Continental Der Kaiser tyre £44.95

Fresh race rubber

BikeRadar score 4/5

Traction is the name of the game in downhill mountain bike racing and the right tyre is crucial. Continental’s latest venture into the world of downhill is proving successful, as confirmed by the Atherton family who switched to the brand for 2009.

Der Kaiser sits somewhere between the dry and intermediate category, and comes up very wide for its marked 2.5in size, with a massive volume casing.

Continental claim the Black Chili compound will make it one of the grippiest tyres out there, and that the tight compound matrix reduces wear while the smaller particles reduce rolling resistance.

Der Kaiser weighs in around the 1,000g mark – not bad considering the width and reinforced carcass. The tyre’s size gives you the confidence to fire into rough terrain without flinching and helps keep the front wheel on line.

Similar to Michelin’s Comp 16, Der Kaiser rolls much more efficiently with similar levels of grip. In turns, the soft, tacky tread and sturdy sidewall allow you to carve the loosest of lines. After plenty of hammering, the treads still are tear-free and in top condition.

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