Kenda Alluvium Pro Tires: At The Finish – by Grannygear
The last time I was writing about the Kenda Alluvium Pros I was musing about the ride quality. I was thinking they were a bit on the stiff side, ride quality wise. More on that later.
But now that I had them back on the Lynskey, and now that I was riding them on my own bike and not on a test rig, I put quite a few more miles on them and have come to some conclusions that I think will stick and stay.
First of all, I came to really trust the tire’s handling on hard and dry dirt. I never came to feel like I was on the limit with the tires traction wise. At speed on dusty and sun-baked roads, the Alluvium Pros hooked up and tracked really well. Really well. Sand did not seem to bother them much. They had plumped up to over 42mms wide and that was on 21mm rims, so that was a nice footprint. Climbing out of the saddle, even on clay roads with sand on top, they did a good job of hooking up and driving forward.
I still was not blown away by the speed they offered but I cannot say they were slow. No, it was just not fast ‘feeling’, for what that is worth. I never could quite figure out what that was about, but I suspect that the stiff casing was dulling things down a bit.
And that brings me to one of the two biggest negatives for the tire that I experienced. That stiff casing haunted me. I really had to get the tire pressure just right. When I got them to ride really well off road it was low enough to be draggy on the pavement. When I had it zooming along on the road, it was a bit harsh in the dirt. It was a fine line, much finer than I am used to with the other tires I use. 30psi seemed to be about right as a compromise, but still…
Secondly, that stiff casing also seems to make them a bit crotchety, less willing to take a ‘set’ tubeless and on one pair of wheels, even with a 100 psi, full tank-type shop compressor, AND with the valve core out, I almost gave up getting them to catch. I think it was a combo of well dimpled rim tape (at the spoke holes) and the tire resisting ‘puffing up’ and expanding into the rim walls. Dunno. But they vexed me.
At The Finish: Now then. Let’s put some perspective to this because I did like the Alluvium Pros quite a bit. Who would I recommend this tire to? Well, how about a bigger and heavier rider? They would not have to run 45 psi just to keep the rims off the rocks. Or how about a loaded bike such as a bikepacking rig? Or maybe a bike that is ridden 100% off road and in harsh conditions; sharp rocks, etc. There the ability to run lower pressures and remain durable would be a plus. Running these on a 25mm rim at 25psi could be good fun.
But I really would like to try these with a good sprinkling of ‘pixie dust’ on them. A dust that would allow the tire to give me a more compliant ride across all conditions. And, if it shaved a bit of weight in the process, even better.
I have never torn a gravel tire’s sidewall. But I have a friend who is always killing tires that way. He tends to ride more MTB type trails then I do, and he pushes things a bit more than I. He probably would do very well with the Kenda Alluvium Pros. I might even give them to him to see how they do.
I’ll give you a comparison, a contrast to the Kendas. I am now riding the new WTB Vulpines in that 36mm size. Now they are also a durable casing type of tire (WTB’s SG2) and they are also much smaller in size, but I have been quite surprised at how much ‘brighter’ they shine on the rides I have done. They are crazy fast feeling on the pavement (they are also a good deal lighter). But the ride quality, even with the reduced air volume (36mm vs 42mm), and at comparable pressure levels, is somehow better on the Vulpines. WTB seems to have been able to keep some liveliness in a tire with an (advertised) tough casing.
And if they can do it…etc.
For more on the Kenda Alluvium Pro tires see their website here: https://bicycle.kendatire.com/en-eu/find-a-tire/bicycle/cyclocross-gravel/alluvium/
Note: The Kenda Alluvium Pro tires were sent to Riding Gravel at no charge for test and review. We are not being bribed, nor paid, for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.