The Kenda Kontender is a road bike tyre that's ideal for winter training rides or indeed as a good reliable commuting tyre. It's not the lightest or sprightliest tyre in the world, but it is sturdy and puncture resistant - which is just what you need at this time of year when the roads are covered in slime and debris.
I've ridden a few hundred miles on a pair of Kontenders, over some shocking roads covered with potholes, grit, glass and flints and these tyres have coped absolutely fine. They've suffered no flats and hardly any cuts thanks to a rubber compound that is pretty tough. The tyres feature Kenda's K-Shield Puncture Resistant Tire Casing which consists of aramid and ceramic particles in a green elastomer underneath the tread. Either I've been lucky or it works.
A harder rubber compound on a tyre usually means less grip, but to be honest I'm not laying my bike on its ear while out on winter training rides, and I haven't experienced any loss of control on slippery corners.
The Kontender is available only in size 700 x 26 which is a tad wider than the 700 x 23 I usually ride, although this extra width does mean I have more rubber in contact with the ground and that helps with the grip. I've even ridden these on cobbles (all part of my training for the Paris-Roubaix Challenge) and the extra 3mm means they're a bit more comfortable too.
With this extra width, and weighing in at 329g, these tyres feel a little sluggish at first, but when pumped up to around 110psi front and 115psi back they spun along just fine (the recommended maximum is 125 psi).
There's no tread on the crown of the tyre, while the shoulders have diagonal and S-shape grooves purportedly to help disperse water and improve traction. There's a school of thought that says such features make no difference because bike tyres don't aquaplane and, unlike mountain bike tyres, they can't dig into the surface. On the other hand, another school of thought says it can't do any harm.
Fitting and removing is easy. The Kontender is a folding tyre, so there's no stiff bead to struggle with, and it sits neatly on the rim with no sloppiness.
The official retail price is a penny under £23, which isn't a bargain, but they appear on some on-line stores for about half that price which makes them very good value.
Kenda make a huge range of tyres for the off-road, touring, expedition and utility bike markets (plus pretty much anything else with wheels, from cars to golf-buggies) and the Kontender may take a bit of searching out. But if you can find a pair, they're well worth fitting to your hack, training or ride to work bike while you get the miles in over winter or on the daily commute.
Ideal tyre for winter training - sturdy, comfortable, and rolls along well, which should make it a good commute option too
road.cc test report
Make and model: Kenda Kontender Tyre
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Information about the Kontender is sparse. On the UK distributors' site the tyre's qualities are described thus...
"L3R low rolling resistant rubber, Water dispersion grooves for great traction, 125 PSI rating for smoother and faster rides"
...and that's yer lot.
Construction seems good. The rubber compound is resistant to cuts.
This is not a high-performance tyre but as a winter training tyre it does a good job: sturdy, comfortable, and rolls along nicely.
Too early to say after just a few hundred miles, but early indications are good. No flats yet, and few cuts despite some bad roads.
For a 700 x 26 winter training tyre, the weight of 329g is perfectly acceptable.
The 26c width helps make this a very comfortable tyre, even over cobbles!
At the full recommended price of £22.99 this isn't a great bargain, but if you can find one of the stores selling it for almost half this price then it's very good value.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
About the tester
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,