The light weight (460g) and low-profile shape of the latest tyre to roll out of Continental’s design studio allows it to roll quickly, but at the same time deform and grab the trail surface. This works well at trail centres, where the ground is usually rock-based and well drained. The Black Chili compound, a sticky race-spec rubber, helps too.
The continuous tread from crown to edge makes for fast, easy transitions from upright to ‘hard over’. Care must be taken about overcornering, though, because they don’t give you much feedback about how near to the edge of traction you are. This is compounded by the light Supersonic sidewalls: because the weight is saved in the sidewalls, the tyre can squirm if cornered hard at lower pressures.
The Race King will suit those looking to turbocharge their cross-country bikes. We’d suggest waiting until April to fit them, unless you like a bit of tail-slide action. Heavier riders should hang on until the version with stronger sidewalls arrives in early ’08.