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Designed for intermediate to hard packed conditions the Slant Six cyclo-cross tyre with its plethora of little blocks looks like Kenda's Small Block Eight on steroids.
The Small Block Eight is a great cyclo-cross clincher tyre for when you want to go leg blurringly fast off-road but it's a little fragile and there only has to be the suggestion of moisture in the air for it to get arm flailingly slippery. A more robust and grippier version is a welcome thing.
Pitched between the tread patterns of the fast Small Block 8 and the knobbly Nevegal Kenda have a lot of faith in their Slant Six tread pattern. It's available as 26in, 27.5in/650B and 29in mountainbike tyres and this 700 x 32 cyclo-cross version. It also comes as a 700x35mm tyre for you non-UCI compliant rufty tufty riders.
As part of Kenda's 'John Tomac Signature Series' the Slant Six is designed with input from Mr Tomac who was and is pretty handy on a mountainbike to the level of being an icon. He also did a stint in the Motorola team where he competed in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, so you should be in safe rubber.
As you might imagine those massed ranks of rectangular, beveled tapered siped knobs make the Slant Six a little bit draggy on tarmac. They're small and quite closely spaced so the drag is not disheartening, certainly not enough to blame any sluggishness on the tyre rather than your legs. Thanks to the layout of the treads it's a predictable tyre on road should you venture far on tarmac by mistake. It can be leaned into corners quite happily without fear of suddenly falling off the grip cliff.
The Slant Six features Kanda's DTC tread compound, this means that the centre knobs have a harder 60 durometer rubber that prolongs tread life while those on the sides are a softer, stickier 50 durometer compound that gives better grip in the corners. Tread life is about on par with other cyclo-cross tyres.
The closely packed tread also create quite an effective barrier to pesky thorns as it's tricky to find a large tread gap to get to the carcass. If any pointy things do get in there they'll have to get past the Iron Cloak Belt anti-puncture strip. Riding the Slant Six was a remarkably flat-free affair when compared with the usual frequency of cyclo-cross tube casualties.
The abundance of knobs and the anti-puncture strip certainly add weight to the Slant Six making it appreciably heavier than a lot of 'cross clinchers, but you do get a certain amount of tough reliability in return.
Point it off road when it's dry and the Slant Six is a whole heap of nippy fun. All those little lumps of tread equate to enormous amounts of grip if the ground is dry and dusty, and with plentiful ranks of chiseled side knobs the bike can be leant over with giggly confidence.
If you like to muck about rather than just race on your cyclo-cross bike and wrestle it around like a mountainbike then you'll enjoy the Slant Six. For a cyclo-cross tyre it performs pretty well outside of the cyclo-cross preferred habitat of playing fields and grassy banks. It's happy to venture over hill and dale and the Slant Six takes all of that in its stride with chirpy eagerness. It's a hardy tyre and the tightly spaced knobs provide a level of cushy comfort for a 32mm tyre.
It's pretty much a tyre for dry conditions only though. As soon as things get damp these Kendas begin to get gummed up with mud. Those closely spaced treads don't place it in the pantheon of tyres to use in the wet and sticky months.
If you're looking for something to race on and aren't bothered by the weight in those first few dry weekends of the cyclo-cross season or if you use your cyclo-cross bike through the dry season then these are worth a look see.
Grippy, fast, fun, slightly lardy dry conditions cyclo-cross tyre that's not too slow on tarmac.
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Make and model: Kenda Slant Six Cyclo-Cross Clincher Tyre
Size tested: ?
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 Slant Six folding cyclo-cross and hybrid tyre is the perfect blend of Tomac's 2 most winning designs - the Small Block 8 and Nevegal. This tyre has it all, speed, grip and cornering assurance designed for intermediate to hard-packed terrain. 700c versions feature light-weight single-ply casings and DTC compounds for performance, cornering knobs are positioned far down the casing so you can test the limits in the turns.
Yup, all of that. Bit of a winner.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Kenda Slant Six comes with acronyms.
ICB is for Iron Cloak Belt, a lightweight layer of material applied under the tread rubber for added puncture protection with minimal weight gain.
DTC is the ultimate tread compound according to Kenda. L3R PRO compound (60 shore A durometer) in the center and the cornering knobs have STICK-E compound (50 shore A durometer). The benefits are great center tread life, and great cornering control and grip. Found typically in Kenda's Legends Series and race/performance tires.
Kenda SCT is the modification of existing Kenda tire technologies making them now compatible with fluid based tubeless conversion systems.
Excellent performing dry conditions tyre.
The Slant Six was used a lot and wear was about average compared to other CX tyres.
All those tiny little knobs take the sting out the trail.
It's up there in the price category but it's a good lasting, puncture averse tyre.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a tyre designed for intermediate to hard-packed terrain it did beautifully in those arenas.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Off-road grip and on-road good manners.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, it may be my new favourite dry to dryish conditions tyre, I can put up with the weight.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, it was a lot of fun in the dry dirt.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
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.