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Kenda's Flintridge Pro is a reasonably priced tubeless tyre that stands up well to harsh conditions. Kenda recommends the Flintridge Pro for 'dry, hard and sandy' conditions, but they work pretty well in 'wet, rocky and rooty' as well. You wouldn't plan a paved-road ride around them, but they'll see you right for a few tarmac miles betwixt home and gravel.
The centre tread is almost constant, to afford smooth, low-resistance rolling over hard surfaces, while the more open pattern towards the sides affords grip in the slippery stuff – to a point.
After an easy tubeless setup on some vintage Mavic Open Pro rims (19mm internal width), they measured up at 36mm – so no stinting on volume there. On dry, firm surfaces they do perform very well. My measure of a tyre is whether I'm notably scared when things get dicey, having to change lines or brake unexpectedly, where your bike's position relative to the trail and yourself isn't optimal for force transfer down through the wheel/tyre interface to the dirt or grass below. No such fears with the Flintridge Pro – when a tyre is egging you on to push harder and brake later without fear of it letting go, that's a good thing.
What's surprising about the Flintridge Pro tyres is how well they work when pointed at the Scottish hills (or other geographies involving slick rocks, roots and the like). Set up 55psi rear, 45psi front for my 75kg frame, the Flintridge Pros didn't hold me back. Rolling over pothole-strewn gravel tracks, into overgrown swooping singletrack, across grassed riverbanks, and descending 5-10% grade trails where water run-off is such an issue there's a waterbar every twenty yards – no problem.
What was genuinely unexpected was how well they performed on short, punchy climbs of over 10%, where you're out of the saddle in the lowest gear. My vintage cyclo-cross bike is relatively highly geared, with a 38 front small ring and a 28 sprocket at the back – this isn't a ride that lets you spin out climbs. So there was considerable low-speed, high-torque, out-of-the-saddle effort required to clear short pitches. The Flintridge Pros did an admirable job, staying stuck to the wet, rocky, rooty trail surface, only letting go once all hope of forward momentum was pretty much spent anyway.
Towards the end of the ride, on a long tarmac drive, with tired legs, the centre tread kept things buzzing along nicely, ready for the next lactic-burnout transition back onto the last stretch of farm track.
No, these aren't the tyre you want for a winter cyclo-cross race in soft mud, but for most people, the balance of smooth centre tread with more open outer lugs on a pretty supple, easy-rolling carcass will work well.
A solid choice for an all-round mixed on-gravel-off-road tubeless tyre – mostly for harder surfaces though
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kenda Flintridge Pro
Size tested: 35x700C
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
They're for people wanting to ride on mixed terrain with a tubeless setup.
"Born in the hills of Kansas, the Flintridge takes its name from the local sharp jagged rocks. Hones to perfection with a smooth centerline tread pattern that is equally at home on pavement and hard pack. The Flintridge shifts from the fast rolling center to the grippy transition and shoulder knobs for control in loose rock and even mud. The KSCT casing does double duty , reinforcing the sidewalls of the tire with a woven shield to prevent slashes and abrasions while optimizing the casing for fast and easy tubeless conversion.
A gravel crushing tire to rule them all.
KSCT casing for tubeless conversion and sidewall reinforcement."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
HIGHLIGHTS WHAT'S NEW
Swift - Fast rolling center profile
Corner grip - Grippy transition pattern and shoulder knobs for control on hardpack and sand.
Flat resistant - SCT casing prevents slashes and abrasions.
Tubeless ready – Saves weight and provides a better rolling performance. Riding tubeless also means riding flat free.
Be seen - Reflective hot patch for better nighttime visibility
No surprises, which is a good thing.
They appear to be holding up well.
Not the lightest, but that's 'tubeless' and 'durable' for you.
£38 isn't cheap, but for what you get it's an acceptable price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Surprisingly well. I was expecting to be all over the place, but they stayed stuck, mostly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grip in the wet over rocks was surprisingly good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a good tyre with no surprises – the price is spot on and the performance won't hold you back.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.