Pete Tomkins started making clip-on moulded plastic ‘Crud Guards’ for mountain bikers in the early ’90s and he’s specialised in keeping riders clean for the past 30 years both off-road and on.
The MK3 Road Racer guards are Crud’s easiest to fit, most stable and protective road fenders yet but still almost universal in fit, super light and easy to remove if you want. To see if they’re worthy of inclusion to our guide to the best road bike mudguards, we’ve been putting them to the test. Read on to find out what we thought.
Design and specifications
Crud start gaining points straight away with cardboard packaging that has the simple instructions clearly printed inside. The mudguards are made just a few miles from Pete’s home in Yorkshire too so the environmental shipping impact is minimal if you’re based in the UK.
Their super smart design means the two main blade sections are identical, with a narrow tip pre-taped for inter-leaving and sticking onto the front, and an asymmetric trimmable extension attaching to the rear section with a small thumbnut. In fact unless you need to trim that extension with a knife or saw, no tools are needed for installation at all.
First, check the basic position of the blades on the bike by sliding them between the wheels and the frame, appreciating that they only need a minimum of 4mm clearance to fit. In fact, we can’t think of a guard with continuous coverage that can squeeze into tighter clearances on rim brake or disc brake bikes than the Road Racer and it doesn’t need bolted fixtures either.
Instead, you fit adhesive strips of ‘Duotec’ (essentially super heavy-duty, extra-secure velcro-style fasteners sourced from the yachting industry where it’s used to secure deck fittings) to the inside of the forks and rear stays (alcohol wipes provided). These connect with Duotec strips already on the blades to lock them very firmly in place rotationally.
Sideways sway has been reduced compared to previous versions by the broad twin arm supports but you still get little adhesive ‘hairy caterpillars’ to stick inside the arms to provide a soft bumper against tyre and rim if they distort when swinging. Small soft patches stick on to protect the frame contact points and the rear extension gets a driveside flange to protect the chainset and chain. This is the bit you might have to trim to fit into the space so measure twice and be patient to get a neat, close fit.
While you could probably get a working set up in a few rushed minutes, proper alcohol wiping and adhesive strip pressing, then a bit of trial and error with angling and aligning will go a long way to ensuring the best performance in the long term. We still went from boxed fenders to fully fitted, rub-free and ready to go well before our tea got cold (about 25 minutes in an unheated workshop). That’s less than half the time it took to fit our last conventional set of mudguards and we didn’t have to go rummaging around for spare bolts and washers either.
While they’re heavier than the original more spindly Road Racers, the MK3’s are still half the weight of a set of full-coverage chromoplastic guards and cheaper too.
Flared rear tips mean toe and tail protection is good, but they end too high on the back to stop following riders getting a face full of spray. That might see them outlawed from ‘full fender only’ club runs and the front extension piece is very narrow so it only shrouds the centre line of the tyre. That’s not an issue with narrow tyres but 30mm width rubber or larger will leave you with a dirty head tube and possibly a dirty head too.
Otherwise, there’s enough vertical volume to straddle a 38mm tyre with some grit space. In the event of something big getting jammed between the tyre and fender, the Duotec fixings are also designed to pop off safely rather than jamming up behind forks and flinging you over the bars like a traditional metal stay mudguard can. The Duotec strips make it really easy to remove and refit the blades if you need to put your bike into a car or other tight space. Despite that, they stay really secure for season after season with no worries about rusting or rattling bolts and apart from the occasional feint brush of the hairy rub strips, the Road Racers are blissfully silent. All the bits and spare fitting kits are also available from Crud at low price too, so if you want to swap blades between bikes or you lose a piece, you can.
Patience definitely pays dividends for perfect performance but the Road Racer Mk3’s are still a fast, tool- and stress-free fit from box to silent wheel spin. They’ll sneak into the tightest gaps on close clearance race bikes but still provide plenty of ‘stick safe’ personal spray protection from toe to tail. They’re very light on the bike and comparatively light on the wallet too. Fatter tyres will spray your face though and following riders might moan.
Tech specs: Crud Road Racer MK3
- Price: £34.99
- Weight: 270g (cut to fit including frame strips)
- Sizes: One size fits most
- Colours: Black