Issue #014 Review

Classic bad-weather protection – René Herse Smooth mudguards on test

In the cycling world, the name René Herse is synonymous with classic but highly functional components. As well as looking good, will the Smooth mudguards let you arrive unscathed at the office in grim weather? We put a set on our bike and tested them for you!

René Herse Smooth H50 | € 149 | Manufacturer’s website

Bad-weather riders will love them just as much as lovers of classic bike components: the premium, made in Japan, aluminum René Herse Smooth mudguards. They are available in all sizes for 700C, 650B and even 26″ wheels in either polished silver or glossy black and come in a hammered finish too. The 700C H50 version we tested has enough room for tires between 35 and 38 mm wide and weighs 468 g for the set. Numerous mounting options are designed to allow the guards to be fitted to as many bikes as possible. The profile of the mudguards wraps around the tire, with the rolled edges keeping spray inside, forcing it to exit towards the ground rather than escaping from the side. 95 cm long at the front and 125 cm at the rear, the aluminium guards are very long. Up front, that is intended to avoid shoes and bottom bracket getting hit by spray. At the back, water and dirt is kept off your back and pack as you’re riding.

The 125 cm length means more than 50 % of the tire is covered, offering perfect protection

René Herse Smooth mudguards on test

If you appreciate quality workmanship, you’ll already be imagining how the René Herse mudguards would look on your bike. They are a premium item with impeccable finishing: the holy grail of mudguards! However, depending on how handy you are, you’ll need to take some time, put on some music and have a cold drink of your choice while mounting the guards. Without practice or a lot of patience, fitting them could end in frustration. Or alternatively, just book an appointment with your trusted bike mechanic! Once they’re fitted and set up, there’s nothing that can beat them. The mudguards sit solidly and don’t ever clatter, even on rougher surfaces. However, if you’re planning to fit or remove the guards to suit the weather, you should look for another model. Even with practice, doing this will always take some time.

Workmanship with an eye for the details – these mudguards are a delight to behold

Before purchasing, you’ll also need to double check which of the many mounting sets you’ll need. However, the range of options means they should be able to fit most any bike that is designed for mudguards. These René Herse guards work perfectly with 700 x 37C tires, but 40 mm and more are likely on the limit of what you can fit. Debris that gets flicked up, such as small stones, are a little louder on the metal than they would be with a plastic guard, but after two rides, you’ll quickly get used to the sound. Even with accidental knocks or impacts, the guards start perfectly in position. Frankly, we don’t know of a better option for good-looking, effective and sturdy mudguards. At the rear, every drop of spray is caught perfectly. Depending on the positioning of the front guard, you may want to fit an additional mudflap for complete protection of your feet and bottom bracket.

A struggle to mount but a dream to ride!

Conclusion

Quite simply, the René Herse Smooth guards are an aluminium mudguard dream. Mounting may take a little while if you’re not practiced. However over the lifetime of your bike, and we’ve no doubt that the guards will last that long, the time investment required to set them up properly is insignificant. Your bike will definitely become an eye-catcher with the Smooth guards fitted. The only bad news: wet roads and muddy paths are no longer a valid excuse not to get out on your bike.

Tops

  • premium look
  • great build quality
  • complete protection
  • sturdy once fitted

Flops

  • fiddly assembly

Tester: Ben
Duration: 2 months
Price: € 149 (black without extras)

Weight: 468 g total weight (claimed weight)
More information: renehersecycles.com

Words & Photos: Philipp Schwab