Continental X-King Tire - 29in $64.95
Roll like a king.
The Topeak Ergon pro team collaborated with Continental in the creation of the X-King 29-inch Tire, and as a result, have ridden them to success after success. Fast but full of grip, the X-King rolls smoothly and quietly despite its pronounced knobs, making it the ultimate all-around tire for anything from cross-country racing to Alp'cross.
The tread pattern of the Continental X-King tire is the same as the rest of the X-King line, and needless to say, it was developed for racing. It gets offset and lowered center knobs that are ramped for consistent speed. The offset also provides a steadier grip, power transfer, and smoother braking. The shoulder knobs are taller than most in order to dig into the surface of the trail for more stable cornering. Between the center and shoulder knobs there's a column of siped transitional knobs, and this siping gives the tire better grip in wet conditions. Additionally, these knobs help smooth the transition between the center surface and the edge of the tire, making that nanosecond of weight transfer from straight-line gas to braking and turning more confident and sure-footed.
Making this possible is that Continental heavily relies on its proprietary Black Chili rubber compound in order to help the tire be all things to all conditions. And an added perk of this process is that it has succeeded in enhancing the grip of the tire, making it tougher and lighter on their treads. Essentially, the Continental engineers in Germany refined its synthetic rubbers with nano-sized particles to create a compound that reacts to surface objects more quickly, thoroughly improving grip. These particles also form a tighter bond to improve compound strength, lengthening tread life and reducing the chances that lugs will rip and tear. Compared to Continental's earlier-generation tire compound, Black Chili tires provide 20% less rolling-resistance, 30% more grip, and an improved tread life of around 5%. The combination of Black Chili rubber with Continental's high-TPI ProTection casing results in excellent durability and minimized puncture risk.
The X-King 29-inch tire is tubeless-ready, and Continental recommends the use of its Revo Sealant to protect against the odd mini puncture. There are a ton of advantages to having a tubeless setup, including the ability to run a tire at lower pressures, and increasing the contact patch and grip of a tire without risking bothersome snakebites.
The Continental X-King 29-inch Tire is available in the color Black and in 2.2- and 2.4-inch widths. It's also good to note that this tire has an ideal inflation level of between 50 and 65 PSI.
What community has to say
Fast Rolling, Not as Durable
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Disclaimer: I’ve only ran this tire as a rear. I really want to like this tire, but I’m on my second rear tire and not sure I will be moving on to a third. The pros of this tire as a rear is that it’s fast rolling, lightweight, and offers pretty predictable traction. The major downside to these tires that I found out was their durability. I was never really able to trust these tires since they would let me down in the most elementary of situations and loose air. The Protection casing, while lightweight with a high TPI, did little to protect against sidewall punctures and wear. I did not suffer any punctures into the thread area however. Tread wear was alright for a rear tire, but I think compared to a Trail King front tire you will be replacing 3 of these to every 1 of the Trail Kings up front. During aggressive descending with this tire, it is possible to shed side knobs quickly (as seen in the photo). When it comes down to it, I was probably over using this tire as I wanted a fast rolling tire without too much of a weight penalty, but the durability was not acceptable. I would save this tire as a strict XC tire, otherwise look elsewhere if durability is a concern.