Spring has sprung for most the the United States and that means we will all start hitting the trails hard after the nasty winter. One of the biggest issues with Spring riding is the often wet conditions. While a lot of us try to stay off the trails when they’re really muddy, there can still be a lot of debris that can fly off our tires and small water crossings. Having a good front fender can cut down a lot on visibility issues and keep dry while riding. Fenders are a must for race events during in-climate conditions where hard charging race runs need complete focus without things flying in your face.
I’ve put together a great round up of the best mountain bike front fenders available. Check out my suggestions and where you can buy them for yourself.
Our Favorite Mud Guards & Fenders
Best for those that don’t want the look of a fender but still be effective
Best for a traditional fender while being small and light
Best Mountain Bike – Fork Mounted
Fenders & Mud Guards
RaceFace Mud Crutch
The Neoguard is made out of neoprene material. It is available in several size to fit your fork travel. The guard is easy to install using velcro tabs. The Neoguard blocks a lot of mud from flipping off the tire really well. It also compresses with your fork as you ride. It’s also lightweight and easy to wash when it gets dirty. Another neoprene mud guard model is available from THE Industries in 4 sizes and RaceFace’s Mud Crutch.
What RaceFace Says
The off-season is a state of mind at Race Face, so we’ve designed the Mud Crutch for those of you who, like us, ride unconditionally. Constructed of Mylar laced woven elastic, the Mud Crutch stretches around your fork to collect any mud spray headed upwards on a potentially devastating trajectory with that fantastic mug of yours. Especially heinous sans goggles in a muddy berm.
Face Fender (Bender Fender)
The MuckyNutz Face Fender is a thin piece of plastic that when bent into an arch makes a great little front fender. It attaches simply with some velcro to the fork legs and weighs very little (under 20g). The fender sits low to the tire so mud and water is caught really well and keeps down on the mess. The Bender Fender is available in two sizes. The regular size just barely has any front fender with a longer rear. The XL version has much more coverage in the front.
What Mucky Nutz Says
Lightweight. Discreet. Effective.
The original ‘flexi-fender’ that started it all!
First introduced as the ‘Bender Fender’ back in 2009, these nifty little guards were our eureka moment, that ultimately led to the creation of Mucky Nutz as a Brand.
Truly the first of it’s kind, the Bender Fender took the Mountain Bike community by storm with it’s simplicity and effectiveness.
Now having evolved with subtle improvements and refinements made over the last decade, the Face Fender is more popular than ever. Available in a variety of colourways, widely used and endorsed by Weekend Warriors, Pro Downhill and Enduro riders around the world!
- The original, proven design – manufactured right here in the UK to our premium standards to compliment your ride and stand years of abuse on the trails.
- Stops muck, gravel, pine needles and animal s*** being flung into your face.
- Can be used on 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ wheel sizes, and compatible with boost forks.
- Protects your fork stanchions, seals and bridge from getting caked, reducing the need for cleaning and servicing.
- Lightweight, Discreet and effective – it weighs just 25 grams!
- When fitted correctly there is no movement or rattling. You won’t even know it’s there.
- Compatible with forward and double bridge fork designs.
- Can be used as a rear shock guard on some full-sus bikes.
- Easy to clean as it’s flexible and opens flat. Simply wipe it and you’re done!
- Comes with genuine, high quality Velcro straps to attach to the fork – Velcro is soft on the paintwork, and makes fitting and removal a breeze. You can choose zip-ties if you prefer.
- Made in the UK, from fully recyclable plastic!
The Rockguardz front fender is made out of carbon fiber and mounts with zip ties to the fork legs. It weighs a bit more than some options (~150g to 100g depending on the model). The fender is available in 3 sizes to give you the coverage you desire. Fit is tight to the tire but still has room for mud and debris to pass through.
The Mudhugger front mud guard is a formed plastic fender that attaches with velcro ties to the fork legs. It sits low to the tire and has a bit more front fender coverage than the MuckyNutz Bender Fender regular size. The weight isn’t the greatest at almost 200g.
Topeak DeFender FX
Topeak DeFender looks similar to one of our favorites, the POWA DFender. But it appears the POWA is no longer available. The Topeak offers lightweight durable mud protection and fit more than just FOX and RockShox forks. The Defender FX Front Fender has a built-in quick release for easy installation and removal. Made with injected high impact resistant plastic, the Defender is built to last. The highly polished underside calls for mud and debris to easily slide and wash off.
What Topeak Says
Specifically designed for 27.5” and 29” wheeled MTB’s. The DeFender™ front and rear fenders are the perfect choice for lightweight durable mud protection on those wet and sloppy rides. Quick release allows DeFenders to be installed and removed in seconds. A highly polished underside helps prevent dirt buildup and aids in cleaning. Fits 27.5” – 29” MTB tires up to 3” wide.
SKS Shockboard XL Fender
We really liked THE Industries Pro Line front fender but we haven’t seen it available for awhile. In it’s place, the SKS Shockboard XL fender is a pretty good alternative. They’re clip-on with easy on and off convenience.
What SKS Says
The classic, now also in XL! The SHOCKBOARD XL and the X-TRA-DRY XL are big brothers of our successful models SHOCKBOARD and X-TRA-DRY and can handle even large wheel diameters through a raised splash guard.
Both models feature quick-release fasteners for the steerer tube and the seat post. The X-TRA-DRY XL also has an angle joint that can be easily set. SHOCKBOARD XL, Optional adapters for Cannondale Headshok® and rigid forks are available for the SHOCKBOARD XL. X-TRA-DRY XL offers 80 mm and SHOCKBOARD XL 60 mm more profile width than original fender.
- Fender width: 85mm
- Maximum tire width: 2.4″
- Maximum wheel size: 29″
DIY Mud Guards
Innertube or Cut & Shaped Plastic
You can also make a mud guards similar to the Neoguard with an old innertube and some zip ties. Just cut a piece of innertube to fit between your fork arch and the crown. Poke some holes through the tube and then use zipties to attach. Mud guards like the other hard plastic ones can be created by cutting up some hard plastic sheeting then using zip ties to attach. Some photo examples are below.
Mountain Bike Mud Guards
The Crudcatcher is sleek and stylish. It doesn’t have the widest coverage, so some mud and water will still splash up. The mounting system is dead simple though. Two simple rubber ties. There are a few other similar models like the Planet Bike Grunge Board or SKS X-board.
The Portland Design Works Origami Fender is a bit of a unique design. The fender has a mount that is attached with rubber straps and then the plastic folded fender is attached to the mount. This allows you to take off the fender easily when not needed and still have the mount ready to go for wet days. The system weighs about 60g.
THE Pro Shroud
The Pro Shroud from THE Industries mounts similar to the other downtube protectors but has a wider flare to the design. The molded plastic looks much cooler too in my opinion.
<<We’ve heard these aren’t available any longer. If you know of a place to buy them, please leave a comment below>>
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