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Road Racing

New gravel tire spotted with speed at the center of its design

Kenda is testing a new gravel tire that looks to be all about speed.

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It is no secret that tire brands are always working on new compounds or treads, and it seems that Kenda is hard at work on a new gravel offering. Cycling tire technology has evolved fairly rapidly over the last few years with tubeless research, hookless rim specifications, and an overall understanding of air volume, air pressure, speed, and efficiency. This has led to some pretty amazing new tire offerings across all brands, most notably the ones willing to implement change quickly.

While road tubeless is still highly debated among the traditional road cyclist, the gravel segment has adopted the tech without objection. While a lot has changed since tubeless hit the cycling market on mountain bikes nearly 25 years ago, the drop bar segments seem to be coming around.

At a recent event, we spotted a tire getting mounted to a rim, but it had no name, just a handwritten marking. The brand was clear, Kenda, but no model and the tread looked unfamiliar. When we reached out to Kenda, they assured us that the gravel segment of their business is looking to expand after so much success with the Flintridge, Alluvium Pro, and Booster Pro tires.

The new Kenda tread has a raised smooth center with small lugs on the sides for cornering but overall looks to be a fast tire.

To me, the tire looks fast. The raised center means more rubber between the air and the ground for added puncture protection. Then the small lugs on each side conform to the shape of the casing for what I’m guessing is a consistent feel no matter how you lean into a turn. The tire reminds me of the Specialized Pathfinder Pro in a way. For me, this means hardpack or events/rides that you want speed but also need volume.

The tire is very similar to the Kenda Alluvium Pro, but with the solid centerline, it will offer a bit more protection from a puncture when in a straight line. The centerline design will also offer more traction when there is solid contact with stable ground but less bite when it is loose.

We are not sure when we might see this in the market or what it is named, but it should be a great addition to the Kenda gravel line. As we get closer to the largest gravel race of the year, Unbound, we should see more new gravel components hiding in plain sight at events leading up to the June 3rd, 2023, start.

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