Spotted: New Protoype Kenda Tires at Crankworx BC 2021

Sep 30, 2021
by Henry Quinney  
UR Team's Joe Breeden has just won the MT7 Psychosis race aboard new prototype tires from Kenda. So, what are they? And how are they different to Kenda's current offerings?

The New Tire


The new tire looks like a mix of two current models - the Pinner Pro and the Hellkat.

The tire alternates between two and three centre blocks. The tread looks relatively open and it seems to borrow heavily from the Hellkat. Infact, if you removed the first row in the 2-2-3 repeating tread pattern of the Hellkat you may well get something very similar.

Tracey Hannah
Kenda Pinner Pro
Here we can see the Hellkat on the left and the Pinner Pro on the right.

The siped edge knobs look to be uniform around the whole of the tire. Tire's knobs and are often siped because it makes them more flexible and able to twist and conform to dirt better without heavily compromising the stability of the lug at the base. This is particularly important when loading the bike through turns and the rider demands both grip and support. These square blocks look slightly different from the L-shaped side knobs that appear in Hellkats tread on a one-in-three basis.

Kenda Pinner Pro
The prototype tire on the left, featuring the offset pattern, compared to the Pinner Pro on the right.

You can also see that the centre and edge knobs are entirely offset from one another. This is different from Pinner Pro, which has a design that features rows of lugs, and the Hellkat, which has semi-offset lugs. The benefit of aligned edge and centre knobs can be increased traction when both driving and braking forces run through the tire. However, it can leave the rim or tire vulnerable to damage as if you are unfortunate and hit a square edge on the wrong part of the tire it has nothing but canvas and the air pressure to protect the rim. Both of these things can be overwhelmed by high speed impacts on sharp edges.

According to a recent bike check video with Joe, the release of the tire will be in the relatively near future.


68 Comments

  • 83 2
 Kenda Dissectegai
  • 4 1
 Exactly what I thought
  • 15 0
 Fortunately for Kenda it doesn’t look like a combo of a Maxxis Assegai and an Intense Intruder.
  • 1 0
 @ZbynekSyptak: Kunda Tires
  • 4 1
 @ZbynekSyptak: I've got a couple maxxis tires that look like that. maybe not quite as bad but pretty close. The wobble on the the maxxis ties I have also seem worse if I have an insert in the tire.
Pretty frustrating for premium tires.
  • 4 1
 @Kark: You can warranty any maxxis tire with that issue through the dealer you bought them from. It's obviously still a pain in the ass to have happen to a new tire you just installed, but important to know that it's usually very easy to return them if they're bad.
  • 1 0
 argh! I was totally thinking that. A faster rolling Assegai...
  • 1 0
 @ZbynekSyptak: My Kenda Pinnrs do that too, brand new.

I have a love/hate with the Pinnrs; they perform great, like a faster rolling DHR II, but they puncture easily, wear out quickly, and all 4 of mine had the wobble/bulge to some degree or another.

But most importantly they are cheap in actually in stock!
  • 1 4
 @mammal: there’s nothing wrong with the tyres they’ve just been stretched in one place by someone who’s forced the tyre on with tyre levers instead of doing it properly with their hands. Eventually the rest of the tyre will stretch like all new tyres do and the bounce will go.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: After 300 miles my Kendas still are bulged
  • 2 0
 ASSector?
  • 1 0
 @ZbynekSyptak: are you sure it's seated? like....sure sure!?

I have had all kinds of tires do this, and 9 out if 10 times its install error. I think I have had 1 maxxis and 1 Spesh tire have an actual defect....out of literal hundreds.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Maybe with Kendas (?), but Maxxis has had this issue with certain production runs for years. Believe me, it doesn't straighten out. If it's caused by user error, maybe it sorts itself out, but the ones with a wobble from production will be like that forever. It's a known issue and instantly warrantied because of that.
  • 2 0
 I'd upvote, but the 69 you have are perfect as is.
  • 2 0
 @WRCDH: you win!
  • 1 0
 @conoat: very much!!!
  • 23 3
 did kenda ever get their compound figured out? a company can release any tire they want but if the casing and compound sucks it's a waste of time
  • 4 0
 This
  • 7 0
 Or get a compound and casing right and never release it…

…Kenda and Michelin should hook up.
  • 14 0
 RSR dual layer is pretty good, the Hellkat is a underrated tire.
  • 7 0
 Kenda's latest casings and many of their tread patterns are very good. The DTC is only okay: not terrible, but could be better. Haven't tried the RSR.
  • 5 0
 i've yet to try my now pretty worn hellkat in proper uk mud, but on everything else its been great, at least comparable to the magic mary i had before. i did struggle to get it to seat during initial installation though, and thats with a nukeproof ard with the good experience i had with the hellkat i got a pinner pro for the rear and that was also really good, i dont know how i would like it as a front tyre though, the compound is noticeably harder than the HK, but really fun rear tyre until on its 5th ride i took it to fort william for 2 days and now the braking faces are toast. i had the same issue seating the pinner pro as i did the hellkat. next up, if i can find one, i want to try a gran mudda for winter.
  • 2 0
 @GumptionZA: try the Vittoria Mota for the Mud too, i switched from Magic Mary to the Mota in the muddy season last year and immediately felt like i was riding on normal wet trails.
TLR is really thick casing, comparable to superGravity with Schwalbe, TNT is like superTrail, FYI
  • 1 0
 @waldo-jpg: I considered the Mota, but I had heard it came out pretty narrow, so ends up being a mud specialist, rather than a tyre you can fit and forget over the damp half of the year. Interested in your real life view
  • 7 0
 @dubod22: Michelin eveeeeentualllyyy released their tyres. And I assure you, they're really something else
  • 2 0
 @mountainsofsussex: it's pretty narrow, i agree on that, i switched it out for a Mazza at around March when the mud started drying out, wouldnt want to ride it on anything else than mud/loose/extreme wheather
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: True. My only gripe with them is indeed that they weren't released sooner.
  • 1 0
 @GumptionZA: Yeah, I had a hell of a time getting both the Pinners and Hellkats seated. They were truly a bitch to mount.That said, I thought they were awesome tires. Kenda is still very underrated IMO. I ran Hellkats f/r for singletrack and the Pinners f/r for dh and had no issues what so ever with them. I would say those, and my current tires, Vittoria Martellos, are my 3 favorite tires of the last 10years. I am really digging the Martellos in all conditions. Easiest tires I have ever mounted, fastest rolling aggressive tread tires i have used, and unlike the last 5 tires from Maxxis, they are straight as an arrow.
  • 2 0
 @mountainsofsussex: The 2.6 Martellos I am trying are indeed more like 2.4's. I guess Vittoria run narrow. But, I prefer 2.4-2.5 width tires anyway over true 2.6's.
  • 1 0
 @jason475: i suppose they do this to mask the insane weight of the tlr martellos that is crazy for a 2.4 tire. But the TNT is already similar to DD / Supertrail.
  • 2 0
 @Arierep: my vote is definitely for Michelin. Been super impressed with them over the past couple of years. Im only on maxxis because I couldnt find a set a couple months ago and got a flat the second ride with cush core. Those Michelins never let me down.
  • 2 1
 They nailed it with rsr compound. I've been running hellkats since they came out. I ride in the PNW on greasy wet and muddy DH trails full of off camber rocks, slabs and roots. I'm blown away by the grip. It's rare if I ever skid or wash out. On the flip side, too much grip can be a bad thing. On the rear the hellkat is extremely slow. I think this new prototype will be the perfect rear tire to a hellkat front.
  • 1 0
 Does Kenda have quality/longevity issues? I was considering their booster tire for my rigid do it all bike, but it's gotta be able to last
  • 12 0
 Looks like a tire.
  • 10 0
 I switched to Kendas last season and I wont run anything else now. The AGC casing is fucking bulletproof!
  • 2 0
 What were you running before? What problems were you having that you're solving with the Kendas?
  • 2 0
 @rrolly: I've run Maxxis' up to DDs, WTB TCS Tough, Michelin Wild'R. Flats with all of them, lots of time in the tread. So far, knock on wood, zero flats on Kendas.
  • 1 0
 @f*ckingsteve: That's good to know. I've only had one flat issue with the Maxxis I've run, but it was due to a valve and rim tape issue. I had a Hellkat and Pinner combo, but prefer the grip/performance of the DHR2's. Since flats aren't an issue for me I'll stick with the DHR2 and try an Assegai up front for the winter.
  • 7 0
 As contenders for the best front tire available, there is the Magic Mary supersoft, the Assegai Maxxgrip and the Hellkat AEC/AGC. It's funny how the rubber on the Hellkat AEC/AGC is firmer than that on its ATC version, and surely firmer than that of those two other contenders, yet the grip is merciless and velcro-like. I have two front wheels with the Assegai and the Hellkat for comparison. I haven't reached a conclusion regarding ultimate grip, but there's a different profile, more rounded and balloon-like on the Assegai, that can be explored differently. With the Hellkat it's not a matter of "exploring", there's just faultless grip there. It's possible that the Assegai beats the Hellkat in some kinds of mud though. As for the Pinner, it didn't really convince me. As a front tire, no way. At the rear, I really liked the ATC one, a really good combination of rolling speed and grip. I actually liked its rubber compound better than the AGC's, even the grip characteristics. Unfortunatelly it quickly became quite pierced, but that was due to the aggressiveness of the terrain, and also happened with other non-DH tires. Also regarding this prototype tire, I saw non-Kenda riders using it on DH WC races, which is promising.
  • 2 0
 Both Hellkat and Pinner looks good to me. I would try a Pinner for the rear of my bike.
The Assegai is hard to beat in pure grip and feel,it is a dam easy tire to trust. I do not like L shape knobs,when you lean the bike hard made a weird chatter (Minion&DHR2) at the edge of grip.
Continental had some prototypes looking really good too,I think it would be very nice to have more options for a good overall tire.
  • 2 0
 @homerjm: I'm not so used to a rounder tire profile like that of the Assegai (or the DHF, which I only like for the rear ) but I get by with it. This thing has grip everywhere along its profile, it's kind of strange, I'm more used to an edge grip. It does roll better than the Hellkat, even with the seemingly softer rubber.
  • 1 0
 I didn't like the Hellkat as a front in the ATC casing. I'm running the pinner up front and like that a lot more. Very dry and hard conditions here. I'm still using the Hellkat as a rear and it has done fine but it is wearing fast.
  • 2 0
 @voghan: The Hellkat ATC is not so bad as a lightweight trail tire, the one I have weighs 850 grams in 29". Maybe good for downcountry or whatever it's called. The Pinner ATC is better built and the rubber seems more stable. It's also a bit bigger, even if they are both 2.4.
  • 2 0
 @DavidGuerra: The most awesome thing about the Assegai is very good in almost any terrain,mud is worst aspect cos it packs really fast and made a big muddy donuts,but is even good in wet.
To me,a round tire let you lean the bike more without losing traction,but tires are very personal choice,some love one thing or hate the other.
I mostly ride loose over hard pack all the time,rocks everywhere and the soil it is very dry.
  • 3 0
 @homerjm: I actually have zero experience with the Assegai in mud, it just happened that the Hellkat wasn't very confidence inspiring in some mud I found in Azores a couple of years ago, It also wasn't the type of mud that packed, so I think the Assegai might have done better in there. But overall the Hellkat is fine or great in mud and should pack up less than most. I don't really ride much in mud, but if I find any this winter I will try the Assegai on it.
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra:
Do come back and let us know how that goes. As someone with a background in off road vehicle dynamics, it’s interesting to see the differences tire lug patterns make on performance and the interactions with the soil. There’s a whole science of terramechanics devoted to it. The emphasis on both cornering and climbing in mountain biking makes it arguable the most interesting of all applications in terramechanics.
  • 1 0
 @OREngineer: The "boths" in MTB tires are immense, as there are many opposing solicitations to satisfy. There's grip vs. rolling resistance and there's weight vs. resistance to cuts. This makes every tire a compromise. Maybe in cross country casing strength and grip are somewhat secondary, and the same might be said for casing weight and rolling speed in downhill, but even the secondary features have their importance. And for enduro, even more so. That's where it really is impossible to achieve a tire with a good weight but great strenght, and both great grip and good rolling speed. Thus, we have to drag up the hill these ever heavier bikes, which also become less and less optimal for tamer trails.
  • 2 0
 @OREngineer: As for the Assegai, I've been riding on the wet now and I've been having a great time. I see that the grip profile is good for technical terrain, for handling obstacles, though I found it strange at first. I have not experienced packing but the terrain did not favour it, and when there's cement-like mud, I'm not sure there's a tire that can not get packed.
  • 3 0
 Running a Kenda Regolith SCT up front and like. Maxxis in the back, which I replaced the Kenda in rear because it had a wobble and was too meaty. Kenda warrantied the tire. Have ridden Maxxis as long as I can remember, but so far I like the Kenda up front. I just want to ride so I’m not to picky about fads, also like trying something new every now and then. Smile
  • 2 0
 Somewhere on the internet, earlier this year I remember Gwin talking about a new tire and testing different compounds with kenda. As they had the knob profile pretty set but still needed to figure out the compound.
I’m rooting for ya kenda! I like the hellkat! I’ve had both atc and agc versions.
  • 1 0
 Wish they figured out a way to stop the side knobs tearing off the pinner after a couple of months. Really like them and love the Hellkat as a front tire, but I've been through 2 pinners (AGC) losing the side knobs within a couple months plus 1 set that had massive wobble brand new. They are great until they fall apart, but it hasn't been a very long time before that happens in my experience.
  • 1 0
 I have two Nevegal 2 and one Hellkat. The Hellkat is pretty new and so far okay but the two Nevegal developed wobble over the months very disappointing. I have tried to reseat them on different wheels several times but it seems like it is in the tire itself. It is now so important that it's vibrating when I ride a flat road so they are going in the bin with still plenty of meat on it...
  • 1 0
 I've had two Kenda Hellkats on my bikes and if it wasn't for the fact I got them half price I'd be pretty disappointed. They wore down much quicker than any other tyre I've used, even showing string from the sidewall after a month. Also really struggled to get them onto the rim and had too use a service station air hose for one of them, where an assegai on the identical rim on the front didn't even require a tyre lever and only needed a floor pump. Grip was fine but unless they where on a massive sale I wouldn't go near them again.
  • 1 0
 You know how some folks think Coke owns Pepsi and it's all a conspiracy? I wonder if Maxxis owns everyth...ah, nevermind.
  • 1 0
 Just put a pinner on the back of my bike and am loving it so far. Miles ahead of that crappy dissector i had.
  • 2 0
 Nevegal 2.0?
  • 1 0
 I saw this tire yesterday on sam reynolds how to jump video.
  • 1 0
 The Kenda PinKat...could be a winner.
  • 2 2
 The reemergence of the Panaracer Smoke. I like it.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a magic Mary
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