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Fat bikes and dirt might be the best of friends but that doesn’t mean that you should have to put up with a mouthful of mud or snow.
Fenders and mudguards are simple to install and go a long way to keeping you drier, warmer, and more comfortable on your fat bike allowing you to spend more time outside having fun.
Because of the huge tire width, you can’t just pick up any mudguard from the shelf and hope that it fits securely on your fat bike. Here we take a close look at some of the best fat bike fenders and how to find the right style for your ride.
- SKS-Germany Fatboard (Best Overall)
- Portland Design Works Mud Shovel (Best 29er Fender)
- Planet Bike Big Buck Board (Best Full fenders)
- Axiom Rearrunner & Frontrunner (Best Wide Fenders)
- Mucky Nutz Fat Butt (Best Budget Fat Bike Mudguards)
Top 5 Best Fat Tire Bike Fenders Reviewed
1. SKS-Germany Fatboard (Best Overall)
- Length: 19-inch
- Width: 5.5-inch
- Weight: 12.45oz
- Material: reinforced plastic
- Type: rear seat post & front downtube
The SKS-Germany Fatboard Fenders combine high-quality materials and build (as you would expect from most things made in Germany) with easy installation.
The front and rear fender are sold as a set to give all-around protection from mud and debris. The front fender attaches to the downtube using a couple of strong straps and has enough adjustment to fit securely on most tubes no matter how irregular.
The rear fender attaches to the seatpost using an integrated Quick-Release mechanism and a couple of pivot points give plenty of scope for adjusting the angle to efficiently catch fly mud before it hits you.
- Massive coverage – these fenders are great for fat tires up to 5-inch and prevent mud and debris from flying where they shouldn’t.
- Easy installation – both the front and rear fenders are quick to install and feel secure once adjusted into position. They are just as easy to remove for those days when the trails are dry.
- Strong – the reinforced plastic and German engineering are built to last.
2. Portland Design Works Mud Shovel (Best 29er Fender)
- Length: 8.8-inch (front) & 22.5-inch (rear)
- Width: 5.5-inch (front & rear)
- Weight: 5.64oz (front) & 5.6oz (rear)
- Material: Polymer
- Type: rear seat post & front downtube
Bought together as a set, the Portland Design Works Mud Shovel front, and rear mudguards catch a lot of mud. They are similar in design to the top-rated SKS-Germany fenders with similar attachments.
The heavy-duty polymer material is tough enough to withstand years of abuse on trails or in the snow.
- Easy installation – only take a few seconds to attach the fenders to your fat bike and can be left behind when the sun comes out.
- Built to last – the strong plastic is designed to withstand years of fat bike abuse.
3. Planet Bike Big Buck Board (best full coverage fenders)
- Length: 29.5-inch (front) & 22.9-inch (rear)
- Width: 4.52-inch (front) & 5.5-inch (rear)
- Weight: 6.4oz (front) & 7.2oz (rear)
- Material: Polypropylene
- Type: rear seat post & front steerer tube
The Planet Bike Big Buck front and rear fenders offer great coverage and ultimate protection from mud spray. The front fender in particular offers more protection than standard downtube mudguards since it extends to cover more of the front of the wheel.
This is a blind spot in the design of most fat bike mudguards and one that you will be glad to have covered on the muddy trails and slushy winter roads.
The blades themselves are made from hardwearing polypropylene and will survive the harshest of winter commutes.
All the fittings are included to mount the front fender to the base of the steerer tube and once on it feels secure. The rear fender is even easier to attach using a quick-release mechanism to hold it on the seatpost.
- Extra front-wheel coverage – the front fender extends forward to provide more coverage than your average mudguard.
- Secure – attaches to the bottom of the steerer post using easy to install fittings.
- Extra-wide – great for 5-inch wide tires.
4. Axiom Rearrunner & Frontrunner (Best Wide Fenders)
- Length: 16.65-inch (front) & 27-inch (rear)
- Width: 7.85-inch (front) & 8-inch (rear)
- Weight: 4oz (front) & 8.8oz (rear)
- Material: Polypropylene
- Type: rear seat post & front downtube
The Axiom Rearrunner and Frontrunner work great as a set and are wide enough to catch most of the flying mud and debris.
Installation is completely tool-less and super-quick. Both the front and rear fender snap onto an easy-to-install mount which is great for adding or removing the fenders depending on the riding conditions. The Boa-style clasp on the seatpost offers extra security and peace of mind that the fender will stay in place.
The rear fender can be shaped by hand to the perfect form to cover your set-up and give maximum mud-catching efficiency.
- Extra-wide – with these attached to your fat bike, you would have to be unlucky to get a face-full of dirt.
- Toolless installation – attach the mounts, snap on the fenders and start pedaling.
- Flexibility – the fenders can be easily detached from the mounts for those drier days.
5. Mucky Nutz Fat Butt (Best Budget Fat Bike Mudguards)
- Length: 14-inch
- Width: 6-inch
- Weight: 1.6oz
- Material: 100% recycled plastic
- Type: Crud-catcher
The euphemistically named Mucky Nutz Fat Butt Fender is a simple solution that lives up to its name.
There is nothing fancy here, just a piece of plastic that is held in place by the rails under the saddle but it does a very decent job of catching mud sprayed up from the rear wheel.
Because of their simplicity, they are a great option for riders who want the option of a mudguard when the weather looks grim but don’t want the extra weight on all of their rides.
- Simple design – more of a mud flap than a mudguard but it still does a remarkable job of catching the worst of any flying mud.
- Easy installation – clever mount that slides under the saddle and can be attached as and when required.
- Low cost – its simplicity is matched by its low price.
Types Of Fat Bike Fenders
Full fenders follow the circumference of the front and rear wheels and sit close to the tires to provide excellent coverage. This type of fender is common on winter-proofed road bikes but less so on fat bikes.
This is mostly down to the fact that there a fewer mount options on typical fat bike frames. They would also be large and heavy due to the extra-wide tires.
Fenders available for fat bikes do not hug the tires as closely but still offer extremely valuable coverage from flying mud. Instead of attaching to mounts on the frame, rear fenders on fat bikes usually attach to the seatpost using an easy-to-use quick-release mechanism.
Crud catchers are a new breed of simple, easy to attach fenders that are designed to protect the rider from the absolute worst of the spray.
They are usually a single-formed piece of durable plastic that slips neatly under the saddle rails and is held securely in place using a couple of notches in the plastic. They are a great option for riders who only occasionally need fenders and don’t want the hassle of removing fenders every time.
Fat Fender Features To Look Out For
There are a lot of bike fenders out there but for staying dry and clean on a fat bike you have to pay a bit more attention.
Obviously, the width of your fender should be wider than your tire so that there are no gaps at the edges, allowing mud to spray where you don’t want it.
Depending on the style of fender you need to check that your fat bike frame can accommodate the extra width. This extra width is particularly useful at the front as it will give the fender a better chance of catching mud even as the front wheel moves from side-to-side when steering.
Standard bike fenders usually attach using mounts built into the bike frame. The chunky frames of fat bikes typically don’t come with mounts and the fenders have to be attached differently.
Usually, the rear fender is mounted onto the seatpost using a quick-release mechanism. The mount will have some pivot points to get the perfect angle whilst ensuring there is enough clearance between the tire and the fender.
The front mudguard is attached to the downtube using strong Velcro straps.
In both cases, installation is a two-second job that can be done by even the most incompetent of bike mechanics.
The great thing about the simple mounting is that the fenders and mudguards can be just as easily removed when the conditions improve so that you don’t have to carry the extra weight.
These attachments are secure and you can be confident that no matter how lumpy the trail, your fenders will stay in place.
At the cheaper end of the scale, some mudguards, such as the Mucky Nutz, simply slot into the rails of the saddle or attach using cable ties. It is simple and effective but it is not unknown for them to fall out on demanding trails.
When running rear fenders, it is important to ensure that you have enough clearance above the tire. In general, you should leave at least the width of your index finger between the tire and the fender but if you are riding in particularly sticky mud then you run the risk of it getting clogged.
With fat bike fenders and mudguards, this is less of an issue due to the attachment on the seatpost but it is still something worth checking. If you ride where the mud is particularly sticky, such as clay, you might want to ditch the fenders completely or you might come to a premature stop.
Fat bikes are designed to take abuse and it stands to reason that any fender you attach should be able to do the same.
Most fenders and mudguards are made from strong, reinforced plastic that is both strong and flexible allowing them to ride out the worst of any collision.
Front Derailleur Clearance
If you are using front mudguards that attach to the downtube of the fat bike you need to pay attention to ensure there is adequate clearance with the front chainset and front derailleur.
It is nothing that a bit of garage DIY with a hacksaw won’t solve.
On Guard! Fat Bike Fenders Conclusion
It wasn’t so long ago that if fat bike riders wanted to stay clean and dry they had to bodge together their own custom mudguards using what was on the market for normal bikes.
Thankfully riders no longer have to resort to DIY projects just to stay comfortable on the bike and there are lots of great fender options ready to attach to your fat bike.
The SKS-Germany Fatboard Fenders are more than a match for the boggiest trails and deepest snow. Installation is easy and they are built to last as you would expect with German build quality baked in.
If you are looking for something cheap and cheerful that still does a good job the Mucky Nutz Fat Butt Fender is worth considering. Pop it under your saddle and it will take the sting out of most of the mud spray.
Whatever fender or mudguard you choose, your ass and your bike will thank you!