I am a man who used to have a serious tire fetish. I would show up to mountain bike races with a trunk full of tires always trying to put on the perfect tire combination. I had tires for fast and dry courses, tires for loose and rough courses and a set of trusty mud tires that I would begrudgingly mount up on my rims after a night of torrential rain. I could sit around and talk about tread, casing, weight and rotating direction for extended periods of time and I was always looking for something new and unproven with a little whiff innovation and some fancy tread. I was also a sucker for a tire with a great name. Any name that implied speed, traction or just plain aggressiveness would be welcomed to my expansive collection. I bought any tire with “Max” in its name hoping for maximum performance, I bought the Rip and Rail tires which neither ripped nor railed, I bought the appropriately named Scratch tire which was all it did. I bought the Kujo downhill tires as soon as they came out and loved them as much for their name as for their trail shredding abilities. While my days of buying more tires than I need are over I am still a sucker for a tire with a great name and the Kenda Happy Mediums have found a happy place in my collection.
I have been running Happy Mediums on my dirty bike for years. When the rear tire starts to get worn out I rotate the front tire to the rear and put another fresh one on the front. One of my only complaints is that they wear out kind of fast, but this is one of the compromises with tires, either they ride smooth and fast or they last forever. I usually get a few hundred miles on the front and a few hundred on the rear. If you have more than a thousand miles on one of these tires it is probably starting to show some wear.
I have set these tires up tubeless despite not being tubeless ready. I have gone hundreds of miles without a flat and also had six flats within a hundred yards (don’t ride over old barbed wire fences!). I have ridden them until the threads of the casing start to show, toured the backroads of Colorado with a loaded bike, ridden muddy singletrack, wet spring snow, rugged rocky two-tracks where I probably should have walked and dropped roadies out on the pavement with these tires. They have limitations, and no tire is or ever will be perfect, but until the next great dirty road tire comes along these are one of my favorites.
Kenda Happy Medium 700x40c
Weight 434 +/- 22 grams