Top Ten 29"er Products Of '08: Continental Mountain King 2.4" Tire

Editors Note: Yeah, yeah…..another year end review! Tis the season! So, here are my favorite things that have passed through the Twenty Nine Inches review process during the past year. I want to point out a few parameters that I used for what I chose here.

1. The product had to be in the review process during the time period of December 2007 through to the end of November 2008. Reviews that are currently in process I did not include and will be eligible for my 2009 Top Ten list.

2. They had to be products or bicycles that I personally used during this period. Nothing any of the other Twenty Nine Inches staff reviewed on their own could be considered for my list. This list doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone but me, Guitar Ted.

That said, let’s get on with this……

Number Two: Continental Mountain King 2.4″ Tire: The Mountain Kings came to me in late winter. I mounted them up tubeless immediately and took them on my vacation to the desert surrounding El Paso, Texas. From there it was back to the single track of the Mid-West where I ran the Mountain Kings through their paces.

Why They Made The List: These tires, which were a bit undersized for the stated width, (Typically Continental, I might add), were surprising to me in the versatility that they displayed throughout the test period and beyond. The rocks of the desert didn’t make them flinch. The mud of early spring, they mostly just shrug off. Roots and ledgy rocks were no match for them. Hard pack trail was handled with aplomb. Continental gave the “okay” to use these with sealant, (basically saying going tubeless was okay), and they did tubeless very well. Tubed they almost seemed to behave even better on hardpack. A very versatile, great performing tread.

My Two Cents: If Continental Mountain Kings were really 2.4″ers and if they would have shed mud just a wee bit better, I don’t think there would have been a tire more perfectly suited to be called an “all rounder” than this one. That said, I would probably still choose this tire if I could only have one trail tire for my 29″er. It just covers all the bases really well. (I’ve even heard it does all right in snow!) It performs everywhere with a high degree of respectability. It does the tubeless thing just fine, (and actually stretched out to be fairly good sized when run tubeless, but still shy of 2.4″), and it rolls surprisingly well given its odd shaped knobs and open-ish pattern. The Continental Mountain King was easily the best 29″er tire I rode in 2008 and gets my Number Two on this years Top Ten List.

Number One……….(It may surprise you!) Stay Tuned!

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No Responses to “Top Ten 29"er Products Of '08: Continental Mountain King 2.4" Tire”

  1. dblspeed Says:

    Yes!

    Now if only Continental (aren’t they from germany?) would make these available in Europe…

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    dblspeed: Ah! The irony of it all! Continental makes one of the best 29″er tires you can get, yet the Germans think 29″ers are “stupid”. Continental is indeed a German based company. It’s really a great miracle when you consider that not one, but two German tire companies make 29″er tires. (Schwalbe being the other)

    Well, if the Germans ever come around to seeing big wheelers as worthy, they won’t have to go far for some excellent tires for them! 🙂

  3. Outsider Says:

    Continental Mountain King 2.4″ are actually available in Europe, see http://cyclecomponents.se/1/sv/artiklar/mountainbike/komponenter/dack/29-3/dack-slang-2/continental-mountain-king-29×24.html

  4. Dave Says:

    Ted… So how do these hook up as a rear tire?

    A separate question: for SS, would you go with something like this on the rear or a “faster rolling,” smaller, lighter and less knobbed tire? Do you have a favorite rear-only tire?

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    Dave: As a rear tire, I think they “hook up” great. I would not be afraid to run them anywhere. They may not be “the best” choice for certain conditions, but I think they would be serviceable at worst. I really have a hard time faulting these tires for any conditions but sticky mud/clay.

    Your second question is condition/rider specific. That said, I ran a WTB WeirWolf LT most of the summer on my single speed and it was a great tire for most of my rides out back. Only a couple of times did I ever wish for something different. Usually in slippery/muddy conditions.

    I suppose you could name at least a half dozen “smaller, lighter” tires than the WW LT, but it’s volume was a welcome form of “suspension” for a lot of trails I rode. Your mileage may vary……

  6. Vandal Says:

    Yes, Mountian King 2.4 tires are excellent simply because they tackle all terrain without coming up short anywhere. The sacrifice they make for being all-rounders is that they’re not exceptional in any particular conditions. ON the other hand, I never had to think ,”What tires should I run for THIS trip?”
    They’ve been to the concrete and sand of Moab, Sedona and Fruita, the deep loamy mud of Kingdom Trails and damp roots of Millstone in Vermont, the jumbled rocks of Pennsylvania, the soft forest dirt in Quebec, the technical (and buggy) playground of Kanata Lakes in Ontario, the “almost unrideable” (not really) Bent Rim and surrounding Niagara Escarpment trails of Milton, Ontario and the simply perfect singletrack of Three Stages in Collingwood, Ontario.

    I’d like to have a little less rolling resistance, but I’d have to give up traction when it’s most critical. I’d like less squishy knobs on hardpack corners, but I’d lose the way the tread conforms to wet roots. No single tire is perfect but these get close enough by getting the job done in almost every circumstance.

    Other bonus features? My two tires out of the box weighed 710 and 730 grams; lighter than Conti’s claimed weight. and almost feathery for a full-knobby sneaker. They’re also a dead simple Stan’s conversion on Stan’s rims. Pour in two scoops, seat the bead and air it up. I did one tire with a compressor and the other with a floor pump. They held air from day one. In contrast, Nevegals tend to sweat sealant through every pore and like to explode off the rim if you go over 40 psi when setting them initially.

    Keep up the good work, Continental.

  7. Dave Says:

    Good points all around. I’ve used a Rampage in the rear the most frequently, but I’ve also used the RR 2.4 a lot. I’ve liked them both in the back, but based on all these comments, I’m very curious about the Mtn King 2.4s. Good stuff, thanks.

    PS — What pressures do you folks typically run in these tires?

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Guitar Ted, if now they gave us the Racing Ralph and the Mountain King imagine what will happen when the Germans will see the light! 😉

    Outsider, dude that’s priceless, thanks so much, a few months ago I was after the MK and I searched long and large, emailed all the major euro 29er friendly stores, searched the depth of ebay, tried all the tricks, like using cubic inch size instead of 29er, which is a term Germans don’t use much, to no avail, so I ended up ordering from the US. If I had known before I would have come straight to twentynineinches.com 😉

    Dave, fwiw my only beef with the MK as a rear tire is that it wears down pretty fast if you ride rocky trails a lot, but that’s not its main purpose.

    Happy 2009 y’ll!

  9. dblspeed Says:

    ops! that was my comment

  10. Guitar Ted Says:

    Dave: I never ran higher than 30 psi and almost always sub 25 psi.

  11. RC Says:

    At about 190# I run 21-22# with the 2.2’s on a rigid SS. I would think you could get by with less for the 2.4’s. These tires rock in SW Wisconsin. Thanks GT!

  12. Dave Says:

    Thanks for the pressure feedback. That’s the kind of pressures I like to run on the rigid SS. I’m in SE WI, so I’m going to give these bad boys a shot in spring.

  13. steve Says:

    I could swear I saw these in an Interbike photo with a whitewall! Anybody know if this is available?

  14. Guitar Ted Says:

    steve: Hmm…….I do not recall that, not with a Conti tire. If anything, it would be the traditional Conti rust brown sidewall. Now Geax, on the other hand, do a Saguaro with a white wall, albeit in 26 inch only.

  15. martini Says:

    SW Wisco represent!

    I never found a reason to take mine off this year. They just worked so well in nearly every condition that they stayed on the bike. I finally took ’em off cause I wanted to try another set up. Another thing I didn’t see touched on was the price. $50 will buy you TWO of these. $50 won’t even buy you ONE Schwable! That’s the deal sealer in my mind. It hit all three of KB’s qualifiers: Light/Cheap/Durable [sic].

    fwiw, I ran the 2.4’s front and rear on a SS. Mid to upper 20’s for pressure. I found the sizing acceptable, if a tad small, but ok by Conti standards.

  16. Vandal Says:

    I’ve noticed at the end of a season with these tires, the rear centre tread is noticeably less grippy than when new. However, they were initiated with a week in the SW states which included two days in Moab, a day in Grand Junction on the Lunch loops and a day in Sedona. Rock rock and more rock. Then there was the Pennsylvania trip (rocks) and some action in Kanata Lakes, and two days of Bracebridge (Canadian Shield granite). I guess they should be worn by now.
    Solution: put the rear on the front and the front on the rear et voila, another season.

  17. Jonathan Ball Says:

    I just wanted to add that the MK is great in the snow. I have one on a Kris Holm rim on the front of my Karate Monkey and it does great things on snowmobile trails and powder up to about 10″. I run it at less than 20 lbs and it floats while maintaining great traction. Now I have to get a matching set-up for the back (though my WW LT run with the tread reversed did fairly well, though on a narrower rim).

  18. radirpok Says:

    Conti Mountain Kings are available in the EU from Jelle: singlespeed.nl. He has most of the 29er tires in stock! Which is unbelievable because of the vast number of tires available.
    How does this tire compare to the Rampage? That’s my all time favorite, but a faster rolling and lighter tire is always welcome…

  19. Guitar Ted Says:

    radirpok: That’s fantastic news for Europeans. Thanks for sharing that. 🙂

    I thought the Conti and Rampage were comparable, but the Rampage felt slower to me. Both are great tires though.

  20. dblspeed Says:

    that’s great news 🙂

  21. GS1 Says:

    Ted,

    I am looking for a tire with similar characteristics to the Rampage, but lighter. I plan on running it tubeless on Flows (front tire). I run mostly on hardpack with a lot of roots.

    Thank you

  22. GS1 Says:

    Sorry, on the above post I didn’t state that the I am interested in the MK2.4

  23. Vandal Says:

    GSI,
    I’ve ridden both the MK 2.4’s and Rampage 2.35’s. The tires have some performance differences.
    1. MK’s have tall tread knobs that tend to feel a bit squirmy on hardpack but really claw into loose surfaces. Rampages have shorter, square knobs that roll more easily on hard surfaces.
    2. MKs have thinner sidewalls than the Rampages and show signs of wear from riding jumbled rock trails (Pennsylvania, Ontario Bruce Trail) earlier than the Rampages. I never suffered any rock cuts however on either tire.
    3. The MKs feel a bit more grippy in wet conditions than the Rampages. They always felt confident on wet roots. The soft tread blocks simply conform to everything.
    4. I can run lower pressure in the Rampages than the MKs as they have a slightly large air volume and a heavier sidewall. This helps on the really jumbled rocky climbs.
    5. Both tires were dead simple to convert to tubeless using Stan’s. I ride stan’s Arch rims fornt and rear with the yellow rim tape.
    6. The MKs are definitely a great light weight choice without sacrificing their usefulness for trail riding. As I said in my earlier post, the tires were 710g and 730g. Lighter choices are Bontrager XRs and Stan’s The Crow. The XRs are actually a really good all-round tire but have really light sidewalls and are a bit short on ultimate grip.
    7. The MKs wear a little faster than expected (particularly in the rear) but that’s what you get in exchange for traction.

    The Mountain King 2.4 tires get two enthusiastic thumbs up from me.

  24. GS1 Says:

    Thanks guys. It seems that the MK might not be the best tire for my conditions (mostly dry hardpack and roots). I really like the Rampage for the volume and over all handling, I would just like to try a lighter front tire set up tubeless with Flows. Any suggestions? Much appreciated.

  25. GS1 Says:

    It looks like I may give the Cap Control 2.2 2blis a try thank you! Do you have a weight on them?

  26. Guitar Ted Says:

    GS1: You can get the weights and all the other measurements in this post Grannygear did for Twenty Nine Inches on the Captain Controls: http://twentynineinches.com/2008/10/24/specialized-captain-control-29er-tires-out-of-the-box/

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