Rough-terrain tires are a new and increasingly popular type of off-road tire, combining the capability, toughness, and rugged look of a mud terrain with the on-road performance and comfort of an all terrain. If an AT is built for the 4x4 driver who occasionally goes off-road, an RT tire is built for the 4x4 owner who occasionally goes on-road—get the picture? Kenda is a Taiwanese company that began making bicycle tires in the early 1960s, in the ’70s they began making motorcycle tires. Over the years the company grew and opened its first factories in China and the United States at the start of the 1980s. Since then they’ve expanded to Europe, across Asia, and further into the U.S. Currently they offer a line of light-truck tires called Klever; the Klever MT and Klever AT are available in a variety of sizes in the U.S.
The new Klever RT is entering a not-so-crowded section of the tire market. Right now Toyo is one of the only major companies out there with a true rough-terrain tire, unless you count the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac. We’re expecting to see a lot more RTs out there in the future though. Given the demand lately for larger tires with a more well-rounded yet still-aggressive tread pattern, the days of mud terrains on heavy-duty work trucks may be coming to an end.
Our first impression of the Klever RTs is overall very positive. The tread pattern is rugged and tough, with wide spaces to divert rocks and mud. On the pavement and over curbs and logs it’s grippy and holds the road very well; crawling over curbs there is almost no wheel slippage. The rubber compound appears to be softer than most all terrains, which accounts for the more stable, responsive ride.
The sidewalls feature Kenda’s T3 Triple Threat 3-Ply sidewall, which should prove to be resilient when wheeling at low psi. Kenda spent some time testing the Klever RT on a desert tour and hillclimb in VORE’s fleet of Ford F-150 Raptors. The Klever RTs have an M+S rating, which means they’re suitable for snowy conditions as well as off-road terrain; the tread looks like it would do well in the snow even after significant wear.
A major plus of the Klever RT is the road noise; this tire is very quiet for having such a cool and aggressive look to it. Minimal road noise is a great feature to consider for someone who does a lot of off-roading but still has to travel on the highway or long distances on paved roads frequently. This tire accomplishes much of what Kenda set out to do with their new RT, be off-road capable and look badass while still performing impressively, comfortably, and quietly on-road. They’ll be available during Q3 of 2018, but before then we’ll have a set on our 2016 Tacoma at Overland Expo West this weekend to give them a solid off-road evaluation.
For anything else you might want to know about Kenda tires, find them on Facebook by searching Kenda Tires USA, Instagram (@kendatire), Twitter (@kendatire), YouTube (search KENDA Tire), and on the web at www.kendatire.com.