This past weekend was glorious. The shore was basked in sun and it felt like a gift from above. I head out the door in T-shirt and in a matter of minutes I’m on the trail and something hits me; winter still has a decent grip on the dirt under me. Perfect time for testing some fenders. It seems like the Marsh guard (or similar products) is the most popular around here; it’s light and is way, way better than having nothing. But I’m going to focus on three fenders that are wet weather experts; the Mudhugger Front Race, the RRP ProGuard Standard, and RRP ProGuard Max Protection.
I seem to have a unique ability to catch all available mud on the trail with my eye balls. Right in the balls. And it seems to happen more often on the lip of a jump or mid air, right when sight is non-optional. So you can probably see why I’d want a massive fender up front.
First up, the Mudhugger. This was my first serious fender for winter riding and I was impressed with the size (~17”). It weighed about 0.08 kg (on my scale) and on the trail I didn’t notice the extra heft up front. What I did notice was how clearly I could see. I still have one nugget or two make it past the fender during really nasty rides, but that’s a big change from 10+ with the smaller fenders. One thing I really liked on the Mudhugger was the lip at the front of the fender; it brings the front of the fender really close to the tire and I imagine that it helps with reducing the amount of mud flying forward, directly in the riders path.
Next up are the RRP ProGuards. These fenders are big, at (~19.5”) for the standard and (~23”) the Max Protection (this thing is huge). The fenders come in at 0.12 kg and 0.13 kg, respectively. Both fenders work really well, but I can only think of a few bikes that would be better suited to the Standard vs the Max protection. I’m thinking 29er’s with under down tube mounted water bottles (i.e. Yeti SB 5.5c, Kona Process 111, etc.). I haven’t tested it, but there may be some clearance issues, so check things out before you dive in.
OK, back to the fenders. The standard fender is awesome, much better than the smaller ones you see around. But if I’m spending ~ 120 g on a fender, I’m going to the Max Protection. It’s awesome. My unscientific data says that I get slightly less crap in the face than the above 2 fenders. It inspired confidence in nasty conditions and I felt I could push harder knowing that I would be also to see any wet, diagonal roots that seem to reach up and pull back to earth when you least expect it.
I really enjoyed my time on all these fenders. If I was buying fenders for some serious wet weather riding, or to just keep faceward trail debris to a minimum, I’d probably go with the RRP Max Protection for the late fall through early spring, then the Mudhugger for the summer. After trying these well made products, I’m not going back to the smaller fenders, even if it pushes my XC bike over 31 pounds!
If you have any questions, please post below and I’ll try to respond quickly.