Rockguardz: Home-made carbon fibre.

Rockguardz is a family business from sleepy Shropshire that specialize in carbon fibre frame protection and mudguards.

We sat down with Ian Walker – Rockguardz founder, racer Dad and superbike rider to find out more.

Rockguardz: Home-made carbon fibre.

1. Tell us about yourself Ian.

Ian Walker, Shropshire born and bred, 46, I ride XC and DH, races Downhill and the occasional gravity enduro.

2. The story goes that Rockguardz came about when you picked up an MTB to get fit while training for superbikes. What made you take to mountain biking, rather than, say a road bike?

My superbike team mate Dave got me started, we had signed for a team to race the national endurance championship and we needed to increase our fitness. Dave said come you will enjoy it…I did!

Rockguardz: Home-made carbon fibre.

3. Why carbon over fibreglass, or other materials?

Carbon has that air of mystery and desirability, while being light weight and strong. Riders like the bling looks and the clean looks mean that the rockguardZ and mudguardz work with the colour way and aesthetics of any bike.

4. Did you have a background in carbon/fibreglass before superbikes?

No, I was manufacturing motorcycle racing fairings to fund my superbike racing

5. What equipment/machines do you use to make your products?

They are all hand made start to finish, which makes the process labour intensive, but it does ensure that each product is completed with a high level of attention to detail and that our QC is very strong. We have invested a great deal of time in the development and production of our range of products with both the frame protection and mudguards, we ride with a large number of prototypes and test extensively. The moulds, carbon lay up and finishing is all done by hand.

We have a timelapse video on our Facebook page…

Rockguardz: Home-made carbon fibre.

6. What’s the process behind making a guard for a new frame?

We take a frame or bike (often customers will bring us their own bikes, with gives us unique access to many different bikes and it’s great to meet riders)… We also have a great working relationship with local bike shops, who give us access to the latest bikes. This means we always have up to date guards! The frame is masked off, then a resin mould is created. Once set, the carbon sheets are layered in… The video demonstrates the process best.

Basically…We first lay fibreglass onto the actual bike frame, let it cure and craft that into the first guard, and then make a mould from this to replicate it in carbon

7. How many people are involved in the process and what do they do?

SQ LabsLeaderboard

We employ 3 full time laminators, they are involved in all aspects or the manufacture process from the first product to the finished items (mould creation, carbon lay up and finishing: also Howard my business partner who deals with quality control, orders and packaging. the whole team are riders and racers and are involved in product development.

9. From the original Rockguardz frame guard, you’ve expanded the range to mud guards, stands, wheels and rims. How did you go about choosing which ways to expand the range?

Our products have all started because I wanted them, and they were either hideously expensive or not available. So…we decided to make our own!

10. Do you still get many people coming by with bikes you don’t yet to GuardZ for?

Yes we get customers bringing new bikes in every week, we are fortunate to be able to pop over to all the local Shropshire dealers shops to take moulds from new bikes but we also rely on customers coming to us for direct brands like YT or Canyon and also DH bikes you don’t often see in shops.

Rockguardz: Home-made carbon fibre.

11. How do you test your Guardz?

We test everything ourselves, everyone at Rockguardz are avid riders and racers, but our customers are our biggest test pilots we get feedback direct to our facebook page on a daily basis, with riders sharing images of bikes rescued from impact damage.

12. Superbike competition was clearly a big part of your racing past and your son Matt is leading the charge in the Youth category. Is racing just as a big a part of Rockguardz now as it ever was?

All my family, parents and brothers have always raced, I have raced cars, motorbikes and now MTBs, its part of our make up. Matt has dominated this years Youth category and is keener than ever to get started in Junior category next season and his first experience in the World Cup series.

Rockguardz: Home-made carbon fibre.

13. You must be stoked to see Matt move up to the big time Saracen elite team? How does that feel in the family?

Stoked for Matt, he has wanted this since he first got on an XC bike at 10. He has worked hard, very hard for it. He has earned his spot on the team. The whole family has been fully behind him all the way and we are just totally stoked and proud of him. He has impressive skills and speed for a youth and his professional career starts here. He is under no illusions about what he has to do but we as a family know he has just what it takes to go all the way.

14. A homegrown business has its ups and downs. Can you pick a highlight and your biggest challenge since the birth of Rockguardz?

The biggest challenge has been to take what was started by myself in my own garage to a stage when it can stand its own workshop unit with employees. I had to put in some hard graft in the early days for sure.

15. Where does Rockguardz go from here?

We are planning some brand new things for 2016 that we are pretty excited about, but essentially we aim to grow the brand organically. To be honest the cycle industry pushes out new models at such a rate every year we have our work cut out just keeping up!

You can read more from Rockguardz on their website at

Rockguardz: Home-made carbon fibre.