CG 4X / AM 2.35, 26″ (850g, 2.3″ actual width)
This is a rather strange tire design and has the narrowest performance band. It is designed specifically to roll fast on hardpack, and do little else.
While the 4X / AM tire pedals and brakes very well on hardpack and rolls very quickly, it skates and floats high in gravel; sand; and loose, decomposed granite, and I found some of the braking edges to work against themselves. Hard braking in gravely and loose terrain forced the tire to skid and push in the wrong direction. However, the tire does transition and corner well in grass, which does make it a nice dual slalom tire.
The performance band of this tire is very narrow, but it handles its specific task very well. It makes a great 4x tire on packed and smoother surfaces, or in dusty, blown-out corners. It is a very good dirt jump tire if you like a little bigger volume casing (though it does not roll nearly as well as a Kenda Small Block 8, or Intense Micro-Knobby). It is also a great dual slalom race tire in grass and blown out berms.
The tire would perform nicely on rides such as Slickrock, in Moab; however, outside of these rather specific terrain types and conditions, the tire gives up significant performance to most traditional tires, and I would suggest looking elsewhere.
The Panaracer Combo rubber compound works as advertised. It combines a quick-rolling and long-lasting outer rubber with a softer inner rubber to slow knob rebound and increase the tire’s ability to deform to match the terrain. This tread compound simply makes sense. It combines the best riding attributes of fast wearing, slow rolling, and grippy rubber, with the best attributes of a fast-rolling, rigid tire that conforms to the terrain poorly. And the best part of all is that Panaracer has been able to offer this technology in a ~$50 retail tire, rather than around $80, like the rest of its competition (Maxxis, Continental, Schwalbe).
The casing has proven to be very durable and has not offered any issue after significant testing. It should not, however, be thought of as “tubeless ready.” While it will hold air with sealant, the sidewall is thin and durability could be an issue.
Each CG tire meets its design goals, and most of them (the XC, SC, and AC) not only meet their goals, they approach nearly universal awesomeness. The one caveat is that the CG 4x / AM tire tread, while great for its intended purpose, is lacking everywhere else. Given its narrow performance range, other tires may make more sense.
I would not hesitate to recommend these tires to any trail rider, and really feel they deserve a good long look.
Meet the Kenda BBG, perhaps the single best trail bike tire currently on the market.
Two of the best tires on the market, reviewed in one place.
The Kenda Slant Six 2.35 is an excellent choice for hardpack to intermediate XC terrain.