- Continental Slash tyres
- £13.95 (steel bead); £27.95 (Kevlar bead)
Continental has settled into a pattern of using a fairly small number of different tread designs but offering them in several sizes each to produce a comprehensive range. While there’s still a few old-stagers in there (the venerable Cross-Country 1.5, Vertical 2.3 and so on) most of the range comprises the new generation of “Gravity Arc” tyres with funky tread designs. The Vapor/Gravity/Diesel intermediate conditions family was the first of these to appear, followed by the shallow-tread Leader/Flow/Petrol. And now we have Edge, Slash and Digga, a new family of tyres aimed at “Mud, Wet and Loose” conditions. Which is pretty much what a lot of us always ride in.
As per usual with Conti tyres, the stated size doesn’t really reflect reality in any meaningful way. On a 23mm rim we measured the Slash as a 48mm casing width and 55mm across the knobs. On the subject of rims, the Slash seems quite happy on narrowish hoops – lots of riders find some Conti tyres (particularly the Vert) get a bit “pointy” on narrow rims, but not this one. That’s probably got something to do with the tread design, which doesn’t really have anything down the centre. It’s a very open tread, but with a distinct family resemblance to other Conti tyres. That’s largely on account of the multi-angled tread blocks, the idea being that whichever orientation the tyre meets the trail at, there’ll be a suitably-angled edge along in a moment to grab hold of it.
It’s certainly a very competent tyre in the loose stuff. It’s performance in mud, though, is somewhat dependent on the nature of the mud in question. Despite not being as big as you’d think, this is still quite a big tyre, and sticky mud is going to eat into your clearances quite quickly. And the tread isn’t as tenacious on really slippery, sloppy mud as a 100% specialist mud tyre. It’s effective on soft ground and loose stuff, though, and predictable on corners. Needless to say, it’s not the fastest-rolling of tyres, but if that’s your priority then you’re probably not looking at this kind of thing anyway.
Two models are available. The standard one has steel beads and a conventional casing, with a claimed weight of 700g. The ProTection has damage resistant (and lighter) DuraSkin sidewalls and Kevlar beads and comes in at 600g. The tread is exactly the same, though. We’re looking at the ProTection model here, but if we were on a budget we’d be perfectly happy with the basic ones, which are something of a bargain. There’s also the Edge 1.9, which is the same tread pattern on a narrower casing and ought to be a better mud performer for it.
Positives: Bargain-priced steel bead version, good in soft and loose conditions
Negatives: Bit wide for sticky mud, seems to occupy quite a narrow conditions niche
Verdict: In theory this should be an ideal tyre for UK conditions. It’s perfectly good for most things, but the “intermediate” Gravity is nearly as good at many of them but better on rocks and hardpack. When it gets really muddy the Slash can’t match a mud-specific tyre, so it seems to slightly fall between two stools. That said, if your riding is mostly on something that lies between firm and slop then the Slash may well fit the bill. It certainly won’t let you down and we’re perfectly happy to use it – it’s in that very large category of entirely decent tyres.
Value: 4/5 (for the ProTection version)