Friday, September 17, 2010 1.00pm
By Justin Loretz, What Mountain Bike
Continental’s mountain bike tyre range is morphing. They used to have some hit-and-miss designs but almost all the new models are scoring direct hits on performance targets. The 2011 X-King is one such beast.
Working from the success of their popular all-mountain, block tread Rubber Queen range from 2009, Conti have blended in some of the trail subtleties of their fast cross-country rubbers and come up with a good tyre.
You still get the meat of the gravity element, but where the Rubber Queen feels a bit draggy on a 100mm-travel marathon bike, the X-King doesn’t.
It’s not down to a compound change – the X-King continues to use the Black Chili recipe, which offers sticky tyre grip without sucking power on hard surfaces.
The 2.4in tyre we tested weighed in at 548g, so it’s among the lighter full-size trail tyres on the market. This means you can get awesome traction without sacriﬁcing speed or sensitivity.
Conti do this tyre in 2.2in and 2.4in versions, and you can choose between tubeless, folding and reinforced sidewall ProTection options. We’ve run it front and rear, and were happy with it.
It doesn’t have big bite under hard braking, but drifts nicely on the way into turns. The well-supported side blocks have just enough ﬂex to let you feel the degree of grip you’re experiencing, so you aren’t left chasing the rear end.
While we haven’t seen much mud during testing, any we did experience was dealt with well, which suggests the tyre will be ﬁne for winter.
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