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The Kenda Kwick Journey KS Plus Tyre is a highly dependable 'trekking' design that rolls a whole heap faster than 757g would suggest, while still offering reassuring levels of puncture protection and a reasonably compliant ride. Their quick, dependable charms and strong sidewalls also suggest they'd be a good bet on winter training bikes during the darker months.
As well as the 700x32 on test, the Kwick Journeys are also available in 35, 38 and 40mm sections, which may appeal to touring and adventure/gravel riders wanting a bigger pocket of air.
Their 757g weight is a fair bit heavier than some – Goodyear's Transit Tour S5 was 610g on the road.cc Scales of Truth in a 35mm width, and Schwalbe's iconic Marathon Plus is a claimed 480g for a 35 – but the Kendas do feature a 5mm puncture-repelling K-Shield+ beneath their 60tpi casings. Kenda cites this as creating 'the best balance of flat proof and maintaining ride quality'. It does only cover the centre strip rather than running bead to bead, which hasn't been an issue to date but might be a deal breaker for some.
The reinforced (and reflective) sidewalls are designed with the stresses of e-bikes in mind, and the 31mph (50kmh) recommended top speed is on a par with Schwalbe's Marathon GT.
The deep grooves are apparently designed to channel water (though some argue that tread patterns on road tyres serve no purpose other than to provide psychological reassurance), while the knurled shoulders improve cornering prowess.
The Kwick Journey are direction specific, with a handy arrow on the sidewall. I had no problems whipping them aboard 25mm-deep gravel rims or Mavic Open Pro hoops using just fingers and thumbs, plus a single tyre lever for the final third.
Recommended pressures are a moderate and genre-typical 50-80psi, and running them at the upper end I've been pleasantly surprised by their speed and relatively compliant ride quality, despite their 60tpi (threads per inch) carcass.
As a control, I spent the first 100 miles running a 35mm Vee Tire Co Zilent (my bombproof, if slightly stodgy bad weather/winter default) at the rear. Being a couple of hundred grams lighter, the Kenda, unsurprisingly, was that bit more responsive, and going Kenda front and rear there was a pronounced improvement in grin factor, requiring less effort to catch and sweep past others through town or grinding up a climb.
Even at higher pressures and along poor tarmac, the Kendas bobbed along quite nicely. For me, 70psi seemed optimal – easy to maintain an 18mph cruising pace and no issues at 30mph down a few 1-in-7s, while presenting a little more damping without affecting their acceleration. That said, if clearances allow I'd suggest going for the 38mm option if your commutes or general riding involve some moderate towpath or bridleway.
They'll hold their line convincingly into the corners too – not in the same league as a soft compound design such as Continental's Contact Speed Reflex, but certainly capable of inducing big grins.
Wet manhole covers and similar raised ironworks kept me in check, but only while I was turning into a junction and never in bowel-moving territory. In winter, when things can turn slightly icy, or going the bridleway route, I might dip the pressure to 55psi for some additional traction, but 70psi has proved my sweet spot to date.
I'm one of those riders who can go for several months without a flat, then get three in two rides. I've been riding through thorns, hedge clippings, shards of glass and, to date, no issues – although the grooves still retain moderate amounts of crap and those infuriating little stones. I do give casings a quick weekly brush down (bi-weekly during winter) using a medium soft bristle plot.
In 500 miles, which isn't any gauge as to a tyre's longevity, I've had no issues with cuts/lesions/similar damage, even in conditions which have cut deep into soft compound models, infiltrating their aramid belts, too.
At £30, the Kendas are a good price for this kind of belt 'n' braces commuter/touring tyre, but it's a competitive market.
There are quicker and lighter tyres vying for your money, but if you are prioritising dependability without too much sacrifice on the speed front, the Kenda Kwick Journey is well worth a closer look.
Good everyday tyres with a nice blend of speed, compliance and durability
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kenda Kwick Journey KS Plus tyre
Size tested: 700x32 wire bead
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 says: "Always on the road and no time for flats? From bike path to city streets, town line to town square, there's no route that you can't take with this fast rolling and reliable trekking tyre.
'The Kwick Journey was designed for all the roads your journey will lead you on. Built to last with a reinforced sidewalls and approved for use up to 31mph, this tire is truly made for your journey.'
It's a surprisingly quick and compliant tyre for commuting, lightweight touring and winter riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Kenda lists these features:
Deep grooves for water channelling in wet conditions and knurled shoulder knobs for cornering confidence.
Be seen - Reflective tape across sidewalls for better night time visibility.
E-bike ready -This tyre was certified according to ECE-R75 norm and is approved for use on e-bikes up to 31mph
K-SHIELD PLUS (KS+)
We increased the thickness of the K-Shield to 5 mm to create the best balance of flat proof and maintaining great ride quality. For anyone looking to go that extra mile
Available in 700x32, 700x35,700x38 and 700x40 sizes
Specification seems to strike a good balance between dependability and speed.
Accelerate and roll faster than I've come to expect from this genre of tyre, and the 5mm thick centre strip seems very dependable. Whether that'll hold true during a wet, greasy, sharps-strewn winter remains to be seen.
Early days, but 500 miles in and the casings show virtually no sign of wear/deterioration.
Relatively hefty but typical of the genre.
More compliant than I was expecting.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Kwick Journey KS Plus have impressed with their blend of speed, compliance and they handle pretty well too, by genre standards. Coaxing them up to speed wasn't a hardship and they've handled surprisingly well, when I've pushed them to 30 mph on some sweeping descents. A prolonged wet spell may say different (and I'd be inclined to sweep the casings more regularly, during such) In keeping with similar tread patterns, dung and similar organic matter will collect but glass and similar sharps haven't taxed the centre strip thus far.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Surprisingly responsive for a relatively heavy tyre.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing per se and given the design brief.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Competitive, but so is this price point: Michelin's Protek Max is £28.99, Goodyear's Transit Speed is £29 and lighter, and Schwalbe's Marathon comes in at £31.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Well worth considering, if they didn't need the security of a bead to bead puncture-repelling belt.
Use this box to explain your overall score
So far a tyre that lives up to its hype and performs well overall. How much of a compromise the centre-strip is, long-term and through foul weather, remains to be seen. Particularly puncture-prone commuters and those needing the belt 'n' braces reassurance of bead-to-bead aramid/similar casings might want to look elsewhere.
About the tester
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,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)