Kenda Excavator DTC Tire

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

User Reviews (37)

Showing 1-10 of 37  
Cain from San Diego   Cross Country Rider [Feb 07, 2015]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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]).

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.

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,
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Brian412   All Mountain Rider [Feb 12, 2014]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

Washes out in corners. Never felt comfortable with them.

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.

Similar Products Used: Kenda Nevegals and Maxxis Ardents
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
4
phclaw   [Aug 17, 2013]
Strength:

cornering, seem fast

Weakness:

not the best grip/traction

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
3
VALUE
RATING
4
mtbpark   Weekend Warrior [Mar 04, 2013]
Strength:

Traction

Weakness:

none

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
Julie   [Sep 06, 2012]
Strength:

climbing, descending, and cornering grip

Weakness:

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

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
bgfthntr   Cross Country Rider [Aug 31, 2012]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: Kenda Nevegal, Kenda Blue Groove, Panaracer Fire XC, Specialized The Captain and more
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Tim Lovington   [Jun 18, 2012]
Strength:

Traction
Cornering
Sheds mud well

Weakness:

Rolling resistance

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
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Laurenne Peot   [Jun 14, 2012]
Strength:

Cornering grip and Braking

Weakness:

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!!

L

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
ajknows   Weekend Warrior [Feb 02, 2012]
Strength:

Gription and Traction

Weakness:

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
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
DANSTARBH   Weekend Warrior [Aug 08, 2011]
Strength:

Looks Good.

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: MAXXIS, WTB, other Kenda.
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 37  

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