Kenda’s Badger is as tenacious as its namesake in some situations but it’s definitely not the tamest or most friendly tyre around.
Kenda made a big leap in terms of durability when it switched to its sealant-compatible carcass. It not only inflates very easily with just a slop of sealant but also shrugs off sidewall damage and doesn’t pinch flat as easily if used with an inner tube.
It’s light for a reasonably sized 2.2in tyre too, which combines with the wide spaced, sloped front and relatively low central tread to make it quick off the mark and keen to hold speed. While the centre is hard enough to keep the sparse knobs and rolling speed alive, the DTC dual-compound rubber mixes transitions to a more tacky mix for the raised row of shoulder knobs. That gives the Badger a decent edge for digging traction out of turns in a wide range of loose, firm or even damp intermediate conditions.
If it’s slightly damp or loose, getting the tyre to transition from the shiny slickness of the centre and over onto the shoulders without a sudden and vicious side slip takes some commitment to a big bar-dipping lunge though. Sudden braking on the front when upright will completely overwhelm available traction too. That makes the Badger better suited to rear wheel use, but even then it’s definitely a character that needs working with carefully.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.