Deep in the heart of the UK’s Shropshire hills nestles a small and indiscriminate works unit. Surrounded by other small units, this humble little place has no big signs on the door, the heating is barely existent and there are no corporate works uniforms in sight. But the products they produce are one-offs, we cannot think of anyone in the world producing such a wide range of layered up carbon mudguards and down tube guards; it’s time to look behind the curtain at Rockguardz.
These guys have a really good name for themselves locally; they have now been producing their three different sized mudguards (all made in-house) and downtube protectors for around four years. They scramble around the local bike shops to take moulds for every new model of bike every year, producing guards that fit exactly to the frames. If they haven’t got the mould they offer a free guard to anyone who turns up with the first one of it’s kind bike they can take a mould off.
The work that goes into these things is labour intensive, once the mould has been made and is in stock, the layering begins. The process goes from lacquering up, applying the layers, setting the soft guard, cutting the material, then eventually these things are polished up and shipped out to order all around the world.
The mudguards are a slightly different story, as they are a universal size and design, although the guys are always experimenting and improving, these are a one-size-fits-all affair. They have made some big improvements with the Mk2 from the Mk1. The first year we used these, we saw several breakages with the Mk1, now with the Mk2 it’s a fit and forget affair, with their structure offering tons of stiff support and strength.
Mudguards have traditionally never been sexy, but the Rockguardz are the first to blend functionality with style, and after a visit to the old-school unit and watching how much time and effort is put into their production, they are definitely a labor of love.
For more information visit the Rockguardz website.
Words and photos: Jim Buchanan
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