New shoes: 1979 Triumph Bonneville 750 wearing a set of Kenda K676 RetroActive tires.
We posted notice of the Kenda K676 RetroActive tire range when Kenda first announced it. Owners of older bikes are painfully aware of the limited tire choices typically available to them, and Kenda designed the new K676 specifically for riders of ‘70s and ‘80s sport bikes wearing then-popular but now increasingly hard to find 16-inch, 17-inch, 18-in and 19-inch tires. The V-rated (149mph) tires feature an all-weather tread design and a new rubber compound for improved durability and mileage, plus an improved crown radius for a larger footprint in corners. We got a chance to check out a set ourselves, recently installing a pair on ad man Kyle Jones’ 1979 Triumph T140E.
Kyle’s Triumph was definitely in need of a new set of shoes, wearing a set of off-brand rubber that came with the bike when he bought it last year. Before spooning on the new K676 tires – a 100/90 x 19-inch front and 120/90 x 18-inch rear – the Triumph’s cornering prowess was so limited it made Kyle wonder why anyone ever said old Triumphs handle well. Happily, Kyle’s discovered his Triumph does indeed handle sweetly, as the new Kenda K676 tires have transformed his Bonneville, turning it into his daily rider and relegating his late-model Hinckley Triumph T100 to second-choice status.
Front Kenda K676 mounted on Triumph Bonneville.
The new tires have seen almost 3,000 miles of street riding to date, and so far show almost no wear. Long-wearing tires typically trade handling for mileage, but that’s not our impression with the K676s, which exhibit a confident, predictable bite whether leaning into a corner or riding on less than desirable surfaces. Wet use has been limited, but even then the K676 tires feel planted to the road, which, of course, is exactly what you want and need in a tire. Kenda suggests a list price of $122.99 and up, but if you look around you can find the tires we used starting at around $95-$105 for the 100/90 x 19-inch front and $125-$145 for the 120/90 x 18-inch rear.
Looming cold weather means the riding season is pretty much over in our part of the world – the Midwest – but we’ll report back in the spring with an update on our K676 tires to see how they perform with a little more age and mileage. Judging from our initial experiences, we expect another positive report. You can learn more about the K676 RetroActive tires by visiting Kenda online. — Richard Backus
Rear Kenda K676 mounted on Triumph Bonneville.