Strengths: Superb grip on muddy trails. Surprisingly grippy on pavement. Extremely durable.
Weaknesses: A little twitchy on wet pavement.
First it should be pointed that this is a dedicated off road tire. I use this tire a lot on pavement (not really designed for pavement) but it performs surprisingly well on asphalt. If the pavement is wet, its best to take sharp corners with caution. On the trails it performs absolutely fantastic. Grips hard, like a tigers teeth into its prey. I've used high end off road tires such as Continental and Tioga, and compared to those which I also consider to be fantastic, these Kenda Kinetics are definitely up there in terms of performance and durability. I've logged 3000 km on them, the front tires still look like I just got them, the rears have about 50% tread left. Considering the price, one of the best dedicated off road tires I've experienced.
Weaknesses: Heavy weight, hard and bouncy rubber. Must calibrate tires and shocks before every ride.
First, I weigh 139 lbs and ride dry rocky desert. These tires are more fussy than the Continental Vertical Pros they replaced. Besides low air pressure, try running high negative air pressure in forks to keep 'em on the ground. Straight ahead traction superior, side cornering and fast washboard inferior to the Vertical Pros. Tread pattern open & shallow enough to not pick up and spit gravel (big problem with the Maxxis). Being heavy duty and hard rubber, good for heavy riders. Would not want with inexpensive shocks or hardtail.
Similar Products Used: Continental Vertical Pro, Maxxis, Panaracer
Bike Setup: Titus Motolite, Rock Shox Revelation dual air forks
a Cross Country Rider
from Thousand Oaks, CA
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2008
Strengths: Price - 2.2 width - tread - cornering - hold air great! - Ease of installment
Installed this tire this past weekend. Very easy install. No special tools and didn't need compressed air to fill. Huge advantage!!! After 100 miles, I am impressed with tire. I live in So Cal and all my riding is relatively dry. For my conditions, this tire is great.
Similar Products Used: Misc Maxxis - WTB - Specialized
Bike Setup: Titus RacerX 100, Fox, XT.
a Cross Country Rider
from Tucson, AZ, USA
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2007
Strengths: Unbelievable price, easy to install, front/rear specific
Weaknesses: Haven't found yet - did ride in wet conditions yesterday, and found them a little slippery on rocks, but that was expected
I'm constantly trying to find that "just the right tire", and heard abotut the killing deals that Kenda was offering this summer. Stupid me for not buying more. This price (especially for a UST), I was stupid. Just plain stupid. At least I got these.
Ok - to the tire. 1st - Maybe it's a psychological thing, but I cannot get the idea of having front and rear that are *not* specific... each tire does vastly different things and has different demands - so it was a big plus to see these as f/r specific.
Installing - I will concur with the previous poster - these tires were the easiest to install of *any* UST I've tried, or talked to other riders... I did not need any tool to install the bead over the rim, and they sealed up immediately. I do not have rim/bead leakage issues at all. Period. (I'll footnote that despite other tires being more difficult to install, I've not had any problem with any tire in terms of leakage, once I splash the Stan's around a bit).
The ride - I'll also concur - I first rode with the higher pressure (about 40#) just to seat the bead firmly... I was already going to drop the pressure (I typically ride 30-ish# with any UST), but the 40# was just a scary ride. I was skiddish on even flatter terrain, and in anything even remotely technical, I felt totally uneasy. However, once I dropped to 30#, *all* was solved. I live in rocky/sandy/hardpack area, so in this regard, I have absolutely no complaints at all. The 2.2 size gives me just the size footprint that I want - not boggingly-down big, and not skiddishly XC either. "Just right". I have dropped down to 25# (note: this is below the tire rating of 30#), and while I had no problems, I could definitely feel that in extreme situations (like trying for a bite on a drop onto an off-camber rock, or railing around a tight turn) that I would feel less than comfortable, but they held ok. Back to 30# and I'm happy. (Footnote - I weigh 180#)
Commenting on other poster comments: I ride some pretty rocky/rough stuff, and I've not lost any knobs... the tires are wearing well (not killer fast like the Nevegals, tho those were the Stick-e rubber). I've only ridden in wet conditions once (it's the SoAZ desert folks...), and on damp sandy trails, they totally railed. On wet rocks, I didn't get any surprises. Can't speak to roots - don't have them here for the most part. I *can* speak to dry sand, however, and I'm really pleased. I just mogate along when other buddies sink in - I think this has a lot to do with the advantage of tubeless - as I've always noticed that with any of the tubeless tires I've been on(though the IRC Mythos were too narrow and sank anyway).
It kills me that this deal is no longer available from Kenda... hopefully it's a seasonal thing and will one day again be available. That said, I've never paid more than $30-35 for a UST, and I would easily pay this amount for these. For $15, I'd give these 10 chilis if I could!
Strengths: Great all-around, tough, high volume, tubeless specific tire. Works well in Sierra Nevada type conditions. They can be run a low pressures without affecting the rolling resistence too much. Moto-like knobs don't skid easily. Confidence inspiring in the turns. Roll fast.
Weaknesses: Knobs tend to tear, Compound is very hard but are still tacky in the rocks. Not the best desert tires.
Work well in the Sierra Nevada mixed terrains. I raced these in the Downieville classic and won the all-mountain expert group on them. Great mixed condition tire that has above average performance in all categories. I will probably race these again in DV next year because I bought 3 sets from Kenda last June.
Similar Products Used: Mutano raptors, IRC seracs and trail bears, Nevagals
Bike Setup: SC Superlight, Fox Float 100X, Mavic X-max, XTR group.
a Cross Country Rider
from Athens, GA USA
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2007
Strengths: Big Volume with full knobs, the tire is very tough and grips well on almost every surface
Weaknesses: A little on the heavy side, but it's worth it for such a tough tire!
I love this tire! I have the 2.2 UST version and although it is heavy, it is tough as nails! Grips and corners well on almost every surface you can ride it on. I have blasted rock/boulder gardens so fast it scared me and the tires came through without even a scuff! The only surface they are a little sketchy on is loose over hard pack (leaves/pine needles) but really nothing is too good there. I am 165lbs and can run these at 25-27 psi with no problem, they definitely work better the lower you run'm. Like with any tubeless set-up you gotta run Stan's in'm to keep from flatting!
Similar Products Used: Nevegal, Kharisma, Karma, Maxxis- Larsen, Igitor.
Bike Setup: GT i-drive 5, my custom build. Crossmax XL wheels (able to mount them easily with a floor pump).
a Weekend Warrior
from Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2007
Strengths: Easily installed, very easy to air up for a UST tire (best one yet), holds air very well, durable compound, stiff sidewalls.
Weaknesses: Traction in various conditions - easily remedied by tire pressure
I decided to try these tires because of the price. The Kenda factory is clearing them out for $15 each and that's a great value for a UST tire. I noticed they were easy to install but when it came to airing up the tire that is when I first became very impressed with this rubber. They aired up immediately and popped into position without a fight. I run Stan's in all my UST tires but noticed that these sealed within minutes of their installation and no air bubble leaks at the rim/tire interface. I have not had to add air in the 3 months I have been riding them - can't say that about my other UST tires.
Based on the other fellow rider reviews and what I discovered is this tire's performance seems to very sensitive to air pressure - more so than other ust brands I have tried. I started in the mid range of the recommended psi on the tire - 40psi - as I always do for new/never tried tires. Then I slowly decreased the psi to about 30 over several rides. I weigh 195lbs (88.5kg) and noticed at 40 psi the tire was uncontrolable. When I hit 35 psi the tire started to perform like it should. When I hit 30-32 psi the tire performed extremely well in the hardpack, loose, gravel, dry roots and rocks. For wet conditions including mud, wet rocks and wet roots I run a 27-28 psi setting and this tire performs with the best. I was so impressed with the way this tire sealed onto the rim that I have no issues running this lower psi. I also mentioned this tire seems to have a stiffer side wall than most which helps to keep the tire from feeling like it's wandering underneath you. Excellent overall value and great all around tire.
Similar Products Used: First tubeless tire tried. Switching to Contis.
Bike Setup: Intense Spider XVP
a Cross Country Rider
from Los Angeles
Date Reviewed: January 30, 2006
Strengths: Air retention (I use Stan's but have hardly added air in almost a year), dry traction, loose traction, tracks well in rutts and can run very low pressure, durable tread, customer service.
Weaknesses: Wet roots/logs, harpacked/steep traction can spin out easily due to large knobs.
I love the combination I'm running with a faster smaller knob up front but a grippy knobby rear. The trail traction is awsome as long as it's not slippery but just as a rear tire it's not that noticable. I ride mostly rocky singletrack Southern California trails but also have used it on East Coast singletrack and the tire preformed beautifully after a few break in rides. Just recenly got a large buldge on the sidewall by the tread and got in touch with Kenda and they're replacing it for free, can't beat that. I don't have any experience with the front but it works very well in the back and grips well.
I have used these tires on less than a dozen rides and was unable to improve the performance thru pressure adjustments. Performance in very dry conditions is o.k. until you start pushing them in corners at speed, where they are very unforgiving. If you ride anything even a little wet with any rooty or rocky sections, FORGET ABOUT IT! Very stiff sidewall and no outter treads equals ice skating performance at pressures above 28lbs and slightly improved but wicked slippery even down to 22lbs. Some shop guys have said the tire needs to break in but I can't wait that long, the wet season is here.
Bike Setup: hope bulb on mavic EX823 tubless rims (spreads the tyre nicely to provide ge\reater ground contact)
a Cross Country Rider
from New Zealand
Date Reviewed: November 28, 2004
Strengths: Great grip in the dry, casing holds air well enough not to need repleneshing after 2 weeks and hasn't rolled off the rim yet despite only running 32psi and I'm 77kg and have been giving it death in an attempt to qwell my tubless doubting deamons and so far so good. Good low rolling resistance when road or mtb riding. My mates thing my tires look like they are going flat but when the pressure is that low the casing spreads and moulds the terrain. Airs up good with a compressor (everyone should have one of these in their garage) Haven't had a puncture yet so all is good.
Weaknesses: Wet weather performance isn't the best but if you drop the pressure a smidge over dry conditions it gets better. Knobs could be a bit more spaced out for better grip but thats only a niggle
Great tyre for the price, good dry weather and ok wet weather performance. Weight is only for weanies.
Similar Products Used: It's my first tubless tyre but have used specialised, maxis, hutchinsons and wtbs. Each tyre has its own inherent strengths and weaknesses and you have to adapt your riding to each set of idiosyncrasies.
Bike Setup: Kona dawg, fox talas rlc, hope xc laced to mavic 819 (but will try the 823 to get more tyre spread) hope m4 mono f&r, running a xt 8sp drivetrain.
from charlotte, nc. usa
Date Reviewed: October 15, 2004
Strengths: great rolling resistance, average mounting diff. good air holding
Weaknesses: not wide enough for fast downhill. knobs are too close for good grip in the rough.
great for urban and all round riding havent rod in the wet but briefly, lowering the air pressure helps in tha case.
I have to tell you, I really gave these tires a chance before giving them a negative rating. In dry conditions they are great, but then again, it is never really dry out here in Quebec. If you hang around Bromont, Rougemont, Mont Habitant or Coaticook, you know there is going to be some water and some mud. These elements give the tire a failing grade. These tires came stock on my new Tomac Eli (love the bike). I was riding Panaracer Fire XC prior to the Kenda's. Sorry Kenda, this tire is not up to snuff for us wet condition riders.