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Topeak Defender R2 Mudguard Review

29 Nov 2017

A lightweight and easy to fit set of mudguards that might rattle and rub a little on bumpy roads but predominantly do the job well

Cyclist Rating: 
Lightweight; Fast and easy to fit; Ample adjustability for accurate fitting; Solid and durable construction
May require additional zip ties (depending on frame) to secure tightly, so as not to rattle and/or rub; Limited coverage, would benefit from being slightly longer.

The Topeak Defender R1/R2 mudguards are all about making it possible to fit guards to a race bike that has no provisions for them - basically, in this case, calliper braked race bikes that have very little tyre clearance and no mudguard eyes. The Topeak Defender R2 mudguards are the slightly broader version of the two options, giving better coverage for wider tyres.

Topeak claims 25mm maximum, but I think that's being conservative. You could get away with a 28mm tyre, providing your frame and brake calliper combo had the room.

Their polycarbonate construction and stainless steel struts means they are lightweight (130g pair) yet they feel robust and strong enough to see out a tough winter in the lanes.

Swift Fit

I fitted them to a Specialized Tarmac SL3, a process that took less than half an hour in total.

The instructions were clear and concise, although they’re barely even required, so straightforward and self-explanatory was the fitting.

The only fiddly part was fixing the tiny screws that secure the mudguard stay brackets in position once you have everything aligned.

A word of warning here: these screws are truly miniscule (think Swiss watch internals) – so whatever you do, don’t fit these mudguards somewhere where dropping the screws will be impossible to find them (i.e. the lawn).

A good tip is to work over a towel, or sheet, to make sure if you do drop one (which is highly likely as they’re so small to work with) you’ll be able to find it more easily.

That small set-up foible aside, adjustment was really simple. There is plenty of range to get the angles and alignment just right to track closely to the tyre circumference.

The only other tip I would offer up at this point is to protect your frame at the points of contact with some tape.

That goes for not just the Topeak Defenders but indeed any "quick fit" guards of a similar nature, because otherwise grit will inevitably, over time, wear away your paint, or worse damage the frame itself.

Rubs and rattles

On the initial rides the rear mudguard particularly moved around a fair bit over bumpy road surfaces causing it to rub against the edges of the tyre frequently, despite initially having set it up with a decent amount of clearance.

I put this down the mounts not being held tightly enough by the rubber straps on the Specilaized's skinny seat stays. Tightening a cable tie over the top of each cured this instantly, though.

It’s a shame to have to make this extra provision, but it’s peace of mind to be sure everything is solid, in belt-and-braces fashion. Plus the addition of the cable ties is barely noticeable (see close up photo, below).

The front rubber straps were only just long enough to fit around the fork leg on this Specialized Tarmac, but that at least did seem to provide a more secure fit (as the rubber strap was extremely taught).

It’s worth checking before purchasing if you have a particularly large diameter fork that there is sufficient length on the rubber straps.

Once past the initial irritations with rubbing the Topeak Defender R2 mudguards have worked well, going about their duties silently and reliably.

A little more overall length, which could possibly be added in the form of an additional rubber flap front and rear, would be desirable to increase the available coverage, as these are currently really only mid-length guards.

As a final point, it’s worth noting the Defender R2 guards are not designed for disc brake bikes. Their mountings are specifically designed for calliper brakes.


A lightweight and easy to fit set of mudguards that might rattle and rub a little on bumpy roads but predominantly do the job well.

Both front and rear could benefit from being a touch longer for better coverage though.


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