Continental’s favourite trail tyre from years ago gets revived with their latest rubber mix. Rather than a few big knobs, the Vertical’s hold relies on loads of little polygonal studs sticking out at all angles from the rounded carcass.
The Black Chili rubber sticks like snot to wet roots and rocks thanks to its ‘nano particle’ polymers, which give it the ability to deform around objects for greater traction. This gives the Vertical Protection an impressively tenacious overall grip, particularly in mixed winter woodland conditions.
The small, fast-clearing studs are also stiff enough to slide predictably rather than snap out suddenly or squirm on harder or looser ground, making it proper year-round rubber. The Protection carcass improves its lifespan on rocky trails.
The tyre has a very round profile, which gives it a huge depth of casing, making a voluminous air cushion between you and the trail. The decreased rolling resistance the Black Chili compound offers is instantly noticeable and the tyre flies along on hard surfaces.
In the corners, the tyre hooks up soft or hard trail floor well, but does let go quite early due to the combination of the round profile and minimal support for the side knobs. The casing offers good support and can be run at low pressures without the risk of folding when cornered hard.
Despite a reasonable weight of 754g, it’s not as light or fast-rolling as Continental’s 2.2in Rubber Queen, but still has the same high price. It is great fun to ride, though.