Richard (my cycle partner) and I have been running Continental MTB Tyres for a couple of months now on various terrain, from tar (yes, I know… but there have been some big fires) and dirt district roads, to rough jeep track and gnarly singletracks. The weather has been mostly dry but we did have a small wet patch which wasn’t a fair trial to be honest. We are running 2.2 Race Kings on the rear and 2.2 X-Kings on the front. The tyres have traditionally performed well in SA conditions with good showing in the Cape Epic – in fact they were used by the winning Topeak Ergon team last year (2014).
The sidewall compound feels “plasticy” and is fairly rigid. Their Protektion system ensures that, although not as pliable as some tyres, the sidewalls are strong and I can’t see them shredding easily.
I have had a good experience with my tyres; there is very little rolling resistance as one would expect from the Race Kings and the combination with the X-Kings makes for a fast set-up – once I had settled on the right pressures for the various terrains I had more confidence and could let rip. The setup is perfect for the long road, district and jeep track, mildly wet is not a problem at all, but I certainly would want to beef up the set-up for the technical and gnarly stuff – even if just on the front – so I would suggest the Mountain King here.
Rich had less fortune on his set with both front and rear picking up a distinct wobble somewhere during the test period – this sometimes happens when you “burp” a tyre and it vanishes with re-seating but no matter how many times we re-seated his tyres we couldn’t get rid of it. Interac Distribution, the guys who distribute Continental in SA have let us know that there is an “elasticity” sidewall issue and although it doesn’t affect or compromise the safety of the tyre you can feel it, and is quite disconcerting. Continental will replace any such tyres at no cost!
The Race Kings are fast and the race snakes will get optimum usage out of them. For us middle of the pack riders and those of us that like the technical stuff I would suggest the larger profile of the Mountain Kings and also consider a wider tread profile for a more confident ride combined with the X-Kings! I have been very happy with my Continentals and will be putting them through their paces this winter to see how they handle in the mud.
For technical data and tyre options go to: http://www.interacsa.co.za/continental.htm