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Never trust a fart
4,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I installed these last night on my Kona Kikapu Deluxe full suspension rig with the intent of seeing how they compare to my Panaracer Fire XC Pro's.

My ride today consisted of 8 miles (time restricted due to additional engagements) of Fair Hill, MD single track for their Poker Run. Yesterday/last night it rained pretty good so I was worried that the trails would be really muddy. To my surprise the trails were 90% dry with some muddy sections.

Tires were set at approx 30-33 psi F/R.

Here is the jist of everything

Mud - these suck - but most tires do

Wet Roots - these suck, but most tires do

Dry singletrack - these things are awesome. Exceptional grip. I could hit the turns hard and fast with almost little worry about washout. On the pavement, they were pretty free rolling, just a little bit of rolling resistance. I hit approx 20mph on a level stretch.

Climbs - these were much better than anticipated. As long as you keep some weight over the rear tire, they bite pretty good.

Overall they are a pretty good tire. They aren't as good as the Fire XC Pro's on rooty climbs or soggy ground, but much better on the dry.

4,715 Posts
I was looking forward to see how you like the Contis... you had posted in another thread about trying them out today.

On my way to the trail I decided I couldn't stand the Jones XR's anymore, especially knowing it was going to be soggy and muddy. Stopped in at REI and picked up some WTB Velociraptors for 34 bucks each. Installed them before hitting the trail. Ran them 35psi front and rear. (My bike is a Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe (weighs about 26.2 lbs, 5" travel front & rear).

I was pleasantly surprised by these tires. They are only 2.1's but have quite an agressive tread and have front and rear specific patterns. Rear has more shovel like center blocks - really dig in for climbing. Front have more a directional v-pattern - so decent stability. Both front and rear have sick shoulder lugs! They just dig in and bite hard when you lean over. Really improved the cornering grip vs my Jones XR's. And they were absolutely great in the mud! I was hugely impressed with the VelociRaptors - glad I picked them up.

The VR's seem to be almost perfect for our forest singletracks here, where is usually a bit moist on the trails, and some mud if it has rained. Rocks, roots. Climbs, descents. Log piles and rock gardens. A bit of everything - and the WTB VR's handled all nicely. I recommend them for anyone riding similar terrain. I think the Fire XC's might not be all that dissimilar from the VR's, by how you described the Fire's. I will say the VR's likely aren't the best for rolling resistance, but the traction advantage to me far outweighs the slight degradation of RR, or dry hardpack performance.

I might try a WTB WeirWolf front/Moto Raptor rear combination on my next set, or even WeirWolfs front and rear, since they have a UST (tubeless) version.


Hardcore, in my own way.
121 Posts
Here is my quick analysis of the Mountain King Protection 2.4/2.2 (front/rear) tires. I purchased these a few days ago from my LBS on their strong recommendation. I was actually leaning towards the Nevagals or the Fire XC Pro initially but I had also heard that the Conti Explorer was highly regarded in our area and that the “next-gen” Conti Explorer is the Mountain King. I live in the central mountains of Colorado and my rides range from steep and quick singletrack with sharp angled rocks and roots, to moondust covered, off camber, babyhead filled switchbacks, to hardpack doubletrack with stream crossings.

My first outing was a quick, dusty singletrack climb into a downhill through a sage brush filled meadow. I immediately noticed that the tires are great in their climbing ability. Really, they rarely seemed to lose grip through most of my uphill ride. The only trouble I ran into was an off camber, diagonally placed root which my rear tire never caught traction on and just slid on. The front tire handled it fine but perhaps the 2.2 just did not have the traction for it. Otherwise the tires held up great going uphill. Downhill was fast – these do roll well! I did keep my speed in check since I like to feel out a new tire before really stress testing it, so this trip wasn’t bomber by any means. But I never felt like I was out of control. Good stuff.

The second trip out was a 2 ½ hour trek where I got to test their climbing and mud shedding abilities as well as the speed and handling down tight, moderately technical singletrack. Again, climbing was a breeze. I loved it. Now came the downhill fun. The tires handled quite beautifully through streams, mud, rocks and more. Again they rolled very quick and inspired confidence in cornering. Very fun. The only negative to note is that I did experience a bit more of the side traction issue where if I was not dead center on a smaller obstacle I would slide or pop sideways.

All in all, I am quite pleased with these tires and would definitely recommend them to anyone considering them. You may just want to look at a 2.4 front/back if you are concerned about constant traction.

Oh and finally, since this is an online review, take it with a grain of salt. :D
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