I have fitted and used two sets of SKS Chromoplastic mudguards, a P35 and a P50 with mixed results. This post reflects on my experiences with these mudguards or fenders as they are sometimes called.
My first set is a set of P50 SKS Chromoplastic mudguards fitted to my Surly Long Haul Trucker and the second set is a P35 SKS Chromoplastic mudguards fitted to my Kinesis Racelight Granfondo Ltd. I have had mixed results with these mudguards. The set fitted to my Surly Long Haul Trucker have worked a treat whereas the set fitted to the Kinesis Racelight Granfondo Ltd are destined for retirement to the rubbish bin before next winter and will be replaced with a pair of Crud Roadracer Mk2 mudguards. Funny how one set has worked a treat and one hasn’t.
SKS Chromoplastic Specifications
The standard specifications irrespective of the size of the mudguards are:
- a set for front and rear;
- The mudguards are made of a chromoplastic material which is a sandwiched construction in which very thin aluminium foil is encapsulated;
- the mudguards have what are described as traditional and unmistakable decorative stripes;
- 3.4 mm stainless steel assembly accessories;
- bolts and nuts from stainless steel;
- front fork crown fitting, sliding bridge and fixed bridges of stainless steel;
- including stainless steel assembly kit;
- the front mudguard is fitted with a security fastening Secu clip (DIN 79100)
P35 SKS Chromoplastic Mudguards
The P35 SKS Chromoplastic mudguards are a 35 mm section 700c mudguard designed for tyre sizes in the range 20 to 28 mm. The profile of the P35 is more like a box than the P50 profile.
P50 SKS Chromoplastic Mudguards
The P50 SKS Chromoplastic mudguards are a 50 mm section 700c mudguard designed for tyre sizes in the range 38 to 45 mm.
Other Sizes in the SKS Chromoplastic Mudguard Range
SKS also make three other sizes in the Chromoplastic mudguard range. They are the:
P45 – A 45 mm section mudguard for 700c tyres in the 28 to 37 mm range;
P55 – A 55 mm section mudguard for 26″ tyres in the 1.6 to 2.10 range;
P65 – A 65 mm section mudguard for 26″ tyres in the 2.10 to 2.35 range including the Big Apple tyre.
SKS Chromoplastic Installation
I have had the SKS Chromoplastic guards fitted to the Surly Long Haul Trucker since its initial purchase in 2009 whereas the P35 guards are a more recent purchase, being fitted to the Kinesis Racelight Granfondo Ltd in April 2011. At the time of writing this post the P50s have seen 9,357 kilometres on the road and the P35s have seen 4,384 kilometres on the road and one winter.
My experience in fitting the SKS Chromoplastic guards whilst easier the second time around pretty much reflected my first time experience. That is these are a fiddly mudguards to fit; the stays may need to be cut to size and as I learnt with the P35 getting them â€œrightâ€ on the front in particular can be a real pain.
These mudguards, because of the “universal sizing” approach may need to have the stays cut to fit. This also means that they use a special bolt and nut combination to secure the stays to the mudguard themselves. These are easy to loose (they have a habit of flying off during fitment if you are not careful) and I have had one come loose on the Surly Long Haul Trucker. Of course SKS do not provide any spares, which is a bit frustrating. For a few cents extra in the cost this would be a really nice add to the product; a nice piece of customer service. Interesting they provide lots of other spare bolts but not the special ones for securing the stays!
One trick I did learn when fitting the mudguards is that it is smarter to size and cut the stays before finalising the fitting.
One other negative I have with respect to the installation and that is I found the holes drilled in the rear guard for the mounting bracket to attach the guard to the chain-stay where not drilled to match the plates so could only secure with one bolt and not two as shown in the instructions.
The front guard is connected via what SKS refer to as a security fastening Secu clip (DIN 79100). The mudguard stays push into the clip and the idea is that if something catches in the guard, the stays pull free without further damage/sending you over the handlebars.
The mounting to the fork is via sturdy bracket which is riveted to the guards. I have found this part is a good fit and secure. The bolt does has not worked loose.
One other aspect worth noting is that I did find the P35 SKS Chromoplastic mudguards to fit much better to the Kinesis Racelight Granfondo Ltd than the mudguards I initially fitted, SKS Raceblades. The Raceblades where a right pain and I could never get the front mudguard fitted properly. Not only did they not fit properly, they directed the dirt and grime from the road towards the bottom bracket and rear seat post. This resulted in a big mess after a couple of hours of riding in the rain. In my experience the SKS Raceblades where a total waste of money and they where quickly consigned to the rubbish bin.
SKS Chromoplastic Performance on the Road
Both the P35 and P50 SKS Chromoplastic mudguards have performed okay on the road with the P50s out performing the P35 mudguards in my view. This is really only because of a couple of reasons: (1) they didn’t fit as well as I would like, particularly the front mudguard and (2) it didn’t take long for the front P35 mudguard to pick up a stick with the result being that instead of the security fastening Secu clip doing its thing and releasing the stay from the frame, the stays where ripped from the mudguard itself where they are riveted on; pretty much stuffing the fit, but at least saving me from a possible over the bars incident.
That said, in terms of rain and road grime protection both the P35 and the P50 SKS Chromoplastic mudguards are quite effective even though I don’t use full on mud-flaps. I suspect adding a decent mud-flap would enhance their performance.
So in conclusion, would I recommend the SKS Chromoplastic mudguards? Well if I need to replace the mudguards on the Surly Long Haul Trucker I would probably go with the P50 SKS Chromoplastic mudguards again but for the narrower tyred bikes I would pass on the SKS Chromoplastic mudguards.
SKS Chromoplastic The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
- Good protection from rain and road grime;
- Very effective even without a mud-flap.
- Fiddly to fit;
- Need to cut the stays to get the fit right;
- Found the P35 SKS Chromoplastic quite a pain to fit to the front of the Kinesis Racelight Granfondo Ltd;
- Lack of a couple of spare special fasteners for securing the stays to the mudguard itself;
- Poorly drilled holes meaning that the mounting point on the guard did not align with bike mounts properly.
- The failure security fastening Secu clip on the P35 SKS Chromoplastic mudguard