Kenda Big Block vs TKC 80's vs K60's

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by Tonk, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Tonk

    Tonk Broken Adventurer

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    I'm down to 3 possibilities for my Tiger 800xc. I'm looking for a 60/40 off/on road mix. I'm expecting to do about 6,000 miles between now and next fall, with a Trans Lab Trip in September. Here are my picks.....

    TKC 80's - these are my first choice but the tire wear and cost are my biggest concern. I don't want to go thru 3 sets in a season.

    Kenda Big Block - these seem identical to the TKC's but cost a little less and wear just about as fast.

    K60 Scouts - I like the combo Heidi rear with the TKC front. I'm a little concerned with reports that the rear (tiger size) has that solid band running down the center and gets a little squirrly in wet conditions. Also, the traction will be less than the others off road but the trade off in longer wear almost makes it worth it.

    I know that tire threads have been beat to death but I did a search and couldn't find anything that brought these 3 tires together. I've never run any of these and would appreciate anyone's opinions, experiences with these tires. Also, if anyone has other options that work well I'd love to hear them.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. burmbuster

    burmbuster Long timer

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    I am running the combo K60/TKC80 on my T800XC. I really like the combo. I have ridden in the rain with no problems. I like the wear so far. Like you, wear was also a concern when I made my choice. I also read that the TKC 80 rear is not good in the wet when riding on the tarmack. I run about 35-36 psi in the K60 which also helps. The TKC80 front is really, really good on and off road, even in a downpour. If money was no object as far as wear, I would have tried the Big Blocks as they are better off road but I am quite happy with my decision.
    Hope this helps.

    Brad
    #2
  3. Chef Gareth

    Chef Gareth Live 2 Ride

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    I to use the tkc scout combo, great wear both about 13000 k. The kenda was a good tyre but less km then the tkc.
    #3
  4. Mikehusa

    Mikehusa Been here awhile

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    I have run front and rear TKC 80's and a combo K60 rear and TKC front on a 800XC.

    I get about 4500 miles out of a TKC rear, great off and on road. It will square pretty quickly if you do a lot of freeway riding or wheel spin off road. I like it and run them localy.

    I ran a K60 on a 4000 mile trip up the west coast and hit rain about 75% of the time. The tire worked perfect in downpours at 80mph and on twisty wet roads. I found no issue at all in the rain. Off road it is not as good as the TKC but it does the job.

    I have been running a TKC front for about 10K and expect to get somewhere past 13K. I do reverse the tire every once in a while because it cups.


    I have not tried the big block yet so I have no input.
    #4
  5. Tonk

    Tonk Broken Adventurer

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    Thanks for the replies so far, good info.

    Oh, one more question...... Does anyone using any of these tires do their own tire changes? I've heard that the side walls are really stiff and almost impossible to get off with spoons.
    #5
  6. burmbuster

    burmbuster Long timer

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    Ha! Yeah, I do my own. Lets just say you need patience with the K60. The TKC80 is cake.:wink:
    Using the spoons on the K60 is no problem. You have to constantly work the wall into the center of the rim due to the stiff side walls.
    #6
  7. Tonk

    Tonk Broken Adventurer

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    Thanks Burmbuster, it's good to know it can be done. That gives the Continentals an edge, it's nice to know a tire can be repaired trail side.
    Thanks
    #7
  8. burmbuster

    burmbuster Long timer

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    Tonk,
    Let me say that I haven't had to do it roadside yet. Maybe someone else can chime in. What I hear about the K60 is breaking the seal is a major pita roadside. Just plan on using the side stand. It can't be any worse than getting the Bridgestone seal broken on the rear to get it off.:kboom
    #8
  9. ride2little

    ride2little MoveAlongNothingHere

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    I had K60's on my F800GS on my trip to CO. While mostly off-road up there, on day we were playing n the paved twistys fully loaded.doing abut 80 i started to get a shimmy. backed down to 75, shimmy gone, but then came back. Backed down to 70 and the shimmy disappeared, but came back and so it went. Finally limped into town at about 50. anything above that caused the shimmy.
    bottom-line, the rear K60 had no air. i had picked up a nail. The tire was so stiff it took me a while to realize it was flat. Checked the front tire, front bearings, the front end in general. All was okay until we saw the nail.
    Anyway, I changed the rear K-60 roadside, so problem (except the rim strip had disintegrated...used some duct tape for that).
    Don't let stiff tires scare you. Anything can be mounted. But it did take a little work to break the bead. Use the side stand of my buddy's bike to get it free.

    BTW, I am stll running that k60 rear with over 10,000 miles on it. Still plenty left. Previously, I had gotten 4-5K off of both TKC's and Kenda BB's. The Conti's definitely gripped the best, BTW.
    #9
  10. burmbuster

    burmbuster Long timer

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    Yeah, I call the K60 my "run flat" tire just because of what you said. I haven't had a flat yet but figured it could hold up better than most because of the stiff side walls.:lol3
    #10
  11. gusutavot800

    gusutavot800 Adventurer

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    Those tires are all great choices, I have TKC's and have just over 600 miles on them, so can not report on longevity, the tires are great on/off road and most importantly they look cool....:evil:evil.....keep in mind the new Metzeler Karoo 3 I really like the thread pattern, not sure if available yet but look promising.

    Good Luck with whatever tire you choose
    #11
  12. invicta1

    invicta1 Been here awhile

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    Keep up the responses. I'm in the same boat - ahem, bike - as the op and need new tires. Two questions:

    1. How are the TKC and K60 for highway noise
    2. I do lots of gravel. Comments on gravel performance for either.

    Danka
    #12
  13. kingofZroad

    kingofZroad Been here awhile

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    I am in the same boat, I want new (better) tires for my 800XC.

    I think I am going to use the K60 in the rear, still undecided in the front... Can't decide between the TKC and the K60.
    #13
  14. burmbuster

    burmbuster Long timer

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    I'm sure there is a noise difference but I can't tell honestly. The only difference I can tell is feel. Going from a more road oriented tire to an aggressive tire. At speed they are just as smooth but you can feel them at low speeds.
    #14
  15. ~TABASCO~

    ~TABASCO~ www.rideonadv.com

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    I can add a bit to that and to this discussion... (K60's and other tires)

    This last summer we ran up to AR, from TX (on K60's) We where riding off road all day and I must have picked up a nail in the rear tire of my 1200 ADV bike. I was going to pop on over to OK City on 40... I was just inside the OK boarder and stopped to get fuel with a fully loaded ADV bike. When I popped down the center stand I started to ride off and the whole bike was acting crazy before I got out of the parking lot. I looked down and the rear beads of the tire where broken off the rim, the tire beads where almost touching, the rear rim was just about sitting on the ground.. I put the bike back up on the center stand and hooked up the pump I carry. I grabbed the tire with my hands to re seat the tire and I just about burned my hands. I didnt have a temp gauge right there, but that tire felt like it was 200+ F... It was HOT.. I must have been riding it flat for hours on the high way at 70 mph... I didnt even feel it flat. I put a plug in the tire, got it re seated up and road off... I put some serious wear on that tire in this incident... The K60's have a really stiff side wall and this also helps with rock damage to the rims on these big, heavy 1200 ADV bikes... If you ride in off road areas with rocks these tires seem to protect the rim better than TKC and Kenda in our shop experience. Im also still on the same rear tire today, still going strong. :D

    We sell all the tires the original poster has asked about. We install them and have ridden them.. They all seem to have pro's and cons. Everyone has there own idea of what they should get out a tire, and what they like and expect. With that being said, ON AVERAGE the TKC 80 and KENDA just wear to fast on the big 1200 adv bikes. Of course this is my opinion. We do mess with these tires everyday and have customers on them everyday, so I do have some basis of what we see..

    The tires I currently run are the K60's. The wear outstanding and have great traction on road and off. Of course, not as good as a road specific tire or a full knob off road tire, Duuuu..... I currently have almost 11K miles on my set of K60's. Im looking to get another 2K out of the rear and I could get another 10K miles out of my front... The TKC 80 and KENDA will not give riders this type of mileage. I have run my tires hard in all types of conditions, rain, snow, asphalt, concrete, water crossings, mud, sand, Etc. I have about 3500 miles off road with this set. You can also run them hard to the edge repeatedly and they dont wear bad, and still give you performance for this type of 50/50 tire. (pictures below) I can drag the pegs very easy with these tires and do almost everyday. The only time I have ever felt that I was getting close to the edge of there performance was diving into a long right hand sweeping turn at 78 mph. This was the only time I started to feel them giving up. For me, I do ride the bike cross country on and off road. So I do need a good wearing 50/50 tire...

    For me and my ADV bike I will be running the K60's forever. They give me everything I want and need, and I beat on them for 15K + miles... No other ADV tire will do that.... I have a friend that lives up on the East Coast. He rides a Yamaha Super Tenere. In about 18 Mo he has put on close to 75K miles on the bike. He has shown me proof that he has gotten 30K miles on a set of K60's... 99% of the miles are high way, but that is very impressive... The rear tire was not showing cord or steel.. :eek1
    We see customers all the time getting 15 K miles out of one set.. Needless to say, I like the K60's... Others might too..... Here are a few pictures of my front run out to the edge... I 'ride' the bike for sure............

    These pictures are current, front at 11K miles.... If anyone needs any of these tires or has questions feel free to Email or call anytime, we would be happy to answer your questions.

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Tonk

    Tonk Broken Adventurer

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    Great report Tabasco and thanks to everyone for their info. I think I'm going with the K60's, probably with the TKC front but maybe just straight K60's. The wear is really important due to the fact that the offloading I do is sometimes hours away. I'm hoping to spend a lot of time on the trails in Northern Maine this summer and can see wearing down a pair of TKC or BB just getting there and back a few times. They are great tires but I think part of the attraction is the cool look of the knobbies but the practicality (is that even a word) for me isn't there yet.

    Thanks again for the feedback and keep the info coming...
    #16
  17. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    My advice: run an IRC TR8 front tire. Pair it with the Heidenau or a TKC-80 rear, or if you don't need quite the knobby profile on the rear, a Full Bore M-40 (half the price of the others, good longevity, still performs surprisingly well off pavement).

    I ran the IRC/Full Bore combo on my XC when I rode the Trans-Lab last August. Worked great, handled well, and wore well. The IRC front tire is slightly more aggressive than the TKC but wears and handles on pavement at least as well.

    Pics:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Those last two were taken at the other end of the Trans-Lab -- I was impressed with how well the tires wore. They ended up lasting well past the end of the 4000-mile trip. I'll definitely be going with the IRC front from now on when I need a knobby, not the TKC.

    For the record, I've also run a Kenda Big Block front tire, and it was worn out in 3000 miles. It was also prone to headshake on the pavement starting at around 70mph, especially when there was turbulence from cars ahead. I will not be buying another.

    --mark
    #17
  18. xaman

    xaman Been here awhile

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    I hope I'm not derailing the thread, but I have a question for you guys about the K60s.

    I'm getting pretty bad head shake on my 650 thumper at 75+mph running TKC80s. I've run multiple sets on a Triumph Scrambler and never had any trouble whatsoever, so this has surprised me. I'm not sure if it's due to the lighter nature of the 650, or if I just got a not so great tire. Otherwise I'm thrilled with the cornering, and especially the gravel performance of the TKC.

    Are you guys seeing any trouble on the highways with the K60 front?
    #18
  19. Tonk

    Tonk Broken Adventurer

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    Markbtv..... I like that set up and will definitely look them up. On a side note, how'd the Tiger do on the TLH? I'm getting a wide range per tank and noticed you're packing some extra fuel. Did you ever need to tap into those tanks, did you take any side trails/roads while out in the boonies? I was planning on bringing a 1 gallon Rotopax with me, will I be walking out?:eek1

    Thanks
    #19
  20. burmbuster

    burmbuster Long timer

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    It shouldnt cause head shake at that speed unless you have full luggage. And its not the weight, its the aerodynamics with the bags on. Thats been my experience.
    #20