Kenda Bear Claw Tires - Everything You Need To Know

Aaron Brzozowski
by Aaron Brzozowski

An in depth look at these affordable and capable ATV tires

We take a deep dive into the extremely popular Kenda Bear Claw ATV tires as we look at features, sizes, user reviews, and alternatives.

As the only part of your ATV or UTV that actually makes contact with the trail, your tires are uniquely responsible for turning your ride’s torque, braking force, and steering inputs into action. It’s no great leap to say that your ride’s performance is, ultimately, only as good as the tires it rides on. Seems simple enough. But truth be told, shopping for the right set of ATV tires gets complicated by the sheer number of different types, brands, and models available. That’s where we come in, with another of our “Everything You Need To Know” articles, this time focused on one of the most popular, well-regarded tires lines in the industry: the Kenda Bear Claw. Here, we’ll be going over its features, sizing options, user reviews, and possible alternatives, all to help take some of the guesswork out of tire shopping so you can make an informed purchase.

Table of Contents

1. Kenda Bear Claw Features

The Kenda Bear Claw tire range is expansive and well-rounded, the standard “K299” Bear Claw being flanked by four alternative variants: the deep-tread Bear Claw XL, the mixed-terrain-focused Bear Claw EX, the extra-lightweight Bear Claw EVO, and the radial-construction Bear Claw HTR. All available Kenda Bear Claw product lines – save for the radial HTR model – utilize rugged, capable 6-ply bias construction that takes well to airing-down, and provides ample puncture-resistance without introducing too much unsprung mass.

The standard K299 Kenda Bear Claw has long been a favorite among serious ATV/UTV enthusiasts for its built-in rim guard, its hard-wearing long-range tread compound, and its clever, versatile tread design, which puts it somewhere between a paddle tire and a conventional directional-tread tire. That proven tread design, which is especially at-home on loose dirt, loam, and grass, carries over to the Kenda Bear Claw XL, as do its long-range tread compound and built-in rim guard. The difference is its deeper tread blocks, which allow the XL to add mud and sand performance to the repertoire.

The other tires in the Kenda Bear Claw product line – the Bear Claw EX, Bear Claw EVO, and Bear Claw HTR – are all markedly different tires, although they share the standard tire’s approach to strong-performing lightweight construction. The Bear Claw EX delivers excellent mixed-terrain performance with a completely different tread design, more akin to a traditional all-terrain truck tire than an ATV tire, with tall, staggered biting edges that can find traction on rocks and hard-pack terrain, and ramp-edge center knobs for low rolling resistance. The Bear Claw EVO is more akin to the K299 in spirit; it features a similar V-shaped tread pattern, and like the K299, it delivers strong wet weather performance with deep recess dimpled tread knobs. But it boasts features the standard Bear Claw doesn’t have, like upsized center knobs for stronger straight-line and braking performance, and unique transition knobs that give it the edge in cornering ability.

The Kenda Bear Claw HTR is easily the most unique in the Bear Claw tire line, however, with its 8-ply-rated radial construction and focus on hard-terrain performance. It boasts similar puncture-resistance to the bias-ply models in the lineup, but with superior ride comfort and predictable handling at speed thanks to its construction and smooth-riding center knob design. It’s not completely averse to mud, however, with wide-open void areas for good self-cleaning and 21mm of tread depth.

2. Kenda Bear Claw Tire Sizes / Specs

The Kenda Bear Claw tire range is available in a vast array of different sizes, for wheels ranging from 8 to 14 inches in diameter, with 21 to 28 inches of total tire height, depending on the model and wheel size. See the chart below for more detailed information about available sizes.

Kenda Bear Claw K299

Wheel Diameter Position Outer Diameter Section Width Tire Pressure (psi) / Load (lbs) Tread Depth (mm)
8” Rear 21” 11” 7 / 430 19.50
9” Rear 22-24” 10-11” 7 / 430-495 19.50
10” Front / Rear 21-24” 8-11” 7 / 274-495 14.50-19.50
11” Front / Rear 22-24” 6-11” 7 / 290-559 14.50-19.50
12” Front / Rear 23-27” 7-11” 7 / 310-650 14.50-19.50

Kenda Bear Claw XL

Wheel Diameter Position Outer Diameter Section Width Tire Pressure (psi) / Load (lbs) Tread Depth (mm)
11” Rear 24” 10” 7 / 395 24.00
12” Front / Rear 24-27” 8-12” 7 / 310-495 20.00-32.00

Kenda Bear Claw EX

Wheel Diameter Position Outer Diameter Section Width Tire Pressure (psi) / Load (lbs) Tread Depth (mm)
8” Rear 22” 11” 7 / 395 --
9” Rear 22” 11” 7 / 395 --
10” Front / Rear 22-25” 7-11” 7 / 235-455 --
11” Front / Rear 23-25” 7-10” 7 / 290-420 --
12” Front / Rear 25-27” 8-12” 7 / 290-550 --

Kenda Bear Claw EVO

Wheel Diameter Position Outer Diameter Section Width Tire Pressure (psi) / Load (lbs) Tread Depth (mm)
12” Front / Rear 24-27” 7-10” 7 / 340-494 14.50-19.50
14” Front / Rear 26-28” 8-10” 7 / 396-520 18.50-19.50

Kenda Bear Claw HTR

Wheel Diameter Position Outer Diameter Section Width Tire Pressure (psi) / Load (lbs) Tread Depth (mm)
12” Front / Rear 25-27” 8-11” 7 / 340-494 21.00
14” Front / Rear 26-28” 8-10” 7 / 396-520 21.00

3. Kenda Bear Claw Weight

The Kenda Bear Claw is a true lightweight powersports tire – something that lends itself well to straight-line performance, braking, handling, and responsiveness on any terrain. The absolute lightest of the range, for example, is the K299 Bear Claw sized 22x7x11, which weighs a scant 13.15 pounds. At the heaviest, the 27x12x12 K299 Bear Claw weighs a sliver under 30 pounds. Its 8-ply radial construction means that the hard-terrain-focused Bear Claw weighs a bit more – a 27x11x12 HTR, for instance, tips the scales at 30.86 pounds. The Bear Claw XL and Bear Claw EVO tend to lie somewhere between the two.

Here is a sample of Kenda Bear Claw tires and their respective weights in pounds.

18.94 lbs 19.53 lbs -- --
20.79 lbs 22.58 lbs 21.20 lbs 25.41 lbs
27.30 lbs -- 30.30 lbs 30.86 lbs
-- -- 26.40 lbs 34.09 lbs

4. Kenda Bear Claw Alternative #1: ITP Mud Lite AT

One comparable alternative to the Kenda Bear Claw that shoppers might want to consider is the ITP Mud Lite AT. It features an overall similar tread design to the standard K299 Bear Claw, with a similar tread depth for most available sizes, but as the name suggests, it’s a bit more focused on mud performance, making it a truly versatile, go-anywhere tire. The selection of sizes is nearly as expansive, with options to suit a wide variety of ATVs and UTVs, and with the same 6-ply-rated construction, the weight is comparable. All of that comes at around the same price – often less – than a same-sized set of Bear Claws.

ITP Mud Lite AT Sizes

Size Tread Depth Load Rating
22x11-8 21/32" 395 LBS
22x11-9 21/32" 395 LBS
22x11-10 21/32" 385 LBS
22x8-10 21/32" 275 LBS
23x8-10 21/32" 300 LBS
23x10-10 21/32" 375 LBS
23x8-11 21/32" 290 LBS
24x8-12 21/32" 310 LBS
24x11-10 21/32" 440 LBS
24x10-11 21/32" 395 LBS
24x8-11 21/32" 320 LBS
24x9-11 21/32" 365 LBS
25x8-12 21/32" 340 LBS
25x11-10 21/32" 455 LBS
25x8-11 21/32" 355 LBS
25x10-12 21/32" 420 LBS
25x10-11 21/32" 420 LBS
25x12-9 21/32" 495 LBS

5. Kenda Bear Claw Alternative #2: Carlisle AT489

Another tire that’s often cross-shopped against the Kenda Bear Claw is the ubiquitous AT489. The AT489 is the factory-recommended replacement for plenty of ATV and UTV models, and while it doesn’t offer the same wide range of sizes, a number of different models are available for 10, 11, and 12-inch wheel diameters. Each is modestly priced, with decent all-terrain performance and all-purpose versatility, although riders who are especially concerned with durability and puncture-resistance might want to look elsewhere; most of the AT489 range uses 4-ply-rated construction.

Carlisle AT489 Sizes

Size Tread Depth Load Rating
22x9.5-10 19/32" 600 LBS
22x10-11 19/32" 600 LBS
22x10-10 19/32" 355 LBS
23x7-10 19/32" 240 LBS
23x8-11 19/32" 290 LBS
23x10-10 19/32" 375 LBS
23x8-12 19/32" 280 LBS
23x10-12 19/32" 320 LBS
24x10-11 19/32" 395 LBS
24x12-10 19/32" 1050 LBS
24x9-12 19/32" 565 LBS
24x9-11 19/32" 365 LBS
24x8-12 19/32" 505 LBS
24x10.5-10 19/32" 715 LBS
24x9.5-10 19/32" 855 LBS
24x8-12 19/32" 310 LBS
24x11-12 19/32" 430 LBS
24x11-10 19/32" 440 LBS
25x11-10 19/32" 455 LBS
25x8-12 19/32" 495 LBS
25x11-12 19/32" N/A
25x10-12 19/32" 600 LBS
26x10-12 19/32" 385 LBS

6. User Reviews

On paper, the Kenda Bear Claw is a strong performer, but to give you a sense of how well it performs in the real world, we researched countless online reviews to see what actual real-life owners are saying about the product line.

Regarding the standard K299 Bear Claw and deep-tread Bear Claw XL, reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with owners praising the traction and performance on hard-pack, loose dirt, and even deep mud and sand. Some reviewers were sure to note the Bear Claw’s legendary longevity, as the tires can often go several years without replacement with regular use. Traction and control are more than satisfactory over all sorts of surfaces, although the Bear Claw can ride a bit rough over hard trails and pavement, some owners have noted.

Kenda Bear Claw EX owners were equally effusive about that tire, praising its traction and performance in all sorts of conditions. One owner even said that the Bear Claw EX is the first tire they’ve used that hasn’t gotten stuck in the snow. Reviews trumpeted the value proposition as a major selling point, noting the tire’s low price as a major reason to buy.

Bear Claw EVO owners were similarly enthusiastic about the value proposition, suggesting that for the money, nothing can touch Kenda’s traction and performance over especially rugged terrain, nor its longevity. Here again, some noted a bit of ride roughness – something the Bear Claw HTR doesn’t seem to suffer from, according to reviews.

Overall, it’s exceedingly difficult to find anyone who doesn’t like the Kenda Bear Claw line. Most of the lukewarm receptions we came across had more to do with the way some sellers packaged the tires, although beside the bumpy ride on hard-pack trails and pavement, some reviewers complained that the bias-ply varieties of the Bear Claw can be difficult to mount. That’s of little concern if you’re paying someone else to mount them, and a worthwhile price to pay for a set of tires that just works.

Recent Updates

May 11, 2021: Added tire sizes for the ITP Mud Lite AT and Carlisle AT489.

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Aaron Brzozowski
Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron is a freelance writer, videographer and car enthusiast based out of the Detroit area. He has a special affinity for the Porsche 944 series, and once owned a Volvo 240 sedan with a Weber carb in place of the factory EFI system. His work has appeared on AutoGuide, GM Authority, /Drive, and VW Vortex, among other sites.

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