Continental Race King Black Chili ProTection Tire - 26in $65.00
The Continental Race King Black Chili Protection Tire is the best choice for those looking for pure speed along with thorn battling durability. The key ingredient is the ProTection layer -- a fourth ply of rubber-wrapped, extra tough nylon casing that encompasses the entire tire.
While the tire can withstand prickly thorns, babyheads, and sharp edges better than most, its rolled shoulder profile and diamond-head arrow center tread pattern is primarily designed for superb power transfer while maintaining a very low profile so that it rolls exceptionally fast. Luckily, Continental also incorporates transitional knobs from the center to the shoulder of the tire, so that when you're making quick weight transfers, from cornering to straight-ahead power and back again, the tire remains stable and secure beneath you. The shoulder knobs are low-profile, like the rest of the tread. Along the outer edge the pattern is doubled, with a ramped leading edge followed by a block tread -- the ramps roll quickly, but the block bites into the dirt for better traction.
Here's the caveat about different types of mud: The tread pattern is fairly tight and if your home turf features stickier mud rather than the soupy variety (clay, perhaps?), a tire with a more open pattern, like Continental's X-King, would shed the slop more quickly. Or for a good pairing for most racing conditions, choose the X-King on the nose, for tauter steering control, and the Race King on the tail, for quicker acceleration and faster rolling.
The Race King Protection Tire also incorporates Continental's exclusive Black Chili Compound, tiny fragments of embedded carbon that improve grip by allowing faster rubber deformation, so you get a sensation of the tire clinging through corners rather than suddenly breaking loose.
The Continental Race King Black Chili Protection Tire is a 26" tire and comes in a 2.2" width. The casing features 4 plies totaling 240 TPI under the tread and sidewalls. The tire bead is foldable, and it comes in black on black.
Application: XC Race / Trail
Ground: Loose, Hard, Dry
Reviews & Community
I went to this tire after having Kenda Nevegal tires for three years and I absolutely love it. It rolls nice on pavement for cross country or street days and still handles really well in hard to medium packed dirt. You can stop really fast on it, and it rolls really nice on the downhill, especially on tight corners. For a lot of rocks/boulders or really loose dirt I don't recommend it though. I took my bike to Mammoth Mountain with these tires and overall I was stoked with how the tires performed except in really gravelly sections. Its a great tire for all around riders, but probably not great for pure downhill, but you can't beat how easy it rolls on the uphill.
Lighter, Thinner, Spinners
I went looking for a Continental tyre with a bit less rolling resistance, so I came from the Mountain King Supersonic 26x2.4s to the Continental Race King Black Chili ProTection Tire - 26in and was pretty stoked. I didn't feel a whole ton of grip difference on slightly rocky to tacky dirt while getting that extra push from less of an area of tyre on the ground.
The grip even extended to some of the more rocky areas, which was a joy for me. But, it did seem to get bogged down a bit in slightly sandy areas and where the super dry dirt has turned to dust. Will update once mud has been brought into the mix.