RAW PRISMATIC REFLECTIVE MUDFLAPS
120g Yellow (pr) Extra-Wide (as tested) £15.99
The RAW Prismatic Reflective Yellow Mudflaps are a long and durable means of keeping spray from engulfing rider, machine and indeed, companions. Brewed by the founder, for his own, personal use it wasn't long before his club mates were pestering him, for one just like his.
After 15 years, he went into production and they're now available in several widths, and a wealth of designs (including custom). Having run ours for 6 weeks and monsoon conditions, I can fully appreciate what the fuss was about!
Pros: Excellent protection, high quality materials, wealth of stock designs and custom options, lightweight.
Cons: Length can be a double-edged sword, when moving bike in confined spaces, for example.
These are made from Polypropylene. An obvious choice for mud flaps, given its lightweight, elastic, highly resistant to fatigue and indeed UV light/chemicals. I opted for a highly reflective pattern, which is made from vinyl.
Richard tells me it’s very similar to that used on emergency vehicles. Its supposedly visible to 500metres and very effective in rain/fog. Now we requested a pair, but flaps can also be purchased singularly. Prices will vary, depending on design and if you want bespoke, there's a minimum order of ten.
While there are stock sizes and the sizing chart seems very precise, Richard is very happy to advise. I reckoned Large would be right for the SKS Blumels Shiny Guards. Richard steered me towards Extra-Wide and I'm pleased he did - perfect for 60mm sections and 2inch tyres. Flaps come ready drilled, with high quality fasteners and clear instructions, which makes installation secure and straightforward.
Straightforward yes but set aside some time when you won't be disturbed. Remove wheels (an ideal opportunity, to give the underside of your mudguards and those tricky nooks n' crannies a quick spruce).
Offer a flap to the guard's underside. Double check alignment, then, using the flaps as a template, drill through the guard. I was tempted to pop-rivet ours in situ, but since this was a review of the system, I went with the OEM fasteners.
Sprung washers and lined nuts keep vibration in check and everything secure. I've carried a small, 6mm ring spanner along, just in case. However, to date, there's been no call to nip them tight.
The flaps profile has transformed the levels of protection, offered by the otherwise very capable SKS Blumels Shiny 60mm. I was expecting something special and they've delivered, in every respect.
The amount of coverage simply channels water back within the guard, thus radically reducing anti-social spray, wet feet and impacted spatter around the bottom bracket shell.
In terms of visibility, we're not sure .About 500 metres, has been suggested, but, when quizzed, friends in cars said they could pick them out at 250-300 on a wet, cloudy night.
Richard tells me he ran his flaps through the dishwasher, since this was the harshest controlled environment he could think of. You’ll be pleased to note they emerged, completely unscathed. Not that you’ll need to do that. Oily spatter is easily dismissed with a soft cloth, and a quick shot of bike wash/ trace of washing up liquid.
Now, they are very long, which arguably comes with the territory and design brief. However, the rear tends to catch when wheeling the bike upright. Navigating a tight passage, or hanging bikes vertically, being two obvious scenarios. The flap's materials make for easy manipulation, so can be tweaked to clear the floor, before resuming its original shape.
Even when it has scraped the floor, (with grimace-inducing sound effects) it’s never shown any signs of fatigue and remained fully tethered. This has not been my experience of the rubberised sort, which can often come adrift, in similar contexts.
Continuing this theme, the materials exposure to road slime, spent diesel/oils etc and sometimes, freezing temperatures have made no obvious impression upon the materials, which bodes well for their longevity.
Now, you can make a set of very serviceable mud flaps from a scrap tyre bolted in situ with a pop rivet. However, these still cost time to make and are proportionately a good bit heavier, too.
Similarly, rubberised flaps such as the SKS retail for around £6, roughly half the price of the RAW. However, having used both, the Raw's performance is a notch, or two higher, and are available in a wealth of designs and sizes.
Ultimately, I've been very impressed by the Raw Mud flaps. Their proportions offer optimal protection to rider, bike and companions. Standards of construction, and the wealth of stock and custom options extends the appeal still further.