Need a tyre for your wheelbarrow? Kenda make one. Need a tyre for your wheelchair? Kenda make one. Need a tyre for your fork-lift? You can get one from Kenda. Need a tyre for your bicycle? Kenda can help out there too, thankfully no matter what the bicycle they even have a selection for cyclocross bicycles which includes the Kwicker.
Kenda's mountainbike tyres are a favourite for many and as they're designed by a selection of champions they should know what they're dong when it comes to delivering tyres for the dirt. The Kwicker is their cyclo-cross tyre for loose to intermediate terrain. Their Small Block 8 CX tyre has its fans amongst those who want an outrageously fast but fragile summer tyre but does the Kwicker have what it takes to become a more robust favourite for more down and dirty conditions?
Kenda recommend that the Kwicker is suited for rough and rocky terrain, light mud, hardpack and dry conditions, so pretty much everything then. In truth you could ride it everywhere, but it really excels in certain areas. Tarmac is not one of them. On the blacktop it is outrageously draggy, as you might expect from looking at that widely spaced chunky tread built upon the foundation of a file tread down the middle, and it's not just a bit sluggish but exasperatingly knee-achingly slow. The centre line of tread might hope towards a faster paved tyre but it's made of fat chunks of tread spaced well apart so hardly smooth running meaning that if you like to use your 'cross bike to sample a smorgasbord of riding terrains you'll be adjusting your route to avoid as much tarmac as possible with Kwickers on your wheels. For such an aggressive tyre it's pretty lightweight though, and it's not a weight at the wheel you can feel sucking you down and hindering sprints out of corners, even if the friction heavy tread can do.
Off road the Kendas sluggishness is less apparent but they still drag their heels on hard dirt surfaces, you'll have to steer the Kwickers onto softer crumblier dirt to get the most from them, or wait for rain. Off road you can treat it like the small MTB tyre its tread resembles and get away with much much more than other more traditionally and meagerly treaded cyclo-cross tyres will let you, which is heaps of fun and will put a grin on the face of those who like to treat their cross bike like a slim fast mountain bike.
But it is in the mud where the Kenda Kwicker really earns its supper. Thanks to the large gaps between the knobs it doesn't clog up with clart readily and the open design offers unparalleled levels of grip in the slop. Straight line pedaling it's possible to keep putting the power down long after other tyres have started slipping and even on off-camber sections the Kwickers keep on gripping thanks to those large sticky side paddles well beyond the point where past experience is whispering that you should be tumbling into the bushes. Only the kind of waterlogged short grass that cheerfully populates cyclo-cross racing does that oodles of grip become a disadvantage; you can hear it as each tyre knob rips into the ground tearing at the grass, all that traction makes things slow going on the green.
There's no mention of a puncture protection strip in the blurb but the Kwickers haven't suffered a single breach, which is pretty unheard of as most other tyres succumb to at least a thorn every few rides, dumb luck or a fantastic defenses, it's hard to tell.
For such a rugged and sticky tyre the Kwicker wears surprisingly well, they're definitely a longer lasting tread than other tyres of a similar wide mouthed grippy ilk, this will be down to the DTC composition of the knobs. DTC, or Dual Tread Compound is Kenda's way of describing their use of L3R PRO compound with 60 shore A durometer for the center treads and softer STICK-E compound (50 shore A durometer) for the cornering knobs giving the double-whammy of longer center tread life with greater cornering control and grip. This pair of Kwickers have been used a lot over a variety of terrains and they're only just starting to show very limited signs of wear.
As a quick look at its tread profile would imply the Kwicker is a great piece of rubber for when you're going to be scrabbling for grip, be that in the loose or the slop. For the cyclo-cross rider that likes to take their skinny bike over the dirt root and rock where they should really be riding a mountainbike but revel in the inappropriateness of it all then these are a great aggressive tyre for that sort of shenanigans. For the racey types these are going to be waaaay too sluggish for fast and/or dry courses so should be left in the shed until it's been raining for at least a fortnight which is their signal to unleash muddy hell. When it's liquid and brown the Kwickers are an excellent tyre, light enough to be a viable race tread and finding grip where others can't, especially in off-camber situations where you're usually leaning on the course tape to stay upright. Those that mix a lot of road work in with their CX rides or use their bike for commuting should look elsewhere, unless they like resistance training.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Kenda Kwicker
Size tested: 700x35c - Weight – 339g and 335 g (Claimed – 347g +/-17)
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?
Kenda say their Kwicker is great tyre for when the weather or terrain turn rough with traction and speed not being an issue. I'd agree wholeheartedly with that, it's great tyre for rugged terrain, and especially great in the mud.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Folding bead, 120 TPI carcass with DTC - Dual Tread Compound – knobs. Kenda's L3R PRO compound (60 shore A durometer) in the center and STICK-E compound (50 shore A durometer) on the sides gives greater centre tread life, and great cornering control and grip. Knurled casing for stability and grip, directional tread with diamond shaped cornering knobs for control, front and rear application.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a cyclo-cross tyre for rough and ready conditions it did exceptionally well gripping where it had no right to. Outrageously slow on tarmac and hardpacked trails but you wouldn't expect such an aggressive tyre to be anything but.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its light weight and tenacity in mud.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Well draggy on tarmac.
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: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.