Mud butts and skunk stripes: An introduction to the wet world of fenders

When it rains, most people worry about the wet stuff coming from overhead, but cyclists have to consider the water that comes from below. Have you ever ridden right after a big rain? If you didn’t have fenders, you were probably surprised at how wet your feet and butt got, which is to say nothing of the ever-charming skunk stripe that your back tire sprays up at you.

While of course no one wants to get dirty road water all over their clothes, we also need to consider our bikes. All that water your tires spray up into your headset, bottom bracket and drivetrain can wear out your parts, leading to potentially expensive replacements. 

Fenders, also called mudguards overseas, are an affordable and practical way to protect expensive clothes and components from the grim of the road. At BicycleSPACE we have a wide variety to suit just about every bike—some of our bikes even include fenders stock! Below, we’ll talk about fender types and a few of our favorites. If you have any questions, you can always ask our capable staff which kind of fender would suit you and your bike best.

The Best: Full coverage fenders

The Handsome Mud butlers are great because as full coverage fenders they keep your butt happy and mud free, even in the worst wet. They extend far down the wheel, practically eliminating spray on to you, and even on to riders behind you. How courteous! To mount these, you will need eyelets on the frame of your bike: look for a metal tab with a hole in it near your dropouts. These fenders also will cover the underside of your fork, and go all the way to your chain stays on the rear, so they protect your headset and bottom bracket too.

Better: Medium coverage fenders

SKS race blades are a great option for performance-oriented road bikes without eyelets and clearance for large fenders.They mount onto the fork and seat stay non-permanently and without any nuts and bolts to lose. While they do a decent job of protecting you from getting too wet, they aren’t great for protecting more delicate parts of your bike from getting sprayed with nasty road water.

Better than nothing: Clip ons

If you want something that comes on and off in a minute, the SKS X-tra Dry Clip-On is a quick and lightweight option, especially for bikes with little clearance and no mounting options. While they are better than nothing at protecting you from the skunk stripe, they truly are a world apart from full coverage fenders: don’t expect them to keep you, or your bike, totally dry. That said, the ability to take them on and off is great if you have more than one bike and don’t want to bother with a more permanent fenders for each one.