Kenda K270 Dual Sport Motorcycle Tire Review | Rider’s Magazine
[This Kenda K270 Dual Sport Motorcycle Tires Review was originally published in the June 2009 issue of Rider magazine]
Since the end of the MotoVentures motocross school last year (see Rider, November 2008), dual-sport riding was my new jam. Even with great OHV areas nearby, I’d rather ride two wheels the whole way than load a dirt bike, gas cans, gear and a ramp onto the back of my truck and drive on the trails. This is of course where dual-sport motorcycles come into play.
Recently, I scammed publisher Tuttle into letting me borrow his kitted 1998 Kawasaki KLR650 to go on a monthly dual-sport group ride (http://ventura-county-dualsport.blogspot.com/). “No problem,” said Mark, “as long as you test drive those Kendas while you’re at it.” I rode the KLR to Howdy’s Cycle Sales (805-339-9266) in Ventura, CA and had a pair of Kenda K270s mounted and balanced.
Just as different dual-sport motorcycles offer varying trade-offs between street and dirt prowess, so do dual sport tires. Kenda K270s are DOT-approved cleats designed for a 50/50 split between street and dirt use, while others in its line have more aggressive tread patterns and are designed for dirt use. street from 10 to 30%. The fronts are four-ply, fit 21-inch wheels, and range from 2.75 to 3.25 inches wide. Rears are four- or six-ply depending on diameter (17 or 18 inches), tire width (3.5 to 5.1 inches) and expected load capacity. For the KLR we ran a 3.25-21 front and a 5.10-17 rear. See the Kenda website for a metric conversion chart.
Although rather aggressive in design, the K270s offer a good contact patch for the street. On the 70-mile ride to the trail, I found them stable and predictable, but definitely not as grippy and slick as more street-oriented tires. With an 8.5mm tread depth at the front and 14.5mm tread depth at the rear, the Button Blocks are tall and flexible when pushed hard on the street. The K270s are rated at 94 mph, but things started to feel over 80 mph (on a big thumper, that speed isn’t nice no matter what). Kenda uses a high mileage compound, but in this test we only covered a few hundred miles. Wear is good so far, although the edges of the rear tread blocks are somewhat rounded.
Upon arriving on Fire Road in the Los Padres National Forest, I reduced the tire pressure to 25 psi. During the first mile the trail climbed steeply through switchbacks and recent rains had left the trail slick with mud. The K270 knobbies digged in competently and carried me to our first checkpoint, the knobbies easily shedding mud along the way. Ahead, the jeep track was dried out by the sun and covered in a thin layer of sand, dirt and gravel over hardpack. Acceleration, braking, cornering, sliding – everything was done with confidence. When I rode the same fire road a week later with 19 psi tire pressure, the tires were too loose and had less impact resistance. With soft sidewalls, these tires are best suited to soft, loamy terrain at traditional dirt bike tire pressures. Keep the tires inflated for hard surfaces, especially on the street, or you’ll slip too much and risk damaging your bike’s rims.
If your dual-sport machine requires a set of capable knobbies that strike a good balance between street and dirt, Kenda K270s are excellent. MSRP not available, so check with your dealer for pricing.
For more information: Consult your dealer or visit www.kendausa.com