Review: Rapid Racer Products ProGuard BOLT ON

Price: £35.99
From: Your local bike shop or Google.

Background

It feels like it's barely stopped raining this Autumn. Winter has now officially arrived and rain hasn't stopped falling for what feels like months. Mud isn't as much of a problem as it often is, because there has been so much water, the mud has in fact in many cases been washed away to form rivers. In real terms, this means more spray...much more spray. 

I like a clean looking bike. Not clean without a spot of dirt, but clean lines. Clean looks. Therefore I tend to ride without a mudguard as much as possible. Historically I've used Rapid Racer Products's (RRP) Neoguard. as I have done now for probably 15 years. It's pretty effective for a slim strip of neoprene. From a side profile the bike looks like it doesn't have a mudguard on but from the front, you can't help but miss it. 

So finally with the arrival of a new 29" wheeled Enduro bike, I felt it was time to get a proper, fitted mudguard to keep the water, mud and sheep poo out of my eyes and mouth to help me ride faster without wincing. But I hate zip ties, which is how most mudguards tend to be mounted. Then I noticed the drillings on the reverse of my Fox 36 Fork brace. Surely that must be for a mudguard...gotta be. But I've not seen a Fox mudguard before. 

After some research I find Syncros do one that fits but looks pretty flimsy and doesn't look to offer much coverage. Though I've not tried one, so please don't see that comment as a review. A little more research and I find RRP have a prototype version of their already popular ProGuard that actually BOLTS on. Wow, I just had to get one. 

It was a good 6 weeks before the release date but I was lucky that RRP managed to find a production-almost*-ready version for my new bike to create content with and show on the bike when I visit bike shops around the country. I chose the 'Mini' version feeling that was a good compromise of coverage and not looking to bulky.

Fitting
It arrived quickly and I bolted it on in a few seconds. The bracket comes with drillings to fit Fox (what I have), Marzocchi and SR Suntour forks. Adapter brackets are currently being designed to fit other forks with drillings. Rockshox? I'm afraid not as there aren't currently any threaded holes on Rockshox forks. Maybe in the future. 

The guard can be adjusted to sit higher and lower to the tyre. I fitted it on a mid setting at first and then let out all the air in my fork to test clearance. At full compression, the mudguard hit the crown (this is what was corrected before actual production), so I lowered it all the way towards the tyre and the problem was sold. Fortunately, I've not noticed its proximity tot he tyre being a problem. You can also use shims to adjust the pitch of the guard. I guess this depends on the fork brand and size of wheel. I refrained from using any of these shims in my final setup.

What's really great here is no zip ties. The mudguard looks so subtle, neat and tidy. I thought it would still seem like a bulbous elephant in the room to me, but I honestly forget its there. It remains rigid, flex free and even strong enough to resist permanent mal-forming when in the car resting hard on its resin structure.

Performance
I chose the 'mini' model. That's the shorter of the two sizes (Mini and Standard) which comes in at 388mm in length vs 503mm for the standard. If you don't mind zip ties, you could opt for 'Max Protection' at a whopping 582mm with the standard non-bolt-on ProGuard. I think that looks pretty silly and judging by how effective the Mini is, probably unnecessary for many riders.

I noticed immediately how effective the mud-protection was from my Mini ProGuard. It was one of those moments of elation, now accepting I should have got a fitted mudguard years ago. The ProGuard Bolt On was stopping everything hitting my eyes (I don't wear eyewear most of the time) at low and moderate speeds. A longer guard would help at higher speeds when riding through particularly wet sections. But this is a trade off i'm willing to make for such a subtle looking guard.

Having fitted it so close to the tyre to clear the crown, I was worried mud would get caught and I'd suffer scraping noise or worse yet, a clogged front wheel. Fortunately, this really didn't happen and on its lowest setting, the clearance was still ample. 

Conclusion
Rigid, solid fitting mudguard that offers ample mud protection. As far as I'm concerned, it's your only sensible choice if you have a suspension fork that has threads ready to take a mudguard. What's even better is, they're from the UK!

What's great
- Rigidity
- Mud protection
- Clean looks

What's not great
Clearance on my crown at full compression. However this looks to have been fixed on production models and in real-world riding, despite bottoming out several times, have not damaged the guard in any way.
- Currently only available for Fox, Marzocchi and Suntour forks. More coming soon.

About this review
Cyclorise imports and distributes the brands you see listed at the top of this website. We sell mostly to bike shops but also to the end consumer. We also publish content that does not relate directly to the brands we represent, such as this review. Because we understand there are lots of products worth talking about, not just our own.