Short and sweet: the RockShox Fender is the smallest mudguard on test, and it’s exclusively compatible with forks of the same brand. It’s a whopping 415 mm shorter than the longest mudguard in the test field. Can it keep up with the competition despite its short length? We found out.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best Mudguard 2024 – 8 models in review
Suspension giants RockShox offer an in-house mudguard designed specifically for their forks. The RockShox Fender is quite unobtrusive due to its compact size. It’s very clean-looking, too, because the mudguard merges seamlessly with the fork bridge. RockShox offer a matching mudguard for each of their different fork models. While the various Fenders don’t differ in looks, price, and function, the bolt-on mounts require a different number of screws at different positions. For € 25, you can have the 180 mm, 42 g Fender delivered to your door. This makes it the lightest and smallest mudguard on test, measuring a whole 415 mm less than the Mucky Nutz. Considering its compact size, the RockShox Fender certainly won’t get in the way when hanging your bike onto the bike rack of a chair lift or shuttle.
Mounting the RockShox Fender
Installing the mudguard is quick. The mounting interface for the ZEB uses three small screws. You simply attach the Fender using these and it’s ready to go. The process is a bit fiddly due to the small size of the screws, but it’s nothing you can’t deal with. Because the RockShox Fender is designed to work with the brands’ latest fork castings, the compatible model years also differ. The ZEB featured the new casting and mounting points from the date of its launch in 2021. However, the castings of the Pike and Lyrik were only updated in 2023.
The RockShox Fender on the trail
As with all the mudguards on test, the Fender was subjected to a workshop wobble test immediately after we installed it. The RockShox Fender doesn’t budge. This was also confirmed on the trails, resulting in a pleasantly quiet ride. But how much protection does the smallest mudguard offer on muddy trails? As expected, it offers the least protection in the test field, and it doesn’t compare to the Mucky Nutz MugGuard or the SKS MUDROCKER. That said, the RockShox Fender is still a whole lot better than no mudguard at all in muddy conditions, and it isn’t aimed at those looking for the best protection possible. Thanks to its minimalist design, the RockShox Fender is the kind of mudguard that you attach to the fork and leave on permanently. That way you’re prepared for any eventuality, and if you get caught in a midsummer rain, the RockShox Fender is already on your bike, so you can just keep on shredding. It also protects your fork seals reliably.
Conclusion on the RockShox Fender
The RockShox Fender is the smallest mudguard on test, and it also offers the least protection. It’s not for those who want the ultimate protection in the muddiest conditions. Instead, it’s designed for minimalists who prefer to install the mudguard and leave it there all year round because the RockShox Fender still offers a lot more protection than no mudguard at all. Its compact construction is quiet, unobtrusive, doesn’t scratch your fork, and it’s bike-rack friendly.
- blends seamlessly with the fork
- doesn’t interfere with bike racks
- least protection in the test field
- not compatible with pre-2023 Pike and Lyrik models
For more information, visit the RockShox website.
For an overview of the group test: 8 mudguards in comparison
All Mudguards in test: FOX Mudguard | Mucky Nutz MugGuard Long | Mudhugger EVO Bolt-On | Riesel Design kol:oss stealth | RockShox ZEB Fender | Slicy Enduro/DH Long mudguard | Zéfal Deflector FM30 | SKS MUDROCKER FRONT
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Words: Sebastian Dirscherl Photos: Simon Kohler