Are The Kenda Klever R/T Tires Any Good? Here’s My 10,000-Mile Review Across Every Type Of Terrain Imaginable
Having a good set of tires is one of the most important factors in off-road driving.
They provide vehicle traction and stability on rough and uneven terrain. Off-road tires typically have a more aggressive tread pattern than A/T and highway terrain tires, which helps them grip the surface and improve traction. They usually also have a thicker sidewall to protect against punctures and cuts and are made of a more durable, yet softer rubber compound.
Rugged terrain (R/T) tires have gained popularity in recent years. They bridge the gap between standard all-terrain tires and heavily off-road-focused mud-terrain tires. The Kenda Klever R/T tires are lesser known but still carry a solid reputation. To thoroughly test them out, I put them through their paces over the course of 10,000 miles across every type of terrain.
Find It Online:
- Kenda Klever R/T KR601: Check price
Off-Road Tire Types
There are many different types of tires that are suitable for off-road driving. The best choice for you will depend on the specific terrain and conditions you’ll be driving in. Until recently, the most common options were:
All-Terrain Tires (A/T)
These tires are probably the most common type of tires. They are a versatile option that can handle a variety of off-road conditions, including dirt, gravel, rocks, light mud, and snow. They have a more aggressive tread pattern compared to street tires while remaining reasonably quiet on-road with good performance and fuel efficiency.
Mud-Terrain Tires (M/T)
These tires usually have a very aggressive tread pattern with large, deep lugs that provide excellent traction in muddy or soft terrain. They are a good choice for drivers who frequently venture off the beaten path and need a tire that can handle a wide range of off-road conditions. in exchange, there is much more pronounced noise, less efficiency, and less comfort on pavement.
Within the M/T category, you also have a few brands that focus their line on rock crawling. These tires are specifically designed for driving over rugged rocky terrain. They have a very aggressive tread pattern with large, sturdy lugs that can grip and climb over rocks. However, they may not perform as well in other off-road conditions. On-pavement driving with these types of tires is loud and will wear the tread down incredibly fast – especially at speed.
What Are Rugged-Terrain (R/T) Tires?
In the past, I always had all-terrain tires on my 4Runner, specifically the very popular BFGoodrich KO2s. They are tried and true and have always worked well for me. When it came time to buy new tires, I decided to try something new. The 4Runner is not my daily anymore, so I wanted to get a tire mainly focused on off-road performance rather than on-road comfort.
I started looking into mud-terrain tires; specifically, BFG KM3, Toyo Open Country M/T, Nitto Trail Grappler, and Cooper Discoverer STT Pro. I quickly found out that mud-terrain tires are quite a bit more expensive than all-terrain. They are also heavier, louder, and have less tread life. Given that I’ve never had M/Ts before, it felt like a risky purchase.
If only there was an intermediate option between A/T and M/T tires. Something that would take the best features of both tires and combine them into one. Turns out that there is, and they are called rugged-terrain (R/T) tires.
R/T tires are a relatively new tire design that aims to package the best traits of A/T and M/T tires into one. For example, the comfort, low road noise, and long-lasting performance of A/T tires and the aggressive sidewall design and traction of M/T tires.
Kenda Klever R/T KR601
Towards the end of 2020, I remember that there weren’t many options in the way of R/T tires. One of the choices I came across was Kenda tires. They are a Taiwanese company that offers a wide range of tire products for passenger cars, light trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, and bicycles.
I wasn’t familiar with the brand and I could not find much information online about Kenda tires for trucks. However, the price was very reasonable and they offered the size I wanted. I also liked the way the Kenda Klever R/Ts looked, so I decided to give them a try.
- Size: LT285/70R17, 32.99” (many other sizes available)
- Load Range: E
- Ply rating: 10
- Sidewall: triple threat
- Weight: ~60lbs/each
- High sipe density
Being an “almost” M/T tire, I was a bit worried that the Kenda Klever R/Ts would be heavy and loud on the pavement. Regarding the noise, they are definitely louder than the KO2s but it’s not really a big deal, for me at least. If your truck is already modified, there will already be many other noises going on and you will barely notice the tires.
Regarding the weight, despite these tires being a few pounds heavier, I didn’t feel any significant difference while accelerating and driving; the traction is also comparable. For reference, my wheels and tires combined come in at about 82 lbs per corner. My truck also has stock gearing.
The main difference I noticed is in the ride comfort, especially on roads with many potholes. These tires are definitely stiffer (since they are E-rated), resulting in a harsher ride. However, the same is probably true for any other E-rated tire. I found out that the sweet spot for these tires is about 35 psi for city driving and 38-40 psi for highway driving.
Dirt & Rock Performance
This is where my 4Runner spends the majority of its time since the majority of trails in Colorado are a mix of dirt, rocks, and big boulders. In this type of terrain, I think an E-rated tire is a must-have for great performance and peace of mind.
The tire will be heavier but it will be also more robust and resistant to punctures caused by sharp rocks. This is where I noticed the biggest improvements compared to the BFG KO2s.
The tires definitively have more grip compared to the KO2s; they are very compliant and adapt to the terrain, resulting in a better contact patch.
Snow & Sand Performance
This is one of the strengths of the Kenda R/T tires compared to M/Ts. Even though the R/Ts have larger tread blocks and voids compared to A/Ts, they also have siping.
Siping improves the tire’s grip on wet, snow, and ice-covered surfaces. Whether driving through snowstorms or on a trail with several inches of snow, the traction from the Kenda Klever R/T has been excellent. They are “M&S” rated but not Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) rated. It’s also worth mentioning that if you spend a lot of time on snowy and icy roads, these tires can be studded.
I also had no problems driving on the sand; running about 14-12 psi provided me with excellent flotation and grip.
Colorado is pretty dry all year-round, so mud is not that common. During spring snowmelt, runoff is probably when the trails are the wettest with some puddles along the way and light mud. Given the tread pattern of the tire, I’m pretty confident that it would perform well in deeper mud too.
I have been running these tires for about 10,000 miles now. Although I’m very pleased with the way they look and perform, I’m starting to notice a bit of excessive wear and tear. While a good set of A/Ts can easily last about 50,000 miles, I don’t think I will even get close to that with these. The tire compound is quite a bit softer so they wear faster.
The sidewalls also show quite a bit of damage with small chunks missing. Thankfully, it seems like only cosmetic damage so far. Considering that the majority of the miles I drove were off the pavement, a bit of wear and tear is to be expected so I’m not too worried. From what I’m seeing so far, I would be happy to get 35k-40k miles out of these tires.
So, are the Kenda Klever R/Ts the best tires you can buy? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them.
They are often on sale for less than $200 each which for a 33” E-rated tire, I think it’s a great price in 2023. The off-road performance is great all around, they look aggressive without being ridiculous and they also come in many different sizes.
Tread life and cost are something to keep in mind but overall, I think they are a great option for someone that would like to step up from all-terrain tires without fully committing to mud-terrains.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please leave a comment below or connect with me on Instagram @trail_runn4r.
See you on the trails!