Mudguards have achieved a strange acceptance of late. Previously riders wouldn’t be seen dead with any sort of uncool fenders but as mudguards become more refined and riders realized it's a lot more fun to see where you are going on wet trails, the best MTB mudguards have gained in popularity.
Now they are a common sight, especially around my local and very soggy Scottish trails, and Rapid Racer Products (RRP) are one of the rider favorites. I have been testing out the RRP ProGuard Max Protection to see how it performs when slashing through the sloop.
Design and specifications
When it comes to fenders and protection from wheel spray, bigger is always going to be better. RRP sells three versions of the ProGuard, the Mini, Standard, and the MaxProtection which I have on test here.
The ProGuard MaxProtection is one of the biggest MTB fenders on the market, measuring 582mm it's considerably longer than the Standard version. The guard also comes in two fitment options, a universal version that attaches using zip ties or a direct mount option that can attach to your fork crown. The guard is compatible with 29, 27.5, and 26in wheels and can provide coverage up to a 3in tire. The only foreseeable compatibility issue is if you are running a fork with a reverse arch (sorry Manitou fans) or an archless inverted fork. RRP also does a rear version to stop the build up of mud on the frame and protect your bearings.
The ProGuard is made from RRP’s own proprietary polypropylene mix which RRP says gives it better impact durability and maintains flexibility. There is a front turn down which is said to reduce blockages and a flicked tail to reduce spray when the wheel is turned. Dubbed Seal Shield Design, the wider sections around the fork legs are designed to keep your fork seals clean, which could potentially extend the service interval of your fork. On the inside, there is a gloss finish which should help limit dirt sticking and becoming clogged between the tire and guard.
Lastly, there are a few extras and mods that can be done to the ProGuard. There are seven color sticker options if you like to have a color scheme and if you don’t like the gloss finish, you can rub GT85 or WD40 to give it a matte finish.
Fitting is an easy process and simply a case of sizing it up to your fork, seeing which holes best line up with your fork brace for even tire clearance and pushing out the holes with a flathead screwdriver. While the guard comes with zip-ties for fitment, I used the hook and loop pack (sold separately, £9.99) so I can quickly and easily take it off when transporting a bike or swapping it between bikes.
Once fitted, the Pro Guard Max Protection is very secure and extremely rigid. I haven't experienced any movement or tire rub even when I was riding on properly fast and chattery terrain.
At 582mm in length, the Max Protection version is one of the longest MTB guards available. That means coverage is very good and I could complete a properly sloppy ride with little or no cleaning of my eyewear. In fact, it's a real game-changer if you want to get out and ride in all weather but hate finishing the ride with teeth full of grit.
If you are fed up with winter riding and the natural facial treatment that comes with it then RRP ProGuard Max Protection is going to be a great upgrade. Easy to fit and very secure, I have been using it religiously since it came through the post with zero complaints.
The price is reasonable as well considering how well it works and the fact RRP offers a 50 percent crash replacement service too. It would be nice if the Hook and Loop pack came standard to sweeten the deal though.
Tech specs: Rapid Racer Products ProGuard Max Protection
- Price: $40.95 / £28.99 / AU$ 51.43 / CA$44.99
- Colors: Black (White, Cyan, Yellow, Orange, Red, Magenta, Green, Turquoise, Neon Green, Blue, Purple stickers sold separately)
- Size: 582mm long
- Weight: 139g (actual)