Continental’s new Rubber Queen tyre marks the point at which its naming convention (which of late have been of the form <something> King) has progressed to a point at which it’s very nearly collided with that of fellow German manufacturer Schwalbe (Fat Albert et al). But what, beyond a silly name, does it have to offer?
The most immediately noticeable thing about the 2.2in Rubber Queen is that Continental has clearly recalibrated its tyre-measuring stick. Traditionally, any given stated size on a Conti tyre has been about the same as anyone else’s next size down, but the Rubber Queens are very definitely a proper 2.4in. There’s also a 2.4 version if you’ve got room to spare.
It’s pitched as an all-rounder, although at a claimed 850g for the folding bead 2.4in tread “all-round” clearly doesn’t extend to racing – the 2.2in is an entirely reasonable 650g, though. UST versions are available with a 200g weight penalty in each case, and there’s also a budget 2.2in wire bead model at 750g.
Continental’s Black Chili compound forms the straightforward tread, with relatively low-profile blocks making the Rubber Queen faster rolling than you might expect. The all-important side knobs are suitably prominent, though. In the sidewalls you’ll find Apex reinforcement – we managed to pinch flat them a couple of times, but the trail in question claimed a whole range of tyres, some properly heavy duty (and tubeless to boot), so we wouldn’t say that they were over-flimsy.
They’re certainly at home in a range of trail conditions, although a big tyre like this is always likely to encounter issues in sticky mud simply on account of the size of the casing and associated reduction in clearance. It’s perfectly happy pretty much everywhere else, though. On a suitably wide rim the Rubber Queen adopts a pleasingly rounded profile and there’s no transitional weirdness between upright and leant over.
All of which just leaves price, and it’s fair to say that Continental’s latest offering is on the pricey side. You’ve got to be pretty enthuiastic about UST to stump up the Â£44.95 asking price, and even the regular folding 2.4in is Â£37.95. The 2.2in variant has a harder compound, does without the sidewall reinforcement and so is considerably cheaper – Â£14.95 for the wire bead model, Â£21.95 for the folding, but once again a sizable premium for UST at Â£34.95.