Continental has overhauled the construction of its MTB tyre range to improve ride quality and previously poor tubeless set-up and sealing.
While most tread patterns stay the same, the Mountain King gets a retro-looking lug arrangement for the mixed trail usage Conti is targeting.
While it still carries the ProTection name, the new carcass is noticeably suppler. It’s a reassuringly but not restrictively tight fit on most tubeless rims and will catch and inflate without sealant just using a fat trail pump and a bit of welly.
Ride quality is excellent too, and the casing softens progressively as you reduce pressure with no sudden crumple point, so even when I did puncture it stayed safe and controlled until I could stop.
Weight is comparable to Maxxis EXO and Schwalbe EVO tyres (my 2.3in 29er version was 740g), and puncture-proofing/general toughness seems on par too.
Conti’s single-compound Black Chili rubber mix compares well with Maxxis’s dual-compound and Schwalbe’s ADDIX SpeedGrip rubber in terms of adhesion and speed, and while the alternating diagonal low-block tread grumbles a bit on the road, it’s fast enough in the rough. The tread is predictable under braking and relatively speedy cornering, too.