Conti jumps on the 27.5″ bandwagon…
The European tire companies were late to jump on the 29er phenomena, but at Sea Otter this year, just about every bike vendor had some sort of 27.5″ product. Quite a few racers were using the in-between size in all the disciplines, including downhill, x-country and dual slalom, showing that it’s ready for the race circuit and the consumer.
Continental jumped fully into the 27.5 bandwagon this year, and they’ll be releasing their popular models, including the Mountain King, X-King, Race King and Trail King (above left to right) in 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ sizes. They’ll all come in 2.2″ and 2.4″ widths, except for the Race King, which will only be 2.2″, and they’ll retail for $64.95. They should be available late this summer, and weights are TBD.
There are three different casing and compound versions, including the tough tubeless-ready ProTection with an additional casing ply for added durability and sticky Black Chili compound, the light RaceSport, also with Black Chili, and finally, the budget-minded wire bead or folding Sport model. The former two versions are handmade in Germany.
The Trail King is their fat traction beast, with squared-off shaped knobs and a widely spaced and open tread design, for predictable and pliable adhesion to the terrain, while the all-around Mountain King has a more rounded profile, with stiffer side knobs for cornering on hardpack and off-camber usage. The fast rolling Race King has a low profile for power transfer, while the versatile X-King has a rounded profile and a symmetrical lug pattern, for predictable handling and all-condition use.
I am really glad to see that the fat Trail King 2.4 is coming out in that size, since it’s one of my favorite tires on the market. When I spoke with Conti US brand manager Brett Hahn at the NAHBS in February, he told me he had convinced HQ to go with Trail King everywhere in the world, instead of the current Rubber Queen outside of North America. I am happy they’re using the 27.5″ naming instead of the 650B convention, since it keeps everything in line with the 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ sizing.
Brett made me an excellent tasting Paloma with Reposado tequila, which helped finish off a nice final day at Sea Otter!
Update: I stuck my prototype pair of Trail King 2.4 x 27.5″ tires on a Pacenti DL31 at 30psi, and the carcass measured at 2.42″ and the height was a massive 27 7/8 – 27 15/16″, so it beats the previous champion, the Schwalbe 2.35 NN. It was so huge, that it didn’t even fit into the back of my Mojo HD.