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Thread: Kenda BBG tire review
07-31-2011, 09:32 PM #1
Kenda BBG tire review
If you like to lay your bike over and corner, this is the tire for you. These might very well be the single best trail bike tire currently on the market.
stay tuned, because i know woo-kid is following up with his take as well.
07-31-2011, 09:55 PM #2
Great read Marshall. sounds like a winner. glad to hear the 2.1 UST is comparable to the 2.35 maxxis. that is about the size tire I like to run on trail bikes."A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles."
— Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
07-31-2011, 09:57 PM #3
Well shit. I was just about to order new Ardents (2.4/2.25) for the trail bike, but now I am back to purchase decision paralysis.
07-31-2011, 10:16 PM #4
Just want to be clear, your review is based on riding them set up with tubes, correct? Did you use any baby powder/anti-friction agent between tube and tire?
Need thicker sealant than Stans? Something home-brewed, or Slime? Kenda's single-ply casings are rather porous; when I set them up for the first time I like to use an extra ounce or two of sealant, as quite a bit is lost to bleeding through the casing. After some sloshing around though, they've all held air just fine with Stans sealant. That being said, the only Kenda's I have experience setting up are Small Block 8's, Slant Sixes, and Karmas - not the BBG's.
It's good to see some 'real life' pictures of BBG's, and I'm looking forward to hearing how cutting knobs turns out - have you already selected which ones you'll be thinning out yet?
07-31-2011, 10:42 PM #5
After using these tires for several months it's nice to hear another opinion. I literally ordered them the 1st day I saw them in-stock at the distributor. I agree with most of your review. I think they reward good bike handling, but have occasionally spanked me when I slacked off and got lazy or just didn't have room to rock the bike much in a overcooked corner. It's only been the front and it's only been when I didn't weight it properly, but I don't think I've ever accidentally drifted a front as far as I've drifted the BBG's. Like I said, user error, but still I wouldn't recommend them as a front for non-aggressively positioned riders. Personally, I love that once you lay them over they hold until your pedals are striking the ground, but that's just me. I wouldn't want them to drift easier, for that matter I don't think that's something I've ever asked for in a tire. That's what I use brakes for and did a lot of at DV today I'm more of the type that wants my tire to hold the line at all costs, or until I grab a handful of brakes.
The one thing you didn't focus on that was super cool to me was how well they accelerate and hold speed. Less pedaling to get the same speed is always a good thing in my book. I actually wish the center was a hair wider (~5mm) with maybe a tad more variation in block size to give me an ability to edge off those center knobs when needed. Also I think you could make it clear sticky dirt a hair better if you spread the blocks over a slightly larger area.
To me, these tires are really good for buff hard packed trails. Best 2.35 tire I've found for that. Like you, I'd like to see a heavier DH version of this tire. ~1000g 2.35 version would be awesome for my rear DH tire in Utah.
BTW - I seated them pretty easy tubeless on Flow rims with Stans sealant. No issues with running them tubeless so far. I'm 170lbs riding and run 33psi rear and 28psi front. I too never start a ride without checking tires within a few hours of the ride.
07-31-2011, 11:04 PM #6
Interesting. I've been thinking about mixing up my Specialized Chunder/Eskar combo lately. You ran them front and rear you say?
07-31-2011, 11:04 PM #7
I was somewhat less enamored with the 2.1 DTC on the back of my trail bike. I expected a more dramatic improvement in rolling resistance/climbing speed compared to the 2.35 Minion DHF (single ply 60d) that it replaced. ultimately it came off my bike because even at 35-36-37 psi (w/ 200g tube) I was pinch flatting. the ~630g casing is the lightest tire I've ever run I think and it showed, even flatted racing xc on it. not only does flatting suck, but the bead on mine was ridiculously tight, it was a fucking epic thumb war to get them on and off my rim every time (DT EX500 w/ rim strip). I might try it again in the 2.1 UST but the rolling speed and light-duty casing were both disappointing.
08-01-2011, 07:54 AM #8
lots of good info here...
a few things:
1. i would not dream of setting up a tire that is sub ~850g tubeless, mainly because i know i will tear the sidewall, and i have tried numerous non-UST kenda with stan's for customers at it basically never worked correctly. YMMV.
2. i tested this tire with ~180g tubes (no funny business with powder etc). only flat was riding about 30-32psi. no flats at all when keeping them at 35psi before every ride. the terrain here is very rocky. FWIW.
3. these are not fast rolling race tires to replace a racing ralph for example. they are aggressive biting trail/all mountain tires. they roll much faster than a minion, but with similar/better braking and steering bite.
4. they are obviously dry condition tires. the centerline will pack up immediately in greasy mud, but the open channels won't, so the cornering knobs will still work.
5. never had an issue with the front tire drifting, in fact i thought it was highly engaged at all times.
08-01-2011, 10:13 AM #9
I guess I've just been lucky with tubeless cause I've only had one Kenda w/Stans issue in many years of using them. DTC single ply Nevegals were easier to tear so far then these and I stopped using those many years ago. However, I do find that Kenda non-UST tires soften over time with Stans and then become more prone to tear, but usually I can tell they are on the way out and change them first. Out of curiosity, why do you find a tire less likely to tear if it has a tube in it? The softening effect of stans for sure weakens it, but I usually don't notice it for 4-5 months when the knobs are starting to disappear anyways. I could never get through a ride with tubes as I would always pinch.
I almost never run a UST tire. I also can't remember the last time I ran a tube (I know I had a flat a few years ago and put one in, but that's it). I just always run non-UST and use sealant (Except Maxxis single plies-those have been non-compatible for me on the Stans rims which I currently run on everything). Including some 550 gram Cobra's and 2.1 Small Block's which have been a great XC/trail riding combo for me. I'm guessing that I'm just not pushing tires as hard as you.
Has anyone tried the new SCT tires from Kenda to see if they are more stans compatible?
08-01-2011, 10:38 AM #10
i don;t know if its "pushing hard" i think its more riding different terrain differently.
i still cut tires with tubes in them some times. if i have enough air, i don't pinch. i dunno. just me. i have to run 32-34 psi in my DH bike too. i constantly cut DH tires when setup tubeless, even. i know plenty of folks that would pinch with the same pressure in their tire. just my own experience.
as far as the kendas tubeless, yeah, never had luck with it, air would bleed through the sidewall and stan's would just sorta foam thru, and not seal it up. i have heard of people using those little spray bottles of elmers's kiddie glue on the insides of tires to coat everything, then setting them up tubeless really well.
anyhow, at 200lbs, and riding very rocky/sharp pointy terrain, really 850g is my personal limit with tubeless on my trail bike, and i am just officially over it on the DH bike - i get 3 rides, cut the tire and stick a tube in there anyways. i think 750 might be my limit riding the wasatch crest or something. i dunno about many other trails in SLC.
always interesting to hear about other folks experiances with the same gear. it really underscores how different everyone rides etc.
08-01-2011, 10:50 AM #11
I have been interested in coating the inside of a tire with something like this.
(But i haven't had issues personally, so...you try it, and report back!)
08-01-2011, 04:05 PM #12
What are you thoughts on the near lack of intermediate knobs? It seems like it either needs to be straight up or leaned hard, like an Ardent.No longer stuck.
08-01-2011, 04:15 PM #13
08-01-2011, 04:59 PM #14
08-01-2011, 05:33 PM #15STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.
08-01-2011, 10:49 PM #16
I was wondering the same thing about cutting sidewalls - the trails here are primarily hardpack or sticky black dirt, so very rarely do we see tears; I'm simply not experienced with them. To me, a heavy 29er tire is anything over ~600 grams.
I'm purely speculating, but maybe having a butyl tube (especially with no powder) helps make the sidewall more rigid/less likely to deform; and as such, provides a little more resistance to cutting.
For me, going tubeless had a few advantages. The biggest I've found is the ability to ride the same tires 4-6 psi lower - more air volume, and no squirmy sidewall deformation feeling - resulting in more traction. I suspect that because the sidewall is able to more freely deform (and then go back to 'normal/resting'), rather than quickly snapping back to normal, it is able to more smoothly transition between rolling off the side of the rim and centered. The majority of my tires have hatch marks on the sides - the same hatch markings that are found on customers' tubes when they ride on them with too little pressure. Lower weight and increased flat protection are just a bonus.
Marshal - I seem to remember you mentioning something about liking Conti's Trail King/Rubber Queen - I don't expect them to roll as quickly as the BBG, but how about cornering? I have Trail Kings (and have been messing around with Conti's X King as a rear - love it) on my 6" bike, and so far have been very pleased with them.
08-01-2011, 11:02 PM #17
MO- I notice above you compared to minions....DHF exo you sold me specifically. better rolling and braking I could see, but better steering/cornering performance. really?
REALLY?thank you jerry
08-02-2011, 12:10 AM #18STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.
08-02-2011, 12:33 AM #19
Hmmmm...interesting. This could be the holy grail for me. I've always wished I could get a DTC Minion. Sounds like this is it.
"I knew in an instant that the three dollars I had spent on wine would not go to waste."
08-02-2011, 12:50 AM #20All I know is that I don't know nothin'... and that's fine.
08-02-2011, 01:03 AM #21
It's probably just the Nevegals then. Most of the threads I read talked about those, and my experience was only with those also. Doesn't matter much to me anymore since I won't run them anymore anyway. Good to hear that others work fine though.
While I'm talking out of my ass still, I'm a much bigger fan of DTC than 3C. You want the harder compound in the middle for less rolling resistance and better wear, and the stickier compound on the side lugs for better cornering grip. The opposite seems dumb."I knew in an instant that the three dollars I had spent on wine would not go to waste."
08-02-2011, 09:14 AM #22
I'm with you on the DTC Arty...If I'm gonna run 3C I might as well run Super Tacky and get full grip.
Honestly, I was kinda joking about being lucky. I think it's just not a quick thing to setup the single ply Kendas. I'm the most anal person you'd ever meet when it comes to bikes and I got into the tubeless pretty much exclusively using Ghetto style with Stans and single ply Nevegals. I used to even run the folding 2.5's on the DH bike when I had an old 24" rear Bighit. after a couple years I learned how to ride better and how bad the Nevegal's really were and switched. I will not defend Negegals even though I rode a DTC 2.35 just 1 day ago on the front cause it was mounted and ready to roll (Ghetto Tubeless by the way ) For the riding, it was better then riding a rim that was too light to survive the trail. The BBG's setup tubeless to my flow rims much easier then Negegals with almost no leaking out of the sidewalls (2 tiny holes is all). I always first put a tube in for a day to get the tire to shape, and then rub stans on the bead before seating it with a compressor. Shake the crap out of it to get 95% of the way sealed and then throw the wheel on a bike and pedal around a bit. If not planning to ride immediately, I then put the bike on the rack so there is no pressure on the tire until I do go for a ride (checking pressure of course). 3 months later I swap tires cause this one is toast. I've probably done 20 or so single ply Kendas, but I can't imagine a shop having success with this cause it's just too time consuming and unpredictable.
08-02-2011, 09:20 AM #23
BTW - I put a BBG back on the front and I'll do some more experimenting tonight. 2.35 Minion Super Tacky in back that is getting shralped. I've been trying to mix things up more lately just to learn what's doing what.
08-02-2011, 09:48 AM #24
Kenda's Small Block 8's and Slant Sixes have been setting up hassle-free for us.
Maxxis' Aspen, Cross Mark, and Ikon as well have been really smooth. Less seepage through the sidewalls (I prefer their Exception casing) than the Kendas - but the Kendas have been sealing up fine after a shake/splash and a quick ride.
Continental's Race King, X King, and Mountain King have all set up nice and easy too. Slightly more sidewall seeping, but nothing alarming. Their nice tight bead makes the initial seat easy, too.
Schwalbe's Racing Ralph, Rocket Ron, and Nobby Nic have set up really easily with the Evo SS carcass (SS = Snake Skin). Their standard Evo casing is very thin - more seeping than I'd like to see, and the SS is simply in the sidewall, not underneath the tread, so it doesn't greatly affect the treads' ability to follow the contour of the ground, but it decreases the likelihood of damage to the tire in the few rocky sections we have, or in an unfriendly encounter with the edge of a stump.
For the initial setup of some of the lighter or higher-air volume setups, we will often use an extra ounce or so of sealant, in order to allow for some to escape through the casing, and also to ensure the tire is going to stay sealed.
I think phatfreeheeler hit the nail on the head - taking a bit of extra time being meticulous during the initial setup seems to really pay off.
08-02-2011, 04:39 PM #25
I didn't have any luck with the single ply Small Block 8 I tried last year on my Anthem - it just seemed too flimsy and didn't want to hold air after a few days, but the heavier UST version worked great. This was on a non UST rim FWIW.
And I just put a 535g 2.2 Maxxis Ikon on the Remedy last night as a rear tire. Only one ride on it so far, but it felt fine and set up super easy."Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow, what a Ride!"