Continental X-King 2.2in tyres – review

Continental’s brand new X-King tyre has exceeded all expectations proving as rapid as it is light and with excellent traction in the dry.

The design is a departure from what we’ve seen in recent years, with its roots in the Rubber Queen launched several years ago. It uses small v-shaped blocks closely packed together, providing incredibly high rolling speeds.

We tested the 2.2in model in RaceSport guise. It’s an expensive choice at £42.95 per end, but the same tyre can be had in the cheaper, but heavier, wire bead version for £15.95, or folding for £26.95. For that high price tag you do get a tubeless ready tyre (but only if you run sealant jizz to get them to ‘pop and seal’)  and a weight of  just 460g.

That low weight  means the rotational weight is low and this results in incredible acceleration. Fitted to Project Kinesis, the difference in acceleration from any speed is astounding. It’s so fast you find yourself stamping up the pedals heartily out of every corner just to feel the ridiculous turn of speed they’re capable of.

The v-shaped blocks featuring siping along the middle to provide more edges to grip, and traction in the dry is some of the best we’ve experienced from a tyre designed for the race circuit. They track confidently over all manner of surfaces, and the Black Chilli compound gives a boost of grip of hazards like roots and rocks. They embellish your confidence in the corners, and when they slide they do so in a predictable and controllable manner.

But its in the damp, where there’s wet rocks and roots, that the tyres come unstuck. They handle damp trails better when there’s a lack of rocks and roots though, finding surprisingly quite good traction in the gloopy stuff but through in any polished obstacles and they struggle.

Concerns about their durability have so far been unwarranted (a good thing with the high price) as they’ve proved robust despite some hard riding and are still looking in good condition, no rips or tears as yet.

Verdict

A fantastic tyre if you want a light and durable cross-country racing or trail riding, but best to keep them for the dry trails.

More info at www.conti-tyres.co.uk

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