SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MARCH 18th
ZEFAL SWAN ROAD REAR MUDGUARD
151g Black (as Tested) £9.99
The efficacy of a single, seat-post mounted, blade-type rear mudguard that covers just the top of the wheel is a matter of debate for another time. The simple to mount, adaptable, light Zefal Swan Road Rear Mudguard, and its ilk are popular with a lot of riders who just want to keep spray off their backs, have an easily portable guard, can’t be bothered to fit full-mudguards, or have limited clearances. Old Fogey Steve nearly choked on his jam sandwich when confronted by Zefal’s Swan Road Rear Mudguard. However, accepting that it will not do all the things full mudguards will do, he’s had to recognise that it does just what it says.
Pros: light, durable, portable.
Cons: there is a knack to fitting it.
Technopolymer resin promises rigidity and durability, an should function pretty much without fuss – other than the odd wipe clean. The Swan Road Rear Mudguard should cover tyre sizes from 650b through 700c to genuine 28”, and with 530mm length to play with, you have a good bit of flexibility. 45mm width should, likewise manage most road tyres.
The MD-Turn mounting system promises compatibility with any round profile seat-post – just make sure you have a couple of centimetres on show. Aero posts are another matter, but most folk I know with aero set-ups aren’t keen an extra weight anyway. It is all plastic and works on the strap and ratchet system to tighten things up. The seat-post is clasped tight by a square bracket.
Zefal suggest strapping their Road Croozer front guard to your down tube, should a bit of front wheel protection be desired – certainly something I’d strongly consider on a commuter machine.
Once, you’ve got the knack of ensuring the cover is in the right place, there’s little to concern yourself about. Porting between bikes is very much a piece of cake, with only one of my fleet proving recalcitrant: too little seat-post on show when adjusted for wife’s leg-length.
Adjustment to angle is easy. Just tighten a tad with a hex head key.
Bashing along the road spay has been kept in place – especially when dropping the guard as low as it will go. Of course, coverage is very much limited to back and saddle/seat pack – don’t expect the impact of full-length mudguards, such as SKS Bluemels Reflective or similar. Despite their ‘Road’ designation, they’ve done well on gravel jaunts, with none of the frustrations limited clearances bring.
Test bike has pretty old-fashioned geometry (My Mate’s Dad’s Old Bike). Fitting it to more modern models – sloping top-tube offering lower position on the seat-post, improved protection.
I’ve been impressed by tenure. Be it pot-holes or gravel surfaces, the Swan had nested; it’s held in place when rattling along, in circumstances where some older/cheaper brackets seem to encourage lurches to the left or right.
Pleasingly, despite its length, it hasn’t started to flap, rattle, and roll, when bumping about or when the wind gets up.
At £9.99 you won’t go too far wrong. SKS S-Blade is pricier. On the one hand it is really 700c racing bike wheel specific, on the other, it is lighter – aimed very much at the “ambitious racer.” Lifeline’s narrow road clip-on rear mudguard, is both light and cheap. However, in the experience of a colleague, it is more prone to spontaneous lateral movement over rough ground, and is genuinely suitable for narrow tyres.
There’s no doubt that Zefal’s Swan Road Rear Mudguard does what it promises well, while offering stability combined with ease of transfer between machines. Perfect for mix-and-matching between road-orientated machines.
Verdict 3.5/5 Decent bit of gear, as they say, suitable for road riding and a bit of gravel.
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH