Mudhugger EVO with 27.5inch wheels

Mudguards are a real marmite product with many of us preferring to get soaking wet rather than run guards. The truth is a well-made guard can not only keep us drier and out on the trails longer but prolong the life of our riding gear and bikes.

On test we have 3 guards all designed and manufactured in the UK for the worst of our weather. The current rain, snow and subsequent melt in Scotland has been a godsend for testing. We ran the guards on a number of bikes covering 26, 27.5 and 29inch wheels, 2.3 to 3 inch tyres and forks from 120 to 170mm. We also tried them on multiple brands including Rockshox, Fox and SR Suntour.

Our socially distanced testing included family cycle rides to full enduro sections in rain, heavy slop and snow. In keeping with COVID-19 regulations we couldn’t push to the absolute limit, but we did our best while staying safe.

It’s worth noting at this stage that we are running last gen Lyrik and Yari forks on 2 of our bikes and the crown hit all of the guards on bottom out. The new Rockshox range, we believe doesn’t have this same issue. We didn’t test any of the sticker packs but have listed the price of these for interest.

MuckyNutz MugGuard – Long
Compatibility: 26/27.5/29-inch wheels with up to 3” tyres
Length: 600mm
Weight: 105g
Price: £25 (velcro)

MuckyNutz MugGuard – long with 29inch wheels

The MugGuard was both the cheapest and lightest guard on test coming in 85mm longer than the Mudhugger EVO. Sticker packs are available for the sides of your MugGuard at point of sale for an additional £4.50.

Made of recycled and modified plastic the MugGuard can be recycled when it reaches the end of its life and comes packaged with a small cardboard hang tag/instructions and a soft Velcro fastening – no zip ties, no single use plastic!

Cutting the Velcro roll and fitting the guard was hassle free but we did find it a pest getting the velcro tight enough as there is no loop to pull it back on itself. We ended up running the Velcro on the brace and zipties on the sides when riding rougher terrain.
On the trail the MugGuard offers great protection with is close fit but even with the brace recess we managed to clog it up in real slop and snow, particularly on our short travel 29er. We found that with tyres between 2.6 and 3inch the end of the fender would buzz the front tyre when things go really rough.

We didn’t experience any major collisions between crown and guard at full compression, but this was apparent on both our last gen Lyrik and Yari. The MugGuards somewhat lighter construction means the guard has more give, in a good way when this did happen.

Mudhugger EV0
Compatibility: 26/27.5/29-inch wheels with up to 3” tyres
Length: 515mm
Weight: 120g
Price: £27.50 (zip tie)

Mudhugger EVO with 27.5inch wheels

The Mudhugger Evo sits somewhere in the middle of the other 2 guards in terms of length but does come in as the heaviest (by 1g) and most expensive (by £1.51). Custom stickers are available for an Additional £4.50

The Mudhugger evo has been designed around the new ZEB and Fox 36 forks. This has allowed them to produce a guard that doesn’t interfere with the fork crown at full compression. This is achieved through a stepped recess which first allows extra clearance for large tyres/sloppy conditions then the additional recess allows that increased crown clearance at the brace.

Fitting the EVO was straight forward with 2 fixing options on the brace and 2 fixings on each fork lower. As we were switching between bikes, we saved some zip ties by only using the upper fixings on the fork legs which was more than enough to hold the guard firmly in place.

On the trail the EVO is solid. Its mid length is perfect for keeping the slop away from the rider and forks and the small lip on the rear edge catches most of the spray that doesn’t get caught by the main guard. We didn’t have any issues with the EVO moving, vibrating on wide tyres or clogging up

The crown on our last gen Lyrik and Yari brush the guard at full compression but this was greatly reduced by the additional space and not something we worried about out in the wild.

Rapid Racer Products (RRP) Pro Guard V2 – Standard
Compatibility: 26/27.5/29-inch wheels with up to 3” tyres
Length: 494 mm
Weight: 119g
Price: £25.99 (Zip tie)

Rapid Racer Products Pro Guard V2 Standard with 29inch wheels

The RRP Pro Guard V2 standard was the shortest guard on test by 21mm and price wise sits in the middle of the Mudhugger and MugGuard. Coloured sticker packs come in at £4.99 and the guard is recessed to protect these.

The ProGuard has plenty options for fitting to the brace and double fixing points on the legs while RRP’s seal shield remains a prominent feature to protect the top of your forks and add rigidity. There is a cut away brace area to improve tyre clearance and combat crown strikes and RRP provide 2 rubber strips that can be stuck/stacked below the brace to lower the height of the guard. There are also 2 rubber pads for the side arms to protect the forks from scratching.

Fitting the RRP guards was easy enough and there are a lot of options to get the position just right. The skinned over holes were easy enough to cut through but check twice, cut once so you only have the holes open that you need. What set the RRP aside is their new silicone impregnated Velcro straps (Available spring 2021). The straps allowed us to pull the guard tight whatever forks we were using and easily move them between bikes. The Silicone stops them slipping and helps reduce scratching. They even have the RRP logos in different orientations so you can keep them the right way up – a nice touch!

On the trail the RRP doesn’t budge with the Velcro straps and 3M rubber pads and its shorter length keeps it well out the way. The larger than most rear lip does a great job of catching anything that has not been stopped by the main guard and the skimmed holes keep things watertight.

Even with the additional pads our Yari/Lyrik crown brushed the guard but as with the others this wasn’t enough to cause a serious concern.

Final Thoughts

You have to be a brave person to set out and design a mudguard for mountain bikers. There are so many variables that there won’t ever be a truly universal product. This also makes it really difficult to review what in reality are 3 excellent products.

We really liked the Muckynutz MugGuard for its extra length but felt it was more suited to trails that were a little less rowdy and conditions that were wet rather than ridiculously sloppy. As such the MugGuard is now a permanent fixture on our short travel 29er being used for family rides and XC loops.

The mudhugger EVO and RRP ProGuard V2 standard were very closely matched. They are both similar prices and weights, both stay where they are supposed to be and don’t foul the tyres. Regardless of wheel size they keep the water, mud and slop at bay.

While we loved the EVO’s stepped brace area and extra space that provided, our testers all edged towards the Proguard V2. It has a few more options for fine tuning the fitting and the silicone impregnated Velcro straps are exceptionally good. The combination of matt and shiny plastic makes it a good-looking guard without having to add stickers and the addition of a 50% crash replacement scheme makes this a tidy package.