For a long time he was looking for the right tyres for his vehicles. Meanwhile he prefers the ATV/UTV tyres from Kenda - by a long way, as he emphasizes. The tyres that Drescher purchases from Bohnenkamp AG are "the black gold for ATVs. The quality they offer costs easily a third more with other manufacturers". Off road, the 42-year-old power sports fan shows us how outstandingly his favourite tyres perform in sand, knee-deep mud and on steep slopes.
The best all-rounder tyre for ATV off-road
The setting is a disused gravel pit in the neighbouring village, surrounded only by adjacent fields and a small area of woodland. The last rain has washed a lot of water into the ruts and made the loamy slopes and meter high embankments become slippery. On foot the area is a real challenge. But with a set of ATV tyres of the type Kenda K299-Bearclaw and 52 HP under the hood, Gunar Drescher sprints up the first steep hill effortlessly on his ATV. "In my opinion, this ATV tyre is unbeatable off-road, because it can actually manage everything", the power sports fan describes the Kenda K299 Bearclaw. As the tyres supplied ex works are usually only a compromise solution, the gPARTz owner has tested countless tyres himself. "I wanted to be able to advise my customers professionally and soundly and tried out all kinds of things. The K299-Bearclaw turned out to be the best all-rounder for the terrain." Stefan Pahnke can only confirm the model’s high popularity. The Key Account Manager for Kommunal & Powersport in the Bohnenkamp sales office in Lüneburg/Germany, assists Gunar Drescher’s company. “The Taiwanese company’s high degree of technical maturity is particularly impressive in the Bearclaw," explains the salesman. The tread is a permanent issue in the Kenda range and is one of the manufacturer’s earliest ATV tyres emphasises Pahnke, who knows what he is talking about. After all, the Bohnenkamp team has been working in close cooperation with the Taiwanese manufacturer for more than 10 years.
The KENDA K299-Bearclaw: perfect grip
The power transmission the tyre can achieve even on uncompacted ground is demonstrated by its performance on a sandy open field. The acceleration is immediate. The profile hurls the earth metres high as Drescher gets his Arctic Cat up to full speed from a standing start and then forces it into tight corners at breakneck speed. But speed and acceleration are not everything. With low tyre pressure, the Kenda Bearclaw can also be driven very slowly and in a controlled manner. "With a little run-up, I can always get up anywhere. But if the track is winding and twisty, I need a reliable tyre with plenty of grip," explains the experienced ATV specialist. For this reason, the KENDA K299-Bearclaw is Drescher's absolute favourite tyre for the trial. “It manages everything and looks cool at the same time. With its outer tread blocks, I get lateral grip using steering movements." And thanks to its slightly rounded cross section, the tyre also copes well with ruts in the terrain.
Offroad-allrounder with top self-cleaning
Gunar Drescher shows what this means in practice just a few minutes later on another section of his course. There is nothing more to be seen of the track. Instead, after days of rain, a knee-deep pond stretches over a length of about 30 metres. Although the water almost reaches the Arctic Cat's seat, the vehicle makes powerful progress. However, when the vehicle’s wheels start spinning for a brief moment, the motorsport enthusiast straightens up and brings his Arctic Cat back under control with a few short, precise steering movements. Pushing a mighty bow wave in front of it, the machine resurfaces seconds later at the other end of the water hole. A look at the drenched tyres is surprising: the Kenda Bearclaw’s tread is completely free of sediment despite the muddy dive. "Other tread patterns would immediately get clogged up with mud and muck and behave like slicks. However, the sludge reliably separates from the Bearclaw tread", says Drescher, praising the Kenda K299-Bearclaw ATV tyre’s excellent self-cleaning properties.
Track-stable, comfortable ATV tyre also for use on the road
Thanks to its softer material formula, the K299-Bearclaw behaves exemplary in trials even at a quarter of the standard 0.4-0.5 bar tyre pressure and overcomes tree stumps and branches with ease. For the road, Kenda actually has developed the Bearclaw HTR which lasts significantly longer on solid surfaces thanks to the harder rubber compound and narrower tread pattern. In terms of pure handling, however, the K299-Bearclaw is also suitable for high speeds. Even though its characteristics are not identical to those of a pure road tyre, the Kenda ATV tyre is extremely stable and surprisingly quiet. "With many other tyres, you can hardly control your vehicle on the road at speeds of 80 km/h and higher. That won't happen to you with Kenda," Gunar Drescher underlines the comfortable on-road driving characteristics. This is where Kenda’s expertise as a manufacturer pays off, not only manufacturing ATV tyres but also fast passenger car tyres. The Taiwanese manufacturer’s production know-how is already evident in the balancing of the ATV tyres. "There are less than a handful of tyre brands for ATVs that do not need to be balanced after wheel mounting. Kenda is one of them." Especially Bearclaw shows the high technical maturity of the Taiwanese.
The whole KENDA range in use
Many gPARTz customers now also drive the Kenda K299 Bearclaw or another model from the ATV tyre manufacturer. 90 percent of the buyers who have tried Kenda also later choose one of the high-performance makes. "The Kenda Mastodon is very track stable and suitable for both Enduro and the road use. Even in trials, it delivers a top performance," enthuses Drescher. Only in the mud does the model have certain weaknesses. And the Kenda Executioner is "a really extreme tyre for those who really just want to drive in mud" laughs the ATV fan. This is a real tractor tyre for which mud and loose sand are no problem at all. In the original equipment sector, the cheaper Kenda Pathfinder is more often installed. Drescher also believes that this is justified and, for example, is completely fine as a first tyre for a small ATV to get to know the vehicle and understand exactly what the driver actually expects.
The bottom line is that Kenda's ATV tyres achieve a mileage of well over 10,000 kilometres under normal use, which is "two to three seasons for an ATV enthusiast like me", Drescher reckons.
Starting with ATVs
Gunar Drescher started his self-employment in 2004, initially as a tuning specialist. In the meantime, the gPARTz motor vehicle workshop in Storkow, Brandenburg, an hour's drive southeast of Berlin, has become the first port of call for ATV/UTV enthusiasts over a wide radius. The boss of this three-man business counts himself to be amongst them: "with the quad bike you cleave a track where there is none," says Drescher, underlining the off-road character of this vehicle type. He himself drives a 700cc machine from the Canadian manufacturer Arctic Cat and regularly meets up with ATV enthusiasts from all over Germany.
Gunar Drescher's car workshop in Storkow, Brandenburg, offers many other technical services in addition to normal repair work, such as air conditioning service, tyre service, wheel alignment, computer diagnosis, TÜV or exhaust emission testing. In 2012 they added the trade with Quads and ATVs of the Arctic Cat brand. Drescher expanded the product range to include quads and scooters from the vehicle manufacturer Kymco only this year.
In addition to recreational power sports enthusiasts, gPARTz also supplies and advises game keepers and farmers who are increasingly interested in the flexible, high-performance ATVs.
More information is available at www.gpartz.de.