Proper science. Kinda.
We wanted to see what the on-trail performance benefits of a mud-proofed bike actually are. So we did a test.
To explore the effectiveness of popular mud-busting solutions, we came up with a simple plan…
Take two identical bikes and two sets of matching kit, then prep one bike to be as mud-proof as possible and leave the other as is.
Then we’d ride the same loop on each bike, throw in a couple of timed descents to find out which one has the most grip and weigh them both at the end.
Theoretically, the winterised bike should end up cleaner, lighter, and most importantly, faster.
We used a pair of Lapierre Zestys, Editor Danny and bike test editor Alan set about waging some serious war on winter.
Firstly, both bikes were built up and weighed. This defined a base point from which we could work out how much weight was added by the preparation, and how much mud adhered to each bike at the end of it. Then came the winter makeover, as described below.
The winter makeover
Here’s what we did to the ‘mud-busting’ Zesty (and pilot).
- Mud tyres
- Gaffer tape over – saddle rails, back of crank arms, fork brace, fork crown underside and any other smaller crevices.
- Moto foam – open cell foam to go in places where gaffer tape wouldn’t fit or work.
- Silicone lube – frame, fork, shock and so on (yes, we covered up the brakes!)
- Clear-lens eyewear
On trails Danny and Alan know well, fitting mud the full winter package produced incredible results. Okay, so it’s not scientific but it hints at what decent winter gear can do…
Trail 1 timing
Mud-buster bike = 2m 39s
Standard bike = 3m 14s
Difference = 35 secs
Trail 2 timing
Mud-buster bike = 3m 09s
Standard bike = 4m 03s
Difference = 54 secs
Bike weights before and after the timed runs…
Mud-buster bike BEFORE = 13.86kg
Mud-buster bike AFTER = 14.7kg
Difference = 840g
Standard bike BEFORE = 13.86kg
Standard bike AFTER = 15.1kg
Difference = 1.3kg
The weight of the clothing after riding was also quite striking — we think the moto foam in particular was very effective…
Danny’s (mud-buster) helmet, jersey, gloves, shoes BEFORE = 2.07kg
Danny’s (mud-buster) helmet, jersey, gloves, shoes AFTER = 2.27kg
Difference = 200g
Alan’s (standard bike) helmet, jersey, gloves, shoes BEFORE = 2.41kg
Alan’s (standard bike) helmet, jersey, gloves, shoes BEFORE = 2.81kg
Difference = 400g
Mud-proofed bikes are around 15-20% faster.
Non mud-proofed bikes end up being around 660g heavier than mud-proofed bikes.