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The Kenda Kontender is not the lightest or sprightliest tyre in the world, but it is sturdy and puncture resistant – which is just what you need for bad roads.
I’ve ridden a few hundred miles on a pair of Kontenders, over some shocking roads covered with potholes, grit, glass and flints and these tyres have coped absolutely fine. They’ve suffered no flats and hardly any cuts thanks to a rubber compound that is pretty tough. The tyres feature Kenda’s K-Shield Puncture Resistant Tire Casing which consists of aramid and ceramic particles in a green elastomer underneath the tread. Either I’ve been lucky or it works.
A harder rubber compound on a tyre usually means less grip, but to be honest I’m not laying my bike on its ear while out on winter training rides, and I haven’t experienced any loss of control on slippery corners.
The Kontender is available and in size 700 x 26 x 23 which is a tad wider than the 700 x 23 I usually ride, although this extra width does mean I have more rubber in contact with the ground and that helps with the grip. I’ve even ridden these on cobbles (all part of my training for the Paris-Roubaix Challenge) and the extra 3mm means they’re a bit more comfortable too.
With this extra width, and weighing in at 289g, these tyres feel a little sluggish at first, but when pumped up to around 110psi front and 115psi back they spun along just fine (the recommended maximum is 125 psi).