Sykes Wooden Mudguards £86

Made to order, these guards offer practicality and exclusivity in one package

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

Made to order, these guards offer practicality and exclusivity in one package. Available in a host of real wood designs, each guard is sealed in epoxy resin followed by several coats of UV resistant polyurethane varnish, which should see them resist the ravages of winter.

Stays are the tried and tested SKS units which simply break free should a stick jam between guard and tyre. Fit is exact, helped by the light weight and flexibility of the material, allowing an almost perfect circle, although this proved tricky on the front given my fixer's unicrown fork, leaving less clearance between guard and tyre - though not worryingly less. For those without mudguard eyes, wooden P-clips finished to the same standard are supplied with cable ties. Sykes also offer designs to cater for road bikes with very close clearances.

Tested along some very wet Surrey lanes, their slim profile proved highly effective against spray and while road spray does show on the guards compared with a chrome plastic design, it is easily wiped away with a squirt of furniture polish.

Given the price, these are not something for the working bike but add a lovely tactile quality to a favourite machine, say a Fifties/Sixties road path bike/ audax machine, and as they are made to order I have seen examples that would dress a Moulton. In the short term they have been very impressive, although I will run them for a further six months to see how they stand up to the elements before making a conclusive verdict.

(Maple as tested. Also available in: Ash, Wenge, Zebra wood, Australian lace wood, Bubinga, Rosewood, Purple heat, Mahogany & Walnut)

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