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Kenda Reviews Tires

Kenda K850 Review

November 20, 2018

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Kenda K850 Review

K850 from Kenda
3.57

Summary

The Kenda K850 is an incredibly inexpensive all-around bike tire we (and hundreds of online customers) found works well in a wide variety of terrain and delivers excellent overall value. However, it likely won’t be your first choice if you ride aggressive trails, or are concerned about puncture protection.

Pros

  • Ultra-low price
  • Comes from a manufacturer with decades in business
  • Mostly positive online customer feedback
  • Great firsthand experience on children’s bikes
  • Thick tread for sure-footed traction in most conditions

Cons

  • Less-than-stellar performance when wet
  • Thick knobbies increase rolling resistance
  • You’ll need to add puncture protection (heavy-duty inner rubber, liner insert, etc.), which will increase costs
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The K850 from Kenda is a go-to tire found on many department store bicycles. In this brief review, by combining on our personal experience with online rider feedback, we’ll help you better understand where it shines and where it leaves something to be desired.

About the Kenda K850

Kenda’s K850 bicycle tire is an affordable, no-nonsense option that promises to deliver an aggressive tread design ideal for trail riding.

If you decide to hop on hard-packed dirt or pavement, though, they advertise its central “connected knobbies” will decrease rolling resistance and increase smoothness.

While the K850 clincher was available in 20” and 24” versions in years past, it’s currently only sold in two models: 26” x 1.95 and 26” x 2.10. Both weigh in at 725 grams (1.6 lbs) and feature 37 threads per inch. Recommended pressure is 40-65 pounds per square inch (PSI).

Like all Kenda bike tires, the K850 comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty against defects in material and workmanship. Third-party pricing was about $20 at the time of this writing.

Kenda K850 Quick Facts

Quick Facts
ManufacturerKenda
ModelK850
CategoryAggressive MTB
Sizes Available 26” x 1.95, 26” x 2.10 (20”, 24” previously sold)
Third-Party Pricing$20 (Amazon)
Weight 725 g
Pressure Range40 – 65 PSI (2.8 – 4.5 bar)
Rubber CompoundSingle
Threads Per Inch37 TPI
OriginTaiwan

Combined with the fact that the tire has been available in a variety of sizes and colors (black, red, and green) for many years now—even as stock equipment on several off-road-oriented bicycles from name-brand manufacturers—the K850 has proven to be an exceptionally popular model with a great deal of staying power.

But, just because it’s popular, should you replace your existing K850 bicycle tire when the time comes, or should you choose another make or model? We’ll leave everything up to you, although this article will quickly cover the basics so you can maximize your cycling fun—and your money.

Firsthand Feedback Regarding the Kenda K850 Bike Tires

Testing Details
Tester SpecsAge: 7, 10
BikesSpecialized Hotrock, Novara Pixie 20, Adams Folder 1 Trail-a-Bike
Sizes Tested24 x 2.1; 20 x 2.0; 20 x 1.75
Weight 726 g (26” version)
Surface ConditionsTacky, slick
Weather ConditionsWet, dry, windy, calm, hot, cool (no sub-freezing temps)

To emphasize just how popular the Kenda K850 tire is, I found it mounted to no less three different kids bikes in my garage: a Specialized Hot Rock (24” x 2.1), Adams Folder 1 Trail-a-Bike (20” x 2.0), and Novara Pixie (20” x 1.75).

Overall Performance

And while I never rode on the tires myself due to size limitations, both of my children used them successfully on a wide variety of terrain; everything from concrete urban streets to loose, sandy singletrack. In general, its unique “sweeping” central knobby pattern seemed to deliver solid grip in many different situations.

However, my kids often complained that the ride was harsh if I inflated them above 40 to 45 PSI.

Weight & Flat Prevention

And at just 37 threads per inch in its casing, the K850 also features a lot of rubber and as a result, is relatively heavy for its size. This low thread density also means that the tire also doesn’t provide a great deal of puncture resistance.

Related: How Bike Tires Work

In fact, based on the number of flats my kids received (although they did ride frequently), I’d strongly recommend purchasing a heavy-duty inner tube, or even one pre-filled with sealant, to save yourself some frustration with these tires.

Important: Mounting Direction

Along these same lines, it’s important to emphasize that according to Kenda you’ll want to make sure its chevron pattern points in the direction of rotation (this critical detail isn’t stamped on the tire’s sidewall).

Collage of images of Kenda K850-bike tire. Upper left sidewall. Upper right central tread. Lower image showing basic tread outline for detail
Here, we can see the K850’s extra-thick tread pattern, which is emphasized in the simplified outline at the bottom. Kenda doesn’t mark rotation on the side for some reason, which should follow the chevron points (the direction of the red arrow). ©TreadBikely

My Overall Impression About the K850

My bottom line: As a stock tire mounted to several different kids’ bicycle models, I found that the K850 performed well under nearly all conditions. It features a chunky tread pattern for optimal grip, as well as a central pattern that minimizes rolling resistance on hard-packed surfaces.

But, I also achieved a great deal of value by investing in heavy-duty inner tubes. Just keep in mind that at $10-$15 (or more) each, this will almost double your overall cost, which could be used to purchase higher-quality replacement tires.

In the end, I found that the K850 doesn’t necessarily do anything great, but seems to do many things very well.

Is this mostly in line with others’ experiences?

What Cyclists Are Saying About the Kenda K850 Bicycle Tire

With nearly 400 combined customer reviews on Amazon, the K850 had an average rating of about 4.5 stars as of this writing.

In general, cyclists reported that it was inexpensive, delivered good traction and excellent handling, and was ideal for hard-packed surfaces like gravel.

On the other hand, several complained that the thick knobbies created greater rolling resistance, that its traction greatly decreases if it gets wet, the puncture protection leaves a lot to be desired, it’s heavy, and that it’s not an ideal choice for more aggressive trails or riding styles.

Pro tip: Also, more than one emphasized that the 2.10” version is closer in width to 1.95”, so keep this in mind if you’re looking to go with something wider than your current setup to boost traction.

Whether you just purchased a bike with Kenda’s K850 tires mounted or you’re looking to upgrade your current tires, what’s the bottom line?

Coming to a Conclusion About the K850 Tires From Kenda

At just $20 on Amazon as of this writing, the K850 is priced meaningfully lower than many other mountain bike tires. So, if the price is your number one factor, combined with its almost wholly positive online customer feedback, you probably can’t go wrong.

Just keep in mind there are several other 26” tires from name-brand companies (like Schwinn) that fall below $15. Therefore, it might pay to shop around if you’re most interested in the lowest price.

As with most things in cycling, though, you generally get what you pay for. In the instance of the K850, you’ll sacrifice weight, rolling resistance, and puncture protection. Together, this means that it’s not necessarily built to withstand the abuse delivered by more aggressive riding.

And even if you (or your children) only ride around the neighborhood or on hard-packed trails, based on my firsthand experience and feedback from multiple Amazon customers, it’s strongly recommended that you invest in a heavy-duty or goo-filled tube, or a liner insert to prevent frustrating flats.

So, while the Kenda K850 (as well as tires from other manufacturers in the same category) might start at a lower price, make sure you factor these additional expenses into your overall budget.

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Derek is an avid cyclist with more than two decades of experience in the sport, and currently resides in Denver, Colorado. He enjoys all types, including road, MTB, cyclocross/gravel, commuting, and touring. When he's not writing reviews and guides related to bike accessories, parts, and gear for TreadBikely.com, he's riding, talking about cycling, or thinking about bikes he can't afford. #rolloutblissout
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