Review: Continental's Updated Trail King Tires Are Impressively Predictable

Feb 7, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  


Continental's latest tires, including their "King" series, take into consideration a lot of what has changed in the last several years with mountain bike tires. As Brett Hahn, Continental's US brand manager, put it, "Everything about the sport has changed or improved with the exception of the tire." In redeveloping their King series, Continental set out to make that change for themselves.

Taking into account modern rim widths, riding conditions, speeds, braking forces, and the influence those factors have on a tire, Continental have re-worked the line from the ground up to create a product they think meets the needs of the modern rider.

Trail King Tire Details
• Black Chili rubber compound
• Tubeless ready
• Cordura casing reinforcements
• Sizes: 29 x 2.2, 2.4"; 27.5 x 2.2, 2.4"; 26 x 2.2, 2.4"
• Weight: 945 grams (29 x 2.4")
• MSRP: $74.95 USD
www.continental-tires.com
The tread patterns aren't all that different visually but, they have been tweaked, and the sidewalls have been completely changed. That, along with other updates in the construction of the tire gives the tire better grip and increased trail feel - a positive departure from what many people would agree was a notoriously stiff and difficult to ride tire in years past.


Aggressive side knobs and an open pattern allow for plenty of bite and mud shedding.
The knobs aren't overly tall but have ample grip in varied conditions.


Construction

Instead of using a layer of kevlar for protection, Continental has chosen to go with a Cordura panel in the sidewall. The problem with a thicker kevlar sidewall that many of the older models of tires had, according to Hahn, was that while it offered ample protection from cuts, riders were under-inflating the tires in order to get the ride quality they wanted because the sidewalls were overly stiff, hence the poor ride quality riders were experiencing. The Cordura panel offers protection and helps with air retention - it's more air tight and that means less sealant, in theory. Continental also changed the way the casing material was laid up. With a straighter bias, the tires should roll better, and with the new casing compound, better able to handle stresses and loads.

There's a different bead geometry and a smaller bead diameter as well. Continental's Apex insert goes from just above the bead to halfway up the sidewall. This stiffens the sidewall and creates a cushion to help prevent pinch flats.

Continental have chosen to mold the ideal rim width for their tires onto the sidewalls - no more guessing whether the tire is actually designed for a 45mm or 22mm wide rim. As long as you're within the suggested rim widths, the tire should work without an issue.

All of the King series tires use Continental's proprietary Black Chili compound. The compound is apparently good enough that when Adidas bought 5.10, they tried to get Continental to sell them the formula. Continental wouldn't do that, but they did do a collaboration with Adidas and you can find a similar tread pattern to the Mountain King tire on some of Adidas' trail shoes.




Performance

The Trail King tires were simple and easy to set up tubeless without any trouble on a rim with an internal measurement of 27mm. (I used a floor pump at home, no air compressor required.) This fits within the ideal width of a 25-30mm rim that's printed on the tire. Measuring the actual tire width, I was right at the stated 2.4" dimensions. For pressure, I ran between 18 and 20 psi in the front and then 20 -23 psi in the rear, depending on conditions and what trails I would be riding.

Riding the Trail King, I was able to quickly and safely let my guard down. I didn't have a lot of the initial "riding on eggshells" feeling I tend to get when I don't know how a tire is going to behave. Rather, I was happy to feel confident and in control with the tires providing consistent feel in a variety of conditions. If I were to compare it to another tire, I would say it behaves most similar to a Maxxis High Roller, with a casing that's a little more robust than EXO.

The open tread pattern helped in clearing out muck and not packing up, while the sharp side knobs offered plenty of bite when leaning the bike into corners without feeling like I was going to unexpectedly loose the back or front end of the bike. On more hard packed ground, the tires roll well and feel quick - there's not a lot of drag or slow feeling that some softer compound tires produce when pushing up longer climbs.

In wet rocks and roots, I was surprised at how well the tires provided ample grip. It's the true test here in Western North Carolina, and for a tire that rolls as well as the Trail King does, I was pleased with its equal prowess on slippery sections of trail. Running my air pressure in the low 20s, I had plenty of traction to get up and over technical bits and the tires still stood up without folding over when descending and pushing into turns.

The Trail King isn't the most aggressive tire in Continental's line up, but it sits well with me as a really solid all-around choice. I was pleased with the predictability it offered as well as the durability - I haven't had any issues with flatting, even when running lower pressures in rocky terrain.

I have also been running the combination of a Trail King in the front and a faster rolling Cross King in the back. It's been an excellent option for days when there's a little more hard-pack or road miles with sections of technical trail in-between. The faster rolling speed of the combo saves a little bit of effort on the ups, but still has a meaty tire up front to help get the bike where it needs to be headed back down. I did have one puncture on a Cross King but, to its defense, any tire would have flatted and it was more a poor line choice on my part than a flaw in the tire.


Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesContinental's Trail King tires deliver an impressively predictable ride. They perform well in a wider variety of conditions than you may expect, and can withstand a good amount of abuse, making them a solid option for an all-round trail tire. Daniel Sapp








178 Comments

  • + 90
 Review tells you they are good. You decide they are shit because of a completely different version of the tyre you had issues with. Logic at work on Pinkbike.
  • + 19
 Cheers!
  • + 30
 "Couldn't be good, I had a pair 10 years and 4 generations ago- I'll never buy any brand tire that starts with C now".
  • + 12
 yup, by the same logic minions are crap, because I screwed up and didn't notice I bought the EXO version of the DHR2..
  • - 8
flag AutumnMedia (Feb 8, 2019 at 2:03) (Below Threshold)
 @phobospwns: lol Macxis tires are crappp - blocks of rubber made for playing legos
  • + 6
 @omclive: What's wrong with the EXO version of the DHRII?
  • + 0
 @yupstate: If you live in Victoria or Vancouver EXO casings only last a ride or two as a rear tire.
  • + 2
 @keeqan: When i was riding the coast mountains, they didn't strike me as particularly hard on the tires. Most of the guys i rode with were on EXO or Snakeskin casings.
However in the Okanagan, the Pyrenees or on a volcanic island i would certainly go for something tougher than EXO.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: oh absolutely. Living in Kelowna I had to run 40psi to keep the tires on. Downhill casings helped a lot. Out here there is much more sliding and jumping into rock and root gardens. I'm back down to 30psi because that's the only way to get traction but have still pinched many tires and blown up rims. ???? The rocks definitely dont look as scary but they can be just as brutal!
  • + 1
 @yupstate: Where I live, we have a lot of slate and sharp granite, EXO tires get ripped to shreds as soon as you lock the rear wheel up once in the wrong spot, or hit a corner too hard. Continental and Michelin are the only non-DH tires I've had good experiences with regarding durability here.
  • + 57
 I have no particular brand allegiance, but of the tyres I've ridden over the last few years Conti Trail Kings stand out as one of the worst. They seem to strike that magical ballance of high drag and high prices price matched with low grip and low puncture protection. That said, they're not even the worst mtb tyres that Conti make...
  • - 40
flag Axxe (Feb 7, 2019 at 0:49) (Below Threshold)
 You are wrong.
  • + 10
 Conti Mountain King II were my worst. Many punctures and bitten sidewalls to finish it. Never had a puncture anymore since then.
  • + 3
 I second that- a have the Protection version and the puncutre resistance isnt good.

The Kaiser Projekt however on the front had really good grip and very good impact resistance.

The big plus for me: They dont wear / tear like Schwalbe and little bit better durability than Maxxis.
  • + 0
 edit double post
  • + 29
 My Continental experience has been bead separation, warped casing and knobbies peeling off.
  • + 11
 @in2falling: yep, my last conti warped so bad it was rubbing the stay after about 20miles of XC, a Baron too. Felt great putting a tyre in the bin that still had mold flash on! Like I said my LAST conti
  • + 21
 Funny, ive ran der barons for the last 2 years n think theyre ace! No trouble what so ever. ????
  • + 11
 @Dini2k: Agreed, the der barons are epic tyres. Ive been running them for 4 years, ive had 1 puncture in that time. Really predictable, mega grippy and last for ages!
  • + 30
 Isn’t this why they have redesigned them?
  • + 10
 I've run the old Trail Kings and Mountain Kings. I thought the grip was great, but they never held air (always lost 5-7 psi overnight) and I managed to break the bead on two tires, something I've never done on a Maxxis.

I'd give them another shot if they improved the sidewalls and bead.
  • - 17
flag IllestT (Feb 7, 2019 at 4:11) (Below Threshold)
 @lewiscraik: this is blatantly a re-badging, not a re-design
  • + 1
 Cool deal with Addidas using Black Chili compound on their trail shoes. Now the soles on my sneakers can fall apart after a week too.
  • + 10
 Extremely predictable... it simply won't grip.
  • + 21
 Complete opposite experience here. The Trail King is by far my favorite all-around tire. It has the grip of a downhill tire with the rolling resistance of a trail tire. It's not the slightest bit scared of wet rocks and roots either.
  • + 2
 Same here. Ran mountain kings front and rear. Not particularly grippy on any surface but had low rolling resistance. Then one day I noticed a big ass bubble in my rear tire. Not even 30 miles was ridden with either tire. Casing probably fucked up or something but never Conti again.
  • + 16
 They're the würst.
  • + 2
 @in2falling: +1 for warped casing, and tyres blowing off the rim and generally being awful for tubeless
  • + 12
 @TheRaven: YUp. I've been running TKs on all my bikes for years. Awesome PNWet tire and does great in the desert as well. Rolls fast. Grips well. I get very few flats and I am 200lbs ready to ride. Smile

I heard they were coming out with a 2.6" width....I hope that's still in the works. Smile
  • + 2
 @vikb: Best rubber in the business, seal up just fine with good sealant. Negative nancies here just can’t set thing up.
  • + 6
 @in2falling: Amen. I have never experienced a Conti tire bead up well or hold air for long periods unless there's a tube in it. Maxxis on the other hand... have beaded up perfect every time and lose air at a glacial pace.
  • + 6
 @chrod: I have a set of new version Race Kings (Black Chili) that are my best air holding tubeless tires atm. I never had any problems with cheaper performance race kings either... but i don't use Stan's sealant.
  • - 1
 trail kings are the one tire i won't buy anymore ever. I think half the flats i've ever had in my life have been with these tires
  • + 2
 @Axxe:

No Colonel Sanders, you're wrong.
  • - 1
 @WasatchEnduro: I am right. You all are doing it wrong if you have any problems.
  • + 1
 @zephxiii @Axxe : I do suspect the Black Chili compound as part of the sealing problem -- it's much slicker than Schwalbe's or Maxxis' compounds I've used. (Other than that, it could be rim profile/tire bead match that's an issue, but not much can be done without a rim change.)

What sealant works best with the Conti's for you guys?
  • + 5
 @chrod: I've had Black Chilli Trail Kings and Barons (projekt) seat up with no sealant whatsoever and hold 35psi for three days. These are Apex generation tires though...before Apex you did need a good sealant to seal the sidewalls.

I started using Conti's Revo sealant back in the day and now I just use it for everything because it beats the crap out of Stan's and Orange.

I suspect that a lot of the complaints about leaky Conti tires are pretty old tires, from well before the Apex generation. Ditto with the separated beads and bands...that's what Apex was developed to fix.
  • + 1
 That and they do not set up tubeless very easily... at least not on the two different wheels I tried them on. One didn't work at all no matter what I tried.
  • + 3
 @Axxe:

To each his/her own.

With so many good options there’s just no reason to give Conti another try from me. I also didn’t like the rolling resistance or durability but that was several years ago. I’m on e13 this year, SS rear, TRS+ front. Super stoked. And Maxxis is always there like and old friend who welcomes me back. Trustworthy, consistent, honest.
  • + 6
 You guys are funny...."the old Conti's sucked!"....So? This is a new tire with the only similarity being compound and tread pattern....and most people aren't even complaining about those two aspects.
At any rate...I'll be trying them, should be a good tire around here(Kamloops)....now just need to make sure we're getting this NEW Conti and not old stock.
  • + 0
 Agree. Bought the Trail King in a pinch at a shop while traveling(recommended as a local favorite).....I felt sluggish, exhausted, slow, like I was pedaling through wet cement. My buddy even commented at my pace, I thought maybe I was just tired. Realized it was that damn tire on the rear!
I removed it with only a few miles use...tried it again a little while later just to make sure and same thing. Awful tire!
Total waste of $75.
  • + 3
 @GlassGuy: It's better on the front.
  • + 1
 The X-Kings 2.4 has been incredible on my Salsa Fargo as a bikepacking/light single track tire. Not sure I have the faith to put them on my real mountain bikes, but on the bikepacking rig they have been fast and incredibly grippy. Seriously impressed.
  • + 2
 @GlassGuy: lol I'd never run Trail King as a rear, unless it was for motoring through snow. With the spacing between the center knobs, of course it'll be slow Smile
  • + 2
 @Adamrideshisbike: I've thought about trying that but I always end up having a back up ready of my "preferred" front tire. I may as well do it and get my money's worth!
  • + 4
 @chrod: I use stans (for now) and have had no problems. I have the new trail king on the back and it has changed my life. I had the old trail king in the back but ripped a hole in it at a park. I have this years' baron in the front, and a trail king in the back with a huck norris insert. With my velocity blunt 35 rims and hope hub my back wheel is officially bomb proof, works like a charm in the park and on my local trails. The switch to the baron and trail king has increased my grip in wet conditions by an unprecedented amount and I'm super happy with them. New sidewalls are so stiff they practically look inflated with no air in them
  • + 4
 they re-did everything... if you haven't ridden the new ones, they are nowhere near the same as the Contis of yesteryear.
  • + 1
 @smithcreek: I bought some Adidas shoes with Continental soles 5 years ago and they still have most of their tread left even after wearing them almost every day. They are likely the best wearing soles I've ever had. I just got the new Adidas Ultra Boost with Continental tread for running and they are super sticky! Very similar feel to a 5.10 shoe but with better rebound.
  • + 2
 Couldn’t be further from the truth kool aid boy. Maxxis tire’s are pathetic and their side walls are mush. I’ve taken all my crappy max off for reliable predictable cornering with Continental. I rode a downhill park for two seasons zero punctures on those tires. Don’t listen to kool aid boys - Conti is the original OG and the other brands have done well in recent years but Conti just came out with super affordable tires for tubeless - the best prices on the market for that quality. Not sure if you even read the article or just thought the first stupid thing in your head and posted that....der I like blocks of rubber on my crappy max tires - yea no thanks I’ll go with the OG who makes sidewalls last more than one ride...if you’re butt hurt from reading this why don’t you actually try them cause I can from experience - I have multiple bikes available to me at any moment - any tire combo I can try - I’ve got an entire shop at my disposal and years of testing but meh right...keep riding square blocks on corners right?
  • + 1
 @zephxiii: Depends on what you consider slow. Based on the older versions (which had the same tread pattern down the centre), it's quicker than DHF and DHR2 Exo dual or 3C versions but slower than a Minion SS.
  • + 31
 The compound has always been good. If they fixed the sealant weeping and sidewall stiffness there is only the weird knob design to doubt and if it works I don't mind it being less structured looking than maxxis or bontrager.
  • + 6
 @Sontator They definitely have some weird tread designs compared to others. Remind me of Ritchey tires, not moto.
  • + 20
 They've fixed that. I had no issues with the tires weeping and I've had one set inflated on wheels for months now.
  • + 4
 @danielsapp: I had a pair of these and loved them. My first pair wept from the sidewalls so I contacted Continental and they gave me two brand new tires for free!! No questions asked. I wish I had them on my bike now but I'll wear out my Maxxis minions first.
  • + 2
 Had one set that after six months I had to replace/refill with stans. No big deal as that falls in line with normal expectations. But then again one month later I had to refill again... odd but ok. Then again one month later after.... I went to maxxis but wore them out quicker then the stans needed to be refilled. Now got a second set of Conti and so far six months no issues.
  • + 2
 Apex fixed that. Also, I recommend Continental's Revo sealant. It's specifically designed for their tires, and I now use it on all brands of tire because i've found it to seal better, hold up better, and clean up easier than Stan's or Orange.
  • + 2
 @TheRaven: Absolutely right on the Conti Revo Sealant, particularly as regards cleanup. I often resell my used tires if they are not too wasted, and like to get them as clean as possible.
  • + 2
 @Flowcheckers: try the tire honestly that’s why I like them
more than any other brand. They corner and handle amazingly well - I’m not being a brand basher but Max tires suck donkey balls. I’ve gone through more wet noodles of Max tires folding on jump lines and customers bringing me back broken beads...so through my actual testing Conti hold up ten times more than a maxis would. You honestly don’t have to be a genius - just take the two tires side by side as I’ve actually done and feel difference. Conti are durable and stronger and anyone would know that even from just handling the two tires...better production method and Maxxis has been on a string of warranties so have fun with that!
  • + 17
 I've been riding new Mountain Kings 29x2.3 for the last few months. They're the best trail tire I've used so far.
Size is close to Maxxis higher volume 2.35s like Ikon and Ardent Race (unlike puny Forekaster), they're very light at 740gr, easily inflate using just floor pump and hold air great.

They're also tougher and stiffer than EXO and Snakeskin from Schwalbe and after few months of riding still look new.

Grip is great, hardly any less than Minions I've had before and much better than Nobby Nics.

New MK is also quite fast so I run both front and rear, it climbs very well and isn't draggy at all.

It's the perfect trail tire right now because most people don't need Minions which only slow you down far more then help with grip especially if you actually pedal your bike up and down.
  • + 20
 back in the day they were called "Rubber Queen", after the namechange there were not many reasons left to ride them hard.
  • + 12
 I don't get either the "Conti for life" or "Hate-Conti" side. I've had mixed experiences with Conti in the same manner as with every other tire brand.
Example: With Conti I used to love the Kaiser Projekt. Currently I run Baron Projekts on my enduro. Great tire that one, holding up really well, super in the wet, just needs the right pressure to prevent the carcass rolling. Trail Kings (old version) on the other hand, not so good for serious riding, simply too light a tire.
All in all, Conti feels like any other tire brand to me.
  • + 6
 True words. I also don't get the hate for an entire brand because of one bad experience in the past. I had bad experiences with Maxxis Minion DHFs. But i don't hate Maxxis and would try them again. Because unlike some people here, i realize that the current ones are not the same tire as ones from 8 years ago.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: one time i had 2.7 minion dhfs in 60a version with pressures a bit too high. Imagine riding on invisible ice.
  • + 9
 I’d be so happy if all tire manufacturers adopted WTB’s way of labeling tires... no addix this or chili that garbage, just tell me wtf I’m trying to find out without having to go to the damn mfg website and spend 30 mins trying to figure out!!! Tough fast rolling, soft high grip etc... genius!
  • + 3
 Better yet just print the durometer rating on the sidewall. I’ve searched and searched but i still don’t know how soft my purple magic Mary is. I think it sits somewhere between a max grip and a max terra Maxxis but that’s about it.
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: i think purple addix is 40a outside 42a inside and a stronger base
  • + 1
 @mate1998: where did you get that info from? That’s the same as a max grip Maxxis so i don’t doubt it.
  • + 12
 Rubber Queen changed into Trail King. I am ready to fight for gender rights and this awful act of patriarchy
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: That's white male privilege for you...
  • + 1
 Not to mention that the name change also eradicated representation of certain minorities with very distinctive mating habits in the realm of tire-names. Such a horrible act of systematic oppression must surely result in outrage.
  • + 3
 Conti is standing up for Trans rights. How dare you assume this tire's gender!
  • + 1
 THE PATRIARCHY!
  • + 7
 Blown away by the negative comments. I switched to Trail Kings about 8 years ago when I couldn't get the knobs on Kendas to stay on or the sidewall of Maxxis' to last a few rides. I love them and am stoked to try out this new and improved version! Great review!
  • + 6
 I've been running the 26x2.4" version of this tire in the front since May last year. The tread does look pretty much identical though the article states that the tire has been reworked from the ground up. Is it just a new construction with the old thread or do I happen to have the latest tire and the article is just a bit later because obviously @danielsapp needed time to test it properly?

That said, yeah I like this tire (or at least the one I got) quite a lot.
  • + 1
 They changed the carcass and the side lugs. If yours looks like the one tested here it's the new one and if it looks like this ride.io/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TJL-0754.jpg it's the old one
  • + 1
 @Br4inm4n: Yup
@Vinay: If you like your tire, I'm betting you have the new version I've been on.
  • + 2
 @danielsapp: Apex protection made in Deutschland is 0 issues. The cheaper China tires are hit and miss from what I've seen.
  • + 8
 The non black chilli ones are without a doubt, the worst tyre I have ever used.
  • + 4
 I never understand the hate for Continental Tires. I run a Trail King Apex Protection Black Chilli up front in a 2.4" and a Mountain King II (201Cool Protection 2.3 on the rear, 27.5" tubeless on Hope Tech Enduro rims with 150mm travel front and 125mm rear. Over the mixed terrain we have in the north of England, Wet-Muddy-Millstone Grit-Limestone-Trail Centre-Peat Bog and Disused Railway, they perform easily as well as my previous Nobby Nics. Less weeping of sealant, hold pressure better, similar ware rates.
  • + 3
 "The compound is apparently good enough that when Adidas bought 5.10, they tried to get Continental to sell them the formula."

Adidas is dropping the ball on 5.10. Stealth is one of the best rubbers ever developed. It’s arguably the best rock climbing shoe rubber. It just so happened to stick so damn well to pedals that it inadvertently put 5.10 at the top of mtb shoe world. Literally a lot of us stopped riding clipless when we discovered how well the 5.10 stealth sole on a platform pedal works! Then Adidas buys 5.10 and cheapens out on the materials (look at all the latest reviews of their popular climbing shoes), then they try to bury the one thing that made 5.10 so f-n successful because the stealth recognition is so strongly tied to 5.10.
  • + 1
 Looks like we gotta make a new mountain shoe company!!! The owners definitely cut and run but who can blame them. I would think being the staple brand without much competition would allow you to never have to be bought out but I guess some people would rather let their entire life’s work be sold to the highest bidder..
  • + 1
 @AutumnMedia: I'm not sure on the whole story but from my understanding they didn't really plan to get into MTB. A climbing shoe is really hard to design... Honestly I would've gotten rid of the whole climbing shoe thing, and sipped mai tai's on the beach cause MTB shoes are vans with their special sticky rubber. (and climbers aren't dentists!)

Can't believe Adidas is trying to kill stealth. We should buy it from them.
  • + 3
 Interesting to hear that the offer good grip in the wet now. It's the best tyre I've ever used in dry conditions however the current tyres are abysmal in the wet. I hope the Cordura fixes the problem that the current 2.2 tyres have of sidewall deformation after impact too.
  • + 2
 Same for me and wet conditions. Been using Race Kings, X-Kings and Mountain Kings II for the past 10 years and on wet rocks it's like riding on ice. In dry conditions they are the best tires I tried so far and last so long that I go through the casing way before the lugs.
  • + 2
 @lRaphl: Could it be that you are using the wrong class of tires? RK, XK and also MK are light, fast cross-country (race) tires. Compared to other CC tires the Black-Chili ("made in germany") Contis are exceptionally grippy in the wet, nothing else comes close.

But they are obviously nowhere near as grippy in the wet as dedicated trail tires.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: Maybe that's the problem. But so far the RK gave me better results on wet rocks than XK and MK. I will have to try the TK someday. Maybe next year because this summer I'm going for a Rock Razor/Magic Mary combo to give it a try and see if I get better wet rock traction.
  • + 2
 The Trail King is to trail riding what the Minion is to downhill. Obviously I haven't ridden every tire in existence in every condition in existence but I have done enough riding on the big brands to confidently say that for DH you want Minions and for trail you want Trail Kings.

Fine Print - this is not to say that all other tires suck. I have a Kaiser/Baron projekt combo on my Enduro rig and Spec Ground Controls on my fatbike and my wife's trail bike...so yeah.
  • + 2
 I've run Conti mtn tires for about 6 years now and the treads and compound have always been great. But there were definitely major quality issues with the old Protection Casing line.... warped casings and poor tubeless performance. To Conti's credit, they did always replace my tires under warranty when issues came up.

I've been running the redesigned tires since they launched last summer and Conti seems to have addressed all the quality issues... no more warping, easy to setup tubeless and they hold pressure/sealant, and they're consistently true to size now. Give the new ones a chance and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  • + 2
 I used Trail Kings for years until they discontinued the UST models. I could never get the other versions to seat/seal to the rim. After a half hour of fighting with it and using an compressor to inflate, I gave up and went to Maxxis now I just use a floor pump. I did regularly get 7 months out of a rear black chili tire where as 4 months from a Maxxis DC or 3 months from a 3C.
  • + 1
 Same experience. The 26" versions with the UST hot patch were awesome for local conditions (northern Front Range, SE Wyoming and other rocky places like Moab and GJ). Newer versions were garbage.....like walk into a shop with a loose bead or a blistered sidewall and they'd just hand you a new tire because they knew another Conti was going into the warranty pile garbage. I wonder if German trails just lack the kind of large crystal granite and shale that define a lot of the trails here-I've also had terrible luck with Schwalbe casings.

I'd love to be able to ride this tread pattern/rubber again-it offers a great balance of grip and rolling resistance. It'll take more than one reviewer to sell me on them though, especially when a lot of other brands have made tires that are burly and ride pretty well (Maxxis, Vittoria, and WTB come to mind).
  • + 1
 Switch back man - I’ve been in a tire rut just sort of dealing with whatever tires sit on my new bike. Max is has been the production choice and I feel like that shows how cheap they’re. You’re not going to see full production bikes with Continental cause they’re just of a higher quality and production costs aren’t as streamlined and cheap as max. That said Max is has had a string of warranties and bad tires going out. So many wet noodles as I call them. Continental more over has created a superb cornering tire compared to competitors I’ve tested. I rail berms and max is akwats felt like I was riding an edge. The Conti’s are soooo confident that I dare say my whole riding experience went up a full 20% - that’s how much I hate maxxis now they robbed me of 20% more confidence I could have had...honestly
  • + 2
 Toilet King more like! Those two pissy little blocks on side knobs always cut up, then ya got a massive cavity when chucking it into corners...gave em to my neighbor whom I don’t like...
Kaisers, to a lesser degree Barons, are utter weapons... the former are lightening quick on hard pack/dusty Aussie trails.
Barons may get used few times in June/July
  • + 3
 To those complaining about the old Conti’s - just a friendly reminder that this is a review of the NEW updated tires. Feel free to raise your concerns about the old tires with your therapist.
  • + 3
 Hasn't this tire been out for a season or more already?

When is someone going to look into the price fixing that seems to be happening right now with MTB tires? It seems like every tire is $74.99...
  • + 2
 It has been out for a season.
  • + 2
 @danielsapp: So I wasn't misremembering. Cheers!
  • + 2
 I don't understand how stiff sidewalls influence ride. I realize that some tires feel more supple than others when flexing by hand. But I'd think even the stiffest sidewall would flex easily under the combined weight of bike+rider, and it's just the air pressure that matters. What am I missing?
  • + 2
 They do make a surprising difference. A stiffer casing and/or sidewall allows lower pressures with less flex which means more grip and comfort while maintaining cornering stability. They are also more durable and tend to hold air better but there's a limit to how much stiffness you add before you get too little flex for grip and comfort and too much weight.
  • + 2
 You have to feel a Continental compared to another tire to appreciate the level of vulcanizing they do. It’s top notch and people forget this is a German company - they only meet the highest standards much like the Swiss production companies. So when you have a handmade tire from Germany and you’re questioning a super reputable company with more research and testing power than any other mountain tire brand...yea I think you’re short sighted a bit...their marketing hasn’t been doing them
Justice.
  • + 1
 Sidewalls completely influence ride and really affect where the ideal tire pressure sits. I've noticed the newer Race Kings have stiffer sidewalls so i have to run lower pressure which kinda throws me off. Also I've always hated Racing Ralphs up front because the sidewalls were so thin and flexy they would squirm like crazy with too low of psi which was easy to hit. There was a tiny tiny window of right PSI to hit to not be too stiff or too squirmy which I've always hated.
  • + 2
 @zephxiii: I usually go with XK and RK tires because of that, the shwalbe casings are too flexy..the conti tires I can get justtt right
  • + 1
 I put a couple of thousand miles on a set of Speed King II's on my 29er and then still managed to sell them on ebay afterwards. Amazingly fast tyres but wouldn't seal up tubeless so I replaced with Schwalbe G-ones. Have Rubber Queens on another bike with trail kings ready to replace them.
  • + 1
 I've been running a trail king on the back for a while. Good grip I'd say, but extremely slow rolling. Also, it's the second tire - the first one would not seal and had tiny little holes all around the little rubber hairs that the sealant wouldn't seal. Also again, while the tread seems to have a slow wear rate, the sidewalls do not - can see the threads on many parts of the sidewall while there is minimal wear to the treads. Overall not impressed with this tire. That said, I run a Der Kaiser projekt up front and love it - much prefer it to the maxxis high roller.
  • + 1
 I had a set on my bike last year and was very happy with them. Never had an issue and only replaced them as they were wearing thin. Went to the Bontrager SE4's and don't care for them as much as the Conti's. To each their own I suppose. Got a pair of WTB Trailboss's to try out next time I need new tires! I like trying different things...
  • + 1
 Never had a problem and still run the 2.2’s

In Victoria - they are grippy, fast rolling, great sidewalls for all the jagged rocks etc. I’ve recommended them and friends have loved them.

Not too sure why everyone says they are the worst tires ever -

Now if we want to get into that - Kona’s Scratch and Sniff - great names terrible tires. (If many subscribers can remember them)
  • + 1
 Run lots of Continentals, on bikes and beyond. I much preferred the Mountain King to the Trail King (older versions, no input on the new). Beefier tire, more grip and strength without much of weight penalty and depending on conditions I thought faster rolling. The 2.2 Trail king on the rear in slop is a serious tractor tire though, it cuts down and trough to whats firm and keeps moving you forward. Speed king on my CX bike was a great tire as well (rear). Old tires were tough to mount and seal, glad that has been addressed. Would like to here a report on the new top tier Mountain King.
  • + 1
 @Kimura: I agree. I was riding the Kokopelli trail and the conti bubbled and I had to throw it away. About 40 miles on the tire. Thanks goodness I had a Maxxis with me and it has ridden hundreds of miles with no problem. Funny thing, this is the tire that was recommended for that route.My riding partners all ditched theirs as well
  • + 1
 I've had good luck with 27.5 x 2.4 Trail Kings on several bikes...but I've always run them with tubes based on the history of their leakage issues. I felt like the traction was fine and the durability and longevity of the rubber was better than average. Their positive attributes went downhill quickly when trails were wet though. I did just get a set of DHF 2.5's in the mail though, so perhaps I'll be more in the line with he rest of the negative comments after a few weeks with Maxxis.
  • + 1
 I've been a loyal Conti Trail King user for the past 5 years. Absolutely love these tires but just this winter have switched over to the Maxxis because I was tired (excuse pun) of the weeping sidewalls while all my friends on Maxxis never had the issues... looking forward to trying them out this spring but good to see Continental is revamping this tire.
  • + 1
 Their tires are too soft and wear way to quickly. I have owned many different models, because they were decently priced, hoping the next would be better...sadly, they never were.
By the sounds of a lot of these terrible comments about their products, I thin they owe some people refunds or replacements to try these "new and improved" tires.
  • + 1
 I’ve had a bad experience with the old Conti Trail Kings. Sidewalls were stiff etc. Recently decided to try a Baron up front and a MK on the back. What a great combination. The Baron upfront just stays planted no matter what. So much so that I’m not afraid of line choices that I would’ve thought twice about before. Pop off a ledge and plant that tire on a wet rock with zero hesitation. Sticks every time. The MK on the rear grips great on wet rocks and roots. So far been very happy with these.
  • + 1
 Based on the updates, if the price was right, I'd be willing to give these tires a try.

But I feel like their line-up is structured on old-school thinking: fast rolling, narrow and light; or grippy, wide, heavy and tough.

I'd like to see a 2.4-2.5, grippy and moderately tough tire for the front (i.e. ProTection, no Apex), and a 2.4, fast rolling, tough (Apex) rear tire. i.e. I'd like to see a 2.4 Trail King ProTection with this new construction that I'd run on the front, and a 2.4 Cross King ProTection Apex for the rear. That could potentially be a killer combo.
  • + 1
 The old Rubber Queen UST 26x2.2 was great! The Trail King Protection 27.5x2.2 weren’t as grippy when cornering, the tread wore much more quickly and the casing felt stiffer but less well damped and punctured more easily. And much harder to seat tubeless and didn’t hold air as well.

Hopefully this new version is back to being good again! The tread looks better (bigger/more side knobs) and the technical blurb about the casing bodes well. I really rated the Rubber Queens as a rear tyre in all conditions and a front tyre when it wasn’t too muddy.
  • + 1
 FYI, I'm talking about the original 27.5 Trail King, not this version! Still black chili additive in the rubber (no, it's not black chili compound, there are LOADS of different Continental tyre compounds with the black chili additive, some faster, some grippier, not just MTB tyres either) but a different casing, probably a different compound and a different tread pattern (similar at first glance though). I've been on Maxxis and Specialised tyres since being disappointed by the Trail Kings. DHR2 is similar, grippier but slower.
  • + 1
 The Black Chili rubber really is awesome, not sure where all the hate for the rubber is coming from. Grips way better than just about anything else I've tried in the wet, which I'm quite familiar with here in the PNW. The part that I never got along with was the side knobs - they're just not substantial enough for a front tire. It's a good pattern for a rear tire, but the Baron up front is a better choice...I wish they made something in between.
  • + 1
 My only complaint on this tire is mine says "E-bike Ready" on the sidewall. Aside from that, I've had zero issues with this as it's on my current (Transition Smuggler) and was on my previous (Trek Fuel EX 29er) bike. And like the review, I too am running the Cross King on the rear and can't think of a better combo that I've run.
  • + 1
 I have two experiences with Conti Tyres... The worst and the best. I have bought Der Kaiser Project DH in sale for 50 USD and that was the best tyre i have ever ridden...Than with that experiance I bought Trail kings for my Enduro bike and that was terrible mistake...After the first ride rear tyre starts to woble becouse of teared inner casing and if you want sufficient grip on the front you must run 1.4-1.5bar pressure, but then this tyre dangerously collapse in G-outs and hard corners...the wors tyre i have ever ridden..
  • + 1
 Tires are subjective just like most parts and brand-loyality is always amazing to me - people love to hate, but go into things with a closed mind. I love Continental tires - their 240tpi absorbs small-bump impacts incredibly well. I change tires more than my underwear and always come back impressed with the Continentals I've used (Mountain King and XKing). The new Mountain King design is weird and I'm not sure I'll try it, but I've tried all of the major brands and love the feel of the Continentals.
  • + 1
 Wait, isn't it the same one that was available 5 or 6 years ago, as Rubber Queen, with new sizes/sidewalls? If it is, and if they've fixed the reaaaally porous sidewalls, it's cool Smile
  • + 1
 I've never ridden this tire but all the brands are producing notably better tires as of late. The compounds are better, the RR while still maintaining traction has also improved. Lot's of good choices.
  • + 2
 reading the earlier comments about the mountain king II Im wondering if thats why Jenson usa was selling them for 25 bucks a pop? I havnt had any issues but im a hack haha
  • + 1
 Good to hear about durability and whatnot with rocks... can anyone comment on PNW riding? That open-looking tread is my one concern... for instance our ubiquitous blackberries might have fun with that.
  • + 1
 All 3 Conti tires I've run have had very mediocre grip when wet and all became warped or bulged after one or two cases or hard landings.. like the bead or sidewalls are too weak to keep the tire in shape.. meh
  • + 0
 I have two experiences with Conti Tyres... The worst and the best. I have bought Der Kaiser Project DH in sale for 50 USD and that was the best tyre i have ever ridden...Than with that experiance I bought Trail kings for my Enduro bike and that was terrible mistake...After the first ride rear tyre starts to woble becouse of teared inner casing and if you want sufficient grip on the front you must run 1.4-1.5bar pressure, but then this tyre dangerously collapse in G-outs and hard corners...the wors tyre i have ever ridden..
  • + 3
 Good to see it comes in 26" 2.4. Might go with this in the rear on my HT when Hans D gives up.
  • + 3
 Continental Trail King ProTection Apex 27.5x2.4 Quite good for lot of terrain.
  • + 1
 Used to love the Mountain Kings and Trail Kings, but got tired of the punctures, weeping sidewalls, and just lack of durability of the casing. Switched to Maxxis a while back and never looked back.
  • + 0
 @danielsapp: Is this a new version of the Trail King for 2019? What is the difference to the 2018 and older versions?

I bought a Trail King Apex 2.4 in 2015, and from your review I cant find any difference.
My experience with the TK Apex on front was great, good grip on wet roots, but still quite fast rolling. Good damping. Wear was ok. No flats ever - in contrary to the non-Apex versions I had, which would not go tubeless and flatted very often and they teared.
  • + 1
 The latest tires that I'm on have been out for a little while now, not much more than a year though. Read the updates to the construction...the sidewalls and layup are all updated from what you had in 2015.
  • + 1
 Just rode the shit out of à pair of this in Sedona Az 270km in 7 days,very impress zéro problem.back show some wear the front look bran new.these tire are no joke .
  • + 3
 “Impressively predictable” how the side knobs tear off.
  • + 2
 Tried Schwalbe, Conti, WTB but I can never look past Maxxis simply for the toughness of tyre and puncture protection.
  • + 1
 Awesome tire for soil, slightly less awesome (fragile) in rocky terrain like Moab. VERY good grip and feel with this tire on the rear and the Der Kaiser up front.
  • + 2
 I’ve used the 26” version for years on my old gt force great all round but not for tubeless....leaked like a sive.
  • + 3
 No long-term wear and durability report / photos on this....?
  • + 1
 I rode the old version for nearly 1 1/2 years. After that time it looked better than an half year old maxxis!
  • + 1
 I'm also interested to know what happened to the 2.6 version of this tire. It was advertised on many websites and GMBN last year but then just disappeared.
  • + 2
 New Apex tires are great! 2.6 sizes are available now
  • + 0
 Isn't the sidewall switch from kevlar to cordura what led to a load of ruptured, wobbly tyres an warrenty claims a while back............?
  • + 1
 Hm... I had only positive experience with these tires, everything like in the article. And I think it needs + options
  • + 2
 The original trail kings were great >>>
  • + 2
 my go to summer trail tyre for the front.
  • + 1
 I've been looking at a Cross King for the rear too, looks fast. Anyone used it in semi-anger?
  • + 2
 yes I've been using a xking on the rear on my HT and its a pretty fast rolling tire but with a surprising amount fo grip for a lower profile tire.
  • + 1
 Used them quite a bit. Great tire, good speed to grip ratio. I did use them on my hardtail for the 24 hours of Old Pueblo (lots and lots of rock) and the rear took a beating, lost some knobs. Here at home no issues.
  • + 2
 Der Baron ! Great front. Minion DHR or High Roller 2 for rear.
  • + 1
 People dont like mixing brands but for the ones not caring, there are fantastic combinations for all around use
  • + 1
 Conti make one good tyre, the Gatorskin road slick, and even that feels like a brick.
  • + 1
 Contitnetal Der Baron Projekt every 3-4 day 1bar off .. no more continental next going Maxxis or Schwalbe
  • + 2
 My old 26" Der Baron wasn't great at sealing unless Continental's own sealant was used, but my current 29" one is perfect. No air loss at all on hookless rims. No seeping either. That's with Muc-off sealant, haven't tried others.
  • + 2
 They had huge issues with the first generation, but they fixed the problem. I mounted the Baron/Trailking without sealant for a couple of days without airloss.
  • + 1
 If I was going to design a tread pattern to be useless at defending the casing against sharp rocks, this would be it.
  • + 2
 Big fan of modern Trail Kings and Kaiser!
  • + 2
 I owned a set of Continentals once. Once on my car, once on my bike.
  • + 1
 I've been waiting for years for them to fix the side knobs. These look good.
  • + 1
 I use TK's now, Black Chili compound purchased early 2018. No complaints!
  • + 1
 Was hoping to see a Conti with 29x2.5 Trailking always come up narrow
  • + 2
 Interesting, 26x2.4 TK's were always biggest 2.4's out there
  • + 1
 @WoodenCrow: agreed. Odd comment.
  • + 1
 What? The Trail King 29x2.4 pretty much IS a 2.5 - they are HUGE. I seriously thought they were a plus tire when I saw them on the trail recently.
  • + 1
 This on the back and a minion on the front is my go to.
  • + 1
 Good grief, what a controversial subject.
  • + 1
 Do they still warp when you take them on/off??
  • + 1
 they should use good ol rubber instead of black chilli blah!!!
  • + 1
 Thought this went away for good!
  • + 1
 No 2.6" version? Meehhhh :/
  • - 1
 Daniel sappr says they performs well. Seriously pinkbike, hire a competent editor.
  • + 0
 I think a lot of the problem is that Daniel lives in the SE. For knowing how a product works on snotty dirt and roots, that's great. For those of us who ride on sharp rocks in arid climates, his feedback just doesn't apply. I get it.....a lot more people live in places that

a) have mud
b) don't have trails made up entirely of sharp-ass rocks

than in the intermountain west (or similar climates).

That said, for those of us who do live here (Arizona, SoCal, NM, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, eastern WA and OR etc.) his experience just doesn't seem to jive.
  • + 2
 I'm just commenting on the grammatical errors. It's constant on pinkbike. I think the information provided by Mr. Sapp is great. I also live where he does so I can directly apply it.
  • - 1
 The worst tires ever
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