The Kenda Karma has been a longTime favorite.The Karma features small, square, low profile knobs.ThisTire can be used as either a front or rearTire in almost any condition. This version ofThe Karma features an upscale version ofThe L3R rubber blend used for performance motorcycleTires. WithThe L3R Plus you’ll enjoy longerTread life, and a lighterTire Intended Use: Mountain Weight: 29x 2.2”: 780 +/- 40g Folding Bead
Strengths: Can't beat the price, especially for this great of a tire.
Barely there weight.
Weaknesses: Doesn't shine in the loose stuff, particularly when turning. Also, not the best when it comes to rolling resistance; however, if 90% of your riding is on hardpack-that-isn't-superhard and you never hit the loose stuff, then this is your tire.
This is a great tire that verges on an "all-arounder" but not 100%. The spacing of the center nubs is just far enough apart that it rolls decently on hardpack and asphalt but doesn't quite make into my definition of having "low rolling resistance". Furthemore, when the sand gets soft, this just sloshes around, particularly because the side knobs aren't extremely aggressive. (Note: I don't generally ride in mud or on roots, so I won't speak much to those conditions other than to say that when I have encountered them, these tires didn't do great but I didn't eat it either.) After about 1200 miles the rear tire was pretty well worn (I'm on a hardtail, about 220 lbs with gear) whereas the front was still looking good enough to last through another round or two of Stan's. Only one flat encountered while running tubeless and that was my fault for letting the Stan's run dry; lot's of opportunities to slash the sidewalls on sharp rocks but the've held up perfectly well. To the credit of these Kenda's, I recently put about 50 miles on a demo bike with some Racing Ralphs, and these Kenda's performed almost exactly the same to my feel... except the Ralphs had very little rolling resistance compared to the Karmas. Given the fact that the Ralph's cost 3x the amount of the Kendas, if I were a racer I'd strongly consider running Kendas front and back for practice and conditioning, then swapping out to Ralphs on race day. Since I want something with less rolling resistance and more aggressive side knobs, I just put the good Karma on my rear and am giving a Specialized Captain a try up front. I suspect that this will be a good combo. Will review the Captain in about four months, which is when I figure my Karma will be about on it's last leg, the Stan's will need to be refreshed, and I'll be deciding whether or not to purchase another Karma for the rear, or double up on the Captains... or something else.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Fast Trak
Bike Setup: Hardtail
Date Reviewed: July 16, 2012
Strengths: Use as front on my mostercross
Easy to set up tubeless, yup......No fiddling. Less leaking than a well know tubeless ready German manufacture @ twice the price.
Compared to many other light weight tires, the traction is good and it really doesn't wear out faster than others in that league.
Weaknesses: As all lighter tires...wears out fast and traction could be better
Big bang for the buck
Mine scaled from 502-512 grams
Used ~60 ml of stans with a teaspoon of micro glass balloons.
Blew right up to 5 bars (70psi) and stayed there (for testing, not riding)
a Cross Country Rider
from Wilmington, DE - USA
Date Reviewed: November 20, 2011
Strengths: Fast rolling. Good grip on most surfaces. Good volume.
Weaknesses: Poor traction on wet rocks, but they aren't designed for that. Not meant for use with Stans.
I am 230 pounds and with tubes, the Karmas did not offer the traction I needed. However, once they were converted to tubeless they were glued. I dropped the pressures to 28F/32R and I'm on rails! I know that these tires are not meant for use with sealants but I had to try. I'll post again in the future if they come apart.
Similar Products Used: Slant Six and Small Block Eight.
Bike Setup: 2011 GT Zaskar Expert 29er: Reba RL, Formula RX brakes, DT Swiss wheels.
a Cross Country Rider
from austin, tx, usa
Date Reviewed: June 2, 2011
Strengths: tires roll great but i have gotten a flat all three times I have ridden on them and I use tuffy's!! The Specialized tires I had on before did not do this. I have removed these tires and I urge everyone else not to buy Kenda tires period. I just wasted my money. S.
a Weekend Warrior
from Durham, CT
Date Reviewed: April 29, 2011
Strengths: VERY fast-rolling tire, great traction, comfy ride.
Weaknesses: None yet...
SUPER impressed by these tires. By way of comparison, the grip and ride comfort are on par with Maxxis High-Rollers I've used in the past, but without the feeling that you're pedaling through wet cement. These tires roll VERY fast, shed mud easily (shallow tread), and have phenomenal grip.
Similar Products Used: Many, many tires used, though this is my first 29er tire.
Bike Setup: GT Zaskar 29er
from Tustin, CA
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2011
Strengths: Using on the rear only (1.90) with a Bontrager Jones XR 2.25 up front. Fast rolling, grippy in the corners, excellent climbing and braking capabilities. Conditions here are hard pack, loose over hardpack,loose rock and sandy areas. Steep climbs and fast descents, I like to ride hard and fast. Tire has handled everything great so far. Had no problem setting up tubeless on Stans Crest rims with Stans sealant. Beaded up and sealed right up, no air or sealant leakage after 4 hard rides.
Weaknesses: None yet, haven't tried up front yet, will probably go with the higher volume 2.2 when I do.
So far, so good. Have friends running Racing Ralphs, but just couldn't justify the cost. This appears to be a comparable tire at a much lower cost. Have seen some reviewers say they had trouble setting up tubeless. It is critical that you set them up right the first time. Bead up tire to rim with compressed air and inject sealant through the stem. Hold tire with both hands, rotate and shake tire hard to get sealant into beads. Lay on plastic bucket on one side for 1/2 hour and flip and lay on other side for 1/2 hour. If you do this it should seal up the sidewalls and bead and you should have no problems.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Captain 1.9, Specialized S-Works LK 1.9
Bike Setup: Jet 9, All XO, Reba, Crest wheels
a Cross Country Rider
from newbury park, california
Date Reviewed: November 16, 2010
Strengths: grip, cornering, and speed
Weaknesses: having to pump air in before every ride. but no big deal, it's just part of checking the bike over before i ride.
I am surprised about these tires so far. I am 185/190lbs give or take. I ride hard, I don't pick lines and the tires do very wel. I have them set up tubeless, and pump them up around 28psi front, and rear, and they corner great, climb really fast. I like them as much as my Racing Ralphs, but alot less.
Strengths: Light, corners well in sand, fast on all hard stuff.
Weaknesses: Hard to go tubeless with. Took me a couple tries to keep air on Stan's Crest wheels. I believe it is due to the very porous side walls.
I was skeptical to take this out onto the trail, especially since I had a hard time getting it to take air on a tubeless setup. Michigan is sand, tree roots and hard pack with leaves in the fall. It did surprisingly well. I put it on the front with a small block eight in the rear and rode it on a very hilly course with lots of sand and off camber single track. I had no problems with slipping in corners, loosing air or lose of traction. Rode extremely fast on the hard pack dirt. Only drawback was very porous sidewalls that had a hard time taking air. Does not inspire confidence in the tire on race day.
For racing on dry hardpack these tires will do fine. If you ride any loose stuff or have steep climbs with rocks and roots you are going to hate these tires. If the rocks & roots are wet at all, you might as well get off and walk.
a Cross Country Rider
from New Hampshire
Date Reviewed: June 17, 2010
Strengths: All conditions Grip, never clogged with mud, low rolling resistance
While initially skeptical, with use I could not fault these tires, they always exceeded my expectations. They rolled better on the road than I expected. They never let go on the trail, they never clogged with mud. I ran them at about 25-30 psi. I never had a puncture either. I'm considering putting them on my new bike as it came with Kenda small 8's.
I've had these tires for about 6 months and were purchased for the initial build of my bike. I bought them because I want to save as much weight as possible, but I've come to realize that weight savings may need to be traded off for some durability.
For the terrain I ride in (mostly dry and rocky) these did not last very long. Granted, I ride about 5-10 miles on pavement to-and-from the trails, so that may have something to do with it. They do not work well in the loose dust, but found no problem with them in the damp forest.
I converted them to tubeless and I just don't trust the sidewalls (they sound like fingers rubbing over a balloon when I drag them on rocks).
These may be okay for a lightweight race bike for certain conditions and a certain rider weight. But for me - I'm going to sacrifice some weight savings and go with a beefier tire.
a Weekend Warrior
from Cornelius, NC
Date Reviewed: March 29, 2010
Strengths: Sticks in turns very well and it's fast
Weaknesses: not sure, if any
I rode this tire this weekend at White Water with 28lbs front & 30 lbs back, and the bike flew and stuck whenever needed. They never showed any signs of washing or rolling at all, no slippage climbing steep twisty turns. Yesterday I rode LNSP trails and dropped the front pressure 2 lbs since it was wetter conditions - again, never a slip, wash or roll even at high speeds or on wet roots/rocks. Can't help but wonder how the DTC would be (presumably even better??
Bike Setup: Sir niner with mavic 29er wheels and the rest of the bike parts to be able to ride
Grommett The Original Napster
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 17, 2008
Strengths: rolls really fast, pretty confident in corners...and got a sweet deal on them.
Weaknesses: side lugs could be a bit more aggressive and would be a great all around tire
These tires roll really great and by no means are they not a great tire. I tend to like a more aggressive tire because a lot of the trails I like require it, but I have enjoyed riding these on singletrack. The conering is good, but at over 200lbs sometimes they slip in the more loose over hard conditions. I have a pair of Nevegals for the days when I know I will need them, but I am going to go pick up another pair of Kharmas while I can still get them this cheap...