There is likely no greater differentiator in the capability of adventure touring bikes, apart from rider skill, than tires. Adventure touring tires are asked to do a lot—long distance on the superslab, handling twisted tarmac like a superbike and still provide adequate grip in all dirt-related conditions. The selections have gotten so numerous, adventure bike riders have begun assigning values to the tires as to their road/dirt worthiness. Typically, new adventure bikes come with a 90/10 (on-road/off-road) type tire. Some manufacturers have started installing more dirt-worthy tires on their bikes in the 70/30 range and some even into the 50/50 range.
Enter the new Kenda Big Block Pavers K678F/K678. These tires purport to be 90/10, or as Kenda puts it, “…designed for adventure riders with an on-road focus.” Loosely translated, I think this means “I pity the fool who tries to take this tire off-road.” (Thanks Mr. T.)
Shortly after getting the Kenda Big Block Pavers mounted on my Triumph Tiger 800 XCx, replacing more dirt-oriented 70/30 tires, I had the opportunity to tackle the infamous Angeles Crest highway and then do some dirt road/trail riding in Big Bear, California.
The Angeles Crest highway is notorious for being shut down often due to rock slides, leaving boulders, gravel and debris in the travel lanes. Fortunately for me, on this Friday excursion the entire route was open and available. Smaller bits of rock and debris were on the road. The Pavers handled very well up to lean angles resulting in sparks from the pegs, and turned in nicely with minimal effort. They held their angle throughout turns, responding quickly and predictably with minor input to handlebar and seat position. They didn’t seem to lose traction nearly as quickly as the previous 70/30 tires when approaching lockup (i.e. the ABS didn’t kick in as early).
The Big Block Pavers were surprisingly agile on the freeway and made little noise. An added characteristic was that they did not grab rain grooves as with all of the other adventure touring tires I have tried before. This added considerable confidence when maneuvering the Los Angeles freeway system.
When venturing off the pavement and exploring dirt roads, the Pavers lost traction on acceleration a bit early, but it was predictable. I knew when they were going to lose traction and they didn’t surprise me. It did slow me down a little bit and caused some concern when I was traversing disaggregated granite trails going down hills, as they just continued to slide rather than grip and slow me down.
Overall, the Kenda Big Block Pavers are an excellent replacement tire for those adventure-touring riders who are looking for good longevity, solid fuel mileage, low noise and moderate competence in off-road situations. A search at various online parts providers indicates that the Kenda Big Block Pavers are right at the average price for adventure motorcycle tires regardless of the focus.
For more information, visit kendatire.com.