John Tomac collared us at Interbike last year gabbling on about a new tyre that Kenda had specially flown in still ‘hot from the mould’, a tyre he’d specifically asked to cope with fast riding XC and DH on hardpack trails that might also have a fine grit, sand or cinder covering. The tyre was the Kenda Small Block 8.
The tyre has in Tomac’s words “about a billion working edges.” Although we think that was a mild Las Vegas-induced exaggeration, it does have a lot of very small square blocks each with a chamfered leading edge. The two central rows are a harder compound and are positioned close together for fast rolling while the outer rows are a softer compound, but also have small buttresses to ensure that fast corners don’t feel squirmy.
Right now in blazing August it’s perfect for the Small Block 8 and they’re hooking up and rolling fast enough in the 530g 2.1in folding bead version to qualify as an XC/marathon race tyre. With no sign of water for a while we’ll keep you posted on how they fare in the damp. There are 1.9in and 2.35in versions also available.