Yes, the Baron has the same wooden, loose-fitting casing as the Kaiser. So why the better score? Well, for starters, it is designed to be more of a mud specialist and the uncompliant casing is less of an issue if mud is your medium. It’s also less likely to be torn off the rim in muddy conditions.
Surprisingly, the Baron also scored better in our rolling resistance test than the Kaiser, narrowly beating Schwalbe’s Magic Mary to sixth fastest rolling of the ten tyres.
The Der Baron Projekt is also among the grippiest tyres in mud in this test. The medium height, well-spaced tread blocks clear mud nicely and it allowed us to cut a tighter line through greasy, muddy off-camber turns than almost anything else here.
Like the Kaiser, it’s nice and round in profile so the shoulder tread digs into turns with predictable authority. Despite Continental’s claims of longevity — which is usually a sign of slippery, plastic compounds — the BlackChili compound finds an impressive amount of grip on wet roots and rocks. We can’t say much about longevity from our testing just yet though.
In slippery conditions the stiff casing doesn’t feel too bad either, it’s more of a rapid impact jarring problem. So be aware that when the trails dry out and speeds increase as conditions get harder, that insensitive casing will become more of a problem.
Seb's been riding and racing mountain bikes for half his life. Since getting hooked on mountain bikes aged thirteen riding a tiny 24Seven Crosser, he's raced downhill, enduro and cross country, and while no athlete, still enters the occasional race. Seb studied experimental physics at university, and he's now happily using (wasting) his degree experimenting with different bike setups, trying to work out what works best and why. You'll often find him riding the same track ten times in a day, changing just one thing to pin down the differences. Seb's much happier back-to-back testing suspension on a wet Welsh hillside than riding the latest five-figure bikes on some sunny press trip - although he quite likes that too!