Riding my new Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon on stock tires left me with a desire for a tire with less rolling resistance and better cornering and climbing capabilities. When I had the chance to review a new tire from Kenda, the Slant Six came immediately to mind. Oddly enough, the Slant Six is designed precisely for those applications. Kenda recommends this tire for intermediate (loamy) to hard-packed conditions.
I tested the 26 x 2.35 DTC UST version with a single ply 120 TPI folding bead. Kind of a mouthful if you ask me, but the Slant Six does come in more than a few different styles. In case you’re wondering what a Slant Six actually is, take a Small Block Eight, split it with a Nevegal, and you get the picture.
The first thing that I picked up on was the very round profile and near-even tread depth. This makes for an even-feeling tire, both in corners while pitching the bike and rolling straight ahead. The driving blocks are nearly all ramped and staggered.
Tying together the alternating 2 – 3 center blocks adds to the quick acceleration. The tied blocks also (to a small degree) act as a paddle. Now, what I found very clever was the change in the transition knobs’ angles in relation to the drive knobs. There are in fact two rows of transition knobs, each one increasing in angle until the cornering knobs, which are perfectly perpendicular to the drive knobs. Looking at this tire based solely on the pattern, I’d say they’re maximized to provide traction regardless of the pitch angle.
Installing these tires was a snap. I decided to fit them on my converted Spank Spike rims and they fitted easily over the bead and snapped into place with little effort. I used a floor pump to fill the tires using just soapy water to facilitate the beads. By the way, I always recommend soapy water for any tire installation. It makes the bead seat easily with less effort required on your end to make them run true. I run all my Nomad tires at about 28 PSI, and the Slant Six are no different.
Out on the Trail
Well needless to say, compared to the Maxxis High Rollers that were on my bike when I first received it, the Slant Six are a big improvement! For one thing, in the GTA area where I do most of my riding, the soil is mostly hard pack or rocky terrain mixed with patches of sand (depending on the trail) and rooty sections.
I would say the Slant Six did very well! I did have some fall weather with wet days and I do have to say the Slants didn’t really enjoy the wet conditions. They packed up full and did not unclog until the natural scrubbing action of the rocks and roots cleared them for me. If you’re looking for a wet weather tire you’ll need to get something with a little more beef. Again, I wasn’t disappointed at all. Kenda did say these are for intermediate to hard surfaces, after all.
Climbing on the intended terrain was a treat! I was impressed at how well they helped me maintain traction and climb. I have a few sections in my local trail in the Don Valley that are really steep and tricky. I am convinced that these tires are the reason I make it up them. Seriously! Before, I had a 10% chance at making it up. After installing the Slant Six, I haven’t slipped once going up that climb.
For $65 MSRP the Kenda Slant Six is a good tire that provides excellent traction and solid cornering on medium-hard to hard trail surfaces.
Many thanks to Kenda for sending these over for review!