Mr Crud AKA Peter Tomkins designed the original Crud Catcher to help protect his shiny new Diamondback MTB in 1991. Since then the company has designed various clever products for MTBs, but for the road bike community Mr Crud really hit the nail on the head when he came up with the original RoadRacer mudguards in 2009. They were designed to fit road bikes that would otherwise not be able to have mudguards due to tight clearances and lack of fixing eyelets. Now we are looking at the Crud Roadracer MK3.
For 2017 (available October 2016) Crud have completely redesigned the Roadracer in this MK3 version. With current trends of wider tyres and disc brakes in mind the new version is wider and will accept up to 35mm tyres. They are more robust and sit a lot higher on the forks and stays to give clearance for discs.
To say I’m a big fan of the MK2 version may be a slight exaggeration, but I do like them. I tried the SKS Raceblade Longs which are the only other product I’ve found which gives similar coverage and which fit my Specialized Allez. They were okay, but for various reasons I always went back to the Roadracers. The MK2’s still weren’t perfect, they had their faults, such as getting them to sit right. It was easy when it was dry and they floated exactly as they were supposed to. However when it was wet they tended to rub more on the tyres. I wore through one set last Winter til they were almost see through! Also at speed they floated better, but at low speeds in town, with all that stop-start riding they were quite noisy.
The new MK3 Roadracers come in a well designed cardboard box with the instructions printed on the box to minimise packaging. They attach to your bike using a heavy-duty fixing strip called Duotec Interloc. It works in the same way as velcro with two different sides that ‘stick’ together very well. The actual guards are a lot more rigid than their predecessors. The rear guard still has the very useful protrusion by the crankset to help keep the dirt off your crank and bottom bracket and the guard is still secured to the seat tube with a removable zip tie in the same way the MK2 was.
I put the front guard on first as this is the one I anticipated would give me the most trouble. The Allez has very tight clearance on the forks. The angle on the forks was too tight for the guard to sit in without touching the wheel. I could have filed the sides down until it sat right, but I was advised by Peter to take the front bit of the guard off. My pathetic junior hacksaw took a little while to get through the guard but the end result looks fine and the guard sits just inside the fork.
After a few miles of riding I went back and applied some of the sticky dots that came in the box to the inside of the fork to stop a slight rattle over potholes and protect the paint from scuffs. You position the mudguard then figure out where the adhesive backed strip will go on the inside of the fork leg. There is a bit of room for error as the strip is quite long.
The rear guard was slightly easier but I did try fastening the front bit at several different points on the seat tube with the supplied reusable cable tie before I was happy with it. There’s a fair amount of room for adjustment and you should find the perfect spot to attach to on your bike. The seat stays are very skinny on the Allez and I was worried they wouldn’t provide enough surface area on the Interloc strip, but it has held fine over a few weeks of being ridden over Cambridge’s pothole strewn roads and over the juddering cattle grids on Midsummer Common.
The MK3 Roadracers look a lot neater than the MK2. The front mudguard, the way I have fitted it, comes down a little further to offer great protection for my feet in the rain. They also fit closer and because I ‘only’ have 25mm tyres they curve around the tyre slightly to give better coverage. However, although the rear guard still gives great protection to bottom bracket and feet it doesn’t reach as far as the MK2 did. Where the MK2 got to well past the 9 o’clock position if looked at from the right of the bike the MK3 is more like 10 o’clock depending on where you fasten the guard to your seat tube.
This still seems to give adequate protection to my back and rucksack, but might not be so popular with cyclists following your wheel. In practice we didn’t find it terrible to sit behind in the rain and it’s still a better solution than most of the alternatives except perhaps the new SKS Raceblade Pro XL and the SKS Raceblade Longs. Both of which have other differences to bear in mind before assuming that longer is better.
Let’s be realistic these guards aren’t the perfect solution, ideally you would have a winter bike that has the same set up as your Summer or race bike, but with clearance and eyelets to fit sturdy full length mudguards to protect you against the elements. Unfortunately not everyone has the money or the inclination to do that. The Roadracer MK3 allows you the choice to go out in Winter without needing to either swap over or buy extra power meters, expensive saddles and pedals. As long as you clean it and service it regularly your nice Summer bike can stay nice even when ridden through Winter with the protection of the Roadracers.
For what they are designed for the Roadracers do a brilliant job. These MK3 versions are even better than the original design and are now a realistic alternative to ‘proper’ mudguards even on bikes with the necessary clearance and eyelets. They certainly take less time to fit, I watched a mechanic bend the arms of a set of proper mudguards he was fitting to a bike with disc brakes and cut them to size and screw in to the eyelets and even though he has a mental template of the procedure it took longer than it would have to fit a set of Crud Roadracer MK3.
There is very little noise from these except a slight scuffing sound when the water hits them and stones are thrown up by the tyres on gravelly roads. At time of writing the Crud Roadracer MK3 is available at £39.99 with little or no discounts due to them being new to market and still having limited availability.
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