SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
Kranx FendR Full Length Mudguards
625g 45mm Black (as tested) £44.99
The Kranx FendR Full Length Mudguards are, on the face of it, a set of straight-forward fenders if you prefer, to keep spray and dirt away from crucial components and from the rider. They’ve certainly done a good job and I hope to be using them for a good long time, and after testing, there’s every expectation that wish will come true.
Pros: pre-assembled and easily adjustable, robust materials.
Cons: no reflector or drillings for a reflector.
On opening the box, joy of joys – mudguards ready assembled with stay screws already in place and rubber stay caps protecting packaging and me from scruffs and scratches.
The stays are stainless steel and the guards themselves polycarbonate: both promise better than usual durability. Our guards were glossy black, but they also come in silver. We tested the 45mm model, suitable for 28-38mm tyre widths. They are also available in 35mm (20-28 tyre width) and 55mm (38-48mm tyre width) versions. With most common tyre widths covered, there should be a size for most bikes likely to need mudguards.
Built in are rubber mud-flaps on both guards.
For safety, the front stays have a pop-off plastic connector. This is designed to break loose if you get a big stick up your fender, or worse, and are in danger of your wheel jamming.
A small plastic bag contained basic instructions and a variety of fixtures and fittings; plastic bridge, lock-nuts and bolts for fork crown and seat-stay and chain stay bridges, as well as a couple of shaped spacers, and four bolts for the stays. There’s also a set of spacers and bolts for use with disc brakes.
There’s nothing reflective, as one finds on some models, nor is there a reflector or drillings to fit one. Whilst that is not a deal-breaker, it is definitely worth considering where, if you want, you might stick a reflector. For me, a firkle in the spares bin came up with alternatives for rack or seat-stay.
These went onto my old Dawes Supergalaxy, which is now my day-to-day commuting and utility hack. Whilst the poor old thing needs another respray (that will be its fourth), a couple of nice new components always help to smarten things up. However, function beats beauty on the hack bike, and as an old tourer turned all-rounder, it has some quirks compared to more modern machines. For example, the thread has been stripped, so I was pleased to see that the bolt provided was long enough to take a lock-nut. Truth is, in my experience, that, whatever the selection of fasteners supplied, there be a little bit of adaptation to get the best fit.
Pre-assembled was a definite plus. Cack-handed as I am, sliding stays through holes whilst tightening a nut is a real pain in the rear end. I am happy to avoid it. That does not mean these did not need adjusting, but that adjustment was easy with just a little loosening, sliding, and tightening.
All the bolts were a bit too long for the bridges and fork crown, so a few washers were sought out, and the spacers provided employed to good effect. On the subject of bridges, the plastic bridge provided was an excellent fit and slid over the mudguard with an easy smoothness.
It is worth noting that fitting was courtesy of Phillips screwdriver and spanner, rather than Allen key. There was no need for wire-cutters, however. Adjustment left a good length of stay exposed, but there’s been no snagging on my size nine-and a half shoes, so the stays have been left intact. You may find differently, but there should be no need to disassemble.
November and December, a suitably mucky time of year on and off road, make for good mudguard-testing conditions. So, these have contributed well to keeping feet dry and components protected. They’ve also been rattle-free, with just a little nipping-up a few rides into their career. Of course, mudguards of this type with stays that slot through peripheral eyelets are better at avoiding a build-up of gunge under the guard. However, the minimalist bridge also helps here. With 700x28 Pirelli Cinturato Tyres on, there’s been no obstruction at all
With 700x32 CST Czar Tyres (review to follow), clearances are, of course, narrower, but not to any ill-effect. Protection remains much the same, and smooth running has been maintained. Even with a lump of gravel rubbing away between tyre and fender, the offending obstruction has popped out without bringing the pop-off stays into action. Likewise, with the twigs that cover sections of country lane and tow path on dark morning commutes.
Again, as you’d expect, the rear mudguard offers plenty of protection to you and your bike, but isn’t of sufficient length to save anyone on your tail from spray. That may be a no-no for group wet-weather rides. Solo, or commuting, you may regard it as less of an issue – and they could be extended by Raw Prismatic Mud Flaps.
Polycarbonate, stainless steel, and pop-of jam-dodgers should make these long-lasting. The finish has remained very good as well, even after encounters with flying gravel and the odd bit of undergrowth. I’ve given them the odd wipe, and they buff up well after a wash – either spray or sudsy bucket. I’ve given them a lick of Oxford General Protectant, too, which seems to help mud slip off. Having said that, this is not massively different to many other mudguards. Overall, though, I’m pleased with the way the finish is standing up to things – being black, greasy finger prints from roadside fettling don’t show as they do on silver!
SKS Bluemels Full Length Reflective Mudguards are a little cheaper, have, as you’d expect, more reflective presence and a red reflector. Having said that, they do not seem to be, in my opinion, as robust or as easy to install and maintain as these Kranx Full Length Fenders. Having said that, I have used them for many, many miles on the commuter-utility machine. SKS also offer longer mudguards for those seeking greater protection or involved in hell-and-high-water group rides.
Of similar length to the Kranx Fenders are the SKS Shiny Mudguards, which are a little cheaper. Michael found them suitable for customization as well as being effective.
Around half the price are Oxford Full Length Mudguards. There’s no reflector and materials are noticeably cheaper. Even so, they offer sound protection for solo commuters. I found them a little less adjustable, too.
Robust mudguards are ideal for touring, leisure, utility, commuting, and these fit the bill admirably. Just find your own reflector for mount on rack or stays (or wherever you fancy sticking it). Wet-weather training ang group riders may well look for longer and lighter. Coming pre-assembled, these may well-suit the newcomer, the reluctant fettler, or the simply impatient. I’ll be the Kranx FendR Full Length Mudguards for a good, long while, I hope.
Verdict 4/5 Robust and easy.
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2022
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH