Continental Rammstein Tire - Exclusive First Ride

Jul 4, 2012
by Matt Wragg  
Continental's latest DH racing tire is named Rammstein, and it represents a new push by the German manufacture to re-energize its off road tire program. Continental head of marketing Joerg Malcherek freely admits that their high-end tires weren’t good enough and he has pushed everyone at Continental to work hard to change that. A big part of that change has been working closely with Continental's sponsored athletes, and the Rammstein is the direct result of working with the Atherton family. In a recent PB feature, we toured the factory and captured some of the passion that Continental puts into its handmade tires. In this continuing feature, we travel with the engineers for a first ride on the tires that may bring Continental its first World Cup DH podium. Meet the Rammstein.

Continental Rammstein Tire

The brief the the Athertons gave Continental's designers was to create a mixed conditions tyre. Something to place in the range that the High Roller fills for Maxxis. It took a couple of years to get from the initial meeting and discussions to the final version of the Rammstein.



Inside the Rammstein Tire

Continental used DNA from it existing Kaiser and Baron tires as reference points to begin the Ramstein project. Continental settled on a 2.4-inch width and there are no plans right now to offer any other sizes (although we think a smaller, enduro-friendly version could be great). The casing will only be in their heavy duty DH-flavour, with a two-ply carcass which is sturdy enough to go tubeless if you're so inclined. As for rubber compound? Well, they weren't saying much, just that like their other downhill tires it will be in the Black Chili Compound, which is designed to both be grippy and fast-rolling, and if it follows that path, we'd expect them to last pretty well too. When pushed on the compound issue, they explain that they felt a lot of people were confused by tire compounds, so they opted to keep things simple and offer the single option. Poking the tread, we'd take a guess that at least some of it is around the 40A mark, near Maxxis Supertacky/SlowReezay territory. Projected weight is 1100g per tire.

Details of the tyre.

Looking at the Rammstein's tread, there are two things that are very noticeable - the consistent tread design of the edging knobs and the channel between the centre and side tread.



Many tyre companies are going down the route of using square-edged tread patterns, but as far as we know, Continental are one of the few who use a single style of block for the side tread. Specialized does something similar with its Butcher tyres, but the Rammstein has a much more substantial profile and the edges are at right angles to the centre. A consistent row of side blocks should mean that the tire will feel predictable when leaned onto its side, and that channel means you should be able to feel when you move from the centre tread to the side tread. Reportedly, when the tire is drifting, it should move in a single direction as the edging blocks are at a right angle to the wheel and thus should not deflect the tire off line.

Performance

To try the Rammsteins, we stole one of the Nicolai team DH bikes and hit the DH trails at Thale and Schulenbach bikeparks - two testing grounds near the Continental factory. It had been raining on and off through the day, leaving the ground conditions a bit strange. Soil was at a midpoint between loam and clay - soft, but surprisingly slippery if we pushed too hard. What we were blown away with was how quickly we could start pushing these tyres hard. They do what the Conti engineers said they would do – feel consistent.

We quickly looked for excuses to rail the bike onto its side, because it was so much fun. When it came time to grab some photos we ended up sliding the bike out all the time because it felt so consistent going sideways that we knew when and how the grip was going to go and were certain when the soil was ready to give up. It may sound negative sliding out, but in the rainy conditions on the slick clay soil, there was a very limited amount of grip available, and the fact the tyres gave us the confidence to play to the limits of grip on a first ride simply blew us away.

Testing the Rammstein.

Going onto the side of the Rammstein tires, the big rows of side knobs feel great and in the soft conditions we could feel them biting. Continental photo



On the second day we headed up to Thale bikepark first thing – a big, braking bump-ridden motorway. Those kind of dull, sculpted conditions don’t really ask much of the Rammstein, and it ran as if on rails there. After lunch we headed out into the sticks for the gem that is Schulenbach. This tiny little bike park, hidden away in the middle of a forest let us try the tyres out on a real downhill track. Roots, rocks and wet loam were the order of the day. It was easy to find the confidence in the grip to try high lines over wet rocks and roots, and to push the bike into the catch berms. After each session, we knew that we could do it a bit faster next time.

Testing the Rammstein.

The Rammstein tire ruled the roots. The only negative that thing we did notice was that the tire seemed to squirm a little under heavy braking.Continental photo



Testing the Rammstein.

Continentals Rammstein's tread design made it easy to find enough confidence in the grip to try high lines over wet rocks and roots. Continental photo



Pinkbike First Impression:

Testing a tyre over two days can only tell you so much about it. The fact that it rained on both those days means we can’t tell you for sure what this tyre will feel like in the dry, or how well it will last. For us, predictable is the one word that describes this tyre. There are plenty of good downhill tyres out there that offer a shedload of grip, but we can’t think of another one that lets you explore the limits of grip this comfortably. We are properly impressed with the Rammstein and can’t wait to spend more time with it in the wider range of conditions that this tyre was designed for. - Matt Wragg
www.conti-online.com


111 Comments

  • + 118
 Du... Du Hast... Du Hast mich!! Awesome name.
  • + 3
 ramstein!
  • + 6
 i was going to say that... not fair xD Du... Du Hast... Du Hast mich!
  • + 30
 we're all living in america, america, ist wunderbar
  • + 12
 Bang bang Feuer frei!
  • + 13
 Who's gonna quote the lyrics of "Pussy"?
  • + 5
 Perfect Cool
  • + 3
 hahaha i tough this same but Du has is f*cking amazing a song maybe tires too Big Grin
  • + 4
 Don't know why but I found these tires beautiful!
  • + 1
 Thanks Kanioni tup

Now who will wright it backwards....... O.o
  • + 24
 I think its quite telling that the reviewer twice describes the tyre in comparison to Maxxis, kind of like the 'like a VW Golf' advert that was on a few years ago (www.youtube.com/watch?v=omAwEPbHmV0). It would seem like continental aren't just competing with other tyres, but also with a lot of people's attitudes that Maxxis is the default.
  • + 13
 The simple fact is that Maxxis are the benchmark and have been for a few years (let's not get into discussing the Michelin Comp series here), and if you want to describe something in plain terms, then sooner or later you will have to mention that benchmark as it is a familiar reference point. For example with the rubber, just saying "it's quite soft" is more or less meaningless, whereas comparing it to a product a large part of the audience are likely to be familiar with has meaning. And just saying "around 40A" becomes overly technical, assuming a level of interest/understanding that people may or may not actually have, whereas nearly everyone will have prodded the tread of their tyres at some point.
  • + 7
 My apologies Matt, I had no intention of my comment being a critique of your review. I was merely using your comparisons to highlight the general attitude that people (myself included) have of thinking of Maxxis as the default/benchmark. I quite agree that it is the correct way of getting your point across in the way the is simplest to understand for the majority of readers.
  • + 2
 @mattwragg and @crazy-d

good article matt!

and crazy-d makes some valid comments, the pricing on Maxxis tires here in the UK went crazy high last season Frown


I got turned onto Specialized tires some seasons back from a close contact, and have found their rubber to be extremely high performing and a great price point which makes them more accessible than the Maxxis 2-ply tires

a good number of riders in the UK have been looking further than Maxxis for other options, although I'd strongly agree with Matt's comments about Maxxis being the de facto tire standard for many years in DH and FR
  • + 3
 Well there's nothing wrong with good 'ol kenda! Just putting it out there...
  • + 18
 Finally a tire that isnt a minion ripoff...
  • + 6
 High Roller rip off?
  • + 3
 It's slightly similar, i wouldnt say it's a ripoff by any means though. It's good to see some innovation IMO, the minion DHF has had a deathgrip on the tire market for too long.
  • + 8
 think i will just stay with minions anyway
  • - 7
flag sasapas (Jul 4, 2012 at 5:35) (Below Threshold)
 try some geax tires way more grippy or wtb
  • + 1
 i would rather buy two really quality minions over one geax or wtb tire
  • + 4
 "It's good to see some innovation IMO, the minion DHF has had a deathgrip on the tire market for too long."

If it ain't broken, don't fix it.
  • + 6
 how can you say the minion is a rip off its cheaper than a continental? i think they are all a bloody rip off
  • + 2
 I'm sure the Minion's "deathgrip on the market" is undeserved. Right?

Sometimes a product dominates because it really is THAT good. Sometimes it doesn't need improvement. Sometimes there isn't a lot of room for innovation.

Speaking in empty platitudes -- like encouraging "progress" or "growth" or "innovation" -- is not very useful communication. It's about as helpful an observation as saying, "you know, I really wish someone would mold rubber into a tire-shaped tire, that would totally rock!"
  • + 3
 in my experience, of trying plenty of different tires, nothing beats the minion for both grip and value combined. they may not be the best tire on the market, but they sure are close, and the fact that you can do anything with a minion, dusty, peat gravel, dry, rocks, tacky, wet, muddy... such a good tire to chuck on your bike knowing your going to grip well in any situation. and for a price that is half that of most other tires, i dont know why other try to compete, because maxxis are top dog when it comes to making tires for any vehicle
  • + 3
 Aha, when the OP says ripoff I think he meant a blatant copy of a Minion. Nothing relating to cost Razz
  • + 1
 they are the old benchmark for me , now it's gotta be muddy marys Razz
  • + 2
 To everyone saying "if it aint broke dont fix it" i've spent a considerable amount if time on minions and i gotta admit i'm mot that impressed. I'd rather have a pair of high rollers any day, they have more grip and are more predictable when they lose traction.
  • + 1
 Nobble I have to agree. Using both 60a compound tires I found the DHF to wash out faster when leaning the bike over compared to the HR. I'm riding on hardpack/loose over hardpack, dry conditions almost all year. I'm thinking it has a lot to do with the square(HR) over round(DHF) profile of the tire. The side knobs on the HR are also reinforced so they don't fold when being pushed hard, the side knobs of the DHF aren't as supported so they tend to fold easier under cornering.
  • + 1
 Nobble if your point is to worship the High Roller why are you talking about the Minion? Maxxis makes quite a few tires and other tire companies make lots of tires too. Nobody says there's but one tire for everyone. If you understand the world to be forcing Maxxis Minions down your throat, I'd say you've got a little reading perception problem.

People praise the Minion because it works well. That's not the same as them saying, "Nobble, you MUST remove your High Rollers and use Minions instead."

Sheesh.
  • + 1
 well excuse me for questioning your minion fetish. show me where I "worshipped" high rollers... I merely said I'd rather have a pair than a pair of minions. excuse me for not listing every single tire on the market that is better than a minion...

saying I've got a "reading perception issue" is pretty ironic actually.
  • + 1
 NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! that is literally an exact replica of the WTB Dissent!!!!!!!!!!! When r companies going to get off their lazy a*ses and come up with their own f*ckin design!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 people who are saying they loose traction with minions, try running 2 minion fronts, for both front and back. the side grip on the minion front is considerably better than the minion rear, and you will find that setup is so balenced and works great for cornering.
  • + 1
 and stop running your tires at 10psi and pump them up to 30 or so, so your tire actually holds its shape rather than folding in when conering
  • + 1
 I loved my single ply DHF until I ripped its sidewall. Ran High Rollers since, and I prefer the better braking bite of HRs front and rear. However, I am open to trying out different brands, and now on a Panaracer CG AC. So far I am loving it in the front. The Rammstein, badass name and all, will be something I'm keeping an eye on definitely.
  • - 2
 Nobble, you imagine yourself a real Top Shelf Internet Debater & Putdown Artist, don't you?

Breaking down your nonsense, (1) you are the one who first imagined the "Minion fetish" and imagined everyone is trying to force Minions onto your rims; (2) you are the one who whinged about how the High Roller is far superior (thus, worshiped it); (3) you are the one who made it sound like no other tire exists, which makes your worship of the HR very ironic; (4) you haven't displayed any understanding of what irony is, even though you try to use the word.

Hoo-ray for Nobble, he's saying this... then he's saying that... and this and that contradict each other... but it's YOUR fault, reader!

I don't have a "Minion fetish." I don't run Minions. How many other things do you want to wrongly imagine are taking place in my life?
  • + 1
 1. No i didnt, i said everyone is running them, last time i checked that's different to me running them.

2. Again, no i did t. I simply said i would take them over minions.

3. Where did i say that? You're putting words in my mouth that never came out of it.

4. The irony grows stronger with each comment.


Any other bullshit you'd like to pretend I said?
  • + 1
 This guy again with his superiority complex.
  • + 1
 Deepcreek I didn't say the tire folds over, its the knobs. Nothing to do with the sidewall or tire pressure, as I can fold the with my hand at proper pressure. You can literally feel them fold over when you corner hard on the side knobs, since the HR has additional sideknob reinforcement it is much more resistant to folding. I like the round profile of the DHF though, you can really lean over with them!
  • + 1
 choose a harder compound for your next trie then, since you probably have super tacky compound that is very soft.
  • + 1
 No. I use 60a compound. Its not an issue if you ride on looser, damp dirt.
  • + 2
 I liked the twin DHF, but fak, it don't stop.
  • + 9
 Someone adapt that DH tire into a light casing for xc/allmountian. Would totally buy it continental
  • + 0
 Its called the queen 2.4. I have it on my front and the thing runs so consistant from wet PNW ripping to dry utah dust and it rolls really fast. I highly suggest it.
  • + 7
 The Rubber Queen is a completely different style of tyre, but I have been asking Conti about an enduro-friendly version of this tyre... They didn't say no.
  • + 1
 Whoops, stupid iPhone, didn't mean to neg prop Frown I would totally look at a lighter casing AM version of this tire. Consistency and reasonable weight is something are important to me on an AM tire with rolling speed and durability factors too. There seems to be some pretty decent tread options out there, but all In sizes 2.2 or smaller. Another contender in the not so crowded 2.3 market would be welcome
  • + 9
 Muddy Marys for life!
  • + 3
 am with you on that one ,just put a new pair on my bike for the first time and i love them
  • + 4
 I run than at 30psi and it feels like 22, such good grip. They are way better than aMaxxis on front, though I still like the Minion for the rear. Conti is only making one size, a 2.4. Not big enough for rocky courses, they should make a 2.6 also.
  • + 4
 I love my Muddy Mary's, they do well in mud, wet and dry conditions! Great all rounder tire.
  • + 2
 Yep for me muddy marys are the best tyre out there at the moment , don't need to change them all year round really untill you get into to muddy race day/uplift day type slop , but even then they handle it well.
Fast rolling and grippy , don't make sence but thats what you get.

Only down side is if you get them in 2.5 at some upilft events where they use a rack that your wheels go into they are tough to get in/out , some times causing the loaders to threaten to cut them down with a stanley knife like what happened to me last weekend. Razz
  • + 1
 I may be somewhat biased here against minions here as I had a bad experience with them but when I had to purchase some tires for my rig, there was no other option: Muddy Marys all the way. Minions are by no means a bad tire (accept maybe the DHR - a few people I know run high rollers on the rear instead) but the thing is, Muddy Marys are not just a little bit better...shame about the price though.
  • + 1
 i had tried some minnions they melted like butter ,still very good tires ,so i went whit the butcher s from spez did like them but after trying the MM i got to say i was so suprise ,they stick to the corners like gum
  • + 2
 In my experience MM's and conty der keizers are the best tires available. I started out riding on dhf's because that is what everybody used, when I started trying different tires as I found things on sale, I found that for my riding there were many better options that performance wise destroyed the minions. I think when it comes to tires it definitely comes down to personal preference.
  • + 3
 I like the minion DHF but im happy to see new tires, continental are my favourite road clinchers and looking at this new rammstein (sick name to) i might just gave a new go-to tire, next question is it sized like a maxxis 2.5 or a schwalbe 2.5 (aka does it run true to size like schwalbe)
  • + 3
 True the Minion DHF is an amazing tire, but many people honestly havent tried many others. I was obsessed about Minions for years, all I would drive. A friend tossed me a set of Muddy Mary's and I was blown away. They grip differently (good different) and are more versatile. They have amazing pedaling grip and handle ALL conditions. I still love my Minions, but I think I've been converted to Schwalbe Smile
  • + 2
 im on continental der baron and der kaiser black chilli comp the last few months and there great. i find i can run a few extra psi in the der kaiser compared high rollers and still have more grip and get up to speed much faster. ps nobody ever copied the high roller, every body copied the michelin comp 16.
  • + 1
 If I was running DH tires I would be willing to give them a try. I just became a fan of Conti. Trail Kings over HR's. I don't like the dead spot on leaning HR's over during average cornering. When leaned over hard they gripped great but not all corners are ridden that way. The Trail Kings don't have a dead spot and give me more confidence in the corners while still rolling fast. As far as the tire looking like a HR, I can see but how many truly different tread patterns can you have for a MTB tire? In a way they all look alike but one has to choose by rubber compound and tire construction.
  • + 2
 If they could make Du Hast resonate from the tires when rolling ... they would be instantly purchased. admittedly the novelty would probably turn to insanity after one day of riding.
  • + 4
 except that Black Chilli has better grip and lasts about 4 times longer than 3C.
  • + 1
 I've had these since Crankworx last year (got a used set off the Athertons when they left, they can't ship them because of the dirt, it creates hell in customs), Rad tire. Super soft rubber, great on off-camber roots, and surprisingly fast rolling.
  • + 1
 I dont run minonsi tried some dindnn like move on their stock tyrys so try somting else like shwable relly good qualitie contienal many other brands even if unknow their supirior or same qualtie and pepole stop saying kenda sucks
  • + 2
 the rammstein feels awsome on dry/ hard tracks. rolling fast, really good grip in curves. i love them. when it goes wet and muddy , take the rain king and go fast Wink
  • + 3
 it's been a while since anyone had made new tires wider than 2.3
  • + 1
 Yeah, and there's probably a good reason for that. I've just recently bought a set of Schwalby Muddy Mary 2.5 in 2-ply performance casing, took them to a bike park for some not-so-heavy DH sessions... and what a pinch flat fest that was! These tires are seriously wide, but still weigh in comparably to your Minions or Highrollers 2.5's which are much narrower. This means side walls are much thinner. For a whole week I couldn't find the correct pressure not to pinch flat but have just enough grip... I'm coming back to Highrollers, thank you very much.
  • + 1
 Hard to beat supersoft Minions. Performance is very even, looks are spot on. 2nd would be highroller. Schwalbe and Conti suffer from Teutonic asstightedness. Relax.
  • + 1
 I've got a set of these and they are absolutely unbelievable, I had high rollers before but they just don't compare!
  • + 2
 Want to know how the bike ride more tbqfh.
  • + 1
 I have the trail kings on my trail bike in a 2.4 and 2.2 and they're excellent - Looking forward to trying these.
  • + 1
 I have the rubber queen 2.2 (different name for Europe!), but I don't like them so much so far. Probably good in mixed conditions but in the dry the tend to slip a little too suddenly. By chance it's a rainy summer Wink
One thing I'm not used to yet is this gap between central knobs and shoulder knobs (just like on the ramstein?) which makes that the bike can handle only 2 positions: vertical and (guess) 45° bend. It kind of falls from one to the next and seems unbale to hold in between. I have to try on a larger rim though, as they are really big for some 2.2.
  • + 1
 Everything you said about the handling in 2 positions is exactly what I felt about the HR's. You are either vertical or laying the bike down in the corners. Anywhere in between can feel sketchy. My 2.4 trail kings are HUGE compared to the 2.5 HR I had on my bike. Apparently Conti's are high volume tires...to say the least.
  • + 2
 Highrollers are great if you like a 'drift to grip' kind of tyre, Minion DHF are better for more consisent centre to edge feel. Personally I have been riding the Conti Der Kaiser rather instead of the Maxxis tyres everyone else is on for the last two years and I have not been happier.
  • + 1
 will try, why not...everyday they make better and better products to compete with one another.
  • + 2
 Will they release Continental - SOAD?
  • + 1
 RAMMSTEEEEIIN !!!!!!! Big Grin
the most beautiful name for a tire i've ever heard !
  • + 2
 Looks like a demon tire from Prometheus!
  • + 1
 how?
  • + 7
 Ohh wow, I was drunk last night. I do not remember writing this post, nor do I have any idea why it would look like a "demon tire from Prometheus!" Carry on...
  • + 1
 its bikepark SchulenBERG by the way Wink
  • + 1
 It looks like an Intense Edge...but not as good.
  • + 1
 Not worthy of the title...how could it be. Manche folgen.
  • + 1
 dont ride tublles in the east you always get tie burps
  • + 1
 I like the mobster up front
  • + 2
 ICH WILL!!!
  • + 2
 i do not like maxxis..
  • + 1
 I never thought that the whole World knows Rammstein. "Ich will" auch
  • - 1
 My friend works at conti and he was saying he athertons were helping to test out the tyres. They just based them on high rollers
  • + 6
 bet he's not your friend when he losses his job
  • + 2
 I got some that the Athertons had used for testing they are sick!
  • + 1
 what does the rammstein better than a baron?
  • + 1
 I cannot imagine anything, the der. Aron is the best all around tire I have ridden, it's like a Cross between a dhf and a muddy Mary
  • + 1
 Review fails to mention if they ran it tubeless or not.
  • + 1
 New tires i think yes!
  • - 3
 i love that tight tee in pic three
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