Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sponsor Highlight: Kenda Tires

I can't really do this sponsor justice with my words, but I'll do my best to highlight who they are and why they are so great.

Honey Badgers for the muddy days :)
Kenda Tires has been hooking me up with tires for two years now. Kenda saw me to my first real successes on my bike, has provided incredible support during the race and off seasons, and expresses their belief in me in ways I am so grateful for. Roger from Kenda goes way above and beyond to make sure I have enough of the appropriate tires at all times to get the job done, in both training and racing.

So Kenda has been making all sorts of tires for 50 years, and in my 5ish years of riding mountain bikes, I've been on Kenda tires for the past 2 years. Over those years I've developed the ability to hone in on the different components on my bike and how they affect the overall performance. I think the coolest part of that is feeling the connection to the dirt through your tires (which is an extra special feeling after you've been on a road bike for a few days). Living in SoCal we have some pretty difficult conditions to ride most of the year, loose small rocks over hard packed dry dirt. It means without the perfect tire choice/air pressure combo you will be sliding around a lot. And oh yeah, rocks, we have tons of rocks! Big rocks, small rocks, grippy and sharp rocks, pretty much any rock type you can imagine, we have it. This is one of the reasons I love working with Kenda so much, they make phenomenal tires for the trial conditions we have out here.

My go to favorite tire all year last year was the Small Block 8 because it hooks up so well in the loose stuff, and also has nice low rolling resistance for racing. I traveled and raced all over the US last year on the Small Blocks, and was surprised at how well they worked in other conditions as well, like the slippery wet mess in Mounte Saint Anne. This year I was introduced to the Saber, which is another incredible tire for SoCal conditions, and which helped me take my cornering to the next level over the past few weeks. I'm not good at the technical nerding out on specifics of bike parts, so let's just say that the rubber is crazy grippy, like grippier than any other tire I've ridden. Brendan was telling me about the Sabers and how they are made with a new compound... lots of stuff I didn't understand, but it's also cool to know that Kenda is pushing the envelope and developing new rubber compounds/always coming out with new tread designs. Oh and Brendan also told me about some new super cool tires that aren't out yet, but sound crazy good... I think I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut about why they are cool... for now :) And my other fave Kenda tire is the Honey Badger which I fell in love with at some point last year (like seriously I remember feeling like I found a new best friend the first time I rode them) and raced on last weekend at Vail Lake. I threw those guys on my bike because the weather looked sketchy, and although it didn't end up raining for the race, the Honey Badgers gave me incredible traction with high pressure and flew over the damp sandy course.
Saber 2.20 front and rear. I really really like this set up!
Kenda's support goes WAY beyond tires though. Kenda has been one of the biggest contributors to the cross country race scene here in SoCal for the past who knows how many years. The series they support, the Kenda Cup West, was my ticket into bike racing down here, the means by which I got all the race experience I needed to develop into a decent rider, and the driving force behind the excitement about racing that gets others into the sport. I'm crazy grateful for passion for mountain bike racing Kenda has, because their races have meant so much to me personally and to my career over the past 4 years.  So thanks, Kenda, for being not only crazy good at making tires, but also for giving us a series of exciting races to look forward to each weekend, and the opportunities that come along with being able to compete every weekend in the spring. You guys seriously rock :)
Flash back from last year when I was rocking the small blocks!


  1. Very helpful post, I am also looking for the best quality motorcycle tires like Pirelli tires for riding safe and given the bike excellent traction on dirt. Thanks

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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