Review | Hellkat Pro AEC Tyre – For When The Going Gets Steep

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David tests out the Hellkat Pro AEC, an enduro tyre from Kenda.

Way back in the day, Kenda had a solid reputation in mountain biking and seemed to dominate. By a decade or so ago, that seemed to have fallen to competitors, who’d quickly made advances in tread, compound and casing design.

It’s about time Kenda got back on the horse, and after launching the Hellkat in gravity and trail versions to good reviews last year, they’ve launched this new enduro casing and tidied up the naming a little. Wil Barrett and James Vincent ran and recommended the lighter ATC Kenda Hellkats last year. These AEC (“Advanced Enduro Casing”) ones are the mid-range, shedding the extra weight of bead reinforcment that the downhill AGC versions have, but still burlier than the lighter trail (that’s the ‘T’ in ATC, in case you hadn’t figured that out) ones.

Kenda Hellkat
Not a million miles away from a Magic Mary.

The tread pattern on the Hellkat Pro AEC is quite aggressive, not a million miles away from a Magic Mary, though with knobs perhap a tiny bit shorter. These, in size 27.5×2.4in, are knobblier than I’d ever run out back, even in winter slop. In recent years I’ve been happier to let the back end wander, and tend to whack a semislick on the rear wheel as soon as there’s a peep of spring. They sent pair of these, so rather than run them together, I ran them as front tyres on a couple of bikes.

At 1015g these aren’t the lightest tyres, and Kenda state a +/- 51g variance in weight around a base claimed weight of 1010g for this version. They’re around 100g lighter than the gravity (AGC) version that’s aimed more at uplift riding, but a couple of hundred grams heavier than the trail (ATC) version.

Kenda has a bewildering array of rubber compounds, but AEC tyres all come in their RSR )Race Stick-E Rubber) compound, which they list as 42 shore A hardness and say is designed for enduro racing or more gravity oriented park riding.

Fitting

 

 

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Review Info

Brand:Kenda
Product:Hellkat Pro AEC
From:moorelarge.co.uk
Price:£50
Tested:by David Hayward for 2 months

David Hayward

Singletrack Contributor

David started mountain biking in the 90’s, by which he means “Ineptly jumping a Saracen Kili Racer off anything available in a nearby industrial estate”. After growing up and living in some extremely flat places, David moved to Yorkshire specifically for the mountain biking. This felt like a horrible mistake at first, because the hills are so steep, but you get used to them pretty quickly.

Previously, David trifled with road and BMX, but mountain bikes always won. He’s most at peace battering down a rough trail, quietly fixing everything that does to a bike, or trying to figure out if that one click of compression damping has made things marginally better or worse. The inept jumping continues to this day.

Comments (2)

    I love going down trails, but I also love climbing steep technical stuff. This tire could be the perfect rear tire for that maximum trial like grip. But like all other reviews, only downhill qualities are tested, why is that? Is everybody using lifts to go uphill?

    @mortenprom in my case, it’s because the winch and plummet of Calderdale tends to mean climbs are steep roads or relatively gentle dirt switchbacks, rather than steep technical ones. I’ll try to bear this in mind for future though!

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