A few years ago racers everywhere gave up on rigid mud fenders and started following the lead of a few world cup riders, using cut inner tubes zip-tied to their fork crown and arch. The tactic is lightweight, works well, and has no possibility of breaking or falling off in a crash as rigid fenders tend to do.
The only downside is you need to find a flat tube, which somehow become gold when the mud comes out. New tires and rims are leading to less and less flats and less tubes lying around ready to be butchered. The zips ties holding things together also have the added disadvantage of scratching paint on fork arches and crowns.
Inevitably, someone came up with a way to get rid of the cons and make a little cash on the side. Enter the Neoguard, from rapid racer products of the UK. This ingenious little piece of neoprene is soft, light (29 grams for a large) and flexible and always in your toolbox. As a small bonus, it has plenty of room for sponsor logos for those head on photos where they are usually not visible.
Held on by velcro, it won’t scratch anything and goes on in 2 minutes. After a race weekend you can just hose it off with the rest of your gear, and hang it to dry and it is good to go for next time. In our sloppy testing sessions on a Fox 40, it works quite well for keeping mud off of your face. Fit isn’t perfect on a 40 (we were told it was the trickiest fork to fit due to the arch position), but it still kept the mud where we wanted it…anywhere but your face.
Craig Bromley from RapidRacer explains: “If we are being completely honest, the 40 is the worst fit for the LARGE NeoGuard as the brace is quite forward and also quite high, this doesn’t give as much tension as we would like to see, again it’s a compromise with the 888 which have a greater distance between the lower crown and the fork brace, we may make it shorter by a few mil in the future to give it more stretch on the 40.”
It is available in 3 sizes for different DH and XC forks. Our only real complaints about it are the HUGE RRP logo. RRP says that this will be going away sooner than later with a run of “stealth” versions, with much smaller logos.
Retail is 13.95 pounds sterling. About $26usd. For $5 extra they will do custom thermal logos on it for you.
For more info: http://www.rapidracerproducts.com/NeoGuard.htm