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Kenda Excavator DTC Tire

4.43/5 (37 Reviews)
MSRP : $38.49

Product Description

The Kenda Excavator was designed by Eric Carter. Cornering bite, straight line speed, and predictability were amongThe important factorsTaken into account by Carter when designingThe Excavator. Fast rollingTire with cross paddle design Front or rear use Foldable version has stickier DTC compound ISO Diameter: 559 ISO Width: 54 mm TireType: Clincher Tire Diameter: 26" Tire Use: Mountain

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Reviews 1 - 15 (37 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Cain from San Diego a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: February 7, 2015

Strengths:    Excellent Grip, Excellent Climber, Confident cornering on Rear (it is on rails), Excellent Braking, True to stated size (Lookin' at you Maxxis, WTB, Specialized, etc,), good tread life, Big Volume, Tough, Good Looks.

Weaknesses:    Kinda Slow. I know it was designed as a Rear specific tire, so take this statement the way you want: On the Front it has vague tracking ability. Basically it feels clumsy on the Front. It is just not a point-and-shoot, accurate tire for the Front, in comparison to other tires I've tried on the Front (Kenda Blue Groove 2.35 DTC, Specialized Fast Trak Control [new version]).

Bottom Line:   
People here need to specify whether they have tried the Excavator DTC or the STICK-E version. Please, they are completely different animals. The STICK-E version is much slower than the DTC. This review is for the 2.1 DTC:

This is a superb tire. It has handled everything I have thrown at it with swagger. It does well in San Diego. Although I could see it doing good everywhere, except deep muddy swamps in the South. I've tried it for a year in dry, dusty conditions, loose over hardpack, light rain, heavy rain, moist ground, rocks and roots. It did great.

The main strength of this tire is the combination of Grip and speed. As a trail rider who goes out for fun, and doesn't race, this tire suits my style. It is like a bigger, grippier Panaracer Fire XC Pro 2.1. Traction with an ability to pick up speed is my holy grail. The bonus is that this tire is tough and lasts a long time. It has the grip of the Nevegal DTC, but rolls much better. On the Rear it has a predictable behavior when leaned over. Grip, Grip, Grip, then a nice, controlled slide that is easy to correct.

My setup is a steel hardtail 2006 Jamis Dragon, with a Kenda Blue Groove 2.35 DTC on the Front. The Rear had a Specialized Fast Trak Control 2.2, that was switched out to another bike. So the Excavator 2.1 DTC went on the Rear. I miss the speed sometimes, but this tire changed my bike. I can now attack the same sections of trails with much more confidence and speed. The Fast Trak would sometimes spin out on steep dusty/loose climbs. Forcing me shift my weight around to the rear of the bike during the climb (pretty annoying). Or the Rear would occasionally lose traction, and start to slide, during fast, slalom-type descents. Although to its credit, the Fast Trak didn't just go haywire, and collapse under me, it was kinda predictable went it lost it, kinda.

This tire doesn't lose control on my Rear. The Blue Groove 2.35 DTC up Front, loses control before this guy. The Grip is phenomenal, and you feel like you are on rails. For general xc trail riding: this tire loves to attack technical, slalom-type areas. It loves to corner at fast speeds. Superb Climber. It has the Best Braking action I have ever seen in a tire, Stops on a Dime.

The only knock against it is the rolling resistance. I think "Kinda Slow" is a good description of it. It doesn't drag you down like a Nevegal. Yet I wouldn't even consider this a "Medium rolling resistance" tire. There is some drag. I overcame that issue, and have accepted this tire for what it is. Yet I do love to go Fast on long sections. At heart I still have the Need for Speed. But my riding style has almost fully adapted to the resistance. Almost. Because it wont fully adapt 100%. Sometimes you just want to hit the cranks anywhere and fly like a maniac. Yet there are so many great aspects about this tire, that I wouldn't feel justified ditching it. For what else? I have tried so many. So many that haven't measured up to this undersung beast. And the Excavator ticks 90% of my desires, in a Rear tire. Although I do notice my fatigue comes quicker, and going up long, boring, uphill sections over 100 yards is not fun. So jog around your neighborhood once a week, or ride alot, to build up some leg muscles, and get these tires. If Kenda somehow tweaks this tire to make it 25% faster, yet kept all of the above, positive traits of it, that would be my true Holy Grail Rear tire.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 years

Similar Products Used:   Panaracer Fire XC Pro, Kenda Nevegal 2.1 DTC, Kenda Blue Groove 2.35 DTC, Specialized Fast Trak Control 2.2, WTB Nanoraptor 2.1, WTB Velociraptor 2.1,

Bike Setup:   2006 Jamis Dragon Team steel hardtail, front suspension.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Brian412 a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: February 12, 2014

Strengths:    Faster rolling than the Nevegals. Light weight. Good tread life.

Weaknesses:    Washes out in corners. Never felt comfortable with them.

Bottom Line:   
These were 26" 2.1 on the front and rear with tubes. I was really wanting to like these. I switched from Nevegals to the Excavator when my Nevegals wore out. I definitely noticed the lighter weight and the faster rolling of the Excavators. But I just couldn't get these tires to hook up with the trails that I ride here in Florida. They would wash out at surprisingly low speeds. I never felt confident with these. I would be ok with these as a rear tire but these didn't work out for me up front.

I've ridden Nevegals for 6 years on two different bike. I really liked the Nevegals but wanted a faster rolling tire so I tried out the Excavators. It was a disappointment. I've moved on from the Excavators to Maxxis Ardents and couldn't be happier.

Tires are so subjective and there are many variables. For my trail conditions and bike setup, the Excavators couldn't keep up.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   Kenda Nevegals and Maxxis Ardents

Bike Setup:   2011 Giant Trance X3

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by phclaw

Date Reviewed: August 17, 2013

Strengths:    cornering, seem fast

Weaknesses:    not the best grip/traction

Bottom Line:   
Just like Julie says below, tires are so subjective. I wanted to like the Excavator - I think these were on sale for like 20 bucks, so I brought a few of them. I had High Rollers, which were top shelf, but they were getting worn. I put the excavator up front, and found I washed out a lot more, the traction wasn't as good as the High Roller. I put it in back, and found the bike skidding all over the place. I put it back up front and put an old 2.35 timberwolf in back, and that combo seems better. But I'll go back to the High Rollers, or give the Telonix a try...

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mtbpark a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: March 4, 2013

Strengths:    Traction

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
I have 2.35 for my front and so far no issue at all for my local trail mostly with mud, roots, rock and etc...

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Julie

Date Reviewed: September 6, 2012

Strengths:    climbing, descending, and cornering grip

Weaknesses:    high resistance when going fast

Bottom Line:   
It amazes me how everyone has a different experience on any given tire. One person's prize is the next person's poison. It seems rider skill, technique, weight, and choice of tire pressure have such great impact on the ride that generalizations are impossible. For me, the Excavator climbs like a tractor...and can get up almost anything loose or rocky...but, like the Nevegal, it can feel heavy with a lot of resistance when you are on fast terrain. I've had the Nevegal slam me to the ground when I have underweighted it on fast loose turns on the front (my bad) but the Excavator hooks up at the last minute, allowing me to work on my technique instead of nursing an injury. I am a very light rider (125 with gear) and run 17lbs front, 20lbs rear tubeless 2.1 nonUST tire with Stans. It is also the only tire I've tried tubeless that didn't make me go back to Nevegals with tubes...and that is a LOT of tires. They always felt too sloppy at pressures low enough to make them compliant or too stiff at any pressure (UST tires) I gave them 5 chilis for value because I found them on closeout for $26

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by bgfthntr a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: August 31, 2012

Strengths:    reasonable weight and low rolling resistance
It hooks up great in sand, rocks, roots wet
Good all around tire
True to size

Weaknesses:    none yet.

Bottom Line:   
I've used MANY tires over 24 years that I've been riding. And this got to be one of the best thus far. I've been using Nevegals for about 3 years in the rear and a Blue Groove up front. This tire replaced the rear Nevegal. The casing is a little rounder an it's much quieter than the Nevegal. It hooks up great in sand, rocks, roots wet. Just a great tire with a reasonable weight and low rolling resistance. Matter of fact all I can hear when on the road (on the way to the trails) is the Blue Groove, lol.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Spier Falls, SMBA, Potter Woods

Price Paid:    $25.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   Kenda Nevegal, Kenda Blue Groove, Panaracer Fire XC, Specialized The Captain and more

Bike Setup:   2009 Specialized FSR XC Comp.
Manitou Minute
Mavic 317
XT/SLX/Deore drive train

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tim Lovington

Date Reviewed: June 18, 2012

Strengths:    Traction
Sheds mud well

Weaknesses:    Rolling resistance

Bottom Line:   
I love this tire because it excels at what I purchased it for. I bought the 2.5in 60a wirebead version for my 2007 Santa Cruz Blur LT. I wanted a beefy tire with good traction that can help me climb in rocky, unforgiving territory while providing excellent downhill traction.

A reviewer stated that this tire wanders easily when going uphill...I noticed no such thing...If anything when I am climbing I get screwed because these tires keep a line TOO well uphill and I can't gain enough traction directly after changing directions. When climbing in a straight line these tires are amazing. conquered a muddy hill in the rain that was close to a 46 degree angle that I could never get up before I bought this tire.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   Kenda Nevegal 2.35 in front and back

Bike Setup:   Rear 2.5in Kenda Excavator wirebead 60a on DT Swiss EX 5.1D with Maxxis 1.5mm DH tube
Front 2.5 in Maxxis Minion DHF EXO Stick-e on DT Swiss EX 5.1D with Maxxis 1.5mm DH tube

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Laurenne Peot

Date Reviewed: June 14, 2012

Strengths:    Cornering grip and Braking

Weaknesses:    Rolling resistance and climbing accuracy

Bottom Line:   
This is for the 2.35 DTC version -- I was looking to improve on the performance of the Blue Groove that I have been using for several years. Unfortunately the axiom of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies for me.
The Excavator also points out just how superlative the BG really is. The EX needs alot of attention for me to fully exploit its positive atributes when entering a corner -- reminds me of a race ski that needs lots of input during initiation vs. one that is forgiving. I have skied and raced plenty of each and I would much rather have ones that are EASY, than ones that are persnickety, to get maximum performance.
Same with a front tire. So, here's the scoop -- this tire wanders like a lost soul on a climb -- whereas the BG tracks like a laser - which allows you to relax on a difficult climb, my friend. With the EX, no daydreaming! Doh! You had better be wailing on it when you enter a turn -- outside pedal forward, hips turned, weight forward, push inside bar down -- Look for the exit before entry! You had better be hitting 9's and 10's on your 'turn checklist! When you do -- WOW! Amazing hook-up! When you don't......well, your on the outside edge or off-off trail -- Sorry! Pay Attention! Awesome braking, though -- which, when the tire is running you off the trail comes in pretty handy....But the best of the worst I have saved for last -- Rolling Resistance. If you are okay with a 2 to 4 mph drop in your climbing speed, get this tire. Call me. I have one with less than 20 miles on it that you can get for a song. I drove for 45 minutes to Buffalo Creek to give 'em a test and cut my ride short at 17 miles as I ran out of energy -- and daylight -- I was intending to ride for 30-35 miles, like usual. Alas, this tire just took so much time and effort to get up the hill that I had no choice but to bail. This tire has some great qualities -- climbing is just not one of them, unfortunately.
So, if you have legs of steel and a bottomless well of energy, get this tire and go with Goddess, my friend. And run the air pressure as low as you can go -- I was running it at around 21-22 psi which helped to calm down it's turn initiation issues. Otherwise, may I suggest a 2.35 DTC Blue Groove?
If the Ex gets a 10 for it's best qualities and a zero for it's worst ones -- the BG gets a 9 -- across the board.
Blessings and Happy Trails to all!!


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by ajknows a Weekend Warrior from Houston, Tx

Date Reviewed: February 2, 2012

Strengths:    Gription and Traction

Weaknesses:    Wears a bit fast on the rears.

Bottom Line:   
I thought the Cinders were the tires - wrong. These tires are secure. I can go places and do things that I could not before. Great in the loose, on the hard, on roots and the mildly wet. Best tires so far.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $39.00

Purchased At:   online

Similar Products Used:   Hutchison Pythons, Panaracer Fire XCs, Panaracer Cinders

Bike Setup:   Full Suspension

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:3
Submitted by DANSTARBH a Weekend Warrior from Melbourne, VIC, AUSTRALIA

Date Reviewed: August 8, 2011

Strengths:    Looks Good.

Weaknesses:    Caused 2 Flats in 3HRs.

Bottom Line:   
Caused a flat first 10 mins of riding went flat again 3HRS later. Told LBS what happened they told me to change tyre due to poor qaulity. surprising considering the reviews here, oh well maybe it was a dud.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lysterfield,

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   MAXXIS, WTB, other Kenda.

Bike Setup:   MONGOOSE AMASA Elite, SRAM 951, Maxxis LARSEN TT rear, Welgo B/TRAP D/CAGE.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by BluesHarpBiker a Cross Country Rider from Lafayette, CO

Date Reviewed: August 5, 2011

Strengths:    Traction, traction, oh, and more traction.

Weaknesses:    Noisy on pavement, rear has worn down quite a bit from riding roads to get to trails, higher rolling resistance than the XR's that came stock on my bike

Bottom Line:   
I always had to slow way down on even slightly loose turns with the XR's that came stock on my bike. After switching to Excavators, my top speeds on all my favorite trails went up by about 10 mph because I hardly need to brake on turns anymore. Although they definitely have more rolling resistance than the XR's, I can still scream along on hardpack.

On roads, the rear tire was very loud starting out, although I think it just happened to hit a resonant frequency of my wheel. In any case, the rear has worn a lot faster than the front from riding to trails, which has actually seemed to work out well. At first, I could never get the rear tire to break loose, even when I wanted it to. Now that it's worn down some of the center tread, I can choose to break it loose on a turn in a controlled fashion, which is good for some of the tight switchbacks you can find in CO. The front tire has yet to slip under any conditions.

If you have problems with your tires slipping out from under you on turns, and you don't mind hearing some noise riding on pavement, buy Excavators. They'll make your dreams come true.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Strand Hill in Crested Butte

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $50.00

Purchased At:   Jenson USA

Similar Products Used:   Nevegal, Bontrager XR

Bike Setup:   Gary Fisher Marlin Disc, Excavator 2.35 in front, Excavator 2.1 on rear, BB5's with 190mm rotor up front.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Helmetless a Weekend Warrior from Santiago, Chile

Date Reviewed: May 20, 2011

Strengths:    Reliable, great volume, it brakes pretty well, very light for what it is.

Weaknesses:    Doesn't help too much on corners, thin sidewalls but who cares! its light.

Bottom Line:   
I've always been using the Excavator as a rear tire and in the 1.95 DTC version. Go buy it, it has the perfect compromise between rolling resistance and traction. This tire is damn good for everything you put over it.

Used it at 40psi for climbing, and 30psi for downhill.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Condor

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $36.00

Purchased At:   Oxford.cl

Similar Products Used:   Many Maxxis and Kendas

Bike Setup:   A good AM HT bike

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by AlexPt a Weekend Warrior from Vic, BC

Date Reviewed: December 24, 2010

Strengths:    Grip, looks (does that matter? um well no), cornering when leant right over (a la Brian). Mine are Stick-e 2.3's
OK on the front, stupidly grippy on the rear

Weaknesses:    Transitional knobs (if you're really picky) - maybe?!

Bottom Line:   
These are seriously in the top 3 of all time rear grippy fricking awesome tires. Stick-E kids!
Agree with guy below, I'd probably go with a 2.5 Stick-E Nev up front with the El Moco Stick-e in the rear (at least in winter in B.C, Canada).
If you hate wet rocks and roots you'll love the El moco on the rear chaps n chapesses

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Who is YOUR daddy?

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $40.00

Purchased At:   Wiggle

Similar Products Used:   Nev's, Minions, Excavator, Panaracer, waiting for Rubber Q's

Bike Setup:   Blur LT2

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by raygun a Cross Country Rider from nyc

Date Reviewed: December 8, 2010

Strengths:    grip, cornering, dry to loose conditions

Weaknesses:    rolling resistance, hard to set up tubeless

Bottom Line:   
one of the best tires i've used on rocks and loose conditions for the REAR. nevegals on the front are still the best, but the center knob on these baby's just grab in the rear climbing over rocks, roots, etc. corning is excellent with those chunky 'H' knobs. rolling resistance isn't the best, but better than the nevegals. 2.1 DTC is recommended for AM riding and even XC racing in rough conditions. tubeless is a pain, but worth it once you can run lowers pressures. you will NOT slip climbing on these.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   blue mountain

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   nevegals, minions, etc

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by username a Weekend Warrior from flagtown, az, usa

Date Reviewed: September 24, 2010

Strengths:    yes

Weaknesses:    no

Bottom Line:   
i run a advantage pro 2.4 front and the 2.35 excavator in the back...

This tire chewes up and spits out steep climbing sections, keeps me on rails through loose corners and confidant in rock gardens!

Much better than the high roller it replaced and already have another one on order to see how it works out in front.

best beefy tire i've ridden, probably not the best for xc or weight geeks, but there is a 2.1 version and it did keep nice speed through hardpack....

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   up, then DOWN

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $35.00

Purchased At:   Flagstaff Bike Revol

Similar Products Used:   high roller, nevegal,

Bike Setup:   coilair supreme with this and that

Reviews 1 - 15 (37 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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