OXFORD FULL-LENGTH MUDGUARD KIT
700c/27inch 41mm 475g Silver (as tested) £21.99
Oxford’s full-length mudguards promise high quality materials at a decent price. Easy enough to fit, the 41mm suits my hack bike well and they’ve been effective in doing their job. But there are a few considerations for those who like chunkier tyres or are sticklers for precision.
Pros: decent protection at a decent price
Cons: bit fiddly to fit, no fixing point for a reflector, or breakaway clips.
Plastic is pretty much the norm at this price point. Oxfords come complete with rigid “flaps” on both front and rear guards. Silver, decorated with a couple of darker pin-stripes, they have quite a resemblance to some Flinger models. This may not be Sunday best, but is light and easy to clean and won’t rust.
Oxford have gone for a 41mm width on this model. Their 700c collection also includes a narrower 31mm profile and wider 46mm and 56mm versions for fans of chunkier tyres and hybrid or trekking set-ups. At 41mm, ours was described as suitable for tyres from 28-33 sections. There are no indents to fit around the front forks – one less source of obstructions. It’s worth noting that some wider profile guards with indents for the forks don’t actually take a wider tyre.
These are full length, but the rear is shorter than some SKS and Flinger equivalents.
Stainless steel – reassuring at this price point - stays and fasteners are provided. Keep hold of your old screws for fixing the stays to the braze-ons.
Ideally the guards are held to the bridge between the chain stays by a nut and bolt through the stay. With a very tight clearance and no hole, I opted to use an old bracket and hook, which have held things perfectly well.
Stays are slotted into plastic caps that are rivetted to the guard. Unlike some pricier models, the stay cannot pass through the fixing point – something to bear in mind when fitting, as there is less room for adjustment.
Reflectors aren’t exciting and lack of one or even a place to bolt one on will probably not be a deal-breaker. On the other hand, consider doubling up on rear reflectives or blinkies to keep Lawyer Leagl Eagle at bay should the worst happen.
This is all pretty intuitive and straightforward. I’d got the wheels off already, and it’s certainly easier that way, in general. The only uncertainty was stay length. With rack and low-slung German reflector and rear light all-in-one on the back, getting this right was crucial – especially given the relatively tight profile for the 32 tyres. Usually, it’s easy enough to adjust stay length in situ. A drawback of the Oxford system is that you can’t do that. Careful measuring and cautious cutting were the order of the day. It lengthened the process with wheels going on and off. If you’re lucky things will fit perfectly.
Once sorted the stays are secured by short screws recessed into guide-holes in the plastic. Suitably malleable, the rear bridge has some marks to aid centring, very helpful.
There’s no doubt that they have done their share of keeping office smarts clean on the commute through rain and puddles. Minor concerns regarding the plastic brackets as immovable objects facing the impact of woody storm debris have not been proven. Mind you, the best plastic mudguards can be twisted by a branch up the bracket, so to speak. Smaller detritus hasn’t got stuck any more than normal, but it is worth keeping things clean.
Keeping to the fore of group rides has not caused over concern from those behind, but regular club-runners may want to go longer in the guard and the flap.
Grimy riding required a wipe with a cloth to keep things tidy, and the odd spot of a decent cleaner as part of a post ride blow over using Crankalicious Mud Honey Foaming Bucket Wash. Or Oxford’s Mint Bike Wash. Maintaining appearance has not been overly onerous, but removing the wheels and cleaning the underside is always a good idea.
Those heading into wilder gravel or brushing with undergrowth on rough stuff touring might prefer models with breakaway clips. Having said that, I've had no issue on towpath commutes or forest tracks.
Probably one for the commute and solo leisure ride rather than the group or big tour trip. Fitting takes a bit more attention than some, but that apart there’s little to put on the downside. Decent looking, practical and competitive.