Reviewed: Kenda Nevegal-X Pro Tires

27.5 Tires

Kenda Nevegal X Tread Pattern.

Update: Jan. 2, 2014 – The Nevegal X is scheduled to hit store shelves in early February. The Honey Badger is due to arrive in late February.

We received this tire and have been out on a several of rides already. The test setup was a 27.5 tire in 2.35 width with CAP Ply sidewall protection and UST Tubeless compatibility. It weighed in at 815 grams and we mounted it on a Norco Sight with 140mm of front and rear travel.

We put it in the front and matched it up with a Honey Badger tire in the rear. These tires seem to pair up well, as the Nevegal-X has beefy side knobs while the Honey Badger has lower slightly less aggressive tread. The test area was the redwood forest of El Corte de Madera in Woodside, CA. This area is know for its fast, flowing singletrack with some rocky and rooty sections. There are also some fast fire roads with water drainage jumps and sweeping corners.

Off the bat, the Nevegal-X rolled nicely as we sprinted up an old paved climb. This was achilles heel of the old Nevegal as you could hear the tire roar as you put the power down on a paved climb. Then we jumped into the tricky singletrack of Sierra Morena and opened the throttle on the pedally but tricky singletrack. The tire showed it’s prowess as the tire transitioned to the side knobs very seamlessly while leaning. And the grip held nicely. Kenda uses a dual compound with 60 durometer in the center knobs and soft 50 durometer on the side.

All day, the side knobs never failed us. We kept pushing the tire but it never scrubbed or gave out. It has more traction than we were willing to trust it with, so we’ll go out again and explore the limits. The rear Honey Badger danced a little bit under very heavy braking and cornering. This made the bike fun and easy to turn, as tight corners were handled with agility.

Under heavy braking, the Nevegal-X did well too, as the center knobs stopped us with no drama whatsover. No rocks and sticks were picked up too on the two test rides. We’ve had good rides so far and we’ll continue to update with our impressions.

Classic Kenda Nevegal Tire.

In the last decade, no other tire has had more impact on the bike industry than the Kenda Nevegal tire. The Kenda Nevegal made waves since it was introduced as it offered ample and predictable cornering grip. It seemed to do everything well and it kept the rider upright and safe since it behaved consistently even at the limit. And in this world of varied trail conditions where no one tire works in all corners of the globe, the Nevegal came close. Whether in the rooty trails of the East Coast, the rocky trails of Arizona or the loose trails of California, the Nevegal was always up to the task.

Kenda Nevegal X Weight is 815 grams with the beefy sidewall

Kenda Nevegal X Weight is 815 grams with the beefy sidewall.

And when wheel sizes changed? The Kenda Nevegal seemed to be the first tire to show to the party. During the Mtbr 29er shooutout five years ago, almost all the bikes were shipped by manufacturers with Kenda Nevegal tires. Kenda was one of the first of the popular tires to adopt the new wheel sizes and it was reliable choice for a test bike where a bike’s reputation was at stake. And when the 27.5 revolution came, the Kenda Nevegal was ready for the task at hand once again. 80% of all the test 27.5 test bikes for last year’s Mtbr bike shootout once again sported Kenda Nevegal Tires.

27.5 tire mounted on a 160mm travel Fox.

So this release is significant as Kenda is now updating its revered tire. Called the Nevegal-X Pro, the key design goals were to make the tire roll faster, make it lighter, and have a smoother transition through cornering. These were deemed the best areas of improvement for the Nevegal and Mtbr agrees. The Nevegal was never the fastest or the lightest tire and that limited its use to applications where this was not critical. The Nevegal-X will have a lot broader range as it will be faster and more balanced and good for rear tire use as well as the front.

And with the bigger contact patch of 29ers and 27.5 tires, the smaller cornering knobs are more appropriate. Attention was given to transition knobs with a more rounded profile to give it a better cornering feel through a berm or turn. As cornering techniques change and riders improve their technique, the Nevegal-X should match up better.

And of course, tubeless and better casings are part of the package now. Tubeless is the norm and dual-tread compound is available with Stick-E Rubber on the side knobs for improved traction.

Available widths are:

26″ – 2.1 and 2.35
27.5″ – 2.1 and 2.35
29er – 2.2

Mtbr’s test tires are in the mail as we speak and we are eager to try this new Kenda offering. As to what wheel size to test them in? That’s another issue.


  • Downhill wire bead version has 2-ply construction with Stick-E rubber for better grip, and the Cross Country folding bead version is single-ply with Stick-E or DTC rubber for reduced weight
  • Freeride wire bead version is single-ply with Stick-E rubber and Butyl CAP insert for extra strength and durability

For more information visit

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • MD says:

    Do you know when these come out?

  • gddyap says:

    Contact patch size is a function of tire pressure and bike/rider weight not wheel size. The shape of the contact patch may vary with wheel size.

  • r1Gel says:

    That looks good. I’m interested to find out how they ride.

  • Steve says:

    I had 2.1 Nevs on my GT hardtail, and even when my rear tires tread got down to 1/32 of an inch, they barely slipped. I’ll be buying them again soon.

  • LyNx says:

    Nevegal was great in the 26″ version, but it never made the transition over to 29″ well, was always too damn slow and for how slow it was, didn’t really seem to offer the amount of grip, at best it was a Blah tyre. The Panaracer Rampage was way better, faster roller, more predictable and about the same grip for less weight and rolling resistance. These days I’d tip my hat for best all around tyre to thew Maxxis HR2.

  • John Hitt says:

    Is it me or does this tire look like the Contnental Trail King. Same tread pattern. Any thoughts ?

  • ted says:

    Looks like they have done it right here, wish they had a 2.5 in 26 and 27.5

  • Jerome says:

    I like …… and like this alot

  • Joules says:

    So with all these acknowledgements of things that needed to be updated, they still haven’t realized that no one has run 2.1″ tires since the 90s?

  • Gator says:

    The best 50 buck tire right now is Mich. Wild Grip’R 29×2.25 is huge as big as Nobby Nic 29×2.35. With better grip and stronger sidewall’s. Also supper fast rolling, the Nevegal 29×2.2 were the slowest tire I have used to date, try the Mich. you will love them !!

  • Bejay says:

    2.2 only for 29er? That is the show stopper for me right there….

  • Ted says:

    Anyone try the kenda nexcavator , I have one on the rear on my Titus el Guapo and think its an awesome!!! tire. I will run the x pro nevegal on the front when they ome out , looking forward to the x pro !

  • roger says:

    We call these NEVAGRIPS!

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