If you want to ride fast along wet trails you'll need a front mudguard to keep your vision clear. With that in mind, here are the best mountain bike front mudguards on the market.

To keep your vision clear in wet and muddy conditions, a front mudguard is a must-have. They’re not particularly cool, or sexy, but they do an essential job in muddy conditions, keeping dirt and water out of your vision so you can see where you’re going. It also makes sense to pair a mudguard with a set of the best mountain bike glasses and goggles too.

For dynamic riding and advanced trails, we wouldn’t recommend a rear mudguard. These tend to be vulnerable to damage and will often impede your freedom of movement on the bike. Better to get a good pair of waterproof trousers instead.

SKS Mudrocker mudguard

The SKS Mudrocker mudguard is quick to install and remove and remains rock-solid in use.

1. SKS Mudrocker mudguard

Excellent protection and quick to mount/remove

Weight: 126g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Fast and effective fastening
  • Excellent spray protection

Reasons to avoid:

  • Slightly more expensive than other options
  • Less seal protection than RRP and Mucky Nutz

The latest addition to our rundown of the best mudguards on the market, and this SKS Mudrocker goes straight to the top. It boasts a decent length that’s on par with rivals such as the RRP Proguard Standard, but stretches the width a touch to increase clearance without reducing protection. And yet it still squeezes under the tightest fork crowns, such as the RockShox SID (it won’t work with backwards arches though). Three broad velcro straps let you secure it to the fork, which makes installation and removal quick. And because they are silicone-backed, they don’t slide around, so the mudguard remains totally stable. There’s also a bolt-on adaptor included if you want a clean look and don’t need to take the mudguard on and off regularly. A great mudguard from a reputable brand.

Read the full review of the SKS Mudrocker mudguard

RRP Proguard Max

RRP Proguard Max is solid, offers loads of protection, and keeps mud away from delicate fork seals.

2. RRP Proguard Max

Looks good and highly effective

Weight: 145g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Wheel hugging coverage
  • Looks neat and unobtrusive
  • Seal protection

Reasons to avoid:

  • Tad fiddly to set up perfectly

The ProGuard from RRP is a rigid polypropylene guard available in two lengths – standard and Max. The standard is a decent size and offers good protection, but for UK use we’d recommend the Max, which extends 21mm further at the front and 68mm further at the back and really stops all spray. There’s a three-point fixing and multiple holes for finding the perfect fit depending on your fork. This does require punching through the plastic, and a bit of guesswork to find the right ones.

We love the extended sides, that keep dirt and mud from getting to the fork seals, and the fast that nothing is getting passed this mudguard, so you can focus on riding without getting blinded by spray.

Read the full review of the RRP Proguard Max mudguard

RRP Proguard Bolt-On

RRP Proguard Bolt-On gives a sleek look without unsightly straps.

3. RRP Proguard Bolt-On

Best for a clean installation

Weight: 124g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • No more zip-tie eco-destruction
  • Clean look and less paint damage

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not available for all forks
  • Fiddly to fit and remove
  • More expensive

This version of RRP’s Proguard bolts to the brace for a clean look and secure mounting that does away with annoying zip-ties. Not only is this more eco-friendly, it helps prevent scratching and scuffing the paint on your fork lowers.

There are three bolts for attaching the fork to the brace, and the mudguard fits Fox 32, 34, and 36 forks, as well as some Marzocchi, RockShox and Ohlins models. Consult the list on RRP’s website before buying. Fitting is definitely a bit fiddly, but as long as you clean the brace thoroughly you should be fine. It’s not quite as stable as a three-point fixing with straps or zip-ties, and there’s some noise from the rubber leg pads, but many riders will be happy to accept that in return for no more straps.

Read our full review of the RRP Proguard Bolt-On mudguard

Mucky Nutz MugGuard

Mucky Nutz MugGuard is a great value option.

4. Mucky Nutz MugGuard

Best value mudguard

Weight: 106g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Good value

Reasons to avoid:

  • Can buzz tyre on bigger hits

Mucky Nutz undercuts RRP by a few quid with its MugGuard, but there’s no real drop in performance. It mounts in a similar way with a three-point fixing, using slots and holes pre-formed in the plastic, and comes with both zip-ties and Velcro straps for installation. We prefer the latter, as it makes it easier to remove, but it’s worth adding some clear protection tape around your lower fork legs to stop the straps scuffing the paint.

There’s a bit more flex to the Mucky Nutz than the RRP, but it’s just as effective at keeping mud and spray out of your vision. Choosing between the two is tough, but if you’re watching the pennies, the circa £5 saving will probably swing it.

Read our full review of the Mucky Nutz MugGuard

Fox 36/38 XL Mud Guard

Fox 36/38 XL Mud Guard

5. Fox 36/38 XL Mud Guard

Best mudguard for Fox owners

Weight: 93g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Solid as a rock
  • Wide coverage

Reasons to avoid:

  • Harder to mount than rivals
  • Fox forks only

Designed to work exclusively with Fox’s latest 36, 38, and 40 forks, this mudguard mounts to the air bleeders on the back of the lower legs. It’s a faff to fit, as you have to remove the air bleeders and the washers (keep them safe as they’re easy to lose) before installation. But the result is a mudguard that’s extremely stiff and secure, and there’s less chance of damage from straps constantly rubbing the paintwork.

It’ll only fit the latest Fox forks, and it’s not worth getting the short version, but the XL gives ample protection from dirt and spray. A great upgrade for any Fox fork owner.

Read our full review of the Fox 36/38 Mud Guard

Crud Products XL Front Fender

Crud Products XL Front Fender

6. Crud Products XL Front Fender

Pricey but worth it if you need to remove/attach frequently

Weight: 145g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Easily removable

Reasons to avoid:

  • Can rattle and buzz over rough terrain
  • Not the prettiest design

Anyone who has been riding for more than 20 years will remember the Crud Catcher. It was the first purpose-built mudguard for mountain bikes and sold by the truckload. Now Crud is back with a modern take and a new USP. The Crud XL is quick and easy to remove and install thanks to rubber bungee straps similar to the ones used on the original Crud Catcher. So if you have to lay your bike flat in the boot of a car, you can remove the Crud XL easily to prevent it getting bent or damaged.

The Crud XL is cut away in the centre so it slides on easily and you can adjust the height for different wheel sizes. There are also foam pads on the leg supports to protect the legs, but these tend to get wet and muddy and rub the paint anyway. It’s also a bit of a compromise in terms of shape and doesn’t always follow the wheel perfectly. There’s some rattle and it’s noisy on rough descents, and we’re not convinced about the looks. An innovative design that’s good when you need to throw something on quickly.

Read our full review of the Crud XL Fender

What to look for when buying a mountain bike mudguard:

Early designs mounted to the down tube, but all the best models now attach to the fork lowers. This keeps them close to the tyre, which stops much more spray and it also tracks the wheel as you steer, so you’re always protected.

The best guards are the longest and work at all speeds. If you’re riding slowly, mud comes off the trailing edge of the tyre and is thrown upwards, but as speed increases it’s thrown further forward and you eventually ride into this spray. Having a mudguard that covers the full arc of mud trajectory is the best option.

Most modern mudguards use zip-ties to stay in place because it’s cheap and easy, but we’re starting to see bolt-on options, and a couple of these new designs are represented here. Hook and loop straps are another solution found on more mudguards now, and these let you take them on and off much more easily, while remaining reusable. Innovation often brings with it increased cost, and while the top end models can be over £40, there are really simple guards available for less than a tenner.

Mounting is (almost) everything

Mounting is (almost) everything

The best mounting options

The common way to fit a mudguard is to use zip-ties passed through the pre-drilled holes in the moulding and pass them around the fork lowers and the fork brace. Some guards use thin Velcro straps, which can be reused and can be removed easily. Several new designs bolt directly to the back of the fork brace, but only if the fork has mounting holes – some don’t.

Plastic rules when is comes to 'guards

Plastic rules when is comes to ‘guards

What material are mudguards made out of?

Most mudguards are made from polypropylene because it’s cheap, light and easy to form. Some manufacturers use a 100% recycled plastic, but it’s often the post-industrial stuff, not plastic bottles that you put in your wheelie bin. In our experience the recycled options don’t last as long, with the mounting slots vulnerable to tearing.

Bigger or don't bother

Bigger or don’t bother

How much coverage do I need?

The longer and wider the better. The downside of a bigger guard is it can flap around, and the more mud it collects, the more it weighs. That can have a noticeable effect on unsprung mass and fork sensitivity. But as long as the dirt is wet, then that shouldn’t be an issue.

Fork protection

Fork protection

How do I protect my fork from scuffing?

The usual method for attachment is to zip-tie the guard to the brace and fork legs, but they are sharp and can scuff the paint, so some guards come with rubber zip-tie covers. Others ditch these entirely in favour of thin Velcro strips or rubber bands. To stop scuffing and movement you can apply a couple of rubber or felt furniture patches (which you buy from a DIY store) to the contact points.

Do I need a specific mudguard depending on my wheel size?

Most of the guards here fit both 29in and 27.5in wheels, but a lot depends on the size of your tyres. If you use tyres wider than 2.5in you may have to angle the guard slightly using a different mounting point.

Foldable sheet mudguards are cheap, light, and easy to sling in the back of the car, but not as effective as moulded options.

Foldable or preformed?

There are two basic types of guards – flat sheet foldable options, like the Ride Guard PF1, and Marsh Guard, and moulded polypropylene guards like RRP Pro Guard Bolt-On and Mucky Nutz. The former are affordable, don’t weigh much and fit a ton of forks. The latter have greater coverage and are a bit more robust.


We weighed all the guards, but it’s somewhat irrelevant because sticky mud and clay is quite heavy and the overall weight of your bike can increase by up 12lbs after a muddy ride, so a 50g increase is neither here-nor-there when you’ve got that to deal with. To help prevent this, applying silicone spray to the inside of the plastic mudguard will help mud slide off and reduce accumulation.