The Topeak DeFender M1 is very much out of the old-skool moto inspired mould, with a large fender that mounts via an expanding plug into your steerer tube.
It’ll cope with all sizes of steerer and this means it’ll also work with a Cannondale Lefty or any other upside down fork that has an exposed lower steerer tube.
It’s made from hard plastic with a softer rubberised edge that’ll prove more gentle to rider and frame should you contact it in a crash, though being mounted high up means it’s much more exposed to damage than a guard that follows the contour of the wheel.
The DeFender also flaps about rather alarmingly in use and because it’s so high up it also obscures your view of the front wheel, which is really rather unnerving when you’re trying to place it accurately on technical terrain. Some of the play in the fender is down to the fact that either blade can be removed via a small clip to allow you to transport it with your wheels out without damaging the guard.
Despite the flex and distance from the wheel, it does do a surprisingly good job of keeping water spray off you at all speeds, though claggy mud tends to get thrown about a bit more and also adds to the flapping about issue once the guard is weighted down. It's also nowhere near as good as the full coverage guides that sit close to the tyre, but being high up means there’s no way it’ll get jammed.
At 202g it’s no lightweight either, though the price isn’t extortionate.