We’ve had a number of Ass Savers and other assorted, low-cost clip-on plastic fenders for quite some time. While never a real substitute for actual full-cover mudguards, the Ass Saver Big did a respectable job at keeping most mud & spray off our butts, especially for short periods of time like warming up for a cross race.

In the last year Ass Savers has revamped several of their plastic mud guards, so we have strapped the latest Mudder, Mullet & Fendor Bendor to a few bikes to see how clean & dry we stayed.

Ass Savers flat pack, strap-on mini plastic mud guards

The trick to the entire Ass Savers catalog is to remember that these aren’t proper full-coverage fenders, and they aren’t aiming to be. We talked to company founder Staffan, and to paraphrase him, they are better than nothing. That might not sound like a ringing endorsement from the company itself, but to be honest we take it as a bit of realism about what they are hoping to achieve.

Ass Savers’ goal seems to have always been to make a low-cost solution that can improve the quality of your ride. While full coverage fenders aim to keep you dry and clean on your commute or on those long, wet winter road rides, Ass Savers are just trying to divert some of the rain & mud that is going to inevitably get you on wet adventurous rides.

Ass Savers Mudder Mini strap-on plastic front wheel / face fender

Starting up front the Mudder Mini is a 12€, 18cm long piece of plastic that straps to your fork legs with a pair of adjustable velcro straps. As you can see in that image above, it doesn’t try to keep every bit of water and trail debris inside.

Instead, the 20g worth of fender is all about cutting down on a small section of spray coming off the front wheel. What it does is, it limits the spray that hits two spots – the headset and your face. As someone who rides with prescription glasses, reducing the amount of sand, wet mud & water that hits me in the face is a huge deal. This thing is by no means perfect, but it probably cuts the spray onto my face by half. That’s a big enough deal that I put one of these on every bike it will fit, and just leave it there all the time.

What makes the Mudder Mini unique is that you set it up super close to the front tire. Modern gravel (and cyclocross too) forks have been offering more and more mud clearance, which also means more space from the tire to the fork crown. That means we get bigger tires which is great, but they inevitably spray more at our face too. By simply strapping this fender down tight to the fork legs about 5mm above the tire, it seems to outperform every other mini front fender I have tried.

This one is a win for sure.

The only really problem we have with the Mudder Mini is that it doesn’t work with suspension forks (it just can’t strap around where the lowers & arch come together). Most other small plastic front fenders we’ve used (including the Mudder Regular) attach directly to the fork crown with zip ties. That makes them more versatile when suspension fork arches come into play, but then you lose control over how close they sit to the tire when you have a lot of mud clearance.

But that leads us into the next little plastic fender to strap onto your bike…

Ass Savers Speed Mullet strap-on plastic front wheel /shoes fender

The Speed Mullet is the newest & most odd of the Ass Savers collection. It is essentially a modified version of the Fendor Bendor (which was originally a WIT Industries design that Ass Savers bought and optimized) strapped to your downtube. The idea is, like a more traditional full-coverage front fender, to keep front wheel road spray off of your feet, drivetrain & bottom bracket.

The 12€ Mullet is 39cm long and weighs just 30g. It gets some a few, slightly more complicated folds to create a forward facing cupped design to catch as much spray as possible. It also has well designed and placed rubber pads that hold it securely in place while also letting it work with externally shift wire & full-length brake housing.

While aero gains aren’t everything, it hurts my brain a bit to see this air dam strapped to my downtube. It’s definitely not something I would keep on the bike, even when the skies are clear & sunny.

So does it keep your feet dry and clean in the rain? Well, I would say it kept my feet drier and cleaner than nothing. (Remember, better than nothing.) I rode with it without socks after a cold summer thunderstorm back from the office, and I could definitely feel the cold road spray on my ankles, but after getting home my shoes weren’t very wet.

I also tried the Mullet out on the front suspension Bombtrack ADV, and you can clearly see what it kept clean above. Sure, it stopped a good bit of water and mud. But with the downtube pulled up away from the front tire to make room for the suspension fork/travel, it just wasn’t long (or wide) enough to protect the drivetrain, BB, and my feet from the mud off a meaty mountain bike front tire. (To be fair it was intended more for slick and city tires, but I wanted to give it a bit of further off-road adventures.)

Ass Savers recommends to slide the Speed Mullet back (& down) and to open its folds a bit more to protect the drivetrain vs. high and more folded to protect your feet. But I preferred the high position overall to catch more spray close to the tire. Interestingly, Ass Savers calls this the Speed Mullet Regular, which suggests a longer version could be in the works.

Ass Savers Fendor Bendor Big strap-on plastic rear wheel / butt fender

The Fendor Bendor is one of the oldest design in the Ass Savers toolbag. This new version gets an updated velcro strap attachment, revised attachment shape, and a rubber pad that holds it securely to your seattube. That means now it doesn’t need a seatstay bridge to support it.

I preferred the 55cm long x 8cm wide Big version (over the 54×6.5cm regular) because more is better. My gravel & road tires keep getting wider, and an extra 10g up to 60g is inconsequential with the promise of a bit of extra coverage. Both cost just 15€ too, so price isn’t an issue either.

The thing with the Fendor Bendor Big is that you do still have to squeeze it between the seatstays. Every bike I’ve used it on has had a seatstay bridge, and it’s been relatively tight to fit it in that tiny triangle. That also means that I couldn’t get it any closer to the rear tire. As we saw on both of the front fenders, the closer I could get the thing to the tire, the better they did with catching wheel spray.

You’ll get the most out of this thing with a carbon, disc brake gravel bike with a lot of tire clearance, where you can set it really close to the rear tire.

With that said, the long Fendor Bendor does much better than an under the saddle fender. And you can fold it in half to keep it out of the way when not in use. The folding & unfolding process means it never looked perfectly folded for me, but it did the trick. And you really aren’t going to strap this onto your bike if aesthetics is a concern anyway.

So are they worth it?

For a total of just 37€, it isn’t high cost that would keep you from trying out a full set of Ass Savers. The Mudder Mini on its own seems like a no-brainer for me, and it’s the one that stays attached to any gravel bike I ride, all the time.

The Speed Mullet is a bit more tricky. It works best with a gravel bike with a smooth tire where the spray comes mostly off the center of the tire (vs. a knobby MTB tread), best with a tire 47mm or narrower like the Horizon, and when you have tighter spacing between the downtube & tire. I’ll pull it out for a gravel tour when rain is forecast, but it wouldn’t stay on the bike all the time for me.

As for the Fendor Bendor Big, I keep one ready in the office for the unexpected thunderstorm on my commute home. Other than that, once I expect to do more wet gravel riding in the winter, it will get strapped back on the bike and left there until spring comes.

Ass-Savers.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Sure it’s a great product and all but how would you explain yourself if somebody found the receipt for a “ass saver mini strap on” .

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