Kenda Bikefest report...


Well-Known Member
My daughter and I attended the Kenda Bikefest in Mass over the weekend. I saw a couple other MTBNJers so I figured I'd provide a place for us to check in and discuss.

Emily is only 8 so I wasn't there for the riding. It was more like a camping trip that involved people with similar interests. ;) It was my third time attending and second with Emily.
Just some random thoughts:
The expo area was as big or bigger than last year. Although, I though there were fewer manufacturers with Demo bikes (just my impression). The EcoPioneer tent offered the TdF stages of the Tour. DirtRag had a lounge-like atmosphere under their tent and showed Klunkers each night. The food vendors had good food. The Bands were good. I got free beer from the Clif Bar girls. Mike Steadly's trials demo was cool. The EMS rock wall was a hit with my daughter again. They made her do push-ups and laps around the expo to tire her out. :)

Apparently, 29rs are only popular in NJ. I am shocked that there were so few 29rs. I think I saw five all weekend. There were more than that at the last NJ group ride I was on. Kenda had a 40'x40' tent selling nothing but tires. At noon on friday there were only five 29r tires for sale. Just Strange.

I chatted with "Allamuchy Joe" and "DD". I also ran into Brian Snyder and Michael Flatley. The upcoming JORBA festival was a hot topic.
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Former Resident Nerd
Thanks for the write-up, Ben.

I'd hazard to guess the popularity of 29ers is related to the types of terrain in a given area (yeah, thank you Captain Obvious!).

Let's take my home town, for instance: Bend Oregon. Bend is a *huge* mountain biking area, but doesn't have a lot of the uber-rocky and technical terrain we have here. There you gotta' be able to climb, and climb, and climb as well as deal with pretty loose terrain (pumice, volcanic ashy, cinders, etc.). Though a 29" wheel could help in the loose stuff, I think a wider tire would have a greater affect.

Anyway, I think the benefits of a 29er in Bend are less than here. I won't say that 29ers aren't popular in Bend, but they're certainly more "niche" than they are here. Seems like the SS contingent is the primary 29er group around there. In fact, all of the folks I know in Oregon that still ride are on their 26ers and are *very* skeptical of the 29er thing--even the ones who've ridden a few.

I could be wrong, but based on reading Oregon forums and talking to my old friends out there, this sure seems to be the case.

So yeah, it would not surprise me if 29ers are a lot more popular here in Jersey than the country overall.


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Will/GlancingAft said that when he did the Michaux race last week, there were more 29ers than 26ers. So add PA to the list.


Well-Known Member
Last year people were gawking at my Haro Mary. I figured it was the combination of a 29r, SS, and rigid that was attracting their attention. I was surprised to see the same reactions this year while riding my Niner around.

One guy stopped me to discuss a 29r demo he had taken out earlier in the day. He said he was clearing climbs and tech. sections that he hadn't been able to before (he was a local). I pointed out that he had just been bitten by the 29r bug and welcomed him to the Big Wheel Revolution. ;)


Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
Not to toot my own horn but our 29er demos have made the choice to switch to the bigger wheels much easier for many local riders.

In reality a 29er can be harder to sell on the sales floor to someone who has never ridden one.

I was on a group ride last weekend with 10 29ers.

They are growing by leaps and bounds and in many cases they are the only thing really selling.

Personally I thought i would never be on a hardtail ever again. I became disenchanted with the magic carpet ride of a longer travel bike. The big wheels re-connected me with the ground in a way that I have been very happy with.

To actually speak of the topic here..

It looked as though they had cut some new singletrack over the last season.

Did you ride or hear about the new trails??



Well-Known Member
It looked as though they had cut some new singletrack over the last season. Did you ride or hear about the new trails??

I heard that the trails were very slick overall. They got a lot of rain leading up to the Fest. Even the night before. All the trails are too difficult for Emily. I only rode about 15 minutes by myself just to get a good picture of the festival tent city.

There were trails across the road (rt 43) that I did not know about last year. Someone mentioned that they were there last year but had been expanded for this year. Someone else will have to provide feedback on the trails.

I was bummed to see the pump track and dirt jump area did not improve much over last year. They had indicated that was one area they wanted to improve upon. That was one of the few areas where Emily could ride last year. This year's pump track was tiny again. I little more thought was put into it but less than I expected. It was too soft/muddy to ride all weekend. Em was bummed too.


Well-Known Member
Here was the lay of the land. Slightly different from last year. I liked the quieter family camping area. The other area was partying well into the night but I only heard faint noise from it. I heard just one firework all weekend. That was a great improvement over last year. I also got smart and brought ear plugs. :rolleyes:


Brian Snyder

JORBA "Roaming Gnome"
Hey Ben, Good to see you at Pedros. I wish I had seen you before that, as I have been to all but 3 or 4 of them and we have a pretty good handle on what was good. The pump track was suffering from the same problems as the trails on site: they were made for the fest on private property, and see little or no use the rest of the year. Also, since it rained "as hard and long as I have ever seen" (quote by local rider) and they only started trying to fix/build right before the fest, we got the conditions as they were. The Nads trail (across the road) was brand new and, like the on site trails, saw a lot of rain and then hundreds of tires. Take that and mix in a shite load of off- camber roots, and there you have it. We were very lucky--we got free beer from Dirt Rag (more than once as Tom F#@*ing Brown became Charlie Kelly's best bud at the Bourbon tasting), Finish lLine, and Cliff Bars. I demo'd (sp?) Moots YBB and Zirkel FS most of the first day on site and the piss poor tire choice nearly killed me. I brought back the YBB and had a few comments about the Pythons and about the fact I had to tune the bike myself to get it shifting. Then I took out the Zirkel with nearly-bald Bulldogs. When I brought it back I had more than a few choice words that got chuckles from some of the Moots crew, (including a woman who laughed at my less than kind words. She turned out to be none other than Ruthie Matthis, who I talked to for a while.) The next day I "drank the cool aid", as did our friend Dale. He had the Moots Zirkel 29er and I had a Felt 29er hard tail. We took the lift up Jimmney Peak and rode some sick single track down the back of the mountain into Pittsfield State Forest. Before we were half way down, Dale was talking about selling his bikes and new boat to get a Moots 29, and I came home with the demo I rode. I wanted to try a 29er but was afraid to, as I had just ordered a Trance XO, and damn! It was as I feared: I needed another bike. Thankfully my wife supports my addiction and cleared the purchase by saying "go ahead and get it, your paying for it anyway." Too cool. Oh, that one firework that went off was one of our neighbors. They set it off right behind me and I had a Marine Corp flashback and nearly soiled my armor. Then being the good neighbors they were, they tossed the tube right outside our tents. This soon led the police to question us about what had happened and even though they may have deserved to get nailed, we played dumb, and the cops just went away. Much props to Kenda and the Rag for keeping the fest alive.


Well-Known Member

We arrived at 9:30am Friday. Got Emily right to work.

Find us some trails

She found the EMS climbing wall

Main entrance of the Expo


Well-Known Member
More Photos...

Kenda Tire Toss contest. It's not any easier on a Uni

Do the Hula for free beer from the Luna Chix

I drank Emily's

Front row for Mike Steadley's stunt show

Em scored the t-shirt


Well-Known Member
Even More Pictures...

I climbed the trail across the street lookign for a good vantage point. I found one.

Wheel Barrow contest. We got some consolation prizes. ;)

Em insisted that I do the mud bog with her. Great...Now I'll have two bikes to clean. :rolleyes:

I let her win so I wouldn't have to do it again. ;)


Well-Known Member
Last set of Pics...I promise...

Em was totally diggin all the gear. The camp stove, lanterns, bike and helmet lights, etc. She spent a large portion of the weekend in a creek that split the festival site. She pulled about 2 dozen snails out and we brought them home.

I just tried to keep up and rest when I got the opp.

Em's highlight of the weekend. A baby Parrot. One of the food vendors raises them and had to bring it to the site in order to feed it on a schedule.

Another entrance to the Expo area.

So we had another great time this year. Once again, I was not there for the riding or demos. We enjoyed the activities and I endured the camping for Emily's sake.

Brian Snyder

JORBA "Roaming Gnome"
That's f-in awesome bro!!! You are very deserving of some new rides and now, or soon, you'll have them. No more O.T.B. for you Dirtbag ! :)

Thanks Frank, Now that don't have an excuse I guess I will have to stop crashing as often,...yeah that's the reason. Feel better Frank.


Kenda fest 2008

Hey Ben, It was good to see some "Joisy" faces and MTBNJ'S finest. this is my 6 one and it gets more fun each time.
The expo area was moved from down near the pump track last year to the front of the venue( better choice) thier was less vendors this year then last year becasue of another event in vermont according to the trek guys and moots people. Like Brian i had the opportunity to talk with Ruthie mathis, myself and dale and dale's wife Erica were talking the talk with ruthie and i said to dale i think thats ruthie mathis, so dale popped the question and yup it was here. All i have to say is the women is cut, and very strong she gave the firmest handshake and a great smile to boot. I took out the zirkel FS on the kenda loop trails on the side near the camping area, i too had a problem getting my tires to stick to the damp soil and slippery roots, i also had some abruot bail outs not caused by me. the trails were the exact as last year nothing changed to me. I rode with erica dales wife when they arrived and we had a blast. i got some great deals on stuff, 5 verge Jerseys various logos for 50.00 bucks, 5 pairs of biking socks for 10.00 bucks, numerious cliff bars and cliff blocks and gels. tons O free beer from dirtrag and finish line products was giving away free beer and pint glasses i got Ken one too :).
I keep bugging people to come up UHm. FRANK,,, but i guess next year we have to kidnap him and force him to go. :hmmm:
For those that have never been to one, you have to go and just experiance one time in your life the excitment of the venue and enjoy the riding and company of like minded individuals, the food the beer girls ( right tony) "shes hot id dump my beer out just to see her again" to tom brown making a best friend in Charlie Kelly one of the pioneers of Mountain biking and one of the interviews in the Klunkerz movie. the disco tent, the morter that almost landed on our camp site to the mud bog were the kids and adults had a ton of mud fun. Next year we need to have a huge JORBA / MTBNJ camp site.
for those that we meet up thier hope you all had a blast and for the new ones who joined us this year we hope to see you again in 2009, mark your calenders.

later ride on
Mike F.


New Member
Sounds like a total blast! Looking forward to JORBAfest....looking forward to the next update on who and what will be there. Any bands? Awesomely free bikes I can take home? Cant wait, I leave on a work trip to Brazil the following monday so its my symbolic end of summer. Cant wait!


Well-Known Member
nice pics, Ben. Were the guys from FEED there?

No, Feed was not there. That's the shirt I got from Norm. The shirt did trigger some conversation. I met Dawson of MTBNYC who asked if I was from NYC. We were camped next to one another.
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