Kenda Karma 29er Tire

4.15/5 (27 Reviews)
Weight : 526 grams MSRP : $34.99

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Product Description

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

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Reviews 1 - 15 (27 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by hobbes7869 a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: January 10, 2015

Strengths:    Climbing, wear resistance, snow, price

Weaknesses:    None as of yet

Bottom Line:   
Bought one to try since I had shredded my previous Bontrager on a ride. Bike is a 29'er HT. Got it at close out pricing from my LBS, 16 bucks. I run the 1.90 on my rear and a 2.35 Bontrager up front. This thing can climb and hook up to the trail. I ride almost exclusively single track during Spring Summer and Fall. Even on damp surfaces this just does not break loose on a tough gnarly climb. I run 35-40 PSI and have been impressed. During the winter thus far, I have taken it out on several snow rides both single track and through parks (grass and such). Works great in snow as well, Only on the steepest climbs up a grassy hill in the snow did it finally fail and break loose. But the hill might even stop a fat bike, so won't take anything off for not climbing a steep hill in the snow. It is actually crazy how this tire works in snow. Even at MSRP it is a great deal, but if you can find it on sale at the LBS, the value is incredible.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   John Muir, Emma Carlin

Duration Product Used:   about 175 miles

Price Paid:    $16.00

Purchased At:   Wheel and Sprocket

Bike Setup:   29'er Trek Marlin Hard Tail, stock.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by William Gregory a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: October 15, 2014

Strengths:    Great tire for both cross country and urban landscapes. I have been using the 29x2.2 foldable Karma for about half a year now. Have not had a chance to use it in the snow or real rough and muddy terrain. I am using the Karma Pro as a front tire because it offers great cornering stability. It makes my 29er feel like a young bull, capable of taking on whatever I've thrown at it up until now. It takes on the more difficult slick roots and grass with ease while also maintaining proper grip.
The foldable tire is about 100g lighter than the wire bead which really makes a difference only when using the Karma in a race/competition.
The L3R Pro compound used in the middle makes it very sturdy and the wear after 6 months is minimal (if any) and superficial. The Stick-E compound on the tire sides makes for a very bearing tire, a strength that allows the rider to attacking those corners at speeds at which other tires would loose grip. A great feat for a ~30$ tire, wouldn't you say?

Weaknesses:    So, why not reward this tire with all 5 chillis in the overall dept.? Well, no tire is perfect (*tongue-in-cheek) and the Karma lacks a bit in the acceleration dept. To be fair, it's not a tire build (just) for speed. This is the reason I have resorted to using it on the front only. I use a lower resistance tire for the back.
That being said, I totally recommend using this tire on both front and back for rough terrain as it provides exceptional grip and bearing. It is just that I also use my bike mainly on a combination of tarmac and asphalt and require something with less rolling resistance on the back for faster acceleration and maintaining the momentum.

Bottom Line:   
The Karmas came stock on my 29er and at first I didn't like them that much. The thread pattern seemed simple and crude. However, after a short while, I came to see first hand what a fantastically versatile and rugged contender this tire really is. Be careful how you mount them; they do have a rolling direction even though it is tricky to figure out.
Didn't get a chance to use them in the snow but they do a great job of gripping on wet tarmac/asphalt and on the occasional muddy trail. They clean themselves remarkably well and give a reassuring feeling especially when cornering at speed. I run them with Kenda tubes and, so far (*knocks on wood), no flats or similar misgivings.
Would recommend them to anyone looking for a versatile rugged tire on a budget that can handle both urban and xc race type environments. The Dual Thread Compound technology works as advertised and makes the tire handle most any riding situation with haste and confidence.
The wire bead variant is about 25$ locally which is a great buy for a tire that beats twice as expensive Contis and whatnot.
Get this tire! You can't possibly regret it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   woodsy type

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $25.00

Similar Products Used:   Kenda Small Block 8s
Continental Race Kings

Bike Setup:   front: Karma 2.2
back: SB8 2.1

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by bkr0067

Date Reviewed: June 29, 2014


Weaknesses:    NONE

Bottom Line:   

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by DPTGernert a Racer

Date Reviewed: May 17, 2014

Strengths:    When I first started riding MTB, I asked a good friend what he would recommend for a tire to try. Without hesitation, he told me to put these tires on my bike. I did and I've been very happy with them ever since. Riding in western PA and north central WV, I run into a variety of terrain, trail conditions, and obstacles. Riding my Karmas, I know I don't l know I have a reliable, dependable, and affordable tire that I can rely on to get me through the day. Thanks for the reccomendation JR!

Weaknesses:    There's a lot of rolling resistance when riding on pavement, but hey, that's why I own 4 road bikes for anyways.

Bottom Line:   
Yes, there are faster, lighter, or cheaper tires on the market. But if you want a tire to cover all trail conditions at an affordable cost, consider the Karmas. I'm glad they were recommended to me three years ago.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bavington

Duration Product Used:   3 plus years

Price Paid:    $35.00

Purchased At:   pathfinder of wv

Similar Products Used:   Slant Sixes

Bike Setup:   Hard tail aluminum

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by tigris99

Date Reviewed: April 4, 2014

Strengths:    Decent tread wear, good predictable traction (once you get right air pressure). 1.9 version good rolling resitance. 1.9 is also very light.

Weaknesses:    2.2 version is a tad heavy, slow rolling. Sidewalls a bit thin (on 1.9 version)

Bottom Line:   
I own both 1.9 and 2.2 versions. Only because I sliced sidewall on rear 1.9 so thought I would give 2.2s a try. 2.2 front is great on everything ive ridden, hell 1.9 was pretty good too. Need to get your pressures right though, takes a couple trys but very nice ride and traction. Found 1.9 rear (best rolling resistance and lightest weight) mixed with 2.2 version upfront is awesome for an all around tire. I went this route for that, because 2 areas I ride differ alot, locally well groomed hardpack with roots, few rocks etc thrown in. Then I go to STL for visit wifes family, and found trails that are much more rocky (some areas have large chunked rock fire roads to get fomr one loop to another) so something that could handle whatever I rode being a noobish rider is what I needed. And other than the thin sidewalls on 1.9 version, these tires do very well.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jkrispies a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: November 3, 2012

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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1200ish Miles

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Fast Trak
Racing Ralphs

Bike Setup:   Hardtail

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by sjur

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

Bottom Line:   
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)

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by leoferus 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Snow Goose

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Purchased At:   Came with the bike.

Similar Products Used:   Slant Six and Small Block Eight.

Bike Setup:   2011 GT Zaskar Expert 29er: Reba RL, Formula RX brakes, DT Swiss wheels.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by stevonutria 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.

Weaknesses:    gets flats easy even with tuffys

Bottom Line:   
Crappy tires. DO NOT BUY KENDAS.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   all around

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $67.00

Purchased At:   online

Bike Setup:   Specialized m24 29er.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Puzman a Weekend Warrior from Durham, CT

Date Reviewed: April 29, 2011

Strengths:    VERY fast-rolling tire, great traction, comfy ride.

Weaknesses:    None yet...

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   came stock on bike

Similar Products Used:   Many, many tires used, though this is my first 29er tire.

Bike Setup:   GT Zaskar 29er

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bob Walker a Racer 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The Chutes at Santiago Oaks

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $30.00

Purchased At:   Sea Otter

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Captain 1.9, Specialized S-Works LK 1.9

Bike Setup:   Jet 9, All XO, Reba, Crest wheels

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by cheesehead 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   dry ones

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   race event

Similar Products Used:   a bunch of other tires

Bike Setup:   jabber SS flows rims 1.9 front, and rear

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Ebart a Racer from Michigan

Date Reviewed: October 25, 2010

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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   All

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $38.00

Purchased At:   Freewheeler

Similar Products Used:   Small block eights. Michelin XC AT, Hutchinson Python Air light

Bike Setup:   2010 Jade "THIS" 29

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by RochesterMTB a Weekend Warrior from Rochester, NY USA

Date Reviewed: September 13, 2010

Strengths:    Light weight, fast rolling

Weaknesses:    Poor traction, wears fast, sketchy tubless set-up, thin sidewalls

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The one without climbs!

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   Came with bike

Similar Products Used:   Nevegul

Bike Setup:   2010 GT Sensor 9r, getto tubeless

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by fire-dog a Cross Country Rider from New Hampshire

Date Reviewed: June 17, 2010

Strengths:    All conditions Grip, never clogged with mud, low rolling resistance

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   All of Them

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Came with Bike

Similar Products Used:   Kenda small 8's

Bike Setup:   Jamis Dragon 1x9 rigid.

Reviews 1 - 15 (27 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Karma bites a spectator

Adam Brayton, a pro competing at UCI Cairns had a pretty bad crash Saturday. While they were tending to him, a spectator took his bike (Adams tweet implies he may have known him), and then attempted to ride the rest of the course. Karma's a *****. [url= ... Read More »

Anyone Know the Tire Height of Kenda Karma 650b Tires?

I'm looking for the right tire to fit my 26 to 650b conversion. I've been looking at the Karmas by Kenda and am concerned with stay bridge clearance so need to know the height including tred. Thx! Fyi, the wheels are rim brake Synergies by Velocity.Read More »

Looks like I am Karma's B i t c h...

I'm thinking I must have kicked puppies in a previous life, and Karma is having her way with me. A little update to what I have been upto... As I've mentioned before, I went back to school (IT upgrading) back in Oct of 2012. In June last summer a guy in a pickup turned left in front of me and I t- ... Read More »

Garmin karma on Black Mountain

To whomever found my Garmin 305 on Black Mountain near Turkeypen last Saturday and brought it to Sycamore: THANK YOU! Crashing and breaking my wrist on my favorite trail after a year away from WNC was hard enough, but losing the Garmin added an extra kick in the face last Friday. I really appreci ... Read More »

The VRC Karma Thread - No For Sale Items

Hey guys, I have some stuff I don't need and don't want to toss. Mostly bottles, cages, grips, tires, rims, cassettes and chains in decent shape. I'll take a picture soon but thought we should get this thread started in the meantime.Read More »

Read More »




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