Tested: Kenda Regolith Pro and Nevegal 2 Pro Tires 2

Two new lightweight trail tire offerings from Kenda, both built for speed and all-around shredding.

Tested: Kenda Regolith Pro and Nevegal 2 Pro Tires

Something new and something new again. The Regolith Pro is a new tire for Kenda. The Nevegal 2 Pro is a rebirth of a classic. With new rubber and fresh design, Kenda is looking to the future. For most downhill racers from the mid-2000s, the Kenda Nevegal Pro tire is likely quite familiar. The Nevegal Pro tread has been a trusted tread pattern for a long time and now with new rubber, casing options, and a tread pattern rework, it is reborn a broad spectrum trail/enduro tire.

The Regolith Pro is a recently new tread for Kenda. It is an all-around trail tire utilizing Kenda’s new rubber and casing technologies.

Regolith Pro SCT

 Strengths

 Weaknesses

  • Nice profile on a 2.4-inch tire.
  • Will fit most regularly used rim widths in the trail and enduro categories.
  • The SCT casing is light.
  • Dual compound tread for grip and durability
  • Predictable grip levels across lean angles
  • Good braking performance
  • Clears mud well
  • Thin STC casing virtually requires a tire insert for pinch resistance and to provide sidewall support at normal tire pressures.
  • These tires would not seat tubeless on our carbon rims. The bead was too loose. 
  • Predictable grip, yes. Tons of grip, no.
  • Rolling speed was not as good as it looks like it should be.
  • The STC Casings tended to squirm on landings and hard cornering.

Nevegal 2 Pro ATC

 Strengths

 Weaknesses

  • Tried and true tread pattern 
  • Great cornering feel and control
  • Fast rolling for an aggressive tread pattern 
  • ATC Casing is light and still supportive
  • Predictable traction
  • Easy mounting and seating on all rims tried (including carbon rims)
  • ATC Casing still likes an insert for flat protection
  • It’s a great tire, but it doesn’t stand out in the crowd.
  • Premium pricing

Highlights

  • SCT Casing is light
  • ATC Casing is not quite as light but is sturdy enough for more aggressive use
  • Dual compound tread for durability and traction
  • Nevegal 2 Pro has 50% less rolling resistance than the original
  • Regolith Pro designed for low rolling resistance 
  • Both tires are versatile
  • Nevegal 2 Pro uses K-Armor for increased puncture resistance 
  • Weight Regolith Pro SCT: 861g (1.9-pounds)
  • Weight Nevegal 2 Pro ATC: 896g (2.0-pounds)
  • MSRP Regolith Pro SCT: $69.95 USD
  • MSRP Nevegal 2 Pro ATC: $79.95 USD

On The Trail

It is refreshing to receive a product that doesn’t require us to empty the garage trash bin after opening the package. Kenda comes with a simple POP card that has a basic explanation of the product’s features. Simple and clear.

The Regolith Pro tires with SCT casings unfold and slip onto the rim very nicely, however, that became a problem with the deeper center groove on our carbon rims. After trying every trick in our arsenal for mounting tubeless tires we were forced to give up and dust off a set of alloy wheels from the back of the garage to try again. The inner profile of the alloy rims proved to be what was needed to seat the tire. This was not the case with the Nevegal 2 Pro ATC casings. Those did seat easily on all the rims we tested.

Once the struggle with the SCT casings was over, we got out on the trail. First, we mounted the Regolith Pro as a matched pair. Our first impressions after looking at the mounted tire were somewhat confirmed by on-trail performance. The tire has a nice profile that provides consistent grip across the range of lean angles but it is lacking the extra bite we have come to trust as we got aggressive on the tire. The grip, while not as aggressive as some, was consistent. Once we were familiar with the limits of the tire it was easy to predict its performance across many surfaces.

Embrace the drift! Foot out flat out!

With its tread pattern and claims from Kenda, we were expecting a pretty fast tire with the Regolith Pro. While it is a faster rolling tire than many, it was not impressively fast as we had hoped it would be. The tire feels a little chunky on smoother surfaced trails and didn’t quite feel like it wanted to run when the opportunity presented.

Tire compliance over roots and rocks on the climbs was pretty nice. With the lighter SCT casing, the tire wraps around smaller obstacles and trucks right over things that might trip up some other setups. The Regolith Pro tires are solid under braking. They were able to get the bike slowed without skidding. Controlling the lockup and drift was up to the user, not the tire. The consistency in braking is the strongest point for these tires.

There was only one small puncture during our testing period, which is notable. We did have the tires equipped with a CushCore in the rear but did not have an insert in the front. The puncture was the front, but it was very small and the sealant took care of it. We had to add 10psi after the bike sat overnight until we reseated the tire with some fresh sealant but after that, it was back to business as usual.

Overall, the Regolith Pro SCT tire is a great all-around trail tire that will be consistent across many situations.

Second, we mounted up the Nevegal 2 Pros as a matched set. The ATC casings on these tires are a little heavier than the SCT casings, but not so much that we were bummed about it. Mounting these was much easier than the Regolith Pro SCT casings too. They popped on the first try on every rim, insert or not. We did ultimately run the majority of this test with a CushCore in the rear and a Huck Norris in the front but that is our regular setup and what we are comfortable with for any situation.

The Nevegal 2 Pros are an improvement on the original, for sure. They roll noticeably faster than the original, and with the new casings and rubber compounds they performed well in any aggressive trail or enduro situation. The Nevegal 2 Pro has that little extra bite at more aggressive lean angles and gave us extra confidence when pushing it into the turns. The cornering shoulder is just a little stronger and more defined than the Regolith Pro, allowing us to push it harder.

With the ATC casing, we rolled through tight rocks and over rough and rowdy terrain with confidence. The ATC casing provided enough flex and compliance to grip through anything and enough sidewall protection to put extra confidence into some less than optimal lines that we chose.

Braking is about the same as the original, which is to say that it is quite good. The braking lugs are spaced well and generous. They provide excellent control in slowing you and your bike down when that is what you want to do.

Overall, the Nevegal 2 Pro is a great improvement on a classic and a worthy tire for an aggressive rider who wants one tire to do a little of everything.

Third, we ran the tires as a mixed set with the Nevegal 2 Pro ATC in front and the Regolith Pro SCT on the rear. The intention here is to see if we could get some of the rolling benefits of the Regolith Pro and still have the extra aggressive grip of the Nevegal 2 Pro. This proved to be a fine combination for letting the back end step out predictably while maintaining grip up front but there was no noticeable speed bonus with the mixed set.

Things That Could Be Improved: Regolith Pro

We really wish we could have been on our carbon rims for this test, but that was not in the cards with the Regolith Pro. The bead was slightly too loose to seat on those rims. Fortunately, we had another set of wheels that worked with them. The SCT casing was light and it conformed to the terrain well, but at a 2.4-inch volume the casing lacked support and tended to squirm under pressure.

The transition from upright to cornering was smooth but lacked any real bite. The transition knobs that run from the center treat to the cornering tread fill that little bite gap and don’t allow the cornering knobs to grab the ground as we got further into the lean.

The molding of the casings left a little to be desired as well. There was a small amount of visible wobble in the casing on both tires we had for the test. While that may not affect the ride quality in any discernible way, it did nag at us slightly on the smoother parts of rides and on the ride to the trailhead.

Dual compounds are one of the most touted features on these tires and that is great, but it is almost a basic requirement of any decent tire to have at least two compounds, if not three. Kenda might be a little behind the curve on this.

Things That Could Be Improved: Nevegal 2 Pro

The Nevegal Pro has always been a good tire. The Nevegal 2 Pro continues that tradition. The one thing bothering us during our test session was that there was a small wobble in the casing. It did not impact the ride quality, but was noticeable when rolling along on smooth trail.

Long Term Durability

For the three month duration of our test, the Kenda Regolith Pro and Nevegal 2 Pro tires held up well. There was some visible wear on the braking and cornering surfaces, but nothing that would make us feel like we needed to go out and buy a fresh set with any urgency. We do recommend using at least a simple tire insert to help prevent pinch flats, especially with the SCT casing, but the casings held up well and did not show signs of excessive wear.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Kenda Regolith Pro SCT tire is a good all-around tire for most trail riders. It is consistent, has good handling, braking and rolling characteristics, and is durable enough to satisfy any riders who put on the trail miles and occasionally get rowdy on the descents.

The Kenda Nevegal 2 Pro ACT is a very good aggressive trail/enduro tire that works well in many conditions. Someone who wants a sturdy tire that will roll pretty fast and hook up in a wide range of conditions should put this tire on the list for sure. It has enough meat to be a race tire and enough range to be a daily driver as well. 

Head over to kendatire.com for more details.

Vital MTB Ratings

  • Regolith Pro: 3 stars - Good
  • Nevegal 2 Pro: 3.5 Stars - Very Good


About The Reviewer

Matt Fisher - Age: 38 // Years Riding 24: // Height: 6’ (1.82m) // Weight: 190lbs (86.12kg)

Matt discovered mountain biking in 8th grade. It was a welcome escape from becoming an overweight, TV-addicted adolescent statistic. After a long, slow climb through the downhill racing ranks as fitness and skills improved, he landed in the Pro class and was able to make a go of it for 8+ years, winning some local and regional races and qualifying to race as pack-fill in the World Cup Series. In addition to a lifetime of riding and racing bikes, he has worked his entire career in the bike industry, starting as a shop rat sweeping floors at age 15. From there he has held jobs as a mechanic, salesperson, sales manager, global warranty manager, tech manual writer, demo team manager and more. Now he is a trail rider who doesn’t turn pedals against the clock very often, instead choosing to spend his time seeking out new trails and adventures wherever he happens to be. He'll never give up on going fast and playing in the margins.

Photos by Michelle Fisher

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