Kenda Klever AT/2 Does Baja

Kenda Klever AT/2 Does Baja

Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the Google Play Store!Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StoreAbout two weeks before leaving to support a team in the 2020 Baja 1000, my 6th race, I started thinking about new tires. I put on new tires when I am down to 50% tread. I rely heavily on my tires off-road and driving on the fresh half of the tread is worth the expense. I sell the perfectly fine old ones. Someone gets a good deal and safe use from the second half of a tire’s life.


I was on my second set of one of a great all-terrain tire. Tread was down to about 50%.

The editorial staff at Toyota Cruisers and Trucks Magazine told me that Kenda Tire had a new all-terrain offering.

TCT Editor Phillip Jones previously equipped his 2019 Voodoo Blue TRD Pro Tacoma with the Kenda Klever R/T (see Spring 2020, Cover and P. 12) and took a major trip to the Ozark National Forest (see Winter 2020, P. 56).

I have great Kenda mountain bike tires in my garage. Would their all-terrain tire be any good?

We told Kenda that I was packing to drive from Denver to Ensenada and chase for a winning Baja 1000 team. An opportunity for a torture test. I needed tires within a week. I had tires four days later.

What I got:

  • Kenda Klever A/T2 KR628
  • 286/75R16
  • E rated
  • Winter snowflake certified

Was I foolish to take a leap of faith just before such a big trip? I was already considering trying a different tire. But I was looking at proven tires my friends used, I was looking at tires I’d read many reviews about, I was looking at tires I saw on professional guide vehicles.

No better test than Baja!

The tires were shipped to my house. I was off to a good start when my girlfriend said: “those tires look cool,” ... “but not in the living room!” Cool. Not living room cool. Out they went.

Kenda Klever A/T tire Review from Baja

I drove over to HighWay AutoWorks (, a local Denver wheel and tire shop. I’d met the owner Nas months earlier when I pulled up in my 80 series Land Cruiser looking to mount a used spare. I was blinded by 20+inch chrome and gold rims, but Nas welcomed me. I figured if they could mount and install $1,000+ rims they would do a good job for me. I went back with the Kendas.

First impressions of the Klever A/T2 was the smooth ride. Really smooth. I had about 330,000 miles on my 1993 FZJ80. 210,000 of those are mine. It was not usually so smooth.

Kenda Klever A/T tire Review from Baja

My setup is factory rims, Old Man Emu 2 inch heavy lift, ARB front bumper, 12.5 Superwinch and synthetic line. I have a Gobi Stealth rack and homemade storage drawers. The truck weighs about 6,800 lbs.

HighWay AutoWorks said the sidewalls were more pliable than the tires we took off. The tires we took off, same size, and also E-rated, have legendary tough sidewalls. Now, after more than 6,000 miles, including hard wheeling at 17-19 PSI, there is still not a scuff or gouge on the Klever A/T2 sidewall. Also, the sidewall looks more robust in person than online. My girlfriend still thinks they look cool.

The tread is a deep open design. More aggressive than many A/Ts, but not an M/T. It has somewhat square shoulders, which would result in a narrower overall contact patch and explain some of the more precise handling.

Kenda Klever A/T tire Review from Baja

There is no noticeable noise.

They balanced great. For evaluation I have run them on highways with 85 MPH limits at anywhere from 35 to 50 PSI. Typically I run 38 PSI.

After a few days of local roads, it was time to drive to Baja.

The morning of day two had us Leaving Green River, UT, under blue skies. As we started climbing towards a 7,886 foot high summit it started to hail. Then the road became icy. Many vehicles pulled over. We slowed to a safe speed and drove on.

Then began to snow. The A/T2’s gripped well. I was in the backseat for that stretch. Ryan was driving. Ryan had never been in an 80 series Land Cruiser let alone driven one, but he has performance driving experience and a 100 series Land Cruiser. Ryan said he felt comfortably in control.

Kenda Klever A/T tire Review from Baja

We crossed the border that night. We loaded up on s and made camp near San Felipe. Over the next few days we experienced good roads, bad roads, no roads, dirt roads, deep sand, and rock crawling (pre-running Motomi Wash). The Klever A/T2’s rolled through and over it all.

We made it to Baja and back with no issue. Our team won its class.

In January, I went on a club run that turned into a snow run. Aired down to 18 PSI I never wanted for traction on snow or rock.

In February my girlfriend and I drove from Denver to Death Valley towing a pop-up. Again the tires performed flawlessly. Conditions included dry, wet, snow, ice, dirt, rock, and washboard. Miles of washboard. Leaving the pop-up at camp we explored the vast park. Portions of washboard lasted more than an hour (Eureka Dunes, Saline Warm Springs). The washboard was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The sweet spot was 55-60MPH at 22 PSI. There was hardly any traffic. The tires stayed planted. Handling was precise and predictable.

I had opportunities for deep sand. At highway pressure on firmer sand the Klever A/T2’s had a bit less grip than my previous all terrain tires. I attribute that to the more aggressive tread blocks and larger voids.  Aired down to 17-18PSI and traction was good.

I now have about 7,000 miles on the Klever A/T2. They are as good a tire as I have owned. My girlfriend has commented a few times how she likes the design - she typically rolls her eyes when I talk about tires. There is no sidewall damage, no tread chunking, and very few rocks have gotten lodged in the treads.

Kenda Klever A/T tire Review from Baja

As I was finishing this writeup, we drove from Grand Junction, CO, to a house near the Blue Mesa reservoir in a blizzard. We stopped one time to help pull out a car. For the last hour of the drive there were several inches of unplowed snow and drifts. The last portion was a steep unplowed driveway. I had chains but did not for a moment think they were needed.

Next up we’ll see how these tires do on Moab slickrock. Golden Spike is on the itinerary. I’m extremely pleased with the Kenda Klever A/T2 KR628.



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