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Kenda Pinner Tires

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Aaron Gwin's New Kenda Pinner Tire - More Predictable Than Your Comments

When Aaron Gwin steps up to the developer plate, a hit is on the way.

Rating: Vital Review

Winner, winner. Pinner, Gwinner! The all-new Kenda Pinner mountain bike tire is billed as a dry-conditions gravity tire. Developed with input from Aaron Gwin, we were excited to see if the ginger ninja's input would help us tear up the trail like he tears up race courses. The last tire Gwin helped develop was the Onza Aquila, which was universally praised for its on-trail performance. How would the Pinner compare? Could Kenda deliver the goods? We tossed on a set of Pinners and aimed to find out.


  • Rolls well
  • No "void" when leaning into corners
  • Solid braking performance
  • Works as a rear tire for trail-riding applications


  • DH casing showing threads
  • Cornering knobs showing some marbling already


  • Dry-conditions, gravity-oriented tire
  • 27.5 x 2.4 (tested) and 29 x 2.4-inch offerings
  • ATC - Trail tire, folding bead 120 TPI, dual-tread compound
  • ATC Claimed weight: 923g / 997g (27.5 / 29-inch)
  • AGC - Gravity tire, folding bead 60 TPI, dual-layer compound
  • AGC Claimed weight: 1178g / 1297g (27.5 / 29-inch)
  • Non-staggered shoulder knobs
  • MSRP: Kenda Pinner AGC - $84.95 USD / Kenda Pinner ATC - $79.95


The Pinner is available in both 27.5- and 29-inch wheel sizes with just the one, 2.4-inch width. Both wheel diameters are available in two casings. Kenda's AGC is the gravity offering and has a woven aramid layer composing Kenda's Vector Shield. The gravity tire is dual-compound in the layering of the rubber, with a firmer compound underneath, capped by a softer compound. Kenda's ATC is the trail casing, shedding a few hundred grams and using a dual-compound setup with firmer rubber in the center and softer rubber on cornering knobs.

For a deeper dive into the development process and team launch video, check Kenda's press release HERE

Mounting The Pinner

We tested both the AGC and ATC versions of the Pinner, and they were mounted to 27.5-inch Stan's ZTR Flow wheels. While both tires mounted snuggly to the rim, the AGC was noticeably stiffer and actually created a tight suction on the wheel. Getting the tires mounted and seated was a one-shot affair and among the easiest tires in recent memory. The 2.4 width is a fantastic size for all-round trail use. It is large enough to handle rough terrain but not so large as to become unwieldy or cumbersome on long climbs or mellower portions of trail that can make up much of the ride. The topography design on the sidewall may not be for everybody (our trail buddies were sure to give us a ribbing about it). We kind of dig the design, however. It is subtle and says, "Hey, I'm here for the mountains." You know, in case there was any doubt.

27.5 Kenda Pinner AGC Tire Weight
27.5 Kenda Pinner ATC Tire Weight

On The Trail

Swapping to the Pinner from our existing setup went a little something like this: Friday, ride on our go-to setup; Maxxis Assegai EXO+ and Minion DHR EXO+ tires. Come home and swap to the Pinners, then ride the same trails on Saturday.

Right away we noticed the Pinners felt like a faster-rolling and faster-feeling tire. When a tire's rolling speed is examined, tread patterns, compounds, and wheel sizes are taken into account, but tread compounds often make the most significant impact. And when we hit the dirt, some tires just seem to roll faster. With that said, some of the fastest rolling tires we've ridden were also the most terrifying when we hit the brakes or had to change direction. The Kenda Pinner does not fall into that terrifying category (thankfully).

Our first ride together had us beaming, this was an excellent tire.


Laying the Pinner into a corner is met with a smooth, confident feel all the way through. There was never a scary void in the tread, nor did the Pinner seem to suddenly lose grip. The tires were excellent in slowing the bike down on loose-over-hard-pack and large slabs of rock. Our first ride together had us beaming—this was an excellent tire.

On one particular ride, after a long rock garden, the rear tire lost a lot of air. The ATC Pinner, which we had out back, was inspected with no immediate damage found. We popped the bead, and the new sealant we were using had dried out in a matter of a week. We threw in a tube and finished the ride. The next morning, we were able to locate a very small hole in the tire. The tire was filled with Stan's sealant, inflated by a floor pump, and we never lost air again.

One of the steepest and most rowdy descents in the area thawed out during testing, and the Pinner was put to through the paces multiple times. Over and over again, the Pinner performed beautifully. We were genuinely amazed at the performance of Kenda's newest offering.



We tested out the AGC and ATC versions of the Pinner in the terrain for which it was designed, primarily in the rocky stuff. After about 60 miles on the tires we were seeing some marbling on the inside of the edge / cornering knobs of both the AGC and ATC. The center knobs on both tires are holding up quite well with virtually no visible signs of wear. It is interesting that our AGC, the tire with the more heavy-duty casing, had several small cuts to the sidewall, exposing the yellow aramid strands that create the three layers of the Kenda Vector Shield. Right now, these battle wounds seem purely superficial and are not causing any performance issues.


What's The Bottom Line?

The new Kenda Pinner seats up easily, even when worn. Cornering control is consistent and predictable which is not a euphemism for how easily it breaks free. This tire hooks and holds in the corners. Riders have traction for days in a tire that rolls relatively fast. We haven't logged a ton of miles on the Pinners, but our initial impressions won't have us removing them once testing is done. Add to that the blessings of the Gwizzard and the Kenda Pinner is a compelling tire.

Head to for more details.

Vital MTB Rating: 4 stars - Excellent

About The Reviewer

Brad Howell- Age: 40 // Years Riding: 25 // Height: 5'9" (1.75m) // Weight: 170-pounds (77.1kg)

Brad started mountain biking when a 2.25-inch tire was "large," and despite having threads, bottom brackets sucked. Riding in the woods with friends eventually lead way to racing, trying to send it at the local gravel pits, and working in bike shops as a wrench to fix those bikes. Fortunate enough to have dug at six Rampages and become friends with some of the sport’s biggest talents, Brad has a broad perspective of what bikes can do and what it means to be a good rider. The past few years Brad worked in the bike industry and got to see the man behind the curtain. These days, though, he just likes riding his bike in the woods with friends.

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18 comments newest first

Whether we use the base word "wizard" (two syllables and ends in one vowel and one consonant) or the base word "Gwin" (one syllable, one vowel, and one consonant), we must double the final consonant. Therefore two z's to combine Gwin and Wizard.

I mean, it's still a made-up word but we gotta have order somewhere, right?

| Reply

Oh I don't debate your linguistic logic, you certainly have that on lock. My i'll formatted question really goes toward the need for another superlative. Additionally at the risk of sounding like a troll gwizzard is a bit to close to gizzard which conjures up all kinds of nasty thoughts. Good review though.

| Reply

For the most part, yes.
Also, as you may have read in our forums, many riders enjoy the ride qualities of a downhill tire (improved trail damping, less deflection). This quality, to me, is most noticeable at the front of the bike so that's the route I went. I have an aversion to slow bikes, so I figured I would get weird and put the ACT in the rear since the center has a firmer compound and would roll a bit faster. I'm still running it this way and honestly dig it.

| Reply

Makes sense. I haven’t tried a DH casing up front yet, I have to run a DD/equivalent out back for durability, but can get away with Exo/equivalent out back. The downside is that the softer casing usually comes on the DH tire. I’ll have to give that a try!

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can you compare the casings to Maxxis or specialized? Trying to decide if the ATC is enough for me. I'm firming in the EXO+ and Grid Trail camp

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That is a tough one. Off the rim, holding them in your hands, the EXO+ feels just a tad stiffer than the ATC. Obviously the AGC offers quite a bit more but surprisingly, didn't feel too penalizing when on the bike.

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How many miles you have on your Hellkat? I had an amazing first 300 miles on mine, able to ride trails without touching the brakes, taking corners all hotter than usual, but the grip fell off suddenly. I took it to a bike park and the knobs got trashed. Disappointing compared to the longevity and consistency of Maxxis.

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Product Kenda Pinner Tires
Riding Type Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29"
Tire Width 2.4 inches
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Bead Folding (aramid woven fabric)
Durometer AGC: uses a dual layer construction with a firmer rubber base, supporting the knobs, and a soft compound on top for grip
ATC: uses a dual tread construction with a soft shoulder and firmer center tread
Sidewall KVS cut and puncture protection and 20mm apex pinch-flat protection and sidewall support
TPI: 60 with AGC, 120 with ATC
  • 2 lb 3.2 oz (997 g)
  • 2 lb 13.8 oz (1,297 g)
  • 2 lb 0.6 oz (923 g)
  • 2 lb 9.6 oz (1,178 g)
Miscellaneous A dry condition gravity tire.
The tread pattern is designed to work best on hardpack, rocky/rooty, and loose-over-hard conditions.
Developed together with Aaron Gwin.
Offers cornering predictability and high puncture protection.
2020 model release.
  • $84.95
  • $79.95
More Info

Advanced Gravity Casing (AGC) – For gravity orientated riders. A strip of Kenda Vector Shield (KVS) is built in under the tread area and along the sidewalls to protect the tire from cuts and puncture, and a 20mm apex along the bead prevents pinch flats and burping.

Advanced Trail Casing (ATC) – Optimized for trail riding and is lighter and more supple than Kenda's gravity solutions. It uses a layer of SCT on the sidewalls and a K-Armor belt under the tread area. K-Armor casing material technology allows for a tighter weave and the use of less rubber, resulting in a lighter tire and a casing that is supple enough to allow the knobs to flex and form under load, yet still protects from pinch flats, punctures, and cuts.

Kenda Vector Shield (KVS) – A lightweight woven aramid material (1500D1) built in under the tread area and along the sidewalls to protect the tire from cuts and punctures.

Sidewall Casing Technology (SCT) – Allows the tire to maximize the benefits of fluid based sealants while also increasing the strength of sidewalls for resistance to slices and abrasion.

For more info, visit the Kenda Tire website.

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