FOX FORK XL MUD GUARD REVIEW
Review by Drew Rohde
The new Fox XL Mud Guard is specifically designed for those blessed by loamy soil, sandy-trail riders, or the ones cursed by thick mud (UK riders we’re sorry). A mud guard can be essential in the wetter months to help keep the vision clear, or a great way to keep powdery dust from caking your fork seals in drier climates. There are some great universal options out there, but it’s hard to beat a neatly integrated guard when it’s done right. And Fox has certainly done it right with their Standard-sized integrated mudguard offerings for the 36, 38, and 40 models. Fox’s newest XL fork Mud Guard looks to add extra protection for the worst of trail conditions, which we’ve been getting into give you the low down.
Designed to fit forks 2021 and newer, Fox’s XL Mud Guard offers 85% more coverage over the Standard model. The goal was to keep the spray out of your eyes and protect your fork seals better when conditions get really nasty. The Fox XL mud guard makes use of the same 4-point mounting as the existing unit, with the pressure relief valves being used to offer a solid mounting point on each fork lower leg; and the two small screw holes in the back of the arch adding extra security above the tire. It’s made out of your typical thick plastic that should be durable and allow for a little flex when debris tries to become lodged in the wheel. It weighs in at 95g and retails for $25.
We just recently received the new Rocky Mountain Altitude PowerPlay and deemed it the perfect test mules for the Fox XL Mud Guard. With winter rapidly approaching, we installed it quickly and it’s stayed in place perfectly for a couple of months now. Tools required are minimal and the only real sensitive part is the bleeder port hardware. It’s a simple case of popping off the pressure release units on the fork legs, removing the spacer and reinstalling; followed by fitting the two screws into the arch.
Out on the trail we’ve been thoroughly impressed by how effective Fox’s integrated guard is. It offers just enough coverage to stop the majority of spray and mud from flinging up into our grills without being full-blown Euro-style, no offense, we just aren’t about that wet life. From a material and durability standpoint, the guard is stiff and stout, mounting solidly onto the fork and avoiding any notions of rattling or buzzing on the tire in hard compressions, which lets it fly totally under the radar in use. We’ve even driven a thousand miles with it on a bike rack clamped down and have had no issues there.
We’ve encountered some pretty nasty conditions with up to 2.5” rubber without any issue, but as it’s so low-profile we’d be hesitant to go any bigger without risking some dragging depending on the tire and how muddy it is. On our full-power eMTB the additional weight is completely unnoticeable, and the looks are so sleek it detracts nothing in our opinion. At $25 this really is a no-brainer product to add to the front of our rigs in the wetter months, maybe even all year round.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Fox XL Mud Guard is a simple, sleek addition to the front of a 36 or 38 fork and helps keep the vision clear in the wetter seasons. Some of our trails are wet and muddy while others are just wet, gritty sand and having little ball bearings of decomposed rock and sand fly up into your teeth sucks! We were a bit skeptical just how much better this larger guard would protect out fork, downtube and eyesight, but the difference was noted on the very first ride, which happened to be on a rainy day. The integration, stout design and performance really make this $25 accessory a worthwhile upgrade for those who deal with debris flinging up off your tire. Two thumbs up.