I’m not a big motorcycle enthusiast. There, I said it. What I really meant is I do have a particular fascination for two-wheeled (and yes, three-wheeled as well) machines, but I’m not privy to the make and model of the bike.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I do prefer Suzuki motorcycles over Kawasaki bikes simply because I am thrilled with the performance capabilities of the Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa. I also owned a Suzuki SS100 scooter during my college days, which was severely abused by my fleet of overzealous drinking buddies during my younger years. But I am more obsessed over the four-wheeled variety than the typical two.
But my next-door neighbor is a different type of fella. Oh, he absolutely loves to talk about cars, but his baby will always be his trusty 2009 Kawasaki KLR650-A. The bike was actually a hand-me-down from his uncle who passed away in 2011. He used the bike for 4 years and held it in storage for a solid 2 years before his passion for riding was revitalized.
One fine Thursday morning, he asked me if I can help him clean, inspect, and restore his bike. My wrench monkey personality suddenly went into full swing. There’s nothing I love more than bringing an old machine back to life!
The first thing we noticed once we pulled the bike away from the garage were the bald tires. My friend wanted a durable yet affordable set of OEM dual-sport tires. He read about Kenda tires and asked me about the brand. I told him that Kenda is one of the best manufacturers of tires for motorcycles and utility vehicles. We went online and found a nice set of Kenda K270 Dual Sport tires at less than $75 per pop.
As we waited for the tires to arrive, we worked on the bike and checked the motor, brakes, suspension, clutch, and fuel tank. The Kenda K270 tires arrived 2 days later, which were the only missing parts of the puzzle. We had the tires installed, fired up the motor, and took a short test drive.
After a few minor adjustments, the bike was back in good shape. We agreed to go for a short road trip the following week so we can determine the performance capabilities of the Kenda K270 tires.
In this review, we took the Kenda K270 tires to the test to determine if they are a solid choice for an affordable and capable set of dual sport motorcycle tires.
The Kenda K270 is a dual sport tire designed for highway and mild off-road applications. You can call it a hybrid tire that can handle a large heaping of dirt trails while remaining civilized enough to use on the highway. The Kenda K270 is equipped with DOT-approved knobbies that are designed for a 50/50 split between dirt and street use.
The front tires have a four-ply construction and can fit on 21-inch wheels that are 2.75-inch to 3.25-inches wide. The rear tires are constructed with four or six plies depending on the size you choose. The width of the tires are available from 3.5 to 5.1-inches in 17 to 18-inch wheel diameters.
The Kenda K270 tires are equipped with an aggressive and chunky tread design. Based on the looks alone, it is hard to imagine the tires to roll silently and smoothly on paved roads. Luckily for me, we had an entire weekend to find out how the tires performed on a variety of road surfaces.
The Kenda K270 tires were relentless on paved roads as long as you maintain the correct tire pressure. We found out the tires will need to be pumped full of air in order to perform and grip admirably on smooth tarmac. If you try to speed on the highway with slightly underinflated tires, the Kenda K270 tires had a tendency to slip and slide at the slightest provocation of sand or dirt on dry and smooth roads. We released a quarter of the tire pressure as we traversed over sandy and loose gravel. The tires never skipped a beat.
Traction and grip in the wet was commendable as long as you don’t push the tires to the limit. I have to admit that street-biased tires are better on both wet and dry pavement, but the Kenda K270 tires were able to maintain a good contact patch on smooth and wet tarmac. The Kenda K270 dual sport tires are rated to 94mph, but I didn’t have the balls to push past 60mph on a wet section of the highway.
We talked to the tire dealer about the snow performance of the Kenda K270. They told us the tires are great for light snow applications, but that’s about it. You might have some problems if you are forcing your way over deeper patches of snow since the grooves on the tires are not deep and chunky enough to handle anything more than 2-inches of snow.
I wasn’t expecting loads of comfort from the Kenda K270 but they’re honestly not bad at all. The bike felt stable and surprisingly taut over coarse tarmac.
The Kenda K270 was a bit noisy on smooth roads especially at higher speeds. I wasn’t looking forward to a silent ride since the chunky tread design is not designed to enhance the refinement of the tire. For all intents and purposes, this is a 50/50 tire for dirt and street use, and it certainly felt that way the moment I hopped aboard the bike.
After a long weekend of driving and thrashing the bike, the brand new Kenda K270 tires were beginning to show signs of wear. The edges of the tread blocks are beginning to round off after only a few hundred miles of aggressive driving.
It is hard to beat the Kenda K270 in terms of brilliant on-road/off-road performance and price. If you want an affordable and quality set of dual sport tires for your motorcycle, you should definitely take a closer look at the Kenda K270.