Kenda Small Block 8 700x32c tyre  £16.99

7/10

Great generic cross rubber a good tyre for hybrids too, but limited in the gloop

Weight 340g   Contact  www.todayscyclist.co.uk

by Shaun Audane   August 15, 2009  

Kenda Small Block 8 700x32c tyre

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Kenda’s Small Block 8 700x32 are a sprightly and durable tyre representing good value for riders of cross bikes and higher end hybrids liking a blend of asphalt and loose, dry singletrack. However, trade-off in terms of mud churning prowess prevents me recommending them as outright competition rubber for mid winter cross meets but this aside, they’re nigh on perfect for three season’s fun.

These fast rolling micro-grip tyres were designed by mtb champion John Tomac and its pedigree shows. Our folding bead means they pack down very small when not needed and save a few grams into the bargain. Given their relatively generous profiles, persuading them aboard common or garden Mavic rims demanded the services of my speed lever thanks largely to the super supple sidewalls. However, this is quickly forgotten once you've got them on and they certainly roll a lot faster than their 85psi maximum suggests, helped no doubt by 120tpi casings.

There’s no Kevlar puncture prevention strip but save for that particularly aggressive flint bearing your name, it resists most sharps remarkably well. Aggressive cornering on asphalt is predictable enough and better than many a worthy cross tyre but still requires slight adjustment if coming from slick road rubber-although this coupled with modest width makes for the right sort of excitement pushed hard through swooping woodland.

Passage over wet wooden bridges and smaller tree roots seems reassuringly sure- footed too, thanks largely to the supple dual tread compound but personally, I’m all for a few millimetres additional comfort. Front and rear specific treads are commonly accepted but it was nice to find unidirectional treads- one less thing to worry about should you flat during a race for instance. Giving change from £40 (pair) they’re remarkably good value to the point they’d be my default option-especially on older steel cross frames with marginally less generous clearances.

Shaun Audane

Verdict

Great generic cross rubber for firm circuits, a good tyre for hybrids too, but limited in the gloop

road.cc test report

Make and model: Kenda Small Block 8 700x32c tyre

Size tested: 32mm

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?

The small block eight are crudely a road/cross varient of their mtb tyre intended for loose gravel/trail performance while still sprightly enough to deliver on asphalt. Probably fine for dry competition but not so good when things turn gloopy

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

700X32 Kevlar folding bead with a maxium pressure of 85psi. very close knit block tread. 680g pair

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

No obvious concerns through the test period.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

Respectable given its intended purpose.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

Good comfort and cushioning even on more technical forest trails.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

£16.99 each is pretty fair.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The small block eight are really sprightly on dirt trails and enjoy reasonable prowess on the tarmac too-making them a great cross training tyre. Narrower 32mm section is a boon and a better option than 35mm on older crossers with narrower clearances.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Sprightly feel, great for fast dirt trails and tarmac alike.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Tricky to mount aboard some rims.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

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