It’s worth noting that the Mountain King has changed dramatically over the last version with the same model name. The old one didn’t exactly light our fire, so it’s refreshing to see a complete turnaround with this incarnation.
The first thing we noticed was rolling resistance – it’s far better than we’d been expecting for the tread depth and pattern. This is no bad thing either, as the 2.2in (a 2.4in is also available) inflates a little too narrowly to be a confidence-inspiring front tyre, but excels instead at driving the rear. It seems to seek out grip on just about every surface and, despite the slightly hefty weight on our chosen ‘Protection’ reinforced sidewall model, it manages to feel sprightly and quick.
Much of this performance is down to the excellent Black Chili compound, which creates great traction even on slimy bedrock and roots, while maintaining excellent durability – these tyres still sported the little rubber ‘hairs’ on most of the tread blocks even after five or six hard rides.
If you want to spend less there are numerous versions available, from lightweight race ones to the heavier but protected construction suitable for the rough and tumble of all-mountain riding.