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Kenda Regolith Pro STC and EMC tire review

Kenda’s Regolith tires are designed as trustworthy all-rounders with a penchant for looser, drier days. We have been riding the lightly armoured STC and E-bike ready EMC versions through a varied summer to see how they fare

Kenda Regolith Pro
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Relatively light, quiet and affordable even in tough carcass options with average rolling speed and grip in all conditions but it definitely lacks aggressive cornering bite

For

  • Relatively light
  • Good price
  • Tough carcass
  • Easy set up
  • Quiet roll
  • Predictably average grip

Against

  • Limited edge bite
  • Stiff feel still crumples
  • Slower roll than expected

Regolith is the latest addition to Kenda’s trail tire range and is designed to be a balanced all-rounder with a slight leaning towards drier conditions. That’s exactly the performance you get too, although lack of shoulder bite means slight leaning is generally the limit before things start drifting. Their reinforced carcass tech is clattery rather than touchy-feely too.

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 Design

We tested the Regolith Pro in both SCT and EMC versions. SCT adds a nylon reinforcing sheet from the edge all the way up the sidewall to where the carcass overlaps under the tread. Interestingly EMC on the Regolith is different to other tires, with just a separate strip of the same nylon under the tread rather than a full layer of woven reinforcing ply like the Nevegal and Honey Badger DH e-bike tires. That means the weight difference between the two tyres isn’t that big (100g) even though the EMC only comes in larger volume 2.6in versions. Despite both tyres being about 8% heavier than Kenda claim they’re still significantly lighter than similarly sized and reinforced Maxxis and Schwalbe tyres. There’s a 100g lighter TR version if you’re really watching the grams too.

Both tires get the same spaced out, ramped and wiped, small/medium-sized tread pattern and Dual Tread Compound with softer shoulders and harder centre. That makes them harder wearing but not as sticky and damped as the soft top, harder base Dual Layer compound on the Pinner Pro.  

Performance

Both tyres went onto a DT Swiss alloy rim without levers with a snug enough fit to catch and then smoothly inflate from the first stroke of the track pump. The EMC did take a few more PSI to totally snap into place as you might expect from it’s stiffer overall build. It’s also got slightly more of a wooden feel than the SCT though both are on the plasticky, numb side of the feedback rankings compared to more connected and warmly damped tires. Dropping pressures dramatically doesn’t have the expected effect either as even the SCT continues to feel stiff until it suddenly gets to the point where it folds and trips up.

That’s a rarity though as the lack of overhanging, oversized shoulder knobs mean there’s rarely enough grip to provoke a tire collapse and it’s much more likely to drift instead. Again the carcass isn’t the most talkative so even though it’s a predictable transition into the slide you need to learn the parameters rather than have them clearly communicated into your soles and hands. What it does transmit is more rattle and chatter than usual for a large volume trail tire, with several testers independently reporting that they felt someone had dialled in extra low-speed compression on their suspension or that the tyre was at a higher pressure than it actually was. 

We’re also blaming the carcass for the fact roll wasn’t as fast as we were expecting from the low, ramped tread.

It’s not a slow tire though and once you’ve got used to the grip levels and slightly numb feel it just disappears into the background of your ride. Both STC and EMC carcasses have proved durable in terms of cuts and there are no external signs of carcass distortion even after running at the 20psi lowest pressure recommendation for a while. The tread certainly wears a lot better than the Pinner Pro too. 

Image 1 of 2

Kenda Regolith Pro

The pattern rolls well but the lack of shoulder bite means the tire breaks grip early (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Kenda Regolith Pro

The tread has worn well and carcass has proven durable (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

Regolith won’t revolutionise your cornering with massive grip and tactile tenacity and it won’t turn you into a KOM hunter on climbs either. Both SCT and EMC will rattle you more in the rough than the best-damped tires in class. If you want a relatively light, easy to fit and predictably average all-rounder though then it’s a good price that’s boosted by a tough test rap sheet so far.

Tech Specs: Kenda Regolith Pro STC and EMC tire

  • Price: $64.95 / £50
  • Sizes: SCT: 27.5 x 2.4 and 2.6, 29 x 2.2, 2.4 and 2.6in  EMC: 27.5 x 2.6 and 29 x 2.6in
  • Weight: 902g (SCT 29 x 2.4in) 989g (EMC 29 x 2.6in)