We took an editorial decision when we first set-up Gravel Union that we were going to focus our energies on stories and adventures (rather than tech) and that we would steer clear of reviewing or giving our opinion on gravelly products. We’ve just about stuck to this principle, but sometimes something so intriguing comes along which piques our interest that we decide to ignore standard policy and the new Ass Savers Win Wing is one of those products.
Normally the cycling press only get sent something once it’s 100% ready to hit the market and in stock with the manufacturer, but on this occasion Ass Savers asked us if we would like to try out some prototypes and then give them some feedback. We jumped at the chance and a small package duly arrived containing one road and one gravel Win Wing. The north-east of England is not normally known for being hot and sunny, but in sod’s law fashion this summer has been amazing and it looked as though we would have to get the hosepipe out to properly test the Ass Savers prototypes. Then, miraculously, a few hours of rain appeared in the middle of summer, so we mounted up the Win Wings and headed out in search of puddles and damp patches.
The Win Wing weighs a scant 72g according to the manufacturers and is based on tangential physics. The scientific research behind the design revealed that water and mud leave the wheel “in straight line from the tangential point of release”. This meant that full wheel coverage was not needed to keep the rider dry and led to the realisation that standard mudguards were overbuilt. Traditional mudguards are generally heavy, fiddly to fit, rattle like hell, can cause havoc if you get a stick lodged in them, need frame mounts such as eyelets or some form of bodging with zip ties to make them work and can be expensive. But not the Win Wings. They’re unbelievably simple to use and will fit on pretty much any gravel or road bike. They fix to your steed by means of some soft, non-marking rubber straps and some rigid plastic arms. Mounting them takes around a minute and once they’re in place there’s no discernible rattle or movement. We fitted them on tyres from 38mm to 60mm without any issues.
In use, the Win Wings were remarkable. Quiet. Free of movement (even when tested on some pretty gnarly off-road trails). Unobtrusive. And most importantly, effective. Even when deliberately choosing to ride through puddles and standing water, the rider remains dry. It should be noted that as they’re only designed to be fitted on the rear wheel, you do still get wet from front wheel spray and the limited coverage does mean that following riders won’t be protected from spray in the way that a traditional full-coverage mudguard would, but arguably the most important part of the rider’s anatomy, their arse, remains dry and everyone knows that a dry arse is a happy arse when it comes to cycling :-)
The Ass Saver Win Wings will be available direct from the manufacture from today with an MSRP of €25. They will come in two width options – one for tyres up to 35mm and one for tyres up to 60mm. Yours won’t say prototype on them in funky looking highlighter pen, but you will get a choice of colours. They may well be the best €25 you ever spend on winterproofing your gravel bike!
Find all the details on the Ass Savers website