KENDA BEAR CLAW
Can the third time be even better?
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
❏ In our recent utility ATV tire shootout,
we noted how well the original Kenda
Bear Claw tires rode. Their Bear Claw
2 was much more aggressive but also
smooth-riding and tough, offering an
eight-ply rating. The latest tire from
Kenda, called the Bear Claw Evo,
is a mix of traction, a smooth-roll-ing radial feel and six-ply sturdiness.
Basically, Kenda is continuing to go
after the replacement tire market with
another stellar product.
WHAT IS EVO?
This tire is the latest evolution for
the company that has been in the
ATV tire business from the beginning.
In fact, Kenda was the first brand to
bring a six-ply tire to the market over
a decade ago. The six-ply EVO has
dimpled, V-shaped lugs more than
twice as thick as the knobs on the original Bear Claw. Siping in between the
3/4-inch-tall lugs is provided to deflect
punctures and help mud slide off. The
bias constructed EVO is available in
Kenda’s Bear Claw EVO works equally as well in the slop as it does on hardpack. It’s a bias six-ply tire that rides as
smooth as a radial. We couldn’t puncture it if we tried.
The V-shaped lug pattern allows for
instant clean-out once you exit the mud
pit. On hard rocks, the six-ply tires ride
surprisingly smooth. Braking was better
than expected too.
sizes 25x8-12, 25x10-12, 26x9-12, 26x11-
12, and 27x9-14, and retails between
DOES IT WORK?
As with any tire test we like to torture the product, so in 100 miles we
can see what kind of wear patterns
will develop and see how vulnerable
the rubber is to punctures. We mounted a set of 26x12s on four Raceline
wheels. The EVO’s rim guard is thick
enough to protect the finish of the
wheel, but doesn’t stick out in excess.
Kenda wanted to keep mass and
weight low. The front tire we installed
weighs in at 22. 35 pounds, while the
rear tips the scales at just under 28
All four tires roll smooth and predictable. In fact, they roll over choppy
bumps and small rocks without the
rider even feeling them. They are
aggressive enough to notice when
expecting traction, so you can feel
them hook up as the tire rolls around.
On our Grizzly 700, traction is way
better than stock, and ride comfort
is just as good. You don’t feel the
extra weight over the stockers, but on
acceleration and in cornering, traction is much improved. Braking traction is also better than expected.
In the mud we were equally as
impressed. Clean-out was super
quick and traction was as expected.
The tires didn’t fling big scoops of
mud in your lap, but they did move
the quad through the muck without
Kenda’s Bear Claw EVO is much
better for our taste than the original.
The lugs are more aggressive, and
the spacing between them is much
closer, in protecting against flats. The
six-ply rating was tough enough to
stand up to our punishing trail test
all while not adding much unwanted
weight. We would put this tire head
to head with any brand stock replacement tire and expect good results. In
fact, you will see a big replacement
tire comparison in next month’s issue
when we equip five of the top big-bore 4x4s with similar aftermarket
tires and go for a real-world test, so
stay tuned. ❏