Kenda Small Block Eight DTC SWS 2.1in tyre review£33.99

Ultimate summer rubber

BikeRadar score4.5/5

It’s a curious looking tyre, but the Small Block Eight has proved itself the ultimate summer trail tread time and time again.

By using so many small knobs with ramped front faces (like a miniature version of the Kenda Nevegal tread), the SB8 rolls really quickly on hard surfaces,and it’s impressively light so acceleration is excellent too.

The unrelenting adhesion of the dual tread compound (DTC) is outstanding. It can occasionally clog in damp conditions or slip off its small shoulder tread in loose terrain, but otherwise you can use it front or rear without any compromise of cornering speed or ferocity – which is just as well considering how fast it charges down the trail.

This 2.1in carcass is as wide as most 2.2inchers so it floats well, and the new SWS (sidewall shield) strip is not only impressively rock- and rip-proof, it’s also reflective for a comedy glitter effect on night rides.

All those knobs form a really good protective layer against pinch flats and thorn punctures and they spread the wear widely: we’ve got two-year-old tyres that look almost new.

The price is below average considering the above-average performance and there are options for all occasions, with most tyres costing around £30.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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