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 / TrailGround: Loose, Hard, Mud
Strengths: Thick sidewall, good grip over hardpack and on rocks. Very fast rolling. Relatively light for how tough the sidewall is. Large volume in respect to it's width... very balloon like... great choice for hardtail or rigid.
Weaknesses: Soft terrain is where this tire struggles.
This tire is a great tire for what it's designed for... XC racing... very fast rolling, light. The largest benefit it has is it's volume in respect to how wide it is. It's a 2.1 but it has the volume of a 2.3+. Great rear tire, for running @ low pressure.
Sidewall is good and strong... was a bit of a trick to get the bead to seal (tubeless/Stans, on Stan's Crest Rims). But once it did seal up it hasn't lost any air. Run a bit lower than normal because the sidewalls are so stiff.
WIll probably buy another once this one wears out.
Similar Products Used: Geax: AKA, Saguaro, Barro Race. Specialized: The Captain, Renegade. Michelin: WIld Racer New and old design.
Bike Setup: Tubeless with Stans on Stans crest rims.
Date Reviewed: December 24, 2012
Strengths: Fast rolling tire. No problem climbing or desending hills. Goes where you point it. If you keep pressure at 25 psi is smooth over Az. type terrain.
Weaknesses: Will not hold air
Tire came on new bike with tubes in it. Phoenix area is pinch flat central with tubes. LBS and bike manufacturer advised I could run tire as tubeless with Stans. After one ride it lost 15pds of air over night. Checked with soapy water and found small hole in side wall. Really liked tire once I realized I had to lower air pressure..