I recently bought a Dahon Jack folding bike, and I’m cycling to work on it pretty much every day. I’m loving it and wondering why I didn’t sort out my life to do this years ago! More on that in another post, but here let me just share some information for other people who might own this bike and might be looking for mudguards for it. For everyone else, this will be incredibly boring and evidence of my obsessive insanity. Move along now…
The bike specs say that the bike can be fitted with SKS MudMax/Xtradry mudguards but I didn’t want to do this because I wanted to fix a rack to the back for a bag, and I wanted to protect more of the frame from mud, and I’d also heard that the front mudguards that fit to the frame rather than over the wheel are not that useful.
Initially, I wondered if I’d really need mudguards, but one rainy day in London soon put me straight on that – I borrowed Sarah’s bright yellow jacket and when I got to work it was covered in mud. I have inadvertently tried several scenarios, so let me share them here. As I see it, there are three main criteria for success:
- The mudguards must stop me getting covered in rain and mud etc. from the road
- The mudguards must fit the frame
- The mudguards mustn’t get in the way when the bike folds
There’s an additional factor which is, of course, that it would be nice if the mudguards were in keeping with the look of the bike.
At £6.99 my first attempt and an emergency first purchase.
- Rain protection: Better than nothing, but not enough protection. Nothing at the front = wet legs. No protection for the frame.
- Frame fit: Not really an issue, but it could go further back, to give better protection.
- Folding: Doesn’t get in the way at all.
- Other things worth mentioning: Mind bogglingly easy to fit and looks in keeping with the bike.
By far the most expensive option (£26.99 ish), and considered the best mudguards available. The P65s are very wide, but that width is right for the Big Apple tyres that the bike comes with.
- Rain protection: Really good protection.
- Frame fit: Yes, fine.
- Folding: They don’t really get in the way, but the pedals hit the front guard a lot and scratched it up quickly. The guards don’t like taking the low level punishment that the bike takes when I fold it and haul it into my cupboard at home.
- Other things worth mentioning: They took a couple of hours to fit and were a bit of a struggle to get right. I’m not great at that stuff, but I’m not awful. I didn’t take to them at all. I became convinced that the mudguards were rubbing or affecting the bike’s performance (I now think this was just me being tired and all in my mind), and I didn’t like the way they looked. It felt like I’d put a leash on an excitable, fun puppy and it felt cruel!
It’s just a rack, and I use it for my pannier, but it has a shelf which claims to be usable as a mudguard. I tried it.
- Rain protection: Minimal. Obviously it doesn’t protect the frame at all, and it didn’t protect me from the wet on the road enough. Nothing at the front – wet legs.
- Frame fit: Yes, fine.
- Folding: Doesn’t affect folding.
- Other things worth mentioning: It’s a nice, light rack that I think looks ok with the bike.
My current choice (£9.99), in conjunction with the rack.
- Rain protection: Good at the back, and ok wrap around to protect some of the frame. I have not managed to fit the front guard yet because…
- Frame fit: The front guard’s bracket requires the guard to come a long way from the wheel (unless I’m missing something obvious), which means it would hit my front foot and also clash with the lock I carry under the bike frame. I need to work on getting this to fit, but if I can manage it, this one may be a winner.
- Folding: Just the rear so far, and it doesn’t affect folding at all. The front might be a different story.
- Other things worth mentioning: I’ve had to tape it to the rack because it kept hitting it as I rode and the noise was driving me bonkers. I think it looks pretty good on the bike.
I’ve not got these but I was passing a load of locked-up bikes the other day and saw last year’s Jack sporting a set. It looked like a good fit, even on the front wheel, but it’s impossible to tell if they worked out of the box. If I hadn’t already tried all these other options, I would try the Beavertail.
Hope this is useful to someone. It would be good to know the expense of three sets of mudguards can be spared someone else!