Continental Der Kaiser Projekt Tire
Continental's Der Kaiser Projekt Tire was originally developed as a fast DH and heavy duty Enduro tire. Optimal for hardpack through dry soft terrain, the dual center pattern knobs are closely aligned, with a gap from set to set. The ramped and siped knobs are soft enough for grip on rocks or roots, but also roll fast. This is an aggressive tire that pushes the speed side of the equation and requires some bike handling skill to truly take advantage of the angled and ramped edge knobs. The rider must be comfortable with deep corner leans with the hands off the brake to engage the high points of the knobs. Yes, you can drop pressures for greater control, but if you go too far, then you have to consider why chose a speed tire. Still, the Der Kaiser Projekt Tire can truly rule the surfaces and conditions it was designed for, and with the new Apex protection, it's durability can handle the toughest dry terrain.
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 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.
We see the Der Kaiser Projekt as an exemplary World Cup DH tire, which is really where it's roots lie. And yet it actually makes a great, if heavy, trail tire for the summer season all over the US and a year round tire in the high mountain/desert states. That said, it isn't a mud tire. The knobs and sets are too closely spaced and the ramping that maintains speed mitigates bite in wet mud. In moderately wet conditions, you could opt for a Der Baron up front and Der Kaiser in the rear. There is little doubt that once it is sparked into action, 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 know the value and appeal of the Der Kaiser Projekt Tire. If you choose wisely based on your needs and conditions, you will as well.
- Optimized for heavy use at speed on dry to moderately wet trails of all kinds
- Re-engineered, tire-specific BlackChili rubber compound reduces rolling resistance; improves puncture protection, grip, traction
- Tread block sets designed for speed and control on hardpack to soft terrain; edge block also designed for speed and for deeper, faster lean into corners- as befits its World Cup DH and rough Enduro developmental background; favors footprint of lower pressure set-up for more active edge knob engagement
- 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" / 950g / 36-51 psi / 25-30mm
- 29 x 2.4" / 1000g / 36-51 psi / 25-30mm
- Color: Black
- Made in Germany