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Crud's Racepac mudguard set is an obvious option for cross-country mountain bikers, but according to the blurb they're also suitable for hybrids and other builds. They work to some extent on the road, but I wouldn't recommend them for commuters who ride in smart clothing.
In my experience, Crud kit is pretty solid stuff and there's nothing remotely low-rent about these polypropylene guards, nylon brackets and stainless steel hardware.
I tested them first on my beloved fixed gear winter bike/trainer, in essence a cyclo-cross bike frameset with track ends and spacing, disc brakes and 35mm mixed terrain 'adventure' rubber, which can no longer take full-length guards. Instructions suggest you can breeze the Racepacs aboard in 60 seconds flat. No need to whip out the seatpost, simply spread the clamp, introduce the appropriate shim, a slither of grease to the stainless steel threaded couplings, and nip everything snug with a 5mm Allen key. This system permits mounting to wishbone rear triangles, allowing it to be set lower for improved aesthetics.
The front is basically a more sculpted Crud Catcher on steroids and tethers to the frame's down tube via two generous o-rings.
Okay, total fitting time was closer to five minutes than one, but only the most impatient will grumble at that. Initially putting them on a fixer, I had no gear cables to contend with, but swapping over to older mountain bike and cross bikes with down tube cable runs proved marginally trickier.
Overall performance is pretty good by genre standards. The high quality materials and fitting kit eliminate annoying chatter across lumpy trails and washboard tarmac. Rider protection from unbecoming raccoon stripes and silty facepacks is also pretty good – even with 700x35 tyres. This tune remained consistent when ported over to a pretty standard XC hardtail mountain bike running 26x1.95 knobblies, although churning through moist forest trails, the sides, seat tube and front mech sported obvious spatter/overspray.
Deep puddles and waterlogged roads spell soggy feet and calves, so overshoes are still a must. For that reason I'd suggest looking elsewhere if you're riding to work in smart, formal clothes. If your weekend machine has to earn its keep Monday to Friday, though, you can't fit full-length guards and you're prepared to commute in technical togs with your smarts packed in a rucksack, the Racepac set is definitely worth a look.
Decent clip-on guards but perhaps better suited to cross-country mountain biking than road cycling
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Crud Racepac
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Crud says: "Lighter and slimmer than the Twinpac. Offering all round mud protection. Great for use on hybrid/trekking bikes as well as mountain bikes."
I'd broadly agree, though I'd be more inclined to suggest they're ideally suited to cross-country mountain biking and riders of cross/adventure bikes wanting some protection from mud and spray without compromising their machine's off-road prowess.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polypropylene mudguards, stainless steel fittings, nylon 6 bracket
* The updated Raceguard can be fitted in one minute straight out of the packaging using just one 5mm allen key. Attach without removing seatpost. Easy to mount and fit on all bikes.
Very well made, everything fits together nicely in just a minute or so. I found cable ties a more secure method of mounting the front guard.
Generally very good and offer more rider protection than I was expecting. However, these are best suited to cross-country mountain bikers, or 'crossers who want to minimise the muck thrown at them. Bikes still get a liberal coating in wet, slimy stuff.
Rugged materials, well-engineered, so should last.
Good for off-road rider protection, but as their length and profiles suggest, insufficient for commuting in office smarts.
Good value given the quality of materials, ease of fitment and overall performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, these are a good, solid choice for mountain bikers or 'crossers looking to get some protection from wet, mucky spatter without limiting their bike's off-road potential. It also makes wet-road training more comfortable, but really wet weather results in soggy calves and feet, and the bike gets a generous helping of wet, slimy stuff too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good quality materials, reasonable protection for the rider.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Fitting the front can prove a little trickier when cables run along the down tube.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? For a mountain bike or additional comfort on my cyclo-crossers, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? In the above context.
Use this box to explain your score
Good solid guards for bikes that regularly alternate between tarmac and trail, though their commuting potential is open to interpretation.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)