For the past four years, I’ve been using different types of SKS mudguards on my winter training bikes. Overall, I’m very pleased with the product. They do the main job of keeping the worst spray off your clothes. They are also quite easy to fit and adjust. They have also proved satisfactorily resilient.
Original SKS race blades.
I bought these original SKS race blades about four or five years ago. I can’t remember how many years, but they are still going strong.
After a few years, I once had a problem with the black supports coming away from the metal mudguard, but a bit of super-glue did the trick and they are still working on this Ribble.
SKS Race blade mudguard
This came out about two years ago. I was sent a free review copy. I was pleased to get a free review copy because I probably would have been willing to buy. They are an improved version of the original race blades. They have better adjust ability and a bit longer protection at the end, with those clip on flaps. They look pretty elegant with a smart carbon finish.
Advantages of SKS race blades
- They are quick to fit on. No tools are needed. Just adjust with your hands. If they do rub, it is usually easy to fix by moving the different parts of the adjustable mudguards.
- You don’t have to take off brakes to fit.
- They are good for road bikes with narrow clearance between wheel and frame/brake
- They are light only 250 grams, and are quite unobtrusive on the bike.
- They are quiet with no rattle, like I used to get on the old fashioned mudguards.
- They are like quick release wheels. It’s less than 30 seconds to take off, and perhaps a minute or two to fit on. Excellent if packing a bike up.
- They have proved quite robust.
- You can choose the wide road version or narrow road version depending on size of road tyres. The narrow are for 25″ and less.
- With a bit of fiddling, they fitted my unusually shaped forks on this Ribble. There is also quite a narrow clearance between wheel and frame on this bike. Though whether they fit all bikes, I’m not sure.
- Unlike traditional mudguards they don’t offer all round wheel protection. You get even more water and mud flying out by the rear brake, so it needs a bit of cleaning.
- They are not quite as solid as the more traditional muguards. If you lean your bike against wall with mudguards, they may get put out of shape, requiring adjustment.
SKS Race blades long
These are a premium clip on mudguard. They have a slightly more complicated fixing system. But, as you can see, they also have a black flap to appease even the strictest ‘mudguards essential on club run’ type of people
The problem I had with these mudguards is that the black flap was insufficiently robust and I had trouble keeping it fixed to the mudguard. Eventually, I discarded the black flap and just used the mudguards without the black flap. It wasn’t such a problem because I’m not too worried about the extended length, but it would be a problem if you bought specifically for that purpose. I was given a free review product of this when it first came out, so it might have been improved on since then, I’m not sure.
The race blade long (and hybrid use this system. You use an allen key to adjust length of metal supports. Note, it doesn’t need mudguard eyes. The downside is that if you swap wheels, you have to redo your mudguards. I prefer the simpler version of ties on your seat stays.
SKS Hybrid Mudguards
The hybrid give all tyre protection, and they don’t need mudguard eyeholes. They fit into the wheels and can be adjusted (see pic above). Personally, I wouldn’t choose these because I don’t want to be fiddling with putting under brakes, but they are the full monte, so to speak. Hybrid at Evans
The new version of the standard SKS Race Blade has proved the best model for me. At a RRP of £36.99, they are not cheap. But, I still think they are good value for what you get. For me, it’s a bit like switching to quick release wheels. Once you’ve got used to quick release, you don’t want to go back to using tools and taking a long time. As a very amateur bike mechanic, I will always be choosing lower maintenance and less tools over more comprehensive coverage. If you buy ‘proper’ mudguards, you will get 10-20% more protection from water. But, I’m not a perfectionist. In winter you get wet eventually anyway.
Apart from the flap not working so well on the Race Blades long, they have proved quite durable and well made. To be honest they don’t have many parts to go wrong anyway. I do recommend for winter training bikes.