Clip-on fenders or mudguards have come quite a long way in the last 15 years. I was living in Seattle, the fender bike capital of the US, when raceblades first came out. The idea was great, it allowed you to ride your “nice” road bike when the roads might have been a little wet. But in practice, the original clip-on fenders were pretty fussy and often needed adjustment to keep them from rubbing on the tires, and their coverage was very minimal.
These SKS mudguards are waaaaay better, they have a ton of clearance, and the coverage is pretty good. They are advertised to fit tire widths from 32-42 but as you’ll see there is room for larger tires. The Santa Cruz Stigmata has attachment points for traditional full fenders and if I lived in the PNW I’d probably fender up for the entire winter, but here in SF, the rain comes and goes which makes these clip-on Speedrocker fenders great. It takes about 10-15 minutes to set up the fenders when you first get them. The initial adjustments are easy, and once you’ve made them it’s done. From then on, removal takes about 2 min and installation just a few minutes more. It’s really easy.
I’ve been riding with these fenders on and off all winter, and often leave the rear one on for extended periods because I don’t even notice it’s there. The front one goes on and off with a bit more frequency, mostly because I can see it when I’m riding, and there is a small bit of toe overlap when the fender is on.
The rear fender is attached with the traditional sks thick rubber bands with little holes. I like these because they’re just really easy. The front fender is a bit different. SKS opted for velcro straps with a grippy silicone treatment so they stay in place. I'm guessing they went with these straps so they could make the front fender a 2 part system. This additional part of the fender that goes in front of the fork isn't my favorite, so I choose not to use it. It goes in front of the fork and is intended to catch the extra road spray that you encounter when you’re going fast and you can see it spraying off the front of your front wheel. I don’t use it because it’s a bit fussy to get on / off because it uses the same top velcro strap. I also don’t love the way it looks. So, I don’t use it. That being said, the fenders still offer very good coverage for clip-ons.
Do they rattle? Not really. After riding lots of gravel, including some with stairs and really bumpy sections, these fenders stay put and don’t rub despite the fairly wide tires I’ve been using. Initially, I had 700x45 WTB Riddlers which measured a bit on the wide side and had no clearance issues. Now I’ve got the 700x44 WTB Raddlers which measure a true 44mm and obviously, still no clearance issues. BTW, 2 of us have the Raddlers on now and are really enjoying them compared to the Riddlers, look for a review of those soon.
And finally, in the interest of full disclosure, these fenders were purchased. After so many questions about them on Instagram, we figured that a little review would be helpful. Sorry for the dirty bike photos, this bike refuses to take a bath, Ornot.
Where to purchase
These fenders can be purchased online. However, most local bike shops are drop-shipping directly from their distributor to your house. Call your local bike shop and see if they will order these for you.