Continental revamped their mountain bike tire line back in April, launching five new tread patterns including the Kryptotal Re, which I’ve been testing this summer. With strong braking bars in the center and tall side knobs, the Continental Kryptotal Re has proven to be a good tire for mixed conditions, and tougher than many of the other trail tires I’ve tested.
Reviewer profile height: 190cm (6’3″) weight: 72.5kg (160lb) testing zone: Southeast, USA
Continental Kryptotal Re specs
In conjunction with the launch of the new MTB tires this spring, Continental created a periodic-table-like chart to simplify tire selection. I tested the 29×2.4 Kryptotal Re with a trail casing and the brand’s least soft, “Endurance” Black Chili compound. As you can tell from the chart below the Continental Kryptotal Re is also offered with beefier enduro and downhill casings, and the tire compound becomes increasingly softer as you move toward the gravity side.
As tested, my Kryptotal Re tire weighs about 1070g with a thin coating of sealant and dirt, making it the lightest of all the possible configurations (aside from the 27.5 diameter). That’s not exactly lightweight for a trail tire, and the weights just go up from there for those who want a tougher casing or the wider, 2.6in width. With taller, more aggressive knobs on the Kryptotals compared to other mountain bike tires, it’s not surprising the tires weigh a bit more.
On my 32mm rim, the 29×2.4″ Kryptotal Re measures 58mm, which translates to a bit less than 2.3in. Officially the ETRTO is 60-622, so even then it’s a 2.35in tire at best (OK, 2.36in to be exact, and technically that rounds up to 2.4in). Of course what really matters is how it performs on the trail, and in my testing the tire feels every bit as wide as 2.4in.
The Kryptotal is a directional tire, and the bead forms an incredibly tight lock with my Reynolds rims. I found out just how tight the bead lock is after initially installing the tire backward. I immediately let the air out of the tire to swap it around and spent the next 15 minutes trying to get the bead unhooked. That super tight connection meant no slow leaks or burps during testing.
On the trail
According to the chart from Continental the Kryptotal Re with trail casing is meant for riding mixed trail conditions, which likely fits what many of us do week in and week out. Put another way, the Continental Kryptotal Re is designed to be an all-rounder, capable of performing well in a variety of conditions.
Right off the bat, the Kryptotal Re looks and feels very beefy for a trail tire. Well, beefy in the sense that the knobs are tall, angular, and widely spaced. On a recent group ride someone remarked that the tire seems overly aggressive for a Tuesday night where most folks choose lighter-weight, faster rolling treads. It seems Continental is under-promising the Kryptotal Re’s capabilities in hopes of over delivering, rather than the other way around, which we’ve seen with various new tire launches from other brands over the past several years.
So what makes this a trail tire, as opposed to say a gravity tire? Continental says it’s the casing, and also the tire compound. Curiously the trail casing I’ve been testing features a lower TPI rating (60) than their enduro casing (110). Both feature three layers of fabric, while the downhill casing steps things up to six layers and 110TPI. Most riders I know opt for burlier casings whenever possible to reduce the chance of pinch flats, snake bites, and sidewall tears, especially when running lower pressures. I’ve found the trail casing to be plenty stiff at 12-15psi through janky trails, and didn’t experience a single burp or flat.
Now, onto the compound. This is a simple, single compound tire, and for the Kryptotal Re trail tire the compound is meant to be long lasting without giving up too much grip. Going single compound allows Continental to keep the price lower, though it could cause uneven tread wear over time. After putting a couple hundred miles on the tire there’s very little visible wear, even on the center knobs, so I expect the tire to last for a very long time.
On the grip front, the compound doesn’t feel especially sticky. The tall knobs do a great job digging into the dirt and grabbing onto roots, however on extended, slabby steeps riders may prefer a bit more sticky softness.
The center of the tire features siped and ramped knobs, and the chunky bars perform well in emergency braking situations. Leaned to the side, the Kryptotal Re transitions with decent consistency and control onto the stiff, strong side knobs. I found the side knobs provide great control for cornering, and are even better at digging into off-camber traverses.
Speaking of digging in, the Continental Kryptotal Re is an excellent climber. The firm compound, paired with the tall and angular knobs literally rips the bark off tree roots on steep climbs, and does a great job punching through loose rocks and dirt to find solid ground.
Rounding out the performance equation, the Kryptotal Re tires require a bit more effort to pedal than the average trail tire. Rolling resistance is a weird thing because we don’t usually notice it until we’re riding pavement, at which point we’re not really mountain biking anymore, so who cares? Subjectively I think the extra effort is due in part to the overall weight of the tire and the distribution of that weight with such tall, angular knobs.
The knob spacing does work well for shedding mud. A lot of our local soil is clay-based, and even a little dampness can result in packing the tire tread with red, Georgia clay. Rear tires usually get the worst of it — and a mudded-out tire is nearly impossible to climb with. Fortunately I found the Kryptotal Re never packed up, and quickly cleared any wet or sticky stuff I rolled through during my rides.
The Continental Kryptotal Re tire features a unique textured pattern on the sidewalls that is also found in between the knobs. As far as I can tell the texture doesn’t affect the performance much, if at all, but it does give the tire a distinctive look.
Pros and cons of the Continental Kryptotal Re mountain bike tire
- Aggressive knobs climb, corner, and brake well
- Surprisingly stiff sidewalls
- Reasonably priced
- Heavy and slower rolling for a trail tire
- Limited stickiness for steep, slabby sections
- Single compound could lead to uneven wear
In the end I don’t think it’s fair to call the Continental Kryptotal Re a trail tire; it rides more like a burlier, all-mountain option. Or aggressive trail, perhaps? With a 1,000g+ weight and surprisingly stiff sidewalls, this is a trail tire for those who tend to be tough on tires, or who want a tire that can handle a wide variety of conditions while lasting a season or more. And if you’re still not convinced the tire is tough enough for your style of riding, there are two more aggressive levels of Kryptotal Re tires to choose from.