The wet, cold weather over the last week or two got me thinking about mudguards — specifically a light, detachable, adjustable mudguard that would work well off road on both the 29″ and 36″ uni’s. A mudguard could come in handy especially on longer XC rides in the rain, not just to help keep the butt crack dry but also with reducing the amount of cleaning up of the Camelbak, clothes and unicycle e.g. the underside of the seat, after a ride.
Looking around online I came across the Topeak Defender M2 Mudguard and as luck would have it had a trip planned to the city, so picked one up. Defender – a funny name for a mudguard, I guess it’s defending your butt crack from a spray of cold, muddy water.
The Defender in action – ‘Spinning Wheel by Blood, Sweat and Tears’ 🙂
According to Topeak:
DeFender™ M2 has an ultra-secure quick release mounting system that easily adjusts from 25.4 to 34.9mm, easily fitting standard and oversized seat posts. The two-pivot arm articulates for improved tire coverage and perfect bike fit. A stiff engineering grade plastic support frame is comolded to a softer more flexible material at the trailing edge for greater durability.
Topeak claim the Defender M2 weighs 230 grams. On the cooking scales of justice myDefender weighed 227 grams, including a smattering of mud and water from today’s ride – not too shabby! The make or break component of the Defender however is the clamping mechanism which easily adjusts to fit around the larger diameter tubes, like the seat posts on current Kris Holm unicycles.
A quick release along with two soft-ish tacky yellow pads help hold the mudguard firmly in place while riding, and can be adjusted so the the guard can rotate instead of breaking during UPD’s. The mudguard is positioned via the adjustable arm, secured by two hex bolts. Nice! It all looks and feels durable – time will tell I guess.
Swapping the mudguard from unicycle to unicycle is a quick and easy job. The curve of the mudguard is also a great fit for the 36″ tire.
The further away from the mount the less rigid the Defender becomes, including a super soft clear section with wings at the very end. It’s a funky look.
Out on the Trail
Out on the trail the Defender works great. It does the job and stays out of the way during mounting and riding. Knowing you have a mudguard fitted seems to increase the tempation to ride through water. I found myself riding through every puddle, and climbing and descending the trails on the wet line vs the dry line 🙂
Two minor things I noticed. Firstly, with the mudguard fitted to the 29’er I had to a be a little more careful when lying the uni down on the ground so as not to sit the weight of the uni on the guard. This is less relevant on the 36″ as the guard is neater fit. Secondly, in the wet conditions the WTB Stout ocassionally picked up small branches which would sometimes then rotate with the tire and jam between the tire and guard. I’ll experiment with positioning the guard on the 29’er to deal with that better.
All up the Topeak Defender M2 mudguard is a neat piece of design. After a couple of very wet rides I’m satisfied it’s a worthwhile purchase, especially with 3 months of cold and most likely wet Winter ahead.
For more trail notes refer to ‘DeFender of Rain and Cold‘