Continental Der Baron Projekt Tire
Designed by Continental as an Enduro and Trail Plus size tire, the Der Baron Projekt Tire might hit better visually with the Enduro side (2.4") rather than Plus size trail riders used to a 3.0" tire. At the same time, if these riders are looking for superior traction in wet, loose, or variable terrain, the Der Baron Projekt Tire in the 2.6" Plus size will likely work hard to change minds, and improving riding. The tire was reassessed from the the previous model, and given the same comprehensive overhaul, revamping the Black Chili compound, using a lighter, more flexible Cordura material for the ProTection feature, combining that with the Apex DH-level sidewall bands, and updating and optimizing the tread pattern or the larger volume size and taking it from more of a pure mud and loose tire to a one that still excels in those conditions, but can handle more varied surfaces without losing speed or grip. The Revolution tubeless bead was modified as was the mold of the tire, creating a wider "mouth" to the tire, with the two changes resulting in and easier tubeless mounting and faster, more effective seal. Special attention was also made across the whole mountain bike tire series for their offerings to be true to the listed size.
If we look from the outside in, reversing Conti's process, we start with the rubber and the tread pattern. First, BlackChili isn't just a uniform rubber. Each and every category of tire carrying the BlackChili logo has it's own compound recipe, engineered for the needs of the expected rider and conditions. On the mountain side, each model also gets its own mixture to enhance grip, rolling speed, puncture protection, wear, etc. Continental creates and refines special synthetic rubbers along with proven natural rubber to result in a high-performance mixture, then adds tiny soot particles, which in turn are optimized in shape and surface properties. The complex compound technology is so sensitive and proprietary that tires with BlackChili Compound are produced exclusively in their Korbach, Germany plant. The end rubber and tread vary for the requirements of the tire, but there are some characteristics that are somewhat universal. The particles actually help to create a lightweight density that serve to protect against wear, stop or seal small punctures, while increasing tread wear capability.
The Der Baron Projekt Tire saw a major tread overhaul, taking ithe tread block lower, and creating a new 3x4 set system that eliminated the huge paired "paddles" that made the previous version more of a mud monster with the capability to handle loose trail conditions. The problem was it cost too much speed and offered less grip and traction on more variable surfaces- really limiting it's use. The new set-up still blows through mud, but offers so much more, and truly adopting the tire/ground reality that comes with tubeless use. The new pattern and block height is engineered for success. It results in fewer contact voids and more opportunity to grip, especially as the lower pressure tires find awkward surfaces and materials, like roots and harsh rocks. That effectiveness cannot be understated. Why? With the lower pressures associated with tubeless use, more actual tire rubber is applied in the footprint to the terrain. The deformity of the tire housing increases the usable friction zone and greater conformity to the surface. The knobs have more ability to do their job, and are enhanced by the incredible potential of the BlackChili compound used in the Der Baron Projekt.
The casing is a 4-ply, 240tpi system that is amazingly supple for any tire let alone the ProTection Apex tire. The lighter, more flexible Cordura sidewall protection is much more flexible and compliant than the previous version, still with high-level resistance to cuts, impacts, abrasion, etc. Again, this allows the tire to react and conform to the terrain better without the rider being concerned about flats or blowouts. Apex, formerly found in Conti's DH offerings, starts at the bead and moves up about 60% of the sidewall height. The Apex Zone virtually eliminates any form of impact pinch flats and prevents the dreaded sidewall tears near the bead that end a ride, and can easily result in rider injury. Again, super crucial with lower pressure, high volume tires. The improvement of the newer, flatter Revolution tubeless bead is also enhanced by the pliable sidewall strength and casing suppleness.
What does a wider "mouth" refer to? You know when you open up a tire and the bead sit close to each other- inward? That is a more closed mouth. When you open it up the beads naturally are further away, that is a more open mouth. This pertains to both the overall shape of the tire and how it sets up on the rim. Tires with a naturally open mouth seal and seat more easily when mounting tubeless, and create a better overall shape for the tire on the rim- less bulbous, even on a narrower rim. Which raises the next point. Continental has optimized the tread and volume of each tire size for specific internal rim widths, and that is listed on the sidewall of each tire. Keeping the rim/tire combination size appropriate will result in best performance. And with a 2.6" tire you don't want to have to wrestle with it for too long. In the past, Conti had some issues with listed tires sizes being inconsistent to the actual tie. The new TruSize standards direct that the tire be within 1-2mm of listed size with the proper rim and inflation.
Continental only makes changes to products when they feel they can make serious improvements or recognize an issue. They are also somewhat slow to adapt to the market. hence the wading into the short end of the pool with a 27.5" x 2.6" "Plus" tire. After taking a closer look at the Der Baron Projekt and giving it serious consideration, we feel that many riders used to 3" options will still give this tire a sharp look. Performance and capability matter more than a pure size ideal. The true Enduro riders who rock a 27.5" set-up will love the 2.4" version. There is little doubt that once moving, the Continental development/engineering program is world class. Durability and high grade materials are never sacrificed, nor is the company's ability to self critique. We are impressed by the whole new ProTection and Protection Apex series tires, and wholly intrigued by the Der Baron Projekt.
- Optimized as a smallish Plus size tire for Enduro and heavy trail use
- Re-engineered, tire-specific BlackChili rubber compound reduces rolling resistance; improves puncture protection, grip, traction
- Aggressive, well spaced 3x4 tread block sets and lower profile favored for larger footprint of lower pressure set-up
- New ProTection construction features more pliant Cordura for reduced weight, better durability, deflection and conformity at lower pressures
- Apex band runs from bead up about 60% of sidewall height, adding extra bead strength, and superior pinch flat and sidewall protection
- Flatter, better angled Revolution tubeless bead and wider tire mouth make tubeless mount, seat, and seal easier, faster, more effective
- TrueSize sizing convention means tires measure as listed (+/- 1-2mm)
- 4-ply, 240 tpi casing increases overall tire suppleness, better platform for the Cordura
- Suggested rim width-specific range for each tire size molded into sidewall
- Listed size / weight / psi range / recommended internal rim width:
- 27.5 x 2.4" / 930g / 36-51 psi / 25-30mm
- 27.5 x 2.6" / 1000g / 29-44 psi / 29-35mm
- Color: Black
- Made in Germany