Author Topic: Mud guards and close clearances  (Read 9624 times)

Mud guards and close clearances
« on: April 08, 2008, 11:14:58 am »
Before commencing on the actions outlined below please note:  If your bike has close clearances then fitting mud guards will mean close clearances between the guard and the tyre - the closer the clearance the more likely it is that debris can get jammed in there and cause a sudden stop to forward motion.  It is up to you to decide how close is too close! Secondly, added guards to a close clearance race bike might also create toe overlap problems. 

Race bike + close clearances + muddy roads = brown stripe up your back.

Now, you could buy some race blades.  They work well enough if you go for the SKS ones.  But they aren't as good as full length guards and they are expensive (yes, I do class anything over no money whatsoever as expensive).  If you do go for them then be sure to put some old inner tube under the mounts to stop them damaging your paint work.

You could get some Salmon guards.  Again, expense, plus a couple of further problems: it's often the bit where the bracket goes under the brake bridge that is the problem - Salmons are no thinner here than many normal guards.  Plus, some people have reported the aluminium Salmon guards cracking.

So, how do I bodge some full length guards onto my close clearance frame?

Chances are that you've no guard eyelets on your dropouts.  This bit is easy: just use "P" clips.  Very cheap from your LBS or make your own from an old thin bit of metal, a spare nut and bolt and some old inner tube.

You should always use a mudguard QR mount: a small plastic housing that bolts to your P-Clip and takes the bottom of the guard stay.  Because you have close clearances to start with, you want the stays to be able to pull out and let the mud guard move away from the wheel if something gets jammed in there.

Choosing guards.

For my close clearance bike I used Bluemels (I believe the model was Olympic?).  I found these thinner than SKS ones and so they fitted in between the fork blades and seat stays easier.

Front mudguard.

You will often find that the problem with fitting a full length guard is that the bracket that goes down from the brake caliper bolt, through the mud guard and then back along the underside of the mudguard will rub on the tyre, especially when going over bumps or out of the saddle with your weight on the front end.

To counter this remove the bracket and replace it with a thin metal bridge as is used on the rear mud guard.  This comes down from the brake bolt and then goes either side of the guard, wrapping around the edges to hold it in place.

If this still creates a problem then you can just chop the front of the guard off and mount it using the hole at the rear of the fork crown (on some bikes this will contain the nut and end of the brake bolt, on others it will just be a hole), so that neither mounting bracket or guard body go between the fork legs.  This will give you a glorified  SKS Race Guard with the advantages of it being longer so offering more protection, and of it being fixed to the bike more solidly so none of that annoying rattling and rubbing of tyres on rough roads that some people find.

Rear mudguard.

If the mud guard bridge supplied doesn't fit then cut the guard in two where it goes under the seat stay bridge.  Make two brackets (out of old bits of metal  of a good thickness - coke cans are too thin for this, or, a couple of old lights mounting brackets work well for this).  Drill a hole in one end of each bracket and attach to the bolt that hold the brake caliper on so that they stick upwards.  Bend one towards the front of the bike and then downwards and bend the end upwards again.  Drill a hole in this (obviously removing from the bike first!) and bolt the front part of the cut in two mud guard to it.  The other bracket you bend backwards, over the seat stay bridge and brake caliper and then down to the front of the rear cut in two guard.  Thus nothing has to go between the tyre and the seat stay bridge or the tyre and the brake caliper.

If you have a chain stay bridge then you can use the clip supplied with the guard to attach the guard to it.  If this leaves the guard too close to the tyre, or you just don't have a chain stay bridge, then attach the guard end directly to the bottom of the seat tube using a cable tie or two.

And there you should have it - guards on your close clearance bike.

But there is a better way.

After using the above method for a while I got red up with having to clean all the mud out of the guards every fortnight.  So I went for the easy solution.  Just grad yourself another skip bike: go for a nice 1980s race bike:closish clearances and a good 531 frame, but with 27inch wheels.  Swap the 27inch wheels for 700c with, say 23mm tyres, and you should find that you now have loads of room for guards on a bike that is still fairly racey in nature.

Sorry I've not pictures of the above techniques - I've set my "best bike" free of the guards now that I have a winter specific race bike.  If any of you have a similar set up then please post pictures, or, indeed, please post to say how you added guards to your close clearance bike!


Re: Mud guards and close clearances
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2008, 07:03:28 pm »
My tip: use cable ties on the front guard.  Remove the existing bracket, drill 2 pairs of holes in the guard and thread a cable tie through each of the pairs of holes from front to back, then looped back over the fork shoulder.  A bit of insulation tape under the tie stops the fork from getting scuffed.

This technique brings the guard much higher up than using a bracket - so for fat tyres & guards you get better (safer) clearances -  and it is fast to fit and remove.


Also, you can use cable ties rather than P-clips.  Even wth q/r Secur-clips

Re: Mud guards and close clearances
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2008, 06:33:20 pm »
A couple of pics showing mudguards mounted using the standard brackets.

The brakes are what used to be called short-reach (47cm from pivot to centre of slot) and the tyre is about 23-4mm.  Using cable ties won't bring the guards any higher, although they will make removing and re-fitting easier.

Re: Mud guards and close clearances
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2008, 07:42:12 am »
Of peripheral relevance, but there's a pic here (and an associated discussion thread here) showing what can happen if you don't use QR clips on the mudguard stays.

Chris N

Re: Mud guards and close clearances
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2008, 08:27:57 am »

Re: Mud guards and close clearances
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2008, 11:05:08 am »
That's why I like the SJS style of mounting the stays half way up the forks: forces the guard away from the tyre should something bad happen. Of course it's always best to use the QRs as well.