First Look: Crud Catcher XL Fender - Pinkbike
Eagle-eyed Insta-stalkers may have seen Danny Hart testing a new mudguard earlier this year. And those old-timers among may remember the Dirt video (or maybe Getta Grip) when Pete Tomkins was featured outside of his (fair-sized) house sat on a Harley saying "If you have a good idea, stick with it, I made a million and you can too!" I ain't made a million yet, or even had any good ideas, but that is always something I bear in mind to this day.Pete sent me a couple of guards earlier this year, and unfortunately, I never got around to doing any useful testing as it has been 'annoyingly' (I hate the mud) dry all winter so nothing useful was learned. So here's a great message from the man himself, and a few pictures and theory behind the man who bought us the original Crud Catcher.
To say the Crud Catcher changed my life would be a hilarious understatement. I was the village painter and oddjob man, struggling to get by, hand-to-mouth. I was racing MTB’s every weekend even though I really couldn’t even afford the entry fees.In 1989-90, almost every weekend we raced in thick mud and rain. Everyone was struggling for vision, our eyes were literally clogging up. It was clear that something was needed, and I was the one who bit the bullet and designed a simple splashguard for the downtube.I had no experience of product design, manufacturing techniques, or marketing, but I did have one big plus. Thanks to the intimate nature of the race scene in the late ’80s, I was personal friends with every MTB journalist in the UK. They liked what I came up with, told their readers, and I was in business full-time from the day my first Crudcatcher came off the mould. That was in 1991, and I guesstimate we must have sold close to two million CC’s since.It has become clear to us recently that the new fork-brace mounted fenders have cut into our market share. Our new XL is a response to this. We have designed something that cannot clog, no matter how thick the mud. It uses re-usable UV-proof stretchy o-rings to fit totally securely to the fork legs. Fits in literally 30 seconds with a little practice. You can run it close to the tyre for rainy conditions, or raise it much higher for thick clingy mud. It’s made out of ABS-TPU, both materials are excellent for recycling.Is the Crud Catcher dead? Well, no. We are still selling them in significant numbers. They are cheap, easy to fit, and they do a good job. But if you want the next level of protection, try the XL. It’s really quite a revelation the first time you go belting down a wet muddy track with one attached to your forks.I knew it would be a challenge to design a full-length front guard that could never clog up with mud, but that was always the primary aim. Me and Jamie (my son and rider) always work together to push new designs forward, but I have to take the credit for coming up with the deformable midsection. Lots of fork crowns out there come to within 5mm of the tyre on full compression, so realistically a soft deformable nose was the only option as far as I was concerned. Anything else would be prone to clogging, the consequences of which could be severe.We actually made about 10 laser-printed prototypes before we settled on a satisfactory design. It’s an incredibly expensive process but it’s a lot of fun. We were able to actually test the prototypes on the moors, this really helped refine the design. We were all set to start tooling work in January 2018 when our long term toolmaker had a major meltdown and sacked 30 staff, shut his factory doors. He’d had enough, just like that. Thanks Darren!This set us back six months, but to be honest it’s hardly rained all autumn so we are not really behind the curve by bringing it out now. Danny Hart lives just a half an hour away, we have known him since he used to hang around Redcar skatepark about 18 years ago, so I went over to his downhill track with an early sample for him to try out. He loved it, so it was easy to hook up with him for 2019. Our factory is only five miles from his home, it works really well for all of us.—Pete Tomkins
As to protecting the seals and forks stanchions, I have never worn any out yet, and I’ve been running front suspension since RockShox invented it in the early nineties. For World Cup racers, and anyone who rides fast, dispersing the mud is far more important than any imagined benefits of keeping gloop off your stanchions.
My first impressions of the XL are that it is incredibly easy to fit and literally takes seconds. The foam fork protection and o-rings are pre-installed so no need to hunt for zip-ties that then end up being cut off and dumped in the trash after one ride. Thanks to the deformable mid-section, you can run it super close to the tire for maximum protection, or raise it up in really bad conditions for more clearance without risk of connecting with your lower crown under bottom out.
The XL Fender costs £35 GBP and is available from crudproducts.com If it ever rains, we will be putting the Crud Catcher XL through its paces, but until then you can learn more below about how to fit and more from Danny's mechanic, Dave Garland.