Continental have renamed the Rain King’s tread pattern and badged it as the Baron for 2011. It's available in the grippy Black Chilli compound with a folding bead and Apex (more rigid) sidewalls, along with a harder compound version with both folding and wired bead options.
With the Barons mounted to a set of 21mm internal width rims, the tyre profile is spot on. For wet trails, it’s one of the best tyres we’ve tried. There’s no mud clogging, the tyre handles rocks and roots well, and importantly, is predictable when it does come to getting loose.
The Black Chilli compound is a wonder. It somehow achieves a good rolling speed, even though it’s supple and soft, moulding well to trail obstacles and keeping the bike rubber side down.
In the dry the Baron’s still up there in the rolling stakes, and we haven’t managed to tear any chunks of tread off, even with hard tarmac turns. At 840g, it’s even competitive on weight. It might have taken them a while, but with the Baron, Continental have come up trumps.