Last year I retired my old Kenda Small Block Eights, sick of their lack of reliability any time the conditions weren’t ideal. Based on tire guru Nick Moroder’s recommendation, I mounted the Continental Mountain King II up front and the X-King in the rear. Both of these Germany-made tires feature Conti’s Black Chilli compound and ProTection sidewalls – this added puncture protection layer is more resistant to cuts and also makes the tires tubeless ready, which was the only way to go.
The Mountain King, with large tread and a width of 2.4, is more of an all-rounder which does well virtually everywhere, while the X-King, with its low profile tread and smaller width of 2.2, is more of a race tire, but it doesn’t sacrifice traction.
I couldn’t be happier with the set up – I’ve ridden the tires in all manners of trail conditions from loose sand to rock gardens to the occasional mud puddle, and I’ve found them to offer me a great combination of grippiness and predictability when they do cut loose in those sandy corners. They’ve been fast and confidence inspiring – if you haven’t considered the rubber you’re riding on in a while and are looking for a great all-around combo, I’d definitely give these Conti’s some serious consideration.
While I gave up the weight-savings the Small Block Eights offered me, the confidence and traction that the Conti’s delivered have more than made up for the weight discrepancy.