Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Mudhugger and Powa mudguards

Posted by Tony | January 16, 2014 | 21 comments so far

Mud Hugger rear mudguard for Orange Five
Well at least the recent torrential rain has been good for one thing – testing mudguards!

Having recently come back from rides looking like I’d been caught in the wake of a muck spreader or strolled into a monochrome Jackson Pollock re-enactment. It was time to try out a new mud projection strategy and it’s not often someone brings out a mudguard specific for your bike model. So I stumped up my £18 for the Mudhugger Orange 5 mudguard and a far less reasonable price for a Powa front mudguard.

Last Sunday (12th of Jan) didn’t actually start out as an ideal day for mudguard testing, or staying upright, since it was dry and frosty. However once we’d had the long wait Lloyds unfortunate accident, the sun came up and the melting trails provided a good testing mudfest.

Backtracking a bit. The Mudhugger is somewhat different to the normal Crud type, seat post guard, in that it’s designed for full suss bikes and fits onto swing arms to follow the wheel. The piece of plastic was reassuringly solid, supplied with some thick clear tape to protect the frame and quickly zip tied onto the top of the swing arm. A quick squish of the swingarm and ride round the block showed that I’d placed the guard too close to the seat tube since it was catching and it needed positioning nearer the wheel. It was a 5 min job to reposition.

Muddy Camelbak

The advantages of fitting the mudguard on the swingarm are immediately obvious. The guard is always the same distance from the wheel, hopefully always ideally placed to catch the dirt. You can’t knock it sideways out of the way of the wheel (how many times do you find you guard facing 45degrees to the bike?), there are no moving parts (how many Crud guards have I had fail due to the clamp slipping… too many) and there is no fitting difficulty if you are running a dropper post.

The Sunday ride got particularly muddy as we came back over Ranmore, splashing through the puddles on Dearly Beloved and trekked through the seriously gloopy field edge along Wiggly Woods, to Bocketts farm.

Muddy shorts

Regrouping at Bocketts we compared our mud protection strategies. My shorts / camelback were fairly well covered. The Mudhugger mud stopping prowess was a touch disappointing to be honest.

Perhaps I needed to look to position the mudguard closer to the tyre but I seems to be no cleaner that I was from my usual Crud Guard?

The Mudhugger itself seems very robust but maybe a touch less effective at stopping the flying crud than I’d hoped. I think that it has promise though.

At the same time as testing the Mudhugger I’d spent a far less reasonable £49 ( a moment of weakness!) on a Powa mudguard for my Revelation fork. The Powa mudguard is a substantially built mudguard that fits onto specific fork braces. A metal clamping system holds the mudguard rock solid. Fitting was 5mins tops. The Powa guard also has to be, in my view the best looking front mudguard out there.

Powa front mudguard

Previously I’d been using a simple fender bender. Not only are these cheap but they also stop the mud flying up onto your fork stations, protecting these expensive parts of your bike. However I was finding that I was getting a serious facepack of flung up mud even with the fender bender XL. Hence the monetary splurge for the Powa guard.

From a mud fling stopping point of view the Powa mudguard was a disappointment as you can see from my jersey, I was fairly well splattered.

The face and jersey comparisons of front mudguard strategy at Bocketts was particularly revealing with much bigger differences in cleanliness than backs.

Muddy jersey

Andrew was running a SKS Shockblade (attaches to the fork crown and turns to follow the wheel) and a downtube mud catcher. Kev was using a Fender Bender and again a downtube mud catcher. Both of them were significantly cleaner than me and no co-incidence that they have crud catchers?. I think that the old fashioned downtube mudguard still has it’s place on winter bikes.

So whats next? I think an experiment to re-position the Mudhugger and back to the shops for a downtube mudguard to compliment the Powa front guard. Maybe then I’ll come back from rides looking pristine… well apart from being covered from the knees down in cack!

Filed under Components, Reviews in January 2014


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  1. stevend says:

    Nice review Tony, it is not the guards it is the bike. LOL.

    ‘the old fashioned downtube mudguard still has it’s place’ – no, it is essential. I have been using crud rear & downtube guards for a few years, and used both the fast fender and bender fender up front and I come home at the end of rides almost immaculate from the knees upwards (unless I fall off).

    These days there are lots of choices, and obviously it does depend on the spec of your bike and parts but I think the crud downtube guard is one item I will not be changing, likewise I have had great service from my rear crud guard (I have no uppy down post).

    My fast fender snapped when I fell off, it was IMO best at keeping me clean but not the fork stanchions so I tried the bender fender. That was fine until it broke (too thin) so I am currently using a home-made bender fender made of stronger stuff than my old one, although I think MuckyNutz are bringing out a thicker version soon, I may also consider the marsh guard when the time comes.

  2. J-R says:

    Tony, I’d also taken my new Mudhugger out on a test ride on my Orange Five on Sunday and found similar to you that it seemed no better or worse than conventional rear mudguards preventing back splatter.

    But I did find it looked a lot better and was much more secure – the conventional crud style rear mudguards stick out and are vulnerable to getting knocked sideways when you put your bike on the ground or in a crowded shed. (If Mrs R is reading, NOT an overcrowded shed).

    Fitting was straightforward, although it would have been helpful if they had provided instructions. But their website mentions that you should vent the air from your rear shock before fitting, so you don’t get the problem of the guard hitting the seat tube at full bounce – that worked fine for me.

    PS. I also think the fact that they are mounted lower and more securely makes getting on and off the bike easier, so will help us older Moles continue to get our leg over for many years to come.

    • Tony says:

      I think that we agree that a swingarm mudguard is a good idea. I’ve written to Mudhugger to get their take on the optimal positioning for the guard and I’ll follow there advice and re-test. At least given the last 24hrs of continuous of rain there should be not lack of testing opportunities 🙁

      I’m obviously glad to hear that it’s also helping you get your leg over and I’d never descend to the smutty level of double-entendre by taking this comment any other way. I’ll leave that to D’Andy or Lee.

      BTW What is an overcrowded shed? Not come across that yet. If you can fit in N+1 it’s still not full, as I know to my cost!

  3. Matt says:

    I have had my eye on the Mudhugger myself, it certainly looks quite promising for the Five, particularly from the looks department. Will be interested to see if the performance can be improved but if it gets too close to the wheel then mud clearance must be an issue?

    I usually run either a Crud or an old Cycraguard removable mudguard – a bit heavy but I hate running mudguards any more than I have to. Curiously on the road side mudguards don’t bother me!

    On the front I find the regular MuckyNutz to be ideal – in conjunction with the essential Crud downtube guard – at stopping 95% of the crap. A Crud Bender Fender instead of the MuckyNutz works even better but looks odd (although in my experience most people don’t seem to notice).

  4. KevS says:

    Hmmm, nice review and they certainly looked substantial on last Sundays ride but …….

    The only time I have seen you filthier was at M……. M….. yes you guessed it! 😉

  5. Gordo says:

    I always have a mudguard on my mtb. It is a simple thing attached to the seat post, positioned close to the mud-x. Its held in place and I find it stops virtually all flying mud going up my back.

    However, as I usually like to have a lie down in the mud beside my bike (to provide entertainment) then I probably shouldn’t have bothered fitting it!

  6. Elliot says:

    I like the angular look of the Powa mudguard but performance looks disappointing, especially considering it only had to protect you from 26in wheels 🙂

    During previous winters I’ve made-do with just a rear mudguard. Impressively it’s been the same Topeak Defender M2 doing a fine job for the last 6 years. This time around I got a Mucky Nutz Bender Fender for the suspension fork, RRP Neoguard Rigid for the unsuspended one, and Gut Fender for the downtube to swap between bikes. These have worked great! I’m still getting used to the novelty of heading down the Rookery descent without the usual shower of…

    Think I’ll get myself a Topeak XC11 soon as my rear M2 has started flapping, not that there’s anything wrong with it functionally but I’m sure it looks ridiculous from behind.

    I’ve also been looking at ones for fat bikes. The volume of muck flung up must be enormous but the mudguards look like dustbin lids.

  7. Muddy John says:

    Taking the Mudhugger out for another ride in our megamud conditions this morning I was able to do a comparison with a conventional crud style rear guard.

    Unfortunately it is clear that on an Orange Five the Mudhugger is a few inches too short to be effective at stopping mud on bum, whereas the conventional mudguard was a lot better – as can be seen on this picture:

    But kudos to Mudhugger for replying qucikly to my email about this, and they say at the end of Jan they will have a new longer 29″ version available. I hope that will do the trick because the basic design concept is a good one.

  8. Colin says:

    Being a person who hates the aesthetic damage caused by any form of mudguard out back, I love my Ass-Saver which seems no less effective than anything else, weights next to nowt and never falls off or points in the wrong direction.

    As for the front, less seems more again. A mucky nutz or neo guard combined with a crud on the downtube can’t be bettered.

    Before anyone comments that one doesn’t tend to need mudguards on a Wattbike (my winter choice so far), I am definitely out in the mud tomorrow !

  9. Lloyd says:

    A man who can splurge £49 on a powa mudgaurd must be doing very well at work!


  10. Andrew akak says:

    Just a small correction I have a permanent bender fender and add the sks for mud. I probably would use a crud catcher if/when I break the sks again provided it has a good qr option.

    I did like the idea of a swingarm attached guide for the rear but would prefer not to take fs in the mud!

  11. Tony says:

    Bruce from Mudhugger has been in touch after this review and said that it’s difficult to get maximal coverage with low swing arm bikes like the 5. He’s designed a very secure Mudhugger extension. As
    Soon as it’s available we’ll be testing it. Hopefully that will give super mud splatter prevention!

  12. tony says:

    Just as an update. The Mudhugger rear extender has now been released and I have one on order for testing. Hopefully the tricky part then will be finding some mud to test it!

  13. Brian says:

    Hi Tony, any update on the 5 mudhugger extension? I’m very tempted but would like to know it actually works…


  14. tony says:

    Hi – certainly I’ll write an update, however I’ve not been impressed with the Extension set for the Orange 5

  15. BigD says:

    For what its worth I have been running a Mudhugger for a while and find as above that it doesn’t seem worse or better than other options in terms of protection. It does remove the issues associated with seat post mounted designs though. I needed the extension on my SB95 but sadly even that doesn’t prevent splatter. Short of enclosing the whole rear wheel in a fender I doubt there ever will be a perfect solution!

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