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How to win friends and the respect of your fellow rider(s) (a) Buy a round of tea and cake at the caf' stop (b) sidestep conversations of a political, religious, sexual and doping nature (c) Invest in a set of SKS Longboard full coverage mudguards. Long by name, longer by nature they deliver superlative rider protection while safeguarding cranks, mechs and similarly intricate parts from the onslaught of silt and spray. Stainless steel hardware and top-notch materials mean they'll remain unblemished for many seasons but I was slightly disappointed by the lack of reflective detailing and drilling for a rear dynamo lamp.
Our Fordist black examples will literally complement or contrast any colour scheme but silver and beige are the alternatives. Whatever colour you go for you get a guard made from formed plastic with an aluminium core. Secu-clips will breakaway to prevent a nasty spill in the event of that crushed beer can, or dead pigeon lodging itself between guard and tyre (thanks Shaun I was eating my lunch - ed) while those beefy 3.4mm stainless stays will look pretty long after the galvanised type have turned furry.
The devil they say is in the detail and the finishing kit is reassuringly comprehensive, just be sure to keep feral felines and curious children from scattering them everywhere. Several coffees inside me and Ilpompino on the stand, everything breezed together pretty happily in about forty-five minutes. Achieving graceful flowing curves was easier than I expected thanks to the guards surprisingly malleable properties, although trimming those sturdy stays demanded beefy croppers.
SKS's time honoured refinement requires little introduction but it's surprising how much difference the additional length makes. A prolonged dry spell was making things slightly academic during testing but Mother Nature broke the monotony with gunmetal skies and subsequent thundery downpour. Despite torrents of water battering the chrome plastic, spray was localised to the fork blades rather than engulfing the feet and bottom bracket region, which bodes well for winter and/ or commuting in smart street shoes. The rear works equally well, inviting more persistent wheel sucking! The only other downside to this additional length is a tendency for the rear to catch when wheeling the bike vertically.
Impressive mudguards offering optimum protection from rain and spray but as with all full guards take care you don't ground the rear if wheeling the bike vertically
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Make and model: SKS Longboard mudguard
Size tested: Black 45mm
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?
"End wet feet forever!
SKS Longboard are one of the longest and best coverage fender on the planet." No quibble here!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
■section: 45 mm
■fastening: Secu Clip
To SKS usual high standards.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Longboard are the last word in protection for rider and machine thanks to superior length and prodigious mudflaps, spelling an end to wet feet and drowned drivetrains. The only minor problem was the rear's tendency to ground when wheeling the bike vertically-say negotiating tight hallways or hanging up in the workshop.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Superb coverage, build quality and materials.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The tendency to ground when wheeling vertically was slightly irksome but a minor point.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Unreservedly
Age: 37 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)