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SKS Speedrocker mudguards review

4 Sep 2019
Verdict:

Smart, effective mudguards for gravel bikes

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Easy to fit • Stay in place without rattling
Against 
Poor instructions • Quite pricy

German company SKS is among the first to come up with a set of mudguards aimed specifically at gravel bikes. And with the Speedrocker it has done a pretty impressive job.

The main issue it had to solve was how to cover wide tyres while not blocking the clearance beneath the fork crown. It has achieved this with a cunningly split front guard.

Rather than attaching to the underside of the fork crown, the Speedrocker goes round the outside, with a pair of braces attached to the fork legs holding two separate sections of the guard.

This means it is possible to have a setup with a significant gap between the tyre and the guard – if that’s how you want it – without diminishing the size of tyre that the bike can cope with.

SKS says the Speedrockers are designed for tyres over 32mm, and I had no problem fitting them a Canyon Grail AL with 40mm tyres.

A little flap sticking up from the front section helps to prevent spray from the road splashing into your face through the gap in the front guard.

To further help with clearance, the stays on both the front and rear wrap around the outside of the guards, held in place with neat protective plates. This not only ensures they don’t interfere with the tyres, but also removes a blockage from the underside of the guards where muck can build up.

The stays themselves are anodised aluminium, and are extendable by a few millimetres to fine-tune the distance between tyre and guard.

Fitting is done with rubberised feet held in place with either Velcro straps or rubber fasteners. This negates the need for mudguard mounts on the bike, and ensures that the Speedrocker should be suitable for almost any gravel bike.

The rear guard comes with an extendable section, which allows it attach to the seatpost, giving significant coverage at a point where spray can splash up your legs.

It total, the Speedrocker mudguards add just over 400g of weight to your bike.

How we got on with them

As anyone might, the first thing I did when trying to fit these mudguards to my bike was to consult the instructions.

That was a mistake. The instructions are not particularly clear, and the images didn’t really explain how best to use the Velcro straps to attach the rubber feet to the fork legs and seatstays.

Fortunately, the Speedrockers are reasonably simple to fit, and once I’d thrown away the instructions it became a doddle to get the guards in place.

The straps just need a bit of fiddling to ensure they are in the best place, and to get the most solid fitment. Plus the Velcro straps need to be trimmed down to stop loose ends from flapping, so be sure to get them absolutely right before wielding the scissors.

Other than that, no tools are required other than a 2.5mm allen key to adjust the length of the stays, should you require to do so.

It’s hard to fault the Speedrocker for ease of fitting. The rubberised feet and straps do look a little chunky, but it allows for very quick removal and re-fitting, and there is little in the way of adjustment required once the initial setup is done.

The best thing about the Speedrocker, however, is how quiet it is once in place. All too often, mudguards can be a source of clunks, clicks and squeaks, but not a sound came from the Speedrocker, even when throwing the bike around.

During rides both on and off-road, the guards sat solidly, with barely any wobble or vibration.

On wet rides they did a good job of keeping me dry both at the front and back, and I didn’t notice any extra spray finding its way through the gap in the front guard.

The rear guard is reasonably short at the back – certainly shorter than you’d expect from most road mudguards. This means it allows a certain amount of spray to kick up into the face of riders sitting on your wheel, but then I don’t think it was made with chaingangs in mind.

Most users – or, at least, most users like me – pick the gravel bike for off-road fun or for fowl weather commuting. In either case, it’s unlikely that you will find yourself in a pack with riders sheltering in your lee.

Longer mudguards might be helpful, but anyone wheelsucking you on a damp ride to work in the morning deserves a faceful of spray.

With many people opting for gravel bikes as the perfect alternative to the road bike when the weather or road conditions turn bad, it’s a surprise that more of these bike don’t come with mudguards as standard.

Until that happens, the SKS Speedrocker is a stylish and effective solution.

Price: 
£49.99

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