Does RRPs mudguard live up to the Max Protection name?
Proguard Max Price
Proguard Max Weight
26”, 27.5” and 29” Boost and standard forks (except reverse arch forks)
LBS or favourite online shop
I’m sure everyone reading this will know what a front mudguard is but for anyone not entirely sure about all the benefits and drawbacks of running one let’s quickly cover them before we delve into this actual product review.
In my experience a good front mudguard for any mountain bike should serve 3 main purposes. Firstly, and most importantly it should be protecting the rider from mud, debris and water but most importantly keeping their field of vision clear. Secondly a mudguard should protect the bike from collecting mud, in particular the fork seals and stanchions and downtube. And third it needs to be designed well enough that it doesn’t cause the tyre to clog against trapped mud/debris and halt the bike and next we simply want the guard to be durable and a good fit on a variety of forks and hopefully not look too hideous.
Goggles and protective glasses are a fashionable alternative to running a mudguard many riders will choose but they have never really been a very practical one.
They both have the benefit of increased eye protection but both also have many drawbacks too. From fogging up too easily when the rider sweats, heats up or breathes or simply because of the conditions, to requiring constant cleaning on the trail from mud and debris thrown up, to lenses becoming permanently scratch from something so simple as wiping mud from them. Not to mention if your goggle frames foam ever gets damp it’s simply never going to dry, be uncomfortable against your skin and probably contribute to even more lens fogging.
Then we have tear-offs. Clear plastic sheets that you place over the lens to pull off when they have become muddy leaving you with clear vision once more. Well, pro as they might look and a practical solution for racers, goggle tear offs are certainly not an environmentally friendly solution and it’s really not cool dropping them all over your trails. So really if you think about even for eye protection wearers, running a mudguard is going to cut down on the amount of maintenance their eyewear requires while riding.
So what are the drawbacks of running a front mudguard? Well other than how it looks, a badly designed mudguard can actually clog with mud and trail debris in certain conditions and ruin your progress. I’ll touch on this again later in the review.
There are quite a number of front guards available just now made from various plastics and even carbon fibre all making claims of what is best about their design and manufacturing. So let’s take a look at what RRP say themselves about the properties of the material used in construction of the guard:
The ProGuard range of mudguards have a soft high gloss finish which is a characteristic of our highly polished mold and our special polypropylene mix, this unique mix has been specifically blended for: 1. COLD WEATHER STRENGTH 2. HIGH IMPACTS 3. HIGH FLEXIBILITY 4. HIGH DURABILITY
I’ve now put the RRP guard through over a thousand miles of E-mountain biking and it’s been out in everything from properly shitty cold wet UK conditions to the freak dusty heat wave we suffered in Scotland this spring and summer. I’ve crashed with it multiple times, ridden loose rocks, stones, had tree debris dragged through the guard by the tyre, been attacked by thorns/brambles, chucked it in the back of vans and cars along with other bikes, on rear and roof mounted bike carriers and can quite honestly say without hesitation the material easily lives up to all the above claimed properties.
RRP do recommend avoiding certain cleaning products and say that because of the material chosen the guard is susceptible to scratching/scuffing up easily and using certain solvents will turn the finish matt. I haven’t found either of these things to have happened any more than expected and even cleaning with GT85, one of the solvents they said would leave the guard matt it’s not exactly a dull finish. In fact a quick polish with GT85 and it shines again. Just not quite so much as out the box. If you do want it back to a shiny finish a quick wipe with silicone spray should do the job (or pledge if you prefer the smell).
PROGUARD FEATURES INCLUDE:
INDENT FOR FORK BRACE GIVING EXTRA 4MM OF TYRE CLEARANCE
24 CROWN HOLES THAT OFFER A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF FIT OPTIONS
SNAP-OFF HOLE COVERS REDUCE SPRAY FROM TRAVELLING THROUGH UNUSED HOLES
LONG FRONT TO COPE WITH HIGH SPEED SPRAY
SMALLER TURN DOWN AT FRONT FOR BETTER TYRE CLEARANCE AND TO REDUCE BLOCKAGES
REAR FLICK OFFERS EVEN MORE PROTECTION WHEN THE WHEEL IS TURNED
STICKER RECESS OFFERS GREATER PROTECTION FOR STICKER ADHESIVE
SEAL PROTECTION INCREASED WITH OUR ACCLAIMED SEAL GUARD DESIGN
MAX PROTECTION VERSION IS 21MM LONGER AT THE FRONT AND 68MM LONGER AT THE REAR
The above features are what makes this guard stand out from the crowd in use. I will go through them as I explain the fitting procedure and the performance of the guard in use. Well… all but the bit about the protective sticker recess as I didn’t buy a sticker kit. But even that shows great attention to detail and forward thinking in the design process.
Fitting the guard to your fork is a pain-free experience and can be done in a matter of minutes depending on how fussy you are about how its prepared. As a minimum I’d recommend first at least cleaning your fork lowers and brace and at the other end of the scale if you want to make sure any rubbing of the fork won’t result in cosmetic damage to the lowers paint now is the time to add your preferred fork protection tape .
Now onto the actual fitting of the guard. First sit the guard on top of your tyre and position it underneath the arch of the fork brace so that the lower tabs follow the lines of each lower fork leg. Now position the guard against the underside of the brace showing you which of the pop out fork brace mounting holes you want to use to mount the top of the guard. Once you’ve chosen your mounting holes it’s simply a case of threading 2 of the 6 supplied zip ties through the mounting holes and over the brace. the other 4 zip ties thread through 2 holes each on the legs of the guard and are zip tied around the lower fork legs. Once zip tied loosely in position it’s then simply a case of straightening the guard up, tightening the zip ties and cutting off the excess.
Let’s face reality here no mudguard is never going turn your pride of joy into a stunner is it? But to be honest for a full coverage front mudguard the RRP did manage to miss a few branches when falling from the ugly tree. For all you matchy matchy people out there RRP have chosen to have a plethora of high-tack (I’ll take that to mean sticky AF) colour matching highly durable erm… stickers made up for you to decorate their guards with Whether that look is for you is entirely your choice.
COLOURED STICKERS AVAILABLE (SOLD SEPARATELY)
ALSO AVAILABLE IN WHITE, CYAN, YELLOW, ORANGE, RED, MAGENTA, GREEN, TURQUIOSE, NEON GREEN, BLUE, PURPLE
The RRP has been fitted to my E bike for over 6 months and 1000 miles. Reactions from friends during the summer were mixed. Laughing or pointing mainly but sometimes both at the same time. But even in the dry there can be standing water and the guard does a great job of keeping that out of your face. I ride a very wide variety of trail and terrain types throughout the year, from hardpack to loam, rock, roots, wet steep technical forest trails with standing water to natural flat woodland, moorland and even plowed farmers fields. Some of it very hard going and some places where other mudguards have left me pulling woodland out of my fork brace to keep my front wheel rotating. The RRP has been outstanding in all of these conditions.
Here are before and after pics from a 3 hour rainy Scottish ride
As you can see after 3 hours the bike is covered in mud but there’s virtually none under the front half of the downtube, and only a small amount of splashes on the fork stanchions, crown and headtube. What you can’t see from the pic is the bars and controls were clean too.
From the well thought out indented fork brace section allowing better tyre clearance for the rest of the guard to the elongated and dipped front section to reduce the type of tyre spray you ride into at higher speeds but designed in such a way as to not increase the chance of the front not clearing of thicker mud. To the wider longer scooped tail preventing stones/mud from being thrown up at an angle. The only reason to buy the standard Proguard I can see is if you’re attempting to make your bike look racier which let’s face it unless you’re Fabian Barel isn’t actually going to make you any faster even when it’s bone dry.
I’ve used many mudguards over the years and in my opinion the RRP proguard max is hands down the best performing front mtb mudguard available right now.
The guys at RRP have clearly done their homework and improved on every aspect over any mtb mudguard available previously. A thoroughly well thought out product. Simple and quick to fit and remove if you prefer the not to run a guard in drier conditions or during the summertime.
If a full guard is what you’re looking for the only reason I can see to choose another brand is if you happen to prefer the look or styling of another brands guard, Some won’t like the look of the dropped fork seal coverage section and others won’t like the look of extra length of the guard but these are both improvements in function over all the others out there.
Ease of fitting
Some will hate the sensible shoes look a of mudguard