There’s nothing like looking forward to riding your favorite trail. It’s rained a lot lately, but that’s okay, you’re looking forward to that sticky mud. And, especially looking forward to that soggy chamois ass. Wait! Backup. No one looks forward to that, yet countless riders just accept that’s part of winter riding.
Mudhugger Fenders Review
For years rider’s have doctored up front fenders using old tubes,or plastic from their kids school binders. Some companies even responded with commercial variations of these. Sure there were some options for clamping a rattail style fender onto your seat tube. It was great fun having to straighten it out every 10 minutes, and even greater fun listening to it slap against your back tire even time you hit a rough section of trail. Full suspension effectively killed the rear mountain bike fender.
Mudhugger, a company out of Britain (who competes with us in the Pacific Northwest for longest, wettest winter), decided enough was enough, and came up with a solution. The result was a rigid plastic mud-guard (British for fender), they were influenced by motocross bike designs that will work on most modern full suspension designs.
Since this is also a review, let’s start reviewing this thing. First off is packaging. I’m sure Mudhugger’s retail packaging looks great, but as this was a fender sent to us specifically for a review, it came in a plain brown shipping box. Inside this plain brown box however, was a front and rear fender, ∞+1 zipties, a square sheet of clear protective tape for your precious frame, and a length of industrial velcro.
Installation seemed fairly straight forward, but just in case I hopped over the Mudhugger website, as they have a nice short installation video for you. Two minutes later I was confident I could install it. One thing they didn’t touch on in the video was how to cut-up the protective tape. What I did, and should work for most people, was just slice it right down the middle. This will give you two pieces the same length as the mounting area on the fender.
I then realized why there was ∞+1 zipties in the box. There are SIX mounting slots on each side of the fender. I choose to use four on each side, and hasn’t moved a millimeter yet. Next winter I’ll be confident using only two on each side. This will also make it easier for removing it for when you don’t want it on.
The aesthetics when it is mounted on your bike are either going to be love it or hate it. Some of the feedback I received from fellow riders was it was just too large and unsightly (it was nicknamed the bat-wing, Joel Schumacher version). I tended to agree with them at first, but I will say, the darn thing is starting to grow on me!
One of the reasons I’m warming up to it, is it just works so well. The first month I had it mounted was abnormally dry. I felt like I had 220g of unnecessary extra weight tagging along behind me. I also kept kicking it when swinging my leg over my bike with my seat low. However, now that it’s started to rain on more regular basis, I get it.
This fender works and it works well. I’ve had the chance to rip down a couple of logging roads turned rivers (the ultimate fender test), my butt and almost just as importantly, the bottom of my pack has been bone dry (I’ve had an issue with tools rusting in the bottom of my pack). The second ultimate fender test, the rock garden, has also passed with flying colours. I would not even know it was there if it wasn’t for the occasional pebble rattling through the “tunnel”. Just don’t expect to kept bone dry during really wet conditions. Mudhuggers do a great job of keeping mid-thigh and up dry, everything below will still soaking wet!
On my Knolly Chilcotin, I had the perfect amount of clearance between the fender and tire. It never clogged up with mud*, and I never had my tire hit the fender through my suspension travel. Your result may differ, and although Mudhugger says it won’t work on a 29er (they’re working on a specific version for that), I’m sure it would fit easily on any 650b.
Oh yeah, they make a front fender as well. This work just as well as any similar solution, and much better than the old tube between the fork stanchions in my opinion. There are four attachment points, and although the velcro comes uncut, don’t jump and cut it into four equal pieces as I did. You will want the ones that wrap the stanchions to be longer.
My final verdict is function outdoes looks in this case. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this fender to anyone, and of course aesthetics are subjective – the owner of The Mountain Bike Life has stated from the beginning he loves how it looks!
*UPDATE: Since I’ve been incredibly tardy in getting this review in, I’ve had to opportunity to ride in six plus inches of snow, which is rare in these parts. How did the Mudhuggers preform? They didn’t. Due to the stiffness that makes them so great in regular riding, they packed up easily with snow, quickly causing my wheels to stop turning. Remove them before heading out on that snow ride!
This guest post was written by Graham Powell, you can check him out on LinkedIn.