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
Strengths: climbing, descending, and cornering grip
Weaknesses: high resistance when going fast
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Date Reviewed: June 14, 2012
Strengths: Cornering grip and Braking
Weaknesses: Rolling resistance and climbing accuracy
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!!
a Weekend Warrior
from Houston, Tx
Date Reviewed: February 2, 2012
Strengths: Gription and Traction
Weaknesses: Wears a bit fast on the rears.
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.
Similar Products Used: Hutchison Pythons, Panaracer Fire XCs, Panaracer Cinders
Bike Setup: Full Suspension
a Weekend Warrior
from Melbourne, VIC, AUSTRALIA
Date Reviewed: August 8, 2011
Strengths: Looks Good.
Weaknesses: Caused 2 Flats in 3HRs.
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.
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
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.
Bike Setup: Gary Fisher Marlin Disc, Excavator 2.35 in front, Excavator 2.1 on rear, BB5's with 190mm rotor up front.
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.
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.
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
Similar Products Used: Nev's, Minions, Excavator, Panaracer, waiting for Rubber Q's
Bike Setup: Blur LT2
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 8, 2010
Strengths: grip, cornering, dry to loose conditions
Weaknesses: rolling resistance, hard to set up tubeless
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.
Strengths: Super grippy on rock and dirt, good tread life, decent weight and rolling resistance for the amount of traction you get.
Best tires I've owned. Grippier than the Nevegal 2.1 DTC for the rear. I can climb uphill on loose sand and rock easier with these tires. Grip well on loose dirt and on corners. I agree with the reviewer below who says the tread life is good...it's a beefier tread than the Nevegal so lasts longer. I also run the Nevegal 2.1 Stick-E up front with the Excavator 2.1 in the back. To be fair, the Excavator 2.1s are really closer to 2.2 or 2.25 when you measure them, and the extra width helps, so it's hard to compare to real 2.1s like the Fire XC Pros. Found them online for $33, but bought them at Performance b/c they price match. My value rating is based on $33 price tag.
Similar Products Used: Nevegal DTC 2.1, Nevegal Stick-E 2.1, Panaracer Fire XC Pro 2.1, Specialized Enduro Pro 2.2
Bike Setup: Giant NRS, RS Recon, Fox Float, Mavic 317 Disc, XT drivetrain
a Weekend Warrior
from Santa Fe NM USA
Date Reviewed: June 29, 2010
Strengths: Great tire, handles very well. very good on turns, digs in and you can turn on a dime even in wet conditions. This tire tore up Sandia ski area. Tire is up front only and rolls well.
Weaknesses: none yet
great tire. I would highly recommended for anyone who feels like their bike is sliding out from underneath them on sharp fast turns. This tire digs in on turns and rolls fast. I still had the maxxis ignitor on the rear and the back was sliding in the wet weather the excavator up front still gripped even in a little mud.
Similar Products Used: Kenda Nevegal, Maxxis ignitor
Bike Setup: Kona Dawg sram xo, fsa wheels race face
a Cross Country Rider
from Anchorage, AK
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2010
Strengths: Great traction, good handling, rolls well
Weaknesses: None noted
These are the best tires I've found for the rear. The Motoraptors were very sketchy on wet roots; the Weirwolves were better in the wet and gave good rear traction when run reversed, but tended to pack up a bit if muddy, with a particular tendency to throw it in your eyes. I like the Nevegals, especially in front, but the back wore out in just 200-300 miles and lost climbing grip pretty quickly. The Excavator in back has been a nice match for a Nevegal up front, with nice predictable and reliable handling, good grip in the gnarl, and excellent climbing traction. They are really good on the tough sharp climbs, which usually have a tricky root ball at the top, working well with the VPP suspension to give the traction needed to power up and over. I've had no pinch flats with these tires running 30-32 psi, despite being an agressive 190 lb rider. I got about 1000 miles out of the DTC compound, and have just ordered a new set, staying with a Stick-E Nevegal in front. I'm going to step up from 2.1's to 2.35's, and try tubeless.