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I have had the chance to rack up some serious miles on the newest offering from Kenda, the Parker DT. If you are familiar with the Kenda line you might remember that the Parker was introduced a few years ago in a different tread pattern. For some reason it was just never a tire that I could get along with very well. I continued using the Carlsbad until it was discontinued and then switched to the Washougal pattern.
When Kenda announced that the Parker was going to be revamped and would now have the former Carlsbad design, I was pretty excited about it. Now that I have had the oppportunity to put some testing on the new rubber I am convinced that they are a great do everything desert tire.
For as odd as the front knobby pattern might look, I consider it to be the very best handling desert tire around. It has traction and slide characteristics that make it very predictable for all conditions. One of the biggest challenges for any tire is a hard pack road with a layer of loose dirt on top. The Parker gets excellent traction and when it slides it is very controlled. When I had switched to the Washougal I lost a little bit of this great front end feel.
While rear tires are not quite as important in the desert. The Parker seems to have all of the right qualities. It turns, slides and gets good forward bite. Most importantly these are showing a better lifespan than any of Kenda’s previous models.
As you can see, the proof in the pictures. This front tire has 1,600 miles on it and rear just over 1,000. Both are just starting to show significant wear but have a few miles left in them still. Of the total distance ran on these, most is over a variety of Baja terrain and includes about 200 miles of pavement. I have only had one front flat. That came from a cactus puncture down near San Juanico.
I expect these to be my primary race and trail tire for the coming year, so check them out.