TYRE REVIEW: Continental X-King 2.2″
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The X-King from Continental came about as a point between the Mountain King and Rubber King tyres. The idea was for a light, fast rolling but grippy tyre for most conditions. The fast rolling element suggests dry conditions and purpose-built trails, so I gave it run out at the Croft Trail.
I tested the 26″ x 2.2″ basic steel bead version, but it is also available as 2″ and 2.4″ in folding, protected case, tubeless and 650b and 29″ versions too – something for everyone. The walls on the basic version are 3 ply 180tpi, with Continental’s excellent Black Chili rubber compound. Weight goes from sub 500g to 800g for the biggest. Because of the wide range I won’t list them all, but you can check out the weights & specifications at Continental’s website here.
I was looking for something that gave me lots of grip, especially cornering when run on the front. I’m extremely fussy about tyres I run on the front and demand a lot of grip up front. Previously I had run a WTB Weirwolf on the front (great tyres for medium to wet conditions), but needed something with more grip in the dry, hardpack surface of the Croft Trail.
And the X-King did not disappoint.
True to its purpose the X-King was fast rolling from the off, feeling nice and fast. Cornering was excellent, helped a bit by the round profile of the carcass. There are lots of tight, burmed corners at Croft, and the X-King was great and transitioning from vertical into a full lean – there was no sudden break away that some tyres give, just the same grip until it gave way. Even then when you reached the limit of adhesion, the tyre gave way gently and predictably – giving you a chance to either back off and regain grip, or control the slide you started. Great stuff.
The grip was excellent and consistent on very hard surfaces and the loose dirt/twigs you get in forests. The Black Chili compound was at work here and it’s very good. Unfortunately there’s no mud to play in at the moment, so I will have to wait for that report on stickier conditions, but I hear good things about it’s performance in mud, so I will update once we have some (won’t be long in the UK I’m sure!).
In all I was very impressed with the X-King. Excellent grip and predictability over so varied conditions. It doesn’t suck your speed either and the basic version being available for £15 at the moment is excellent value.
My only real niggle was whether I had picked the right size. I’ve always run big tyres up front, and this 2.2″ felt a little small for me (having come from a 2.3″ up front). That’s a personal choice though, rather than a criticism of the tyre, and there is a 2.4″, so I’m might try that up front. That said I’m still impressed enough with the 2.2″ I won’t rush to try that – and that’s unusual for me. Very impressed.
Link – Continental website
Link – X-King at Halfords