Not everyone thinks of mudguards as the most ground-breaking piece of gear, but you want something that doesn’t move around and provides enough coverage. The Bontrager NCS Alloy Mudguard Set does exactly that, and the Blendr light mount makes it easy to mount a light out of the way.
- - Blendr mount
- - Metal construction
- - Rolled inner edges
- - Rear tail could be longer
- - Only available in the US
- - Lacks break away mounts
For many road cyclists the idea of mudguards on a bike is worse than death, however if you spend the winter riding outside in the rain, you'll know that makes little sense. The idea is to ride your bike and if you want to spend all day in heavy rain, you'll happily take any advantage available, and that includes installing a pair of the best road bike mudguards.
After all, having one of the best waterproof cycling jackets on the market is a must, and you'd never consider going without a set of the best cycling overshoes or best winter cycling shoes. There's no reason you should skip out on having a great pair of mudguards either.
Now we've had the chance to put the Bontrager NCS Alloy Mudguard Set through its paces, covering hundreds of miles riding through the rain, and even a little snow, we're ready to share all the details of what they're like to use. If you want to get serious about wet weather riding, then keep reading to see what we think of the Bontrager NCS Alloy Mudguard Set.
Design and aesthetics
There are those who see mudguards as an anti-fast aesthetic - a kind of functional commuter look that takes away from a bike - but the right mudguards definitely shirk that opinion. The Bontrager NCS Alloy Mudguard Set doesn't quite match the bling you might find with a shiny hand-hammered set of steel mudguards, but they hold their own. The matte black finish covers an aluminium construction.
It's not a look that calls attention to itself, but it's hardly lacking in style. The struts and mounting hardware are all silver and do catch the eye a bit, but not too much, given the small overall impact of those pieces. Meanwhile, the black of the mudguard itself blends in with a nice set of wheels. The design minimises distractions if you look at the whole bike. Resist the trend for tan sidewall tyres and you can really set a frame design apart by keeping the eye focused.
The one piece that does standout is the Blendr mount on the back of the rear mudguard. The easiest thing to do with the mount is attach a Bontrager Flare RT light, which slides right on, looks great, and is one of the best bike lights on the market. You aren't strictly limited to that light either, of course.
The Blendr mount is inherently a GoPro mount. If you remove the outer piece, which attaches directly to a Belndr-compatible light, it leaves a mount that works with any GoPro-style bladed mount. There are other rear lights that would work directly using that strategy, or you could get creative with adapters for lights that don't come with GoPro mounts. You could also mount your light on the seatpost and use a lightweight camera like the Insta360 Go 2 on the mudguard.
At the rear of each mudguard is a rubber flap, which is short and mostly rigid. They do technically move if you touch them, but don't expect anything like a traditional rubber or leather 'buddy flap'. The shape and length are just enough to keep water and debris off the face of the rider behind, and the bike, but it's not generous. If you wanted something longer it does technically appear to be possible to remove the included flaps but you'd need to find, or make, something with just the right size and mounting.
The Bontrager NCS Alloy Mudguard Set needs your frame to have mounting points. There are workarounds, such as Framerunners or Axlerunners from Axiom gear, but these are mudguards inherently meant for bikes with mounts. If that will work, keep reading.
The Bontrager mounting requires no cutting. Instead, each strut is made up of two pieces. One side comes from the bike and one side comes from the mudguard. They meet in the middle and the end of each has an Allen bolt that tightens it to the other strut. That makes for two bolts per strut and there's plenty of room to adjust the length. Bontrager isn't unique in this design but it makes life a little easier.
In addition to the struts, there's also a mount at the top of each mudguard. In the front that means the back of the fork. In the rear that means the seat stay bridge. The seatstay bridge mount clips on and there is an additional mounting hole at the back of the bottom bracket. If you don't have a seat stay bridge it's likely that the double rear struts in combination with the lower mount would be enough.
The mounting process was incredibly fast and easy. Loosen both Allen bolts on each strut and as you adjust, tighten one when you think everything is in the right place. Make sure you tighten the other one before actually riding. I installed the seat stay bracket on its own then squeezed the mudguard into it after it was tight. There's a little bit of a dent to the arc there but the aluminium construction should be able to handle that.
Bontrager included enough bolts that I was not lacking anything. There are extras included too in the form of different lengths. I would have appreciated a few more options with lower profile heads but in the end it's unlikely I would have found an option for the only bolts I needed to swap. On the bike I'm riding, the mudguard mounts are right at the axle and the rear through-axle has a quick-release style handle. To make that work I had to swap the mounting bolts to a flat-topped bolt.
Since mounting the Bontrager NCS Alloy Mudguard Set they've performed perfectly. The only noise they make comes from the mudguard touching the seat stay mounting bracket over large bumps. When it comes to keeping the rider dry, the rounded inside edges and the flaps do a good job channelling water to the ground. At the front, there is enough forward length to keep water from spraying upwards.
Everyone wants to know if the Bontrager NCS Alloy Mudguard Set will keep the rain off them but long rides in heavy rain are wet affairs. What I can say is that my riding partners aren't bothered by spray off the rear wheel and I can clearly see the water channelling into the front mudguard and down to the ground. I don't get sprayed in the face and there's not a constant symphony of rattles and noise. The light mount is also a favourite feature as it means I never have to worry about the bags I decide to bring on a ride.
The details that detract are all solvable. If you want breakaway mounts then nylon bolts would be a good workaround. For longer flaps, you can get creative with the vast wealth of options out there. The question comes down to how much customisation you want to undertake in exchange for easy mounting and a light mount. If you are good with the design out of the box you get a quality product at a reasonable price.
Tech Specs: Bontrager NCS Alloy Mudguard Set
- Price: $124.99 / £N/A
- Material: Aluminium
- Mounting Hardware: Stainless Steel
- Available Sizes: 700c x 18-25mm, 700c x 28-35mm, 700c x 36-45mm
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.