Kenda Nevegal Tyres

25 10 2007

Despite all the science and manufacturers claims I think tyre choice has a large element of subjectivity this review is based on my experience of the product.

Like all other mtb riders I know I am always on the lookout for tyres that will be suitable for use most of the year. I use Panaracer Trailrakers in the winter but the rest of the time I want something that is suited to general riding in conditions ranging from dry dusty trails to wet and dry chalk to fine loam and finally a thin layer of mud. I have tried most things and for the past 3 years my favourites have been Michelin Hot-S. Following favourable comments from riding buddies I took the plunge and bought a set of Kenda Nevegal Stick-E 2.3inch tyres at the beginning of this summer.

I fitted the Kenda’s to my hardtail pumped them to almost 40 psi (my usual default pressure) and went for a ride around a bone dry St Leonards Forest with Mr Woodsman. Inflated, the Nevegal’s are wider than the Hot-S but not as tall. The first thing to say is that the tyres are big and broad and felt super comfy cushioning my @rse from a lot of the bumps. The second positive was that they stuck to the ground as if they were made from freshly spat out chewing gum – very confidence inspiring. On the downside the acceleration of the bike was noticably slower but I am no racer so this doesn’t bother me. On dry trails in the North Downs it was the same result: on the dry mud, rock and loam trails they were very good. So far I was pleased and thought they were great. Then the weather began to change and the rain and mud arrived.

In wet conditions rocks, roots and chalk became lethal death traps as the tyres had zero grip. Any mud instantly blocked the tread – it was like riding on wet soap – not good. The twisty rooty parts of Stanmer Park became a death trap. I put the tyres onto a FS bike with similar results, on wet trails the extra traction from the suspension didn’t help at all. During one ride I lowered the pressure to 30psi but this made them flop about all over the place when going around corners and I was forever asking the gang to check if I had a rear puncture. I suspect the side walls are thinner than the Hot-S as overall there is very little weight difference.

So are they any good? For my sort of riding on dry trails they are very good and I would happily swap from the Michelin Hot-S; however in my experience if the ground is wet they are lethal. If you want light weight and fast acceleration these may not be for you. For me they don’t dislodge the Michelin Hot-S as my favourite all round tyre but I would happily buy another set for blasting about in dry weather.

Mike

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