Kenda Nevegal and Blue Groove review

These tires came on my Trance X2, which was an early production model so the tires aren’t the ones that Giant normally specs. I doubt Giant puts tubeless sealant on one side of both tires and then puts tubes in on the later production models either, certainly made fixing punctures interesting when I first did it. Both tires are the 2.1in 120TPI DTC(Dual Tread Compound) folding bead versions which are just over 600g each and cost around £25...good value at the moment. They’re also available in a STICK-E compound that has even more grip but doesn’t last quite as long. The Nevegal also comes in a 1.95in size perfect for use through the muddier seasons.

Out riding
These tires are designed to be best for downhill riding, and sure enough the Nevegal is even named after a famous downhill track. That doesn’t mean they are useless for ordinary trail riding. The most immediately noticeable thing with these tires is grip, it's absolutely awesome. I was going down the east side of Leith Hill about to turn right at the bottom, I prepared to jam on the brakes ready for one of the tires to start washing out or even feeling like it was on the edge, but it never happened so I just kept leaning the bike over and the tires kept holding on without the slightest sign of getting close to their limits. They plough through loose gravel and sand and hold a straight line perfectly. They’re not the fastest rolling tires but they don’t suck power away like a Maxxis Ignitor 2.35 would, fortunately the Trance X is a fast bike so it’s barely noticeable and the power transfer feels direct. I normally run them around 30psi for the front and 40 for the back but I was pleasantly surprised that they are still stable and don’t fold over in the corners without warning at lower pressures like 10psi as other tires do. They don’t deliver the super smooth ride of Hutchinson Toro’s but they do better than Maxxis Ignitor’s. Puncture resistance is very good, I’ve only had a couple in over a year and tread life is excellent.

Mud riding
When these tires are applied to slippery or sticky mud they aren’t all that good which is not surprising as both tires are designed for dry conditions. Given that this winter has been one of the worst in a long time I thought it needed a mention. Both tires clog up easily in sticky mudand don't clear quikly. In slippery wet mud the Nevegal slides sideways in a fast and unpredictable way. Fortunately the Blue Groove doesn’t which is probably why it ends up on the front when these two tires get combined.

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