Gloop guarding…


When I was a teenager, I didn’t think mudguards looked cool, so off they came.

The more I rode off-road, the more I began to think they may actually be rather a good idea.

Back then, bearings had no form of sealing; you just packed them with grease, adjusted the cones and hoped for the best. Of course, the idea of riding off-road was not really considered in the design of bicycles. There were the cyclo-cross racers who would happily re-build their bearings after a race-day, or the rough-stuffers who had conventional mudguards which clogged with mud, so they had to dismount, walk and push.

After each ride I found that the headset and bottom bracket bearings were gritty, and the chain grinding in mud, whereas the wheel bearings were less affected. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the grit and mud was being thrown off the tyres. Besides which, I was also getting covered in shite, quite good fun in summer, but a worrying discomfort in winter.

Mudguards thus became an integral part of the Cleland concept.

Posted by JezT

“Time for some real mountain biking,” said Geoff – tongue firmly in cheek – as a couple of ‘real’ mountain bikers shot into the Innerleithen Trailhead car park and skidded impressively to a stop.

They were plastered from head to toe in mud.

Posted by firedfromthecircus

I own an original Aventura and have ridden Geoff’s new prototype.

There is a lot of merit to Geoff’s design philosophy IMHO and a modern production Cleland would be a great bike for a lot of people.

Probably not as cool as the latest 6″ all-mountain carbon extravaganza, but most folk past 35 should realise a dry bottom is cooler than looking cool!

It quickly became apparent when I was trying out various options that conventional radial mudguard stays could somehow catch stray sticks and deftly shove ’em into my spokes; locked wheels, instantly, without warning. Horizon, here I come. This was a definite liability, so an alternative method had to be devised. I’ve come up with quite a few variants over the years, and feel I’ve reached the best solution with the Landseer’s elevated-stay system.



The Landseer’s mudguards themselves are wider than the tyre and have a smooth and continuous even face on the inside, without any gaps or sticky-outy bits where mud can gather. Their distance from the tyres is optimal to avoid clogging.

Flexible extensions are added to the rear end of both. The front mudguard extension is quite long and critical to protecting the transmission from spray and muck; the rear one is less flexible so it doesn’t flop down onto the tyre, but it’s more flexible than the mudguard, to allow for tumbles.

Guards around the wheels to keep you clean(ish) and dry(ish) are only part of the story; the Landseer boasts a range of guards strategically designed to keep the critical parts of your transmission running free. Where the rear mudguard comes down behind the chain there is also a guard to protect the chain from mud coming off that side of the tyre.


In addition, the Landseer features a specially developed tube system to further protect the chain from mud and stuff. Testing over the years has proved this relatively simple system is remarkably effective.

Posted by reohn2

There are things I totally agree with, mudguards and chain guards (even if only partial) keep rider and bike far cleaner. I hate to be coated in mud and mucky water when out for a ride, so these features go a long way to making me feel more comfortable.

Posted by ajantom

Having had a go on the Landseer, I saw that a semi-enclosed drivetrain makes huge sense – even after ploughing through axle deep slop, the chain was still clean.

The photo below shows the results of prototype testing, despite riding through lots of gloop, the chain remains reasonably clean.


By protecting vulnerable components from contamination, a Landseer will rarely need cleaning, nor do you have to constantly wash your clothes; I prefer to use my precious time actually riding.

I can hear it now, “my Landseer’s dirtier than yours”…

Click here to go to the beginning of the whole story.


About gmacleland

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4 Responses to Gloop guarding…

  1. Pingback: Braking news… | Cleland > L A N D S E E R

  2. Darren Leslie says:

    I’ve been reading through your various posts and blogs for sometime now and very much enjoy your thought processes. I may even try the high handlebar as an experiment on my MTB and go from there.
    Even if I didn’t go the whole hog, I would like to sort out a decent set of mudguards. Could you tell me a bit more on the ones on the Landseer and also the original Aventura (I guessing they were made up of different sets).

  3. Pingback: Nasty stuff… | Cleland > L A N D S E E R

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