Continental Trail King Tire
In updating and making real improvement to the King Series mountain bike tire line-up, Continental took a long hard look at one of their most popular tires, the Trail King ProTection. and re-designed the tire from the inside out: revamping the Black Chili compound, using a lighter, more flexible Cordura material for the ProTection feature, adding the Apex DH-level sidewall bands, and updating and optimizing the tread pattern. 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. The end result is a lighter weight, more flexible tire with improved grip, traction, and overall performance that includes puncture protection.
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.
For the updated Trail King, the tread pattern itself gets more compact, set to set, features slightly shorter knobs, with pretty much the same pattern at the center, but a variation on the edge and shoulder increases angled grip and hold, with more consistency. The knob angles are similar and with the groups more closely spaced, there are more knobs in total around the circumference of the tire. This 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 Trail King. The result is greater confidence, especially at speed or in more aggressive cornering angles, were you can feel the improved deflection and conformity. Traction improves, which means greater speed can be carried and accelerations become more responsive.
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. As part of that specification, and some frank admissions that some of their tires- especially the Trail King, varied too far from the listed size in the past, 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. We feel this generational change was a bit overdue, but now that it is here, we are both impressed and pleasantly surprised. The Trail King ProTection Apex is a tire that riders from XC Trail through Enduro and freeride categories love, especially in the gnarlier, rooty, rocky, muddy environments of the Appalachian zone through northern New England and NY state, or the Pacfic Northwest. Traction, grip, durability, and yes, still speed and protection, can be appreciated anywhere the trails are rough and "inviting". Even with the addition of Apex, the re-designed Trail King is lighter than its predecessor and just as happy on a 29er or 27.5" equipped trail bike. All hail!
- Supreme leader of all mountain trail tire re-designed from the inside out to deliver more grip and control, and increased speed and protection with terrain/conditions versatility
- Re-engineered, tire-specific BlackChili rubber compound reduces rolling resistance; improves puncture protection, grip, traction
- Similar tread but now optimized with more sets per tire circumference, new edge pattern, 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:
- 26 x 2.2" / 740g / 44-58 psi / 21-25mm
- 27.5 x 2.2" / 800g / 44-58 psi / 21-25mm
- 27.5 x 2.4" / 890g / 36-51 psi / 25-30mm
- 29 x 2.2" / 850g / 44-58 psi / 21-25mm
- 29 x 2.4" / 945g / 36-51 psi / 25-30mm
- Color: Black
- Made in Germany