Continental Race King Protection / Black Chili Tires - 29 x 2.2


E’ry once in a while, a tire smacks me upside the old thinking cavity.  Years ago, I spent some time on the Continental Race King tires.  I was unimpressed.  It wasn’t a bad tire, but it wasn’t world changing, and the tires had flimsy sidewalls.  I thought, lesson learned, let Conti stick to making fast road tires. 

Skip ahead 15 years, and I set a Tanglefoot Hardtack up with some Race King tires with all the bells and whistles: Protection sidewalls, Black Chili rubber, tubeless.  Dang.  The tread pattern is the same as the old tire, but everything else is totally different.  The tire is fast but really grippy.  The Black Chili tread compound is one of the fastest but stickiest tire compounds out there for bike tires.  Makes sense, Conti makes lots of high performance car tires, so they know rubber. 

The protection sidewall is beefy without being harsh feeling.  At 25 psi these tires are fast on the road and comfortable on singletrack.  Basically they’re an ideal tire for a mix of conditions from occasional pavement, to dirt roads to flow singletrack.  I wouldn’t recommend them for serious rock gardens, or ultra chunk class 4 roads, if you can clear a bigger tire.  A 2.6” tire will always win in those conditions.  For non-racers, get the 29 or 27.5 x 2.2 tire.  For folks who NEED SPEED, consider the 2” tire which is a bit lighter.  

For nerds: these tires are rated really highly on Bicycle Rolling Resistance dot com for puncture resistance, have much taller knobs than similarly ‘fast’ tires, and they’re among the fastest knobbies in this category.  The bigger knobs mean more traction in looser conditions.  The tire casing is thicker than most race tires, which translated to increased durability.  

Run these on rims with an inner width of 22-30mm.  

Any tire of this size that’s being pushed hard off-road could benefit from the Mariposa Tyre Invader tire inserts, especially if you are a larger rider or riding with a load.  

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