When shopping for a plus-sized cross tire, your choices are usually limited to widely-spaced knobbies or minimalist semi-slicks. For those who ride hardpack, or loose-over-hard trails, that means you’re forced to choose between speed or cornering traction. Kenda’s Happy Medium, with its combination tread, offers riders speed and control in a single tire.
The Happy Medium utilizes a modified diamond design for the majority of its tread. The elements are spaced far enough apart to provide good traction, but their low height helps reduce speed-robbing flex. On-road, the ride is smooth and quiet, even at the lower pressures typically used for dirt and gravel.
My GPS confirmed that the Kendas are fast, easy rolling tires. Where they really shine, though, is with their predictable cornering. Although the side knobs are widely spaced, their placement and height are optimized for a smoother transition from center to edge. When you lean the bike over, there’s no “dead spot” between the center section and side knobs. Cornering is very predictable, and if you do happen to push them too hard, their drift is relatively easy to control.
The Happy Medium is available in 700×32, 35, and 40 sizes. My 700×40 tires measured 38mm at the casing, and 40.5mm at the knobs (mounted on a 23mm rim, fully inflated). Weight was a respectable 448g, which was within Kenda’s advertised range (435g +/- 22g). The tires feature folding beads, and Kenda’s dual-durometer DTC tread compound. Recommended pressure is between 50 and 85psi, but I ran them as low as 40psi with no problems.
For additional information, visit Kenda’s website.