Continental weren’t an early adopter of the 29er movement but they made up for lost time with a rapid expansion of their range, with many of their popular treads now being offered in 29in size.
One of our favourite tyres from the current Continental range, redesigned just a couple of years ago, was the Mountain King, so we were keen to get our hands on the new 29er rubber.
The Mountain King is a good all-round tyre for most of the typical conditions you’re likely to find in the UK through the seasons (even though it looks like we’re stuck in winter at the moment). It’s also good at dealing with the many varieties of trails, from the loamy singletrack of Surrey to the rocks and grit of the Peak District, and everything in between.
In making the 29in version of the Mountain King, the same tread pattern was carried over. A series of closely-packed ramped side lugs pick up good traction when leaning over in the corners or negotiating tricky, slippery, off-camber tracks. The central section comprises two closely aligned knobs, off-centre and siped, with two wider spaced knobs.
It’s a layout that works well in many conditions. We found them really good on those trails where you get copious amounts of mud, where they found acres of traction, and dryer sections where they roll along with rapid pace. The Black Chilli compound (added carbon nano particles to the mix offers longer life and better grip) boosts confidence as they tyres feel very grippy, noticeable on rocks and roots where they fell sure-footed.
Yet the compound is impressively durable, despite several hundred miles our test pair look in great condition. Which will go some way to putting your mind at rest if the high price unsettles you.
We tested the 2.2 Race Sport version of the tyre which costs £44.95 and weighs 640g. ProTection (740g, £49.95) and standard (740g, £29.95) versions are also available. The ProTection tyre gets an extra layer of casing material compared to the Race Sport, so it should be a little tougher. If you’re hard on tyres we’d pay the extra fiver and go for that one. A 2.4in Mountain King also sits in the range, weighing 800g and costing £29.95.
It’s one of the best 29er tyres we’ve tested, with a fantastic balance of weight, and grip and durability is impressive. Trail tyres don’t get much better than the Mountain King.