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.
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.
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|Product:||Hellkat Pro AEC|
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 2 months|