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The Best Clip-On Bike Fenders

Clip-on fenders keep you clean and dry when the weather doesn't cooperate with your riding plans. These are the best fenders I've found that look good, stay secure, and protect me from rain, snow, and mud.

Written by: Bruce Lin

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Whether you’re conquering your daily commute or an epic bike tour, no rider likes getting soaked with road spray or covered in mud. That’s why fenders (a.k.a. “mudguards” outside the U.S.) are essential equipment for year-round cycling. But most cyclists don't have fender mounts on their bike or they don't want to ride with permanent fenders. That’s where clip-on fenders come in. Clip-on fenders are lightweight, easily removable, and compatible with most bikes. You can switch them between multiple bikes and take them off when the weather’s good. 

There are a lot of clip-on fender options out there. After testing multiple fenders over thousands of miles of wet and muddy roads, these are the fenders that I’m still using to keep myself dry (spoiler: it’s almost all SKS fenders). I like these fenders because they’re reliable, good looking, easy to use, and best of all, affordable.   

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Best rear clip-on bike fenders

SKS X-Tra Dry fender - $22.99

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For me and many other cyclists, SKS is the gold standard for clip-on fenders. They’re what I recommend to most riders asking for a clip-on fender recommendation. SKS clip-on fenders are super sturdy so they last forever and don’t flap around. They also have the best quick-release mounting system I’ve used with a beefy rubberized fabric strap that’s easy to adjust and keeps the fender securely in place.

For most riders the do-it-all X-Tra Dry fender is a solid choice. The design is iconic, as it’s been a go-to fender for bike messengers since the ‘80s. The angle is adjustable to work with different frame geometries and it’s wide enough to provide coverage for tires up to 2.5" wide. 

SKS S-Blade fender - $24.99

SKS S-Blade fenderIf you want a slimmer fender for your road, cyclocross, or gravel bike then the SKS S-Blade is the ticket. It’s essentially a slimmed down version of the X-Tra Dry fender and can cover tires up to 38mm wide. 

SKS S-Blade fenderIt looks a lot sleeker than the X-Tra Dry, so it’s what I choose for most of my wet winter road and gravel rides. I have also used it with 40mm tires with no issues, but any wider and some spray will get past it. 

SKS X-Blade fender - $37.99

SKS X-Blade fenderThe SKS X-Blade adds an additional pivot for an extra adjustability to work with nearly any frame geometry. It’s perfect for full-suspension mountain bikes bikes that might have clearance issues with less adjustable fenders. It will cover tires up to 3” wide and comes in long and short length options to suit different tire sizes. 

PDW Origami fender - $21.00

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Portland Design Works’ Origami fender uses thinner plastic than what’s used on SKS fenders so it’s foldable and packable. It’s easy to snap the fender off its mount and store it in a bag while commuting or bikepacking. When needed, you simply snap the fender back onto the mount and you’re good to go. 

PDW Origami fenderThe mount uses a fairly thin and light strap that isn’t quite as robust as the SKS mounting strap, so if you’re hitting rough terrain, I still recommend choosing a SKS. The PDW is a solid once-in-while or emergency fender that looks good, has different color options, and weighs very little. 

Ass Saver-style fender - $10-20

Ass Saver Mucky Nutz Butt CX saddle fender[product-block handle="mucky-nutz-butt-fender-red"/]

During my shoulder season rides, I don’t want the bulk of a clip-on fender ruining the silhouette of my bike. When looks and weight are top-of-mind, then a simple Ass Saver-style fender is what I choose. They’re just enough to keep your butt dry (but not much else) when you encounter the occasional wet road or puddle. The Ass Saver is the original, but there are lots of companies making similar minimalist fenders. Currently, I use a Mucky Nutz Butt on my hardtail MTB and a narrower Mucky Nutz Butt CX on my road and gravel bikes.      


Best front clip-on bike fenders

SKS S-Board front fender - $26.99

SKS S-Board front fenderIn my experience, most cheap clip-on front fenders don’t provide enough coverage and aren’t worth the trouble. The one exception I’ve found is the SKS S-Board, which has become my favorite clip-on fender for road and gravel bikes. It attaches quickly and securely to your fork legs with a pair a stretchy rubber straps. 

If you’re riding in a heavy downpour, the lack of tire coverage in front of the fork will allow some spray to escape, but most of the time the S-Board provides just the right amount of crud protection for your feet and drivetrain. It’s a great compliment to the S-Blade Rear fender and provides coverage for tires up to 38mm wide, but I’ve had good luck running it with 40mm tires. For mountain bikes, SKS makes the moto-style Shockboard front fender, but I haven’t tested it (yet) so I can’t confirm how effective it is. 

Marsh Guard-style MTB front fender - $10-20

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Since I don’t like most clip-on front fenders, I simply run a Marsh Guard-style fender on my mountain bikes. These are made from the same thin-plastic material as an Ass Saver, so they weigh nothing and are super cheap. Some riders will even cut their own out of scrap plastic. They attach to the arch of a suspension fork using zip ties or velcro straps and provide just enough coverage to keep spray and mud off your face. As a bonus, they also keep your headset and fork stanchions clean. For this reason, I actually run one on my mountain bike year-round. 

If you ride a lot of muddy trails, there are also versions that extend in front of the fork arch for even more coverage. Marsh Guard fenders are one of the original versions, but there are lots of companies making similar fenders. Some new forks (i.e. the Fox 38 and 36) even have factory bolt-on options. Currently, I use a Mucky Nutz Face fender on my MTB.

Full-coverage clip-on fenders

SKS Raceblade and Speedrocker fender set - $74.99-85.99

SKS Raceblade fenders[product-block handle="sks-raceblade-xl-fender-front-rear-set-black"/]

What if you want the protection of a traditional full-coverage fender but the weight, convenience, and removability of a clip-on fender? Once again, SKS is my go-to with its Raceblade and Speedrocker front and rear fender sets. These fenders use rubber straps similar to those used on the S-Board to attach to your fork legs and seatstays. They cost a lot more than the other clip-on fenders on this list but they have much more extensive coverage because they follow the curvature of the tire. If you regularly ride in wet weather, or you’re riding in a group where you want to keep spray off the riders behind you, these will provide the coverage you need.  

The standard Raceblade fits 18-25mm tires, the Raceblade XL fits 25-32mm tires, and the Speedrocker fits 32-38mm tires (though I’ve gotten away with fitting 40mm tires). Getting them to fit perfectly around your tires will require adjusting or cutting the fender stays. Ultimately, mounting and removing them isn’t too difficult, but it’s time consuming enough that after I’ve mounted them I tend to leave them on for long periods of time.

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