Long Term Report: Kenda Big Block - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Long Term Report: Kenda Big Block

Background:
I have found that over the course of owning my 07 wee, I have been doing more and more gnarly off-road riding. At times I've felt like I've had no business taking this bike to some of the places it's been. But the bike has done ok for the most part (I've gotten the bike home on its own power every time). However, ground clearance and traction have been my biggest issues - other than me being a big pu$$ and a noob rider. Since I'm kinda stuck with the ground clearance being what it is, I figure I'm going to lean heavier towards an off-road tire. The Tourances got me by on hard packed gravel FS roads but I have been way beyond their capabilities and its time to move on. They're wonderful on pavement but that's about it.

That being said, I also do a fair amount of pavement riding as well. It's safe to say that I am a 50/50 rider. My camping/riding trips are both pavement and off-road and I sometimes commute to work.

Having read a ton of info on the Kenda Big Block there was only a hand full of reports from V-Strom owners. So I thought I would do a detailed long term report based on my set up and riding. Plus I'm extremely slow at work right now so mainly I'm just bored.

The bike: (listing farkles for weight reference and suspension difference as they'll effect tire wear)
07' wee - 30k-ish miles
Stock front suspension - will upgrade this spring to 1.0
Rear suspension - Elka
Jesse Panniers
Givi top case
Center Stand
Givi windscreen
Tank Bag
Tool tube filled with tools
and a bunch of other little things.

Riding:
I'm a conservative rider. I consider my riding style "spirited" but I'm never the one setting the pace with the group I ride with, I'm always the caboose. =)

Tires:
Purchased from Bike Bandit $212 shipped
F - 110/80/19
R - 150/70/17

I'll be mounting an balancing them myself. Having mounted and balanced race tires for my race cars, this shouldn't be an issue. Plus I hate spending 80 bucks for something I know I can do myself.

I'll give exact millage of the bike once installation is complete.

I got the tires yesterday...

First visual impression:
I giggled like a fat kid seeing a cake pulled from the fridge when I saw them leaning against my front door. These things look awesome and earn the name Big Block! They're huge. I already have more confidence on off-road rides.

Hopefully I can get them mounted and balance this weekend. I'll post some details and pics of that process and then will just continue on the report over the course of my time on these beefy ass tires!


Tom G
Atlana
07' weeeeee!!!
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post #2 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 11:46 AM
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I will definitely be following this thread. I plan on making these my next tires, but I've got some miles to go to wear out my Tourances.

I plan on converting to more off-road as I commute less now that I carpool, and I agree that with lacking ground clearance, having good off-road tires will help and inspire some confidence.

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post #3 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 11:49 AM
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Very interesting. Thanks for posting the photo (you're right about them earning the big-block name !).

I ride more on-road than you, but the big-block appearance (and probably off-road performance) is appealing to me for my Wee. I'd like to hear what you have to say after you use them for awhile. Mileage life information is very interesting to me too.

I really like the look and 90-10 performance of my Anakee I and IIs, but Anakee IIIs are coming out now - with a completely different look (looks more street-oriented to me, even though they're supposed to perform fairly well off-road) - so I don't know how long I'll be able to get Anakee IIs. My current plan is to move to Anakee IIIs and hope for the best...
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post #4 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 11:52 AM
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Re: Long Term Report: Kenda Big Block

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Paul 05 -wee
[URL="http://www.everytrail.com/my_trips.php?user_id=390677"]http://www.everytrail.com/my_trips.php?user_id=390677[/URL]
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post #5 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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My Tourances have lots of life left with only 4k-ish miles on the front and 2k-ish on the rear. I have just been doing a lot of off-road riding and my last ride I dumped the bike 4 times, due to (admittedly) inexperience and/but mostly inadequate tires. So they need to go. I'll just store them for now unless I start to really dig the Big Blocks then I may see if anyone wants to take them off my hands.

I too will be really watching tire wear. But the reality is, last year I put about 10k miles on the bike so even if I only get 4-5k miles out of a set, I'd be happy. Two sets of tires for a year is not all that bad, especially at $200 a set. Any less than 4k miles... ehhhhhh I may have to rethink. But from what I have read I should be able to get 4-5k no problem.

Tom G
Atlana
07' weeeeee!!!
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post #6 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 02:01 PM
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The new Metzeler Karoo 3 will be another interesting tire for this usage. More expensive than the Kenda, but likely longer lived.
Motorcycle tyres, Touring - METZELER - Karoo 3

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post #7 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 02:56 PM
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Long Term Report: Kenda Big Block

Dude. Dumping your bike on that last ride had nothing to do with you being a newb. That trail was slick!!!


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post #8 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 03:17 PM
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I'll keep an eye on this as well. Love the tires , fear the mileage. It'll be nice to see what you find out for the rest of us.
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post #9 of 72 Old 01-30-2013, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTRider View Post
The new Metzeler Karoo 3 will be another interesting tire for this usage. More expensive than the Kenda, but likely longer lived.
Motorcycle tyres, Touring - METZELER - Karoo 3
Should be a decent tire, but the cost is damn near double and not available for another 2mo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoohoo View Post
Dude. Dumping your bike on that last ride had nothing to do with you being a newb. That trail was slick!!!
It was crazy slick. The sections that looked hard packed but just wet were as bad as the 6in deep sloppy mud. It had like a film on top that made it tough for anything other than an aggressive tire. Ryan has the Heidenau on his F800, he did fine that day but he is going to switch to the Big Block as well.

Tom G
Atlana
07' weeeeee!!!
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post #10 of 72 Old 02-02-2013, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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So if you buy these tires and are thinking to mount and balance them yourself... skip it. They are a gigantic pain in the ass. I have never worked with a tire as stiff as these, this includes all of my Hoosier A6's I have mounted on my race cars and those are some stiff ass sidewalls. Me and two other guys couldn't get do it. I worked on them for 4hrs before I admitted defeat and took them to a local shop to have them done. So fingers crossed I will never have to replace them while on a trail.

Seriously you can sit on these tires unmounted and they wont collapse under the weight.

The main issue is the same as others have stated on other forums; the sidewalls won't flex and stay in the center of the wheel, the bead wants to seat immediately and won't allow for the other side to slide over without use of pneumatic mounting machine or a gigantic clamp to keep the sidewall pinched.

So, lesson learned, Kenda Big Block = use expensive tools to get them mounted.

That said, I'm still giddy to get on the bike and try them out!

New Big Block (150/70/17)- 2k mile Tourence (140/80/17)


The other item that caught my attention is how small the actual sidewall is and how much the tread wraps around the tire.


I hope to get the wheels back on the bike tomorrow or Monday.

Tom G
Atlana
07' weeeeee!!!
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