The Mountain King is best described as an all conditions tire. Featuring an open design and an alternating pattern, this tire self-cleans while it rolls. Alternating intermediate knobs and aggressive cornering knobs work hard under braking and cornering.
Inside the tire it gets interesting. The ProTection carcass is a second generation version that is 25% lighter, 30% stronger (puncture resistant), and offers improved rolling resistance (tire deformation) over its predecessor. The complicated structure of varying the number of plies (four at the center and three along the sides) and changing the threads per inch (240 along the center and 180 again along the sides) contributes to the improved puncture resistance.
Not only is there an improvement in the overall performance of the tire, but it offers improved sealing from the added ProTection layer. Another additional feature is the Revolution tubeless-ready beads, which aid in the sealing of the tire to the rim.
Finally, the Mountain King II tires are made from Continental’s own Black Chilli rubber compound, made in Conti’s own Korbach factory. What sets this synthetic/natural rubber blend apart from other tires is the addition of nanometric carbon soot particles which essentially allow the tire to conform to the surface it is riding on.
Installing the Mountain Kings on a set of Enve M70thirty rims was a tough job (with lots of expletives used). I cannot say why, but I think it may have had to do with the rim tape that was being used at the time. I had to use a full sized air compressor to get these tires to seat. Other than that, I had little issue getting the tire to snap in place. I opted to use Continental’s own Revo Sealant, rather than Stan’s. The use of the Revo sealant ensures there will be no compatibility issues, which sometimes arise.
Since these were marketed as an all-conditions tire, I was keen to confirm that claim. On the website and on the back of the packaging card it does say that the tire works for Hard/Dry conditions all the way to Loose/Soft conditions, but Continental stops short at claiming they will work in mud.
Most of the summer in Toronto was fairly dry. The trails close to town have hard packed clay as a base and rocks or roots for obstacles. Out of town the trails are mostly compacted dirt, which is also heavily fortified with growth or rock. Depending on the type of ground you’re on, or when things get a bit damp, the ground acts very differently. The clay base tends to get greasy faster than mainly dirt ground, which gets slow and soft.
The Mountain King feels like a fast tire–it doesn’t feel like one of those tires that buzz underfoot. Surprisingly, they have a decently-smooth feel to them when going fast. In fact, they feel downright snappy when you get on the pedals with them.
I ran them at 28PSI with no issues, despite my fat butt. With these tires mounted on Enve M70thirties, I was very impressed when forcing them into the berms: no squirming whatsoever. The double tooth side knobs did a great job holding the tire in line.
On the rocks and roots, I can only think of Gecko-like adhesion, with no noticeable side slipping along sides of rock. This is partly due the the wider rims on the Enves but mostly due to the Black Chilli compound that does its little molecular shuffle as it hits the surface of what you’re trying to roll over.
During my review I had very little wear on these tires. Despite all the rocks and roots, I had no issues at all with side wall cuts or damage. This is something that I was keenly looking for as I had heard the older versions had these issues. Gladly I can confirm that the new tires have resolved those issues.
On the down side, slimy conditions will cause the tires to pack up with mud. But overall it’s a decent rolling tire. You may not win races with these, but for playing around in the forest and just riding your bike the way it is meant to be ridden, the Mountain Kings shine. They will last a long while and offer up good grip on most everything.
MSRP: $65 per tire
Thanks to the folks at Continental for providing these tires for review.
This looks like a good tire. I’ve been wanting to try their Black Chili compound as I’ve heard good things about the grip and tread wear, which is tough to balance.
I wanted to note that Continental uses a 60 TPI casing, and when that casing overlaps they add the layers together to get their TPI number. So for two layers, they call it 120 TPI, three layers 180 TPI, four layers 240 TPI.
A single ply of 240 TPI casing will offer a much different ride than four layers of 60 TPI casing. The 240 would be much more supple, but also much more fragile.
I can confirm the insane time spent trying to get beads to seat with these tires. Not to mention just getting the beads over the lips and on to the rim. Freakin’ INSANE! Same as you, lots of expletives, lots of yelling, lots of busted knuckles, and lots of sweating. I had to soap the tire up REALLY well to get it on the rim, but then it was too slippery to seat the bead. So, I had to wait 5-10 minutes for things to dry out a bit before the beads would seat. 15 minutes was too long, and required soaping the tires. Again. These tires are staying on the rim until I need to change them.
However, I will likely pick up another set of Mountain Kings. I really like them, even if the 2.4″ wide tires seem more like 2.3″. I’ve run them around 20psi with zero issues. The sidewalls are that strong and stiff that I’ve never had any issues running extremely low pressures.
Wow, mine inflated with a hand pump. I am also running Easton Havoc UST rims. Its always amazing how experiences vary from person to person. May I ask what equipment you guys are setting them up on?
Sorry Haven’s not Havoc’s.
I have loved the traction, weight and wear from the MK 2’s. I have 700 miles out of them which is double my Han’s Dampf’s mileage and they look to have another 300 in them which is outstanding for the trails we ride here. Not a single puncture but the sidewalls are quite frayed from all the sharp rocks here in Colorado. When the Hans Dampf’s got work I had like five flats in five rides through the casing between the knobs. The traction on everything and they roll fairly well too. Only complaint is the casings deform easily. I dropped a 4′ in Moab and the front one burped and deformed leaving a wobble. The crazy part is two of my friends had the same thing happen. One of them to three tires. If they could fix that they’d be perfect.
Use windex to lube the tire bead helps seat the tire to the rim after it dries the tire will stick to the rim no slippage
So, I had these tires for a while and loved them. The tread is grippy yet has a low rolling resistance and the Black Chili compound is so sticky. However, the build quality is so bad I stopped using them. I had to have them replaced under warranty three times in 7 months because the casing kept coming apart and the tire tread would roll from the center over to the side. The third time I replaced them my LBS told me to just pick anything I wanted off the wall. I got a Specialized tire and haven’t looked back since.
I was told that it was a temporary issue that they would have fixed, however my LBS said they are stil replacing these under warranty fairly frequently and it has been a year since I last had mine. They are great tires, but until they get the casing issue worked out I will continue to go elsewhere.
I have a set also. Might be a year old at least. Can not seem to get the tire to set squarely on the rim. As I ride it looks like my rim is out of true.
That’s the dreaded casing deformity that I was talking about. They get out of round or have a wobble. Over time the whole casing stretches and its less notable. I have never seen one do what jkdouglas’s tires did. I have had exposure to about 10 sets of these and never seen the casings come apart but nearly all of them developed a wobble.
I should have been a little more descriptive. When I said the casing was “coming apart” I meant it was rolling like what your tire did. I had one roll so bad the tread was at about 45 degrees off to the side.
Gotcha. I was envisioning the layers of the casing coming apart but that makes much more sense.
So,this sounds like what I have.Cause I can deflate and shift the tread over some,it doesn’t take it all out but most of it. Does it get better or worse? And is this issue in their other tires?
I have seen it on Trail Kings and Mountain Kings I have owned and on both models my friends have owned. In my experience the deforming happens early on in the life of the tire. As the tires age the rest of the casing stretches and the deforming isn’t as noticable but never really goes away. I haven’t experienced it since my 5th ride on them in Moab. I have seen some warp from inflation and others from a large drop and the tire burping. Its a shame I think the black chili is the perfect compound for wear and traction.
I’ve been riding on the Mountain King II Protection for two years now. Yes they can be a pain to install but once their on their on. I’ve NEVER had any issues with them. Previously I tried the Xking bet felt they didn’t have the grip I needed for my riding style. Now to get back to the Mountain King II. Without a doubt these are my favorite tires I’ve ever owned. I average about 800 miles a year and had these tires on for the past two years so they have about 1,600 miles on them. I can say that not a single knob is missing and the tire knobs looks great compared to a brand new set. The sidewall has held up (no tears) but you can see the white strands and if it wasn’t for all the stans I’ve put into them the air would escape thru the sidewall. Again I can’t complain since I’ve have over 1,600 miles on them. I ride most trails NC has to offer, Pisgah national forest, Dupont, Warrior Creek, Grandfather mountain, etc. and these tires have never let me down. I ride them at like 27 for loose trails and 29-30 for packed (for speed). I purchased a replacement set but haven’t replaced them because the tires just won’t give up. Never had a flat! I’m 170, 5’11”. I ride them on Mavic Crossmax Pros on my RIP Niner and on my Epic. I can honestly say I don’t know what I would ride if they stopped making them. Because their reliability, most of my riding buddies have transitioned over to them. Some liking the Xking and other the Mountain King.
I love these tires I have had my mountain kings 2.4 protection for about half a year now and I really cant complain… they roll like my ikons and stick like superglue ,they have over a thousand km on them and the tread looks like new . It was the first tires I ever seated myself and they easily seated with a track pump.. only complain is that once you have ridden them once you can never get them nice and black again, but that doesnt bother me I regularly push them hard but they just absorb the hits and keep rolling…