Tire Round Up - Sea Otter 2022

Apr 11, 2022 at 16:58
by Matt Beer  

Overshadowing all other tire companies at Sea Otter, Continental's tents cast a yellow tint on the venue with the launch five new mountain bike tire treads. Their all new range was officially released on Thursday, April 7, but we've seen the tires first appear under the Continental Atherton MTB race team and Ben Cathro of the Pinkbike Bike Racing team. Our own tech editor, Seb Stott, also got a chance to test them out before the launch and weighed in with his findings in his review of the all-arounder tread, the Kryptotal Front and Kryptotal Rear models.

The Argotal, on the left, is a soft condition tire for when you need the knobs to dig into the soil, but also deal with roots and rocks, whereas the Hydrotal is a full-on mud spike.

Giving maximum braking traction is the Kryptotal Rear thanks to its wide blocks. The tread is a little more open than the Kryptotal Front, so it could be an option for some riders to use on both wheels.

You can see how the Kryptotal Front has more transition knobs between the center and shoulder channel.

For less rolling resistance, the Xynotal's ramped center knobs are primarily designed as a rear tire choice.


The price is the talking point at Delium tires, not the naming schemes. There are four tread patterns, three casing thicknesses, two wheel diameters, and just one width per model. Simple titles, like Fast, Steady, Versatile, and Rugged, explain the use of each tread and the casings are no different; Light, All-around, and Reinforced.

At $35, the Light casing weighs 850-grams for the 29 x 2.4" size and the All-around casing costs just $10 more. Those weigh a hair over 1000-grams for the 2.5 x 29" size, while Reinforced casing clocks in at 1250-gram and checks out at $55 from their online webstore.

Delium's Versatile tread delivers performance for a fraction of the cost of the premium brands, as Henry Quinney went on to explain in his review back in December.

An overview of the treads and the casing breakdowns - four tread patterns, three casing options, two diameters, one width.

The Versatile and Rugged options are the more aggressive treads for maximum traction and are offered in the two more robust casings.

On the lighter side of things, the faster rolling duo, Fast and Steady, fill XC and trail categories.


Kenda has added two new cross-country oriented options into their lineup, the Karma 2 and the Rush. The Karma 2 is designed to work well in loose and muddy conditions while still maintaining a high rolling speed. The casing has also been revised in order to offer more puncture protection. The Karma 2 is available in a wide range of widths, from 29 x 2.2" up to 29 x 2.6", along with 27.5 x 2.4" and 2.6" options. Claimed weight for the lightest 29 x 2.4" version is 691 grams.

The Rush is said to be Kenda's fastest rolling XC tire to date, with a low profile tread pattern and a dual compound rubber. Like the Karma 2, the Rush is available in an SCT version that uses an additional nylon fabric layer on the sidewalls to improve cut and pinch flat resistance.

The Karma 2 is on the left, and the Rush is on the right.


The Italian tire manufacturer, most famously known for supplying all Formula 1 rubber, is making a big push into the mountain bike industry and had a moto-style pit with a huge truck and awning, along with some superb espresso. This year, Pirelli is backing a second Canyon UCI DH squad of riders, aptly named, the Canyon CLLCTV Pirelli Team, consisting of Loris Revelli, Antoine Pierron, Henri Kiefer, and Dante Silva.

Although you'll see the Scorpion logo on all of their tires at the moment, there are some subtleties to note. Starting at the front, the Scorpion S has large blocks intended for soft conditions, the M with its medium height knobs for mixed, and the R for rear. The widths, diameters, weights, and construction vary amongst the range and takes some deciphering to figure out in yet another round of tire nomenclature education.

You can also add a 27.5 x 2.8" tire to the Scorpion line up that is specifically designed for eMTBs. The casing is very supportive and tear resistant, but still supple along the center.

The Scorpion title continues through the XC range.

Dante Silva's enduro bike had some prototype tires mounted up that looked to have a more square profile and slightly more uniform blocks.


Mark down another large automotive tire manufacturer making waves in the mountain bike industry. Michelin is supporting big teams, like GT, Mondraker, and Nukeproof, which includes the one and only Sam Hill. Despite looking the same at a glance, their tires aren't just cut out for downhill or enduro either. E-bike specific casings and rubber compounds are more robust and their Wild Enduro tire range is highly spoken of.

We tested the Racing Line version of the Wild Front and Rear specific treads, noted by the blue and yellow hot patches, back in winter and found them to be predictable on varied surfaces and extremely supportive.

The DH 22 and DH 34 are intended for soft and hard surface, respectively.

A blue and yellow patch behind the model name illustrates the of use Michelin's Racing Line technologies, which for downhill and enduro tires, includes a 4-ply casing, pinch flat resistance, and Magi-X2 rubber.

Wild AM2 and Force AM2.

Jet XC2 and Force XC2.

E-Wild 27.5 x 2.6"

Nukeproof Giga team bikes


Under the Maxxis tent, it was business as usual with no sign of new tires. The latest tire to see a revamp was the Shorty 2 with a more even two-two block spacing pattern with further siping and a more square profile. Maxxis was honoring two of their top athletes and current World Champions, Greg Minnaar and Nino Schurter, on their tire displays.

Enduro and downhill options from left to right: Aggressor, Dissector, Minion DHF, Minion DHR II, Shorty 2, Assegai.

Trail and XC options from left to right: Minion DHF and Rekon 275+, Ikon, Aspen, Recon Race, and the regular Rekon.


Versus is another up-and-coming tire brand that offers direct-to-consumer purchasing. Their wild mixed colored may not be your flavor if you typically Sharpie tire logos black, so they're available in the standard black color too. The pink rubber was originally submitted as a Pinkbike April Fools launch, but isn't so much of a joke. These, as well as the rest of the options, should be back in stock by early May.


Trails don't build themselves. By purchasing a pair of any Specialized tan wall tires with the green hot patch, you'll be contributing to their Soil Searching program which promotes trail building in all the right ways.

Left to right; Butcher, Eliminator, Ground Control, Renegade, Fast Trak.


There were no signs of the prototype tread pattern that quickly came and went on a test lap at the first World Cup downhill last year in Maribor under the Myriam Nicole and Thibaut Daprela.

Left to right; Magic Mary, Big Betty, Eddy Current Rear, Eddy Current Front, Nobby Nic, Wicked Will, Racing Ray, Racing Ralph.

You can add another brand to the trail advocacy initiative.


Vittoria has been making gains with newer tread patterns for more aggressive riding, like the Moto and Mazza on the right. Their rubber is infused with graphene and features a four-compound layering technology.


Tan walls were plentiful with multiple brands dipping into the gravel and bike packing world like Teravail. Dan Sapp took a deep dive into the familiar tread pattern of the Kessel with positive reports.


WTB wins the tire tech decoding game. Their hot patches are kept dead simple with terms like, tough, light, high grip, and fast rolling.


The original Porcupine from Onza debuted back around 1990 and featured round, spikey center knobs. A lot has changed then, including the introduction of white rubber that reminds me of erasers from school.


  • 166 8
 30 psi in my Minions. I don't care about your opinions.
  • 8 54
flag mybaben (Apr 12, 2022 at 16:28) (Below Threshold)
 LOL! Is that all? I like 36 psi.
  • 11 8
 30psi in 26” minions, F*uck the opinions!
  • 10 3
 @tbmaddux: LMAO!! Thanks for sharing mate. That was super funny!! Smile
  • 4 5
 You mean you don’t care about our opminions.
  • 1 2
 So many minions.
  • 17 2
 @mybaben: haha bro actually if you run anything less than 40psi you’re just a bad rider. I flat instantly at 39psi because I’m just such a hard and fast rider. I’m really fast
  • 4 0
 need to go fast so i ride clipped in
  • 3 0
 @mior: I can’t help if I always win
  • 2 2
 @johannensc: I'm on my way to you now for lessons! Wink
  • 1 1
 Your so ominionated!
  • 1 1
 @alis66: my 2003 rims are so narrow 30psi is a must.
  • 102 0
 Hey Specialized, your tracks don't match your tires.
  • 13 0
 otherwise, it would have been clever
  • 7 1
 I noticed the same thing. Fortunately, the tires perform better than their marketing team.
  • 53 1
 Mike bears???
  • 8 0
 Bummed that there's no more info about the Mike Bear tire line. I hear... things... about it
  • 1 0
 I was looking for those too! Maybe Conti bought them out and just re-branded the Mike Bears as their new tire line. They look good. …a little too good!
  • 52 3
 Pick a dick and be a tire about it!
  • 2 1
 Tire a dick and be a pick about it
  • 1 0
 Prick a tire and be flat about it...
  • 45 1
 Hat's off to Conti for making a good looking tire that's not just a maxxis copy. I'd be willing to try them.
  • 8 7
 Most of them look at least "very heavily influenced" by known Maxxis patterns. That said, similar looking tyres have been known to ride very differently.
  • 9 1
 The names are terrible, but I'd do some Kryptotals or Argotals, preferably skinwall.
  • 4 0
 @jaame: Kriptotal does make sense. The others I haven't found meaning.
Krip total...Grip total, with heavy accent.
  • 2 0
 "Hairy tyres need love too".
  • 1 0
 @justwan-naride: One could argue that Maxxis patterns are heavily influenced by dirt bike tires from decades ago Wink
  • 3 0
 @Notmeatall: I didn't think of that.
I would be interested to hear the story behind the names.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: yeah, me too! Even if it was just "we put in a deep learning A I name generator!"
  • 1 0
 I'd say they pretty much look like variations of Maxxis and/or Specialized tires. Which is fine. The proof is in the riding. It is just a hard sell to price tires equally to established well liked tires and ask consumers to take a chance. I probably won't spend $80 to 'try' a tire from a company like Continental. But if they introduced them at $60....I'd maybe give it a shot.
  • 1 0
 @TurboDonuts: While Michelin are heavily involved by current dirt bike tyres.
  • 23 1
 Thanks for cruising by, Pinkbike! Worth saying we're raffling a set of the Bubblegum Pink tires to someone on our email list this month & we should them in stock this Fall!
  • 21 1
 How about a set of tires to the best pun, Versus just giving it to some random person on the mailing list....
  • 4 0
 @pink505: I would be interested if Versus made a Vice tire.
  • 4 0
 @tbmaddux:. I am of the opposite opinion.
  • 9 0
 @pink505: We're down. Free tee + 50% off code for tires (or whatever) for best pun.
  • 3 0
 @VersusTires: Let me keep chewing on that one and I'll get back to you.
  • 2 0
 I'm too tired @VersusTires:
  • 1 0
 @VersusTires: idk about pink skin walls, I've preferred to run my wheels raw.
  • 2 0
 @VersusTires: Crap now that the pressure is on I am Punless! Used my best stuff already.
  • 3 0
 Surely a set belong on the Grim Donut?
  • 3 0
 This pun thing is getting old just like my bike. They both need to be retired.
  • 1 0

How about providing some head to head reviews on your tires?
  • 5 0
 @VersusTires: It's getting more expensive to buy tires with every year that passes. It's all that inflation.
  • 1 0
 @pittman9: we're down but haven't been asked to participate. Hoping that changes soon but "the other site" has a good write up & multiple user reviews (also 100+ reviews from buyers on our site).
  • 2 0
 @pink505: like @hcholman14 said - chew on it a while & get back to us!
  • 2 0
 @DaveRobinson81: Ah man, great idea! We'll see if the factory can add sprinkles!
  • 5 0
 @VersusTires: A tanwall tire with a pink tread and sprinkles would be a great colour combo, call it something like the "Homer Loamer"
  • 3 0
 @VersusTires: Mmmm sprinkles.

I like @matt-15 's idea - Homer Loamer, Bubblegum for all pink, and all tan could be '64 slices of American cheese'. Black could be 'affordable rancid caviar' (though maybe that is too obscure/old Simpsons reference).

And I almost forgot - neon green could be 'inanimate carbon rod'. Tread pattern has to be 'in rod we trust'.
  • 1 1
 @VersusTires: Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish, pink Versus tires is what I wish.
  • 3 0
 @hcholman14: DM us please
  • 3 0
 @NRZ: DM us please
  • 20 0
 If pirelli don't use F1 style colour coding for their rubber compounds all is lost!
  • 18 0
 Props to delium for making a naming scheme that doesn’t make me want to put my fingers in a disc rotor
  • 16 1
 Had pretty good luck with the Michelin's over the years. I think that they will catch on. And they are cheaper than the competition.
  • 12 0
 They will catch on if they can catch up with supply. I messaged them on Instagram trying to find any wild enduro race tires after looking for 6 months and even they didn't know where to find them. I wound up pre ordering some of the new continental tires instead. Great looking tires with terrible names.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-thetown: Indeed, looking for an e-wild enduro rear, I got the front one but the rear one is sold out everywhere in 29".
  • 9 0
 Tire companies should make some demos available. It's not cheap to swap for new tires and once you know what's working good for you, there's not really enough space, time and money for experiments to try other options. However I've never seen a demo tent in a bike park to be able to try some.
  • 12 0
 No information on the Specialized Cannibal availability?
  • 1 0
 I'm curious about this as well. The T9 Butcher is sick so I'm anticipating the Cannibal will be great too.
  • 11 5
 And none of them available in 26"
Come on tyre companies, PLEASE release some of your newer models for the good old wheel size. Some of us are still maintaining many 26" bikes, and don't like maxxis minions.
On a side note, 26" WT minions make no sense, hardly any rims from back then were wide enough to fit them properly, yet they are my only options at any LBS.
  • 7 0
 Did you check Schwalbe? They still make many models in 26".
  • 1 0
 In fairness most of them aren’t “available” in 29 either, or better put, are on back order into the next century.
  • 2 0
 Michelin makes the new DH34 in 26".

If you can find them in stock that is...
  • 1 0
 WTs work fine on 25mm rimas, which are not uncommon in 26.
  • 1 0
 Michelin makes the dh34 in 26"
  • 1 0
 Whoops I can't read and @howejohn beat me to it
  • 4 0
 We've got them on order. Hoping to have them in stock next summer!
  • 1 0
Far out your tyres are expensive at the moment though. Starting at $195 aus an set? I’ll stick with minions or magic Mary’s for that
  • 1 0
 @26-adict: We're trying to get NZ/Aussie distro going, which would help the price out.
  • 10 2
 So many assegai's!
  • 3 0
 I've switched from Maxxis Ardent Race 2.4 to Pirelli Scorpion XC H 2.4 for my XC race tyres and couldn't be happier. Cornering grip, puncture and pinchflat resistance, rolling resistance are all better. They are heavier though, but overall faster.
  • 5 0
 where the hell can i get the trail building pickaxe combo tool from the schwalbe booth
  • 9 0
 That's a trail boss! They're amazing trailbossusa.com
  • 1 0
 Rouge hoes have some great ones
  • 4 0
 @bikeryder85: erm.....Rouge = Red, the company is Rogue Hoes

  • 2 0
 @GT-CORRADO: Yeah, rouge hoes has some serious red-light connotations!
  • 1 0
 @GT-CORRADO: man that is an embarrassing typo... I am ashamed *facepalm
  • 5 0
 So the High Roller II are so has been that they are not even displayed :O
Am I the only one who still has one?
  • 1 0
 Haha, they probably forgot about it. Time for a High Roller 3 I reckon, and they could do worse than make an exact copy of the WTB Verdict.
  • 3 0
 Still a popular choice around here. I’ll always have one one at least one of my bikes. They don’t last long but there’s few tyres that can match the grip of a brand new high roller and those side nobs are incredible when lent over.
  • 1 0
 I've been running Kenda the last three years, but my most recent pair of Pinner Hellkat were so tight mounting to Spank rims that I'm certain I will have to cut them off. I broke 3 plastic levers mounting them. I'll be switching brands again, but not Michelin, Continental, or Maxxis - too many bad experiences.
  • 3 0
 Nice round up. Have been on the lookout for a 29 Vittoria Martello with trail casing for about 6 months to no avail.
  • 1 0
 Same I went Mazza front and really wanted to pair it with a Martello in the rear but they are never in stock. Overall though I am super impressed with the Mazza so I hope they can get their logistics sorted.
  • 1 0
 I have a Martello rear and love it and really want to try a Mazza up front. I have been trying to find one in a 2.4 that I can get to Canada for 6 months... no dice.
  • 4 0
 I scrolled through the whole article and now I'm tired.
  • 1 0
 Any word on when we'll actually be able to purchase the Schwalbe Wicked Will? Reviews for it came out around 10 months ago, still not available for purchase anywhere. Looks to be a lovely downcountry option.
  • 11 8
 What the f*ck is a "tire"
  • 2 0
 I sell tongue depressors!
  • 4 1
 Sound it out, you'll get it!
  • 8 4
 @jaycubzz: its kinda like a Tyre. only spelled incorrectly
  • 3 0
 All fun and games until someone gets a front tire washout.
  • 3 1
 How many times can you copy an Assegai? Just walk around the Sea Otter Classic
  • 2 0
 Tires aren't fun. That trail tool at the Schwalbe booth is own my wish list!
  • 2 0
 Can't see the tread for the colour on the versus.
  • 7 6
 Maxxis really need to get on the 2.4 bandwagon. It's the size the people want, and doesn't exist in their best tyres.
  • 33 1
 Just get a 2.5… they end up measuring 2.4 anyways!
  • 2 1
 @StumpHumper45: 2.32" by my measurement.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: I wouldn't recommand the 2.4 maxxis, they're as big as 2.25 from michelin...I'm very disapointed by the sizing of the shorty 2 !
  • 2 0
 @StumpHumper45: every Maxxis tyre I own is bang on except my Dhf wide trail which is a 2.6. Not that it matters at all.
  • 1 0
 @Clem-mk: "That's what she said."
  • 2 0
 I never get tired of these articles
  • 1 0
 Still no news on the new e thirteen tyres that have been in the works for years now.
  • 2 0
 Where's the Smoke and Dart?
  • 1 0
 That was well done. Lots of good options.
  • 1 0
 Hey, Conti...

Will you *please* make a 29x2.4 Baja?

  • 1 0
 A curved brake edge quickly leads to very unpredictable braking feel.
  • 1 0
 wish i could find the new continentals online somewhere to purchase
  • 1 0
 Don't forget the DHR 2, after the DHF on the Maxxis caption.
  • 2 0
 @zarban Good shout!
  • 1 0
 Somebody put that specialized sand display up backwards, cool idea though.
  • 1 0
 Is the Airliner just a tube? Have we just done a full revolution?
  • 1 0
 Those Conti’s look like they might be the business.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Too tyred to proofread?
  • 3 6
 Specialized is smart with their program. They won’t lose any money to it since their tires don’t sell anyways.
  • 7 0
 the butcher t9 + eliminator t7 (2.3) is the hot combo around here and much cheaper than maxxis. don't hate without ever trying.
  • 4 6
 Tyres...its TYRES
  • 20 0
 Different countries, different spellings........

.....but it reminds me of a good joke:

Waiter approaches a table, and says "Excuse me, are you ladies from Scotland?"

The ladies reply indignantly "It's WALES you idiot, WALES!"

Waiter replies "Oh, my apologies, Are you WHALES from Scotland?"
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