard, a true 3.0

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 23, 2018, 10:16 a.m.

Is it a 29" or 27" setup?

Reply

Losifer
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer legbacon
Carlos Matutes  - Sept. 20, 2018, 8:38 p.m.

You kids with you “moisture” and “mud...” here in Idaho, most of the year we use fender to keep bovine residue and sand out of our eyes.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2018, 11:40 p.m.

Along with a Troy Lee ‘Hazmat rated’ pyjama suit?

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flowrider
0
flowrider  - Sept. 24, 2018, 12:27 a.m.

What about rear fenders? What's everyone using?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 24, 2018, 12:34 a.m.

A pair of Race Face Agent pants. Really impressed so far and I’ve been out of some deluges.

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Niels
fartymarty  - Sept. 24, 2018, 2:43 a.m.

Cut off (below knee) £8 overpants from Decathlon over my regular riding shorts.

Reply

shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - Sept. 24, 2018, 10:33 a.m.

Mudhugger.  Best coverage ive found by far.

Reply

flowrider
0
flowrider  - Sept. 24, 2018, 11:11 a.m.

Where did you get it from?

Reply

velocipedestrian
+1 Niels
Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 24, 2018, 4:11 p.m.

Spitfire

I made one based on this, good for keeping crap out of the linkage, does nothing for my arse.

Reply

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