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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.