WHAT IS IT? The Triple is a relatively new motocross tire tread design that has been built with the latest rubber compound from Kenda.
WHAT’S IT COST? $77.95 (80/100-21); $109.95 (120/80-19).
CONTACT? www.kendausa.com or (614) 866-9803.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Kenda Triple tire.
(1) History. Kenda began testing softer “Sticky” compounds in their race program about seven years ago. They found that these compounds offered better traction with acceptable durability. Kenda’s test riders raced with the tires for a year before the Sticky versions were sold to the public. The Kenda Triple’s story is similar. Kenda spent a year race testing the Triple before they started selling the tire in the middle of 2009.
(2) Sticky. Kenda’s Sticky rubber compound is about 10 durometer points softer than the standard rubber compound. Softer durometer numbers typically mean more grip at the price of faster wear. Works tires have soft durometers, but they are only used for one moto. Production tires have to last longer or they risk raising the ire of the customer. Kenda tested rubber until they found a formula that was both soft and durable.
(3) Triple. The large land-to-sea ratio (knob to non-knob area) and extra biting edges on the Triple make it easily identifiable as a hardpack tire. That is only logical, because hardpack tires need to be soft, whereas intermediate and sand tires use a higher durometer number. Unlike other Kenda tires, the Triple is only available in Sticky, while the Washougal and Millville are available in both Sticky and standard compounds.
(4) Weight. Our 120 rear weighed 12.45 pounds, and the 80/100-21 front weighed 9.05 pounds. This is in the ballpark with the weight of comparable tires.
(5) Rear performance. MXA test riders liked the rear Triple more than the front. The rear offered good traction on hardpacked terrain, decent traction on intermediate terrain, and was predictable across transitions and when leaned over. On the flip side, it worked well under braking and absorbed chop without too much hop. The rear Triple’s shortcomings surface when burying it into any deep silt or soft stuff. Given that it is a hardpack tire, it doesn’t really bite in loose dirt (that is where the land/sea ratio comes into play).
(6) Front performance . Paradoxically, the front tire was closer to an intermediate than a hardpack tire. The tire offered usable grip on harder terrain, but started to skate a little sooner than we had hoped. The traction was predictable, but when the track got choppy the front Triple would step out. There was a bit more deflection than with our control tire. Test riders felt that they chased the front tire in braking bumps and on hardpack with dirt on top. We didn’t test the 90/100-21, but instead used the 80/100-21.
(7) Durability. Edges are especially important on a hardpack tire, and they are typically the first thing to go. The Triple rubber is moderately durable, but on a diet of nothing but hardpack tracks, it will degrade a little sooner than a conventional compound tire.
(8) Sizes. The Triple is available in 90/90-21, 80/100-21, 110/100-18, 110/80-19 and 120/80-19.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have two complaints with the Kenda Triple Sticky.
(1) Understeer. The front tire left us wanting a little more grip?particularly through the braking bumps.
(2) Price . We would have expected a more friendly price tag on the tires.
The Kenda Triple is priced just shy of the biggest names in the tire biz. The rear Triple is a solid performer on hard to mid-hard dirt, but the performance is not quite in line with the price.