Product DescriptionThe Kenda Small Block 8 is part of cycling legend JohnTomac,The Small Block 8 uses a series of 8 small Nevegal shaped knobsTo provide excellent bite onTheTrack. Excellent hard pack raceTire 8 Nevegal shaped but smaller knobs acrossTheTire for better bite DTC DualTread Compound offers cornering grip with faster center line acceleration One ofThe fastest rollingTires inThe Kenda Premium line Weight(claimed): 355 g 60TPI Wire Bead
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Date Reviewed: October 27, 2015
Strengths: 1. Excellent hard pack grip in desert terrain for a REAR tire.
Weaknesses: 1. Lack of choice in tire sizes - Kenda you NEED a 2.3/2.4 tubeless ready Small Block 8 tire !!!
2. Weak sidewalls in non-ust version.
You need to create a Small Block 8 29'er tire in a 2.35/2.40 size. Please make it tubeless and make sure that the sidewalls are strong enough for TRUE trail riding, NOT racing.
This tread pattern is just fantastic for desert hardpack when used on the rear ! :-)
Bike Setup: Trail bike, all mountain bike, whatever is the latest and greatest mountain bike marketing term for a trail bike.
Date Reviewed: September 2, 2015
Strengths: Key words are fast and hardpack. The grip and rolling resistance are some of the best. It is my favorite back tire. I opted for the wire bead/60tpi as it is more resistant to wear and punctures by thorns/shards. Too bad they only make a 2.1 for 29ers. Would like a 2.2 at least; for me, that would make it a proper front tire as well.
Weaknesses: Because I have found the perfect front tire for my riding style (Kenda Slant Six 29x2.2 wirebead/60tpi), I would only recommend using this tire on the back and getting something that bites into corners more, or maybe the Slant just spoiled me. That being said, the SB8 is a great follow-through tire.
I ride daily on tarmac and at least once a week on hardpack soil or loose over hardpack, the Smallblock is tough and resistant to wear. I'm surprised to read people complaining they wear out fast. It's not a hardcore racing tire, it's not meant to be (unless you're getting the Pro version). Using it like that might see more extensive wear. For everyone else this tire will do just fine for at least 5 years.
Why is my overall rating only 4 stars? Because the Slant Six gets 5 stars from me, I love that tire. However, I do believe this is a great value product. I payed about 20$ for it and would have payed twice that, it's that good! Wouldn't put anything else in the back, except I found a worn out folding/120tpi Slant that behaves like a slick in the straights (crazy fast!) and a Nevegal in the corners and I do like to do some controlled sliding with that. When I'm not looking for cheap thrills, the Smallblock is my go-to back tire.
Date Reviewed: September 26, 2014
Strengths: Fast, light, good handling on dry hardpack or the street if you don't turn aggressively. Appear well made.
Weaknesses: Flat prone. Very thin, soft rubber tread/low knobs easily punctured by thorns, cut by glass, sharp rocks... What others said about loose terrain front tire grip. The tread "feels" like I could cut through through it with my thumbnail. Probably not though.
Did some pre-rides adjusting the new bike and settled on 50 psi as good enough for now. My first real ride consisted if 3 miles of pavement, 12 miles of dirt roads and trails, and then back on the pavement. Groomed trails-nothing that could be considered even remotely rough or wilderness-like. Almost lost the front end twice. Washed out with little warning. The next morning the front tire had about 10psi and the rear was flat. 7 small punctures from thin, short, sharpy things that nature distributes all over eastern Washington-not just goathead's thorns-and some small tears in between the knobs. The 700c Vittoria Randonneurs on my wife's comfort bike haven't flatted in two years of her riding in the same area, on some of the same trails I rode that day.
I suppose you could add the "flat-proofing" method of your choice to fight off thorns and such, but that would add weight and you'd still be stuck with a tire that lacks the grip to keep the front end upright if you ride fast through a sharp corner, as many other reviewers have noted.
I feel these tires are just too lightly built and too narrow in focus to be a good choice for the vast majority of riders, even though they are very popular. For a racer in the right terrain, riding with the right technique to work around the front end handling, they might be magnificent, but I need something a lot sturdier and more versital. Most riders probably do as well. That's why I gave them the one chili rating. It wasn't because they were poorly made.
Duration Product Used: 1.5 rides
Purchased At: lbs
Similar Products Used: Various brands/purpose oriented mountain bike tires since before Rockshox was started.
Bike Setup: Typical Hardtail 29er with Reba Solo Air.
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2014
Strengths: Price, durability, overall riding in NJ, switchbacks, packed dirt, fire trails
Weaknesses: Sand, deeper mud
Purchased At: Stock
Date Reviewed: May 31, 2014
Strengths: Price, availability, weight, rolling resistance and grip in dry conditions.
Weaknesses: None really.
In my opinion, not even big lugged tires really bite when you ride on , say a hardpacked fire road but has a bunch of various sized, up to palm sized, rocks because no tires knobs are big enough to penetrate. THIS is where the SB8 surprised me. All tires will spin out on a larger rock but these would be the fastest to stop spin and grab the surface below on a very steep fire road with areas covered in various rocks brought to the surface over the rain season. They also stuck like glue on smooth rock face and even roots were gripped. I made my way up a tight switch backed trail which was hardpack but covered in dry needles from fir trees. I was worried but they grabbed and held. Going down tight single track on ground for which it was designed was simply excellent. The small knobs don't squirm at all leaving you with complete confidence in throwing yourself into corners. It just felt easier to ride. As far as breaking on steep pitches of loose dirt, I didn't really notice anything special good or bad. Finally, it made the ride back home on pavement much easier. A really good tire.
Date Reviewed: April 16, 2014
Strengths: smooth rolling, light, great for hard pack and pavement.
Weaknesses: Anything wet and loose.... you're gonna have a bad time....
But.... It teaches you soooo much. It makes you analyze the trail like a fiend, because if you loose traction its hard to get it back with these tires.
So if your going to compete prob not the tire for you at least not as a front tire.
It sure keeps ya alert!
Date Reviewed: January 19, 2014
Strengths: Fast rolling tire, sidewalls have held up better than anything I have ever run, seem to last a long time. I literaly run them until no tread is left.
Weaknesses: none really
Duration Product Used: 2.5 years
Price Paid: $35.00
Purchased At: jenson usa
Similar Products Used: pythons
Bike Setup: scott rc 29er
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2013
Strengths: Very light and fast rolling.
handles great on hard packed surfaces
Weaknesses: Not a good tire for sandy & loose conditions.
Very weak side walls.
i live in southern california, so the only time i see hard pack is after the rains (which we hardly get any).
once the terrain begins to loosen up it was a huge change... i find myself sliding left and right. I am ok with this, its a bit more tricky, but so far i have managed. The biggest disappointment is the weakness of the side walls. I have experienced 2 pinch flats so far (this is something i have never had problems with the specialized branded tires on my geared bike). It could be just me and my riding style. both times happened while riding uphill and making a turn on rocky conditions. Next set of tires will be tubeless..
Date Reviewed: March 28, 2013
Strengths: light weight and fast
Weaknesses: poor traction on muddy, wet surfaces, slippery on snowy pavement and super scary to run on sand
Date Reviewed: December 15, 2012
Strengths: This tire is light and rolls fast on the pavement and hard pack trail. You can find them pretty cheap online.
Weaknesses: This tire is a death trap on the front of a bike in the woods. The first time out on this tire I hit just a little loam and I was doing the monkey dance. I spin this tire out on the back all the time also. There are better tires for going fast.
Purchased At: LBS
Date Reviewed: December 7, 2012
Strengths: Fast, smooth, good all round xc type tire. The product description of this tire is right on and it deserves 5 chilis IMO.
Weaknesses: It will not work for everyone in all situations....what a bummer!!
Being a newbie the only thing I noticed was I felt very fast on my new bike. I did not have any problems with grip on any of the trails I rode in Virginia. I'm not the fastest guy out there, but I am pretty aggressive and I had no problems even at 40 PSI weight 180lbs. I was thinking about lowering the psi but what's the point if all is working great.
My friend gave me two 2.2 Nevegals and said I needed real MTB tires. They do look good on a MTB!! I put them on and it felt like I was pulling him behind me compared to the SB8's. I also struggled to keep up with the slowest guy I ride with. I then left the Nevegal up front and put the SB8' on the rear and it still lacked the speed I was use to. I think the SB8 handles better too.
I ended up putting both SM8's back on and I think I'm going to leave it. These tires make me feel like a pro and I have not had one problem on the trails I ride as far as grip. I don't see much mud but roots, rocks, leaves, and loose dirt seem to not be a problem...at least for me.
So my point for writing the review is to express that you may not need big Knobbies like you think you do. The SB8 or other XC, race type tires may more than enough grip for what you do or need. I've tried to get my friends to try them but they think they need big, slow, knobbie tires even though they see me hammering up and down the hills way ahead of them. I think they just like the look of the big dogs!!
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2012
Strengths: Keep them on the dry track. They'll hold up a little on moist track if air pressure is correct and running tubeless.
Weaknesses: sidewalls feel thin but no problems yet riding rocky trails around austin.
Date Reviewed: January 18, 2012
Strengths: FAAASSTTT - Fastest rolling tire I've ever ridden.
Weaknesses: If there is wet mud anywhere near this tire you better be prepared to become a ice skater!
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Came on bike
Similar Products Used: Specialized Captain's, WTB Weirwolf's & Velociraptors, Dart/Smoke Combo.
Bike Setup: Airborne Goblin
Date Reviewed: September 29, 2011
Strengths: These tire rock!! Super fast rolling, corner like a champ, rail around the corners and keep you smiling. I just did the Vermont 50 with this tire on the rear and the Maxxis Ignitor on the front. Had no problems and blasted right through the mud which was quite deep at times. Obviously, if you try to stand up while climbing in areas that are wet they will spin on you. I normally ride them front and rear set up tubeless and love them. Just decided to put something with a bit more tred up front knowing that this race was going to be muddy.
Weaknesses: None so far
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Price Paid: $40.00
Purchased At: Kenda
Similar Products Used: Nevegal, slant six, maxxis ignitor and many others
Bike Setup: Tall Boy 29er
Date Reviewed: September 14, 2011
Strengths: Fast. Very fast. Be prepared to be using a taller gear than usual because this tire flys. Super low rolling resistance.
Weaknesses: I have flatted more times with this tire than any other tire I have ridden on. It has nothing for puncture protection. This could be remedied by going tubeless.
Similar Products Used: Kenda Karma, Specialized Fast Trak, Specialized Renegade.
Bike Setup: 34 lbs. hardtail brawler.
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