My first winter ride this year was a rainy cold one and I must admit by the end of the ride I was fairly pissed off at my soggy groin and the mess I was making on my vehicle’s seats during the ride home. I was not looking forward to 5 more months of this nonsense! 😦
That got me googling winter riding shorts [which exist, but are $$$!] as well as packing a towel to sit on for the post-ride drive. For longer trips to Duncan and Sooke I’d carry spare clothes so I could swap out the wet ones.
Then I had the brain storm to google mountain bike fenders. I found the Mudhugger product and after checking out some reviews decided it was worth trying one out.
The Mudhugger fender is an injection moulded unit from the UK that zipties to the rear of most bikes and covers the rear wheel to prevent spray from hitting your butt. It’s low profile so you can hang off the bike when shit gets steep and gnarly and it provides a high degree of coverage.
You get some clear protective film with the fender to avoid wearing the paint off your bike. The fender just zipties on so install is a 5min affair. One tip is to let all the air out of your shock to confirm you won’t have a problem when you seattube moves backwards deep into the shock’s travel.
You’ll note I’ve added a small DIY protective shield in front of the Mudhugger. This stops the rear tire from dumping mud and grit on my lower suspension linkage. I figured if I was going to winterize the beast I might as well go all the way! 😉
Mudhugger sells a front fender as well that looks good, but I already have a Canadian Shield fender up front that’s lighter, cheaper and has proven itself very effective over 2 seasons.
I happened to have a PDW downtube mounted splash guard in the spare parts box which I installed. This protects the shock and me from some of the dirty water thrown up by the front wheel as the Canadian Shield is not a full fender due to the limitations of 6″ suspension fork compatibility.
All in all the bike looks both meaner and more goofy with all this stuff attached, but really winter riding is not about looking cool it’s about staying comfy and keeping maintenance in check.
To that end I took the Nomad out on one of our more challenging loops. I splashed through every deep puddle and instead of slowing down for muddy sections to limit the spray I hit the gas to see what would happen.
First off everything stayed in place despite high speed chunk and a number of drops. Secondly the only thing that I noticed was different while riding was on the steepest sections when I hung my butt far off the rear of the Nomad I touched part of the Mudhugger. Not enough to be an issue. It didn’t affect how I rode the bike and it didn’t move the fender at all.
After the ride I checked out the bike and it was amazingly clean. The fork seals, dropper seal and saddle were summer riding clean. The lower suspension link wasn’t perfectly clean, but I’d guess my DIY shield blocked 80%+ of the crap that would normally get on it.
My shorts and jersey had a few mud splatters on them, but neither was wet or uncomfortable to wear. So I’d call this winter mode for the Nomad a winner.