Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12.00pm
By Ben Haworth
Look straight down on it and you won't think the Continental Mud King tyre is that skinny. But take a view side-on and cop the height (or lack of it) and you realise this really is a 1.8in tyre.
As it's an out-and-out mud tyre, it's unsurprising to find the Mud King is fairly slow-rolling, but what is a shock is that it's not actually that bad. You can still go for a regular ride, joining the fun bits with stretches of tarmac and fireroad, without destroying your will to live.
Its cornering performance is exceptional. Roots, cambers and slippery grass – just bring them on. It's not hideous on brief bits of hardpack either, with none of the squirm or washout you might expect from such a spiky tyre. Its skinny-volume harshness is the main drawback on extended rooty or rocky bits.
The sidewalls are tough enough to withstand a battering, but it's best not to run 1.8in tyres at low pressures as they're not really about that sort of thing. The Mud Kings work best when run on the hard side, letting the spike knobbles and magic Black Chili compound do their traction-grabbing stuff.
Despite the levels of adhesion and the size of the knobbles, the Mud Kings clear brilliantly, and weight is impressively low – our 26in versions came out at 530g, which is actually less than claimed by 40g. Amazing!
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
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