January 9, 2014
Versatile and hard-wearing 29in all-rounders.
We get lots of rubber through the Singletrack test office and so it’s pretty rare that I ever get to run a matched pair of tyres for more than a few weeks before mixing one brand up with another. This twosome from Continental went on and stayed on, though – in part through laziness, because they were sods to get mounted as tubeless on the test bike’s Shimano XT wheelset (despite being tubeless-ready and reportedly having an improved seal thanks to Continental switching out the fabric bead strip for a rubberised one), but also because they turned out to be pretty much spot on for the purpose and I didn’t actually want to change them.
The Mountain King is, for want of a better description, ‘well toothy’, while the X-King is faster rolling but with a tread pattern which wraps around the carcass giving plenty of grip where it’s needed. Both tread patterns are open enough to resist clogging and cut through slop, too. The Black Chili rubber compound is actually wearing remarkably well (as well it should on a fifty quid tyre…) and the ProTection sidewalls are superb – there are no scuffs or cuts to be seen anywhere, which is unusual for tyres which I’ve been running on a bike that usually sees some rather thuggish manoeuvres. At 2.4in each they might seem rather large but the volume is actually spot on for a 29in wheel, making the most of the larger contact patch, and there were no clearance issues in the rear of the test bike (Santa Cruz Highball Al).
Overall: Versatile and hard-wearing 29in all-rounders.