Weight: 700g Wire/630g Folding (ProTection version +10g)
Features: 2.3in carcass, ‘Endless edge’, uni-directional tread design
Test Log: 12+ hours from snow, ice, mud and rocks to sand and a bit of hardpack
With FMD restrictions eased in a handful of riding spots through out the UK we celebrated by reviewing the biggest knobblies we had in. Slicks? Semi-slicks? Pah! Have some of this!
If the much talked about and superlight Twister Pro Supersonics, as featured in our Scott Strike review are the carpet slippers then the Survival Pros are the Hob-nail boots of the 2001Conti line up. For soft conditions the Survival Pros feature Continental’s ‘Endless Edge’ tread design. Deep, pentagonal tread blocks covering a large 2.3in, round profile carcass are designed to cut through the crud and dig deep for big traction at all angles while increasing control. Blocks are well spaced out to prevent mud pick up and as with the whole Continental range construction is multi-layered which, Continental would no doubt tell you, gives greater puncture resistance across the contact area. The Survivals are also available as a ProTection model where an extra 10g is spent on a ‘Duraskin’ layer. Here the sidewalls are beefed up with large fibres in a low tpi (threads per inch) weave to prevent ripping and increase general durability.
There are two ways to make a soft condition tyre, large or small. Small carcass tyres cut through loose surfaces to find traction below. Large tyres sit on top and spread the load out with blocks acting like paddles to get grip. The survivals do the big tyre thing well giving greater shock absorption and more stability in technical sections. Small tyres will be faster on the road as their lower contact area provides less rolling resistance. It’s all about riding style and choice.
Unsurprisingly these tyres are rather weighty due mainly to their size and large tread blocks but also because of the large gaps between these blocks means more rubber is required for the same penetration resistance against other models in the range. Having said that they roll quite well in soft conditions, mainly because they donít pick up much mud. Cornering traction is good, theyíre nice and stable and you can get away with lower pressures than thinner tyres like 30psi for example so that contact area can be nice and big better traction on loose stuff and even more shock absorption. Hardpack and road work is an effort though, especially in the dry and the large tread blocks will make them more unpredictable the harder the ground is.
We’ve not punctured with them yet despite some rocky peaks descents at lower pressure than we’d normally run and were very impressed when plugging across soggy fields where we thought their size would slow us. In fact they prevented us sinking into the mire, achieving good traction at the same time. In snow they were particularly effective in the same way. Because of the large tread area sticky mud can really hold them back (larger area to hold on to as it tries to swallow you wheel) but they still won’t pick it up much. Don’t think they won’t ever clog up, really thick mud will of course get picked up like any other tyre.
The only really unpleasant experience we had with the survivals, aside from the tread buzz on really smooth dry roads, were a few clearance problems. On a standard cross-country frame there isn’t a lot of clearance across the width of the tyre, not a big problem if you wheel is straight but if its out of true you could have the tread buzzing along your chainstays. Just check they will go through your stays before committing (it also helps if your rear triangle is aligned correctly)Verdict
A big grippy tyre for anything that’s soft (except sand of course) large carcass approach absorbs shocks and give confidence inspiring stability and plenty of ground contact for traction and control. Not fast on the road though and a bit hairy on flat, hard surfaces in general.
Large, aggressive soft conditions only tyre. Lots of grip and control on the right surface. Don’t take them on the road much, you won’t like it.