Kenda makes a lot of tires, covering automobiles to bicycles, with countless hours in research and design. Tires like the Nevegal and Small Block Eights developed cult followings among riders and are still seen on the trail. Kenda has been hard at work developing new treads for the modern trail rider, like the Hellkat. We put these aggressive all-mountain tires to the test on our local trails to see how rowdy they could get.
Tech info: The Hellkat is a burly all-mountain tread with a very aggressive profile. Kenda uses tall, sturdy shoulder knobs for more bite in corners and stability at high speeds. These shoulder knobs are generously spaced to shed mud in wet conditions and have modest sipes for added traction. Down the center are three different series of treads to allow for more speed but also control and grip.
Kenda offers the Hellkat in a wire or folding bead depending on just how rowdy riders want to get. The Pro series that we tested uses a folding bead and Kenda’s RSR dual-layer compound that allows for more grip and increases the tread life. These tires are tubeless-ready and only come in a 27.5-inch diameter for now. Retail price is set at $75 per tire.
On the trail: The Hellkat is a surprisingly light tire considering that it leans towards more technical riding. Our test tires came in at 852 grams per tire for the 2.4-inch width. We mounted the Hellkats on the front and rear to get an idea for how they handled. Some riders may want to pair these with the Helldiver in the rear for a little extra speed. We seated the tires with ease on a pair of WTB Ci31 rims.
Once on the trail we found that the Hellkats offered plenty of traction, even on our loose hardpack terrain. With front pressures ranging from 23–27 psi, we didn’t feel that the tires were squirrely or unpredictable at high speeds. These tires shined in the corners, with the stout shoulder knobs offering us endless amounts of traction in tight corners and switchbacks. On the rear, the Hellkat offered consistent braking performance and grabbed the trail effortlessly when climbing up steep or loose terrain. Our test riders were impressed at just how quickly these tires rolled given the amount of tread they had.
One of our only concerns is the sidewall thickness. Given that these are considered an all-mountain tire, we would expect them to be a touch thicker. For now, Kenda doesn’t offer the Hellkat in a 29er version, but hopefully they will come around for the big-wheeled rippers out there. The Hellkats are a solid option for all-mountain riders looking for an aggressive tread that still rolls quickly. bicycle.kendatire.com
• Good traction
• Impressive tread design
• Surprisingly fast
• Sidewalls are a touch thin
• No 29er version available
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