Long Term Review: Kenda Kriterium Endurance Tires

One of the problems with product reviews from magazines and websites is the “N=1” bias. A writer or editor gets a product, uses it for a short period or even a long time, and then writes about the experience. That’s great, but it’s only one person and one usage case. In contrast, we’ve had 45 CTS Coaches riding Kenda Kriterium Endurance Tires (700x25c) for eight months, and here’s what we can tell you about them.



Testing Conditions:

CTS Locations


Most CTS Coaches are located in the vicinity of our 4 locations in the United States: Colorado Springs, CO; Brevard, NC; Santa Ynez, CA; and Tucson, AZ. Between scheduled group cycling camps and private camps, coaches ride with athletes about 220 days per year; and during group camps we typically have 3-5 coaches on the road each day. To be prepared for the rigors of the job, coaches train on their own and many compete in road races and participate in road cycling events when they are not working. On average, coaches ride about 12 hours a week. All together that adds up to 45 coaches riding 12 hours a week for 34 weeks from January through August 31, or roughly 18,360 hours.

The riding conditions near our training facilities vary pretty widely. Though we choose the smoothest and most scenic routes for camps, many roads coaches use for training and commuting in Tucson are horribly rough and tear tires apart. In downtown Colorado Springs we have potholes with their own zip codes and many of our best road routes include miles of gravel. Between year-round training camps and riding the entire Tour of California course, the crew out in Santa Ynez puts the highest mileage on their tires. And our North Carolina coaches ride in the most varied weather, from summer heat and humidity to winter rain.

Durability and Flat Resistance



The last thing we want is for problems with coaches’ bikes to disrupt our athletes’ training experiences. While our support vehicles carry spare wheels for athletes and coaches, we also place a high priority on flat resistance when it comes to tire choice. We found the Kriterium Endurance resisted cuts and thorns very well, and continued to be quite flat resistant even when tires were considerably worn.

“They’re pretty bomb proof (of course now I will flat for saying that…). Even taking them off road wasn’t a problem.” – Colin Izzard

“I have on a few occasions gotten my bike off the rack at work only to notice I had a very worn tire on the bike. Then I would have to really think back about how many months and miles it had been since I had switched tires. Inevitably, the initial frustration of having to change my tires was replaced by amazement at how long I had been riding the same tires without any issues.” – Clayton Feldman  

“I’ve been impressed with the tire’s durability. The 25mm wide version has handled everything I have thrown at them with no cuts or punctures, including pot holes, rough chip-seal tarmac, and lots of gravel road sections.” – Josh Whitmore




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Nobody likes wrestling with tires, especially when trying to get them on or off the rims when you’re fixing a flat out on the road. In many ways, the mark of a good mechanic and a good tire is the ability to remove and remount a road tire by hand, without any tools. The Kenda Kriterium Endurance tire matched to ENVE 4.5 carbon wheels proved to be a tighter fit than some options, but not a problem for most coaches to install and remove without tire levers. Kenda Kriterium Endurance tires are not tubeless-ready tires. We ran them with tubes, and they tended to seat straight on the rims upon first inflation.

“Super easy and quick to install on our wheels. I stopped carrying tire levers with me on rides because I knew I wouldn’t need them.” – Nick White

“They tend to be a little tighter than some other tires I have used, though I haven’t had an example of a tire I struggled to get on for an initial install, nor was there a time when I couldn’t change a flat with ease. So it wasn’t an issue at all.” – Clayton Feldman 




Increased durability and puncture resistance often come at the expense of performance. Tires that carve through corners provide great traction in wet weather typically have soft rubber compounds and wear quickly. Tires built to be tough, on the other hand, often ride like bricks. The Kriterium Endurance doesn’t approach either extreme, but rather sits comfortably and confidently in the middle. No coaches reported a lack of confidence in corners, and everyone felt the tires performed well in wet weather. Racers in the group noted Kenda has higher performance tires they prefer for racing, but also admitted they had raced on the Kriterium Endurance tires and done just fine.

Rolled well and seemed to respond very well to steering input, hard braking and sudden direction changes.” – Colin Izzard

“They tend to “disappear” I don’t feel like they hold me back, but they don’t push me to do more. They take my input and translate it into an appropriate response. Predictable and controlled would be two good words for them.” – Clayton Feldman 

“I have really enjoyed the “road feel” and confident performance and handling of the Kenda Kriterium road tires. Especially on the wet, tree lined roads here in the Appalachian mountains.” – Tracey Drews



There’s an old saying that race cars aren’t built to be comfortable, they’re built to go fast. This extends to bike racing, too. You can prioritize speed over comfort in terms of your riding position and equipment for time trials and criteriums, and pros sacrifice comfort for performance even in long road races. When you spending long hours and back-to-back days on the bike at more moderate intensities, (and you’re not competing) comfort increases in importance. Our coaches rode 700x25c tires, and while most would have gladly tried 700×28 tires, they generally reported the tires to be more comfortable than the Bontrager R2 tires they rode previously.

“I ride slightly lower air pressure than some and it seems the Kriterium Endurance responds very well in corners and gravelly, “pot hole” conditions.” – Tracey Drews

“I’m an old-school guy and still ride pretty high air pressure (100-110 psi) most of the time. Even at high pressure on rough roads the Kriterium Endurance isn’t a harsh-riding tire.” – Chris Carmichael

Final Verdict

When it comes down to choosing a race-specific tire, it may be instructive to look at what pro racers are riding. However, looking at what coaches ride provides more applicable information when it comes to choosing a tire you’re going to ride every day for a combination of training, endurance, epic trips, group rides, and maybe some races. The best and worst thing about the Kriterium Endurance tire is that once you put them on you won’t think about your tires again until they wear out. You’re not likely to rave about how light or super-grippy they are, nor are you going to be griping about frequent flats or finicky setup. You’re going to forget about them and focus on your ride, which is exactly what you want from a tire.

“They are a very balanced tire. It’s hard to find something that corners well, feels supple yet also lasts.  Kenda Kriterium Endurance Tires are a jack of all trades tire.” – Davis Bentley

“They remove a thing off the check list, as they are a “set and forget” level of protection and performance. With the Kenda Kriterium Endurance tires, I put them on and I don’t think about tires again for a long time.” – Clayton Feldman 

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Comments 19

  1. I have used Kenda Kriterium Endurance tires for the past three years. The Endurance version has an extra belt under the tread for flat protection. It truly works.

    I have places in Greenville, SC and Gilbert, AZ and I have ridden them in both areas. I just recently changed out the front and back tires after THREE years. I put on 5-10K a year in miles.

    Without a doubt the Kenda tires are the best tires for longevity I have ever used- and I have used Conti’s, Vredestein, IRC, Michelin, Hutchinson… you name it. These things are bullet proof. I take them off road on packed trails in AZ all the time. 700×25’s and they wear like iron.

    I have even raced crits on them because I was too lazy to change wheels 🙂 They work as well as any other I’ve used. I typically pay $25-27 each and that’s very fair for the amazing performance.

  2. I appreciate, cause I found just what I was taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God
    Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  3. I have used Kenda (Konstrictor) tires in the past and was actually quite pleased with them much to my surprise because I got them on sale for $14 each. I don’t think the Kenda Kriterium is a bad tire, or even just an average tire, I think it’s an above average tire, is it as good as Conti GP4000’s? Having owned a couple of sets of the Conti tires I can say they’re about the same in most respects as the Kenda’s I used as well as other tires that used like the Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech, Hutchinson Intensive, and the Specialized Roubaix. Between those and the Conti…I had terrible luck with Conti’s, they all failed due to their paper thin sidewalls failing, but it is those paper thin sidewalls that give it a very nice ride, but the cost of those tires vs the others doesn’t make it worth buying the Conti’s for me. The wear on all those tires were about the same, so no real advantage there, and I found the traction to be about the same as well.

    So in a nutshell would I be afraid to buy the Kenda’s? no, not if the price is right which they are right now as of 9/9/17. I never pay more than $25 for tire, which I find all the time with closeouts of tires that retailed for $50 or more each.

    1. I also have had bad experiences with Conti GP 4000s and the Grand Prix. Same issues with all of the: sidewall tears. I’ve owned about 4 pairs of them total. Only did not experience this with the Grandsport which is made in China. Not sure why everybody from social media to shows like GCN always rave over them.

  4. While slow-wearing tires cost a little less per mile, I don’t care about that. I’ve found that the harder the tire, the less it grips in the wet, as mentioned. I’ve had the best experience with Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech III tires. Faster than 4Seasons, much faster than Gatorskins, yet they are quite cut resistant. A good winter tire. In summer, I ride 4KIIs tires for all purposes.

  5. I really think this continues to be a biased review because it only tracks the comments with regards to a single brand and model tire. A table comparing several models and brands with comparable miles ridden and comparable analysis by different coaches/athletes would be the way to go, otherwise it continues to be CTS promoting a tire you probably have discounts on. If this selection was the result of an exhaustive analysis, i would like to see that analysis rather than just the final speech.

  6. Yep agreed with Ernesider
    Continental 4 Seasons 25c is the way to go. But they seem harder to get these days so I might try your recommendation.
    thanks Chris!

  7. This is a great article , I wish you can do this more often , How about cycling computer, Or power meter?
    Thank you, And keep up the great work,

  8. I agree with the N=1 idea on product reviews and that a really good product should just sit quietly in the background and let you enjoy the ride…more

  9. I keep a spreadsheet of my rides, and one item I track is tire mileage. So I don’t have to think back about how long I’ve used my current tires – I know!

    I’m sure there are many fine tires on the market, and that Kenda tires are among them. I get great durability and flat resistance from my brand; in fact, I have documentation that they have actually improved over the past few years, because of my log. I use two rear tires to one front, and mileage has increased from about 3500 on the rear to almost 4000.

    1. I have both – conti gran prix 4000’s and the Kriterium Endurance. Yes I think they (Kendas) are better in flat protection and the way they feel riding. I’m comparing the folding version of the Kriterium Endurance with the Contis.

  10. How do the Kendas compare to Contintinenal Gatorskins for endurance, flat resistance and ride? I ride on Maui 5-6 times a year, where there is a fair amount of broken glass on road shoulders. The bike shops here recommend Gatorskins which I have been riding with success. Have you done a comparitive analysis? If not, could you? It’s great that you have many hours on the Kendas, but n=1 regarding the tire itself. Thanks – Moss

    1. Great review, but I have to agree with Drew – if there is any form of “consideration” granted by Kenda, it should be disclosed – just as reviewers on Amazon who receive products at a reduced price “in exchange for their honest review” are expected to disclose. The upside is the Kenda tires are inexpensive, coming in at 35% cheaper than the Continental 4 Season tires I ride now. I’ll certainly give them a look. Going forward, you might want to state up front that you”ll be testing this or that other product over the course of the season and will report your findings in August or September.

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