The El Moco MTB tire from Kenda looks like the offspring of a dirty 3-way composed of a WTB Weirwolf, a Michelin Mud Cyclocross Tire and the venerable Panaracer Smoke. The El Moco incorporates Kenda’s DTC (Dual Tread Compound) technology and the folding 26×2.1 XC racing version I’ve been riding has a top quality 120 TPI casing. It can be used on the front or rear wheel and has an advertised 630 +/- 30gram weight.
The El Moco has a mix of low-profile knobs in a paddle pattern across the center of the tread and aggressive full sized knobs for cornering. In theory, the little knobs in the middle roll fast on hardpack and smooth trails while the big knobs give confidence on looser stuff and corners. My local trails vary from buff trails as smooth as a baby’s butt to root and log mazes with some weathered, rounded rocks and short rock gardens thrown in, not much sand, not many long stretches of pure rock. This tire is fast on the smooth sections and had superb traction over roots and logs – even when damp. In loose loamy dirt the side knobs give excellent cornering traction and while climbing the tire stayed connected and only broke loose when I got sloppy. El Moco clears mud well – even sticky North Carolina red clay.
In terms of tire pressure, I’m still playing around to find the butter zone. The Kenda Website and the tire sidewall recommend 40-65psi while the header card packaging for the tire recommends 30-80psi. I started at 40 psi and found the tire to be a little harsh and not as grippy as the Hutchinson Spider Airlight 2.1s (another 120 TPI tire) I took off or the Panaracer Fire XC tires that were on before that. I lowered the pressure to 35psi and later to 30 psi. At the lower pressures the tire hasn’t been squirmy in turns or bottomed on the rim over roots at speed. As I ride the tires more I will try 25 to 28psi to see if I start to get pinch flats.
My 26×2.1 tires weigh 648grams and 653 grams – well within the advertised limits. I did have to use a single tire lever on each one to get them mounted on my Cane Creek wheels, but this is typical for me with folding bead tires. Both tires inflated round and true on the rims on the first try – I did not have to go back and re-seat part of the bead. My first week riding the Kenda El Moco Tire has been good, and I will continue to post updates as I encounter different trail conditions.