Extended coverage in a lightweight package with some long-awaited fitment upgrades
- Unbeatable coverage
- Improved design
- Ease of fitting
- Longevity was a problem with older generations
SKS introduced the Longboard mudguard system over a decade ago and, over those years, it has been continuously improved with minor updates to the fixing hardware and placement arrangement. They're available in two widths: the 35mm is suitable for tyres of 20-28mm, and the 45mm is aimed more toward all-road bikes with tyres of 28-38mm.
I have been using various generations of Longboard mudguards for as long as I can remember on my winter road bike. If you’re a rider that spends a lot of time riding throughout the winter months and you ride in a group, then both your bike and your riding friends will be very grateful for the length of these full-length fenders.
Before these mudguards arrived, I had a previous generation of Longboard mudguards fitted, with a less refined mounting placement. This led to some parts of the mudguards snapping and resulted in what ended up to be a pair of rather Heath Robinson-looking contraptions with added homemade flaps where I had lost the original on the road somewhere along the way. This has been the only downfall of the previous SKS Longboard mudguards, but I feel confident the updated fixings have resolved this problem for the latest version.
- Best road bike mudguards: Fantastic fenders to fend off winter
Design and aesthetics
The Longboards are supplied with a full range of nuts, bolts and spacers for bikes that come with mudguard eyelets. However, if like mine, your bike is without, then you might need some extra p-clips to fit them. The only out-the-box solutions that overcome this problem are the clip-on variety of mudguards like SKS Raceblade and Raceblade Long, but I find they fail to offer the same levels of coverage, security or sturdiness.
Given I was just replacing my old, snapped, bodged mudguards with a new pair I just copied my mounting points from the previous pair and set about fitting them. The most noticeable improvements are the mounting points for the supporting bridges. The previous pair had the mounting points where you would expect them to be on a regular Bluemels fender but, because of the sheer length of these mudguards, it left a lot of unsupported guard at both ends. This could lead to a lot of wobbling and then, in turn, fatigue that caused both front and rear guards to lose their flaps and effective usable length.
The latest model shifts the lower mounting point further to the end of the guard so they are fully supported throughout their length, and early impressions are that they will be far more durable than those they are replacing. The front guard is fitted with a nice safety release on the mounting point so if something were to get stuck between the tyre and front guard it can pop off to save you from flying over the bars.
There are also big improvements to the little plastic caps that cover the end of the stays. This used to be a nightmare to fit, having to squeeze them over the tab on the mudguard blade itself and then try and wiggle the stay into it while holding the captive bolt in place. It's now merely a matter of cutting the stays, bolting them all together and then fitting the caps while a fixing holds everything firmly together.
In use, what do you want a mudguard to do other than keep you dry? That’s it probably, but there are a couple more positives from a set of decent mudguards.
A mudguard of this length will also keep those behind you dry as it extends low enough at the rear to stop the spray from your rear tyre going up onto the following rider. The coverage offered by the rear guard will also offer a lot of protection to your drivetrain from the mud and salt on the road, in turn offering easier cleaning and less wear.
The front guard extends low enough that it all but eliminates the spray from your front wheels on to your toes. Even the best cycling overshoes will eventually give way to a content stream of water after a couple of hours so why not just stop the spray? Your toes and shoes will thank you for not leaving them entrenched in cold water for hours at a time.
I know these conditions would put a lot of people off riding when you could jump on the turbo trainer, but if like me you’re an all-season commuter, then this is what you need.
It’s hard to fault the SKS Longboard mudguards as they simply do what it says on the box. I’ve had older pairs that have snapped or broken in different ways and I keep going back to them because there’s little else available on the market that does such an impressive job of keeping you dry and protecting your bike from the very worst a British winter can throw at you.
Tech Specs: SKS Bluemels Longboard mudguards
- RRP: £41.99 / $50.00
- Material: plastic
- Weight: 689g
- Wheel size: 700c, 650b
- Tyre width: 20-38mm
- Length: 960mm front / 1300mm rear
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