What is the point of these mudguards?

tom_fun Posts: 124
edited November 2009 in MTB general
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=39951

Every cover of a bike magazine I have seen recently seems to have one of these front mud guards on them,

Is there an actual benefit to these mud guards or are they a bit of a poser thing to make it look a bit more like a motorbike :lol: .