Continental Mountain King: 2.4 Protection Version Review

Pro Reviews
Mountain King Installed

Mountain King Installed

Bottom Line:
All hail the Mountain King! These tires are quite exceptional, and will handle most “all around” terrain with aplomb, and they, especially shine in loose conditions. They are most at home in the arid conditions of the Western US, but anywhere that is rocky and loose they should be great. They are very predictable, corner well, with great braking and steering attributes. The tires claw their way up terrain with great gripping power, and the Black Chili compound makes them as sticky as my rock climbing shoes. The Protection version is like having body Armour added to an already great tire, it is ready to duke it out with most anything that can be thrown at it. In muddy conditions the knobs just aren’t spaced properly to propel you through the slop, so they squirm a bit in those conditions. Their only flaw I could find was that on extremely wet rocks they could be a bit slipperier than I would have liked.

Strengths:
- Great all around tire.
- Sticky Black Chili rubber.
- Tough Duraskin sidewall amour.
- Loose condition Master.
- Predictable.
- Great braking and steering control.

Weaknesses:
- Expensive.
- Not the best on extremely wet rock.
- Slightly squirmy in deep mud.
- Undersized per their spec.

Value Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Mountain King Protection 2.4 inch Specs:
Tire weight – 755.4 grams and 784.9 grams (Conti spec 750g)
Casing width – 2.18 inches
Knob width – 2.38 inches
Tire height – 2.15 inches
Tire Pressure used – 25-28 psi
MSRP – $75.00

Continental Mtn King url:
http://www.conti-online.com/generator/www/de/en/continental/bicycle/themes/mtb/cross_country/MountainKing_new_en.html

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • rkj__ says:

    Extremely wet rocks? What is the difference between ordinary wet rocks, and extremely wet rocks? lol

  • kush says:

    Snow / snow covered ice = Mtn Kings are PERFECT. Better than studs.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Sorry if that sounds a bit confusing, think of what a rock is like during a big downpour.

  • Barkleyfan says:

    Haven’t run a Mountain King out back yet, but up front, the tire exceeds expectations with grip in the midwest greasy mud, snow and ice, and over rocks and roots. It’s a little slower rolling than the Mosquito 2.1 it replaced, but it makes up in other areas, particularly braking traction. You have to keep your speed up to shed compared to the Mosquito, but what impresses me is how good the traction is even when packed. No tire is going to ace every category, but the MK seems to do everything well, at least up front.

  • Alex says:

    If you get these tires because you actually want or even need a 2.4″ tire do not waste your money on them. These are low volume tires that are even a bit smaller in volume than Schwalbe Nobby Nics 2.25. The MK 2.4 is the first UST tire that I managed to pinch flat (front and back). If you want to have high traction, high volume UST tires for low pressure riding try the Schwalbe Big Betty 2.4 UST. That would be a tire that actually measures and acts like a 2.4. Imagine that! Put these two tires side by side. The MK 2.4 looks like a road tire in comparison to the BB 2.4. Continental should be ashamed of this kind of marketing. If you order a pint of beer you would not accept a glass half empty either, right?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    The Schwalbe Big Betty’s are a freeride tire, the Mtn King is much more XC/AM oriented. Moreover, if you want to condemn a company for incorrect specification for tire sizes then the industry as a whole is pretty poor. Take, for example, the new Schwalbe Fat Albert 2.4′s, more like a 2.3, the Fat Albert 2.25 more like a fat 2.1. As I stated, as an industry norm these are what I consider a fat 2.25. They compare to my old Schwalbe Albert 2.25.

    There is no industry standard nor certification for tire sizes, where as beer is highly regulated. What truly designates what a tire size is? Just the carcass or the width of the knobs?

    Mountain King Protection 2.4 inch Specs:
    Casing width – 2.18 inches
    Knob width – 2.38 inches
    Tire height – 2.15 inches

    Furthermore, perhaps it would be nice if someone compiled a list of popular tires giving carcass width, tire height and knobby width. Anyone up for the task!

  • Al says:

    Actually, there is a website for this list that you mentioned/suggested (and it’s constantly evolving):

    http://www.mtbtires.com/

    Just doesn’t look like it’s been updated much of late. Maybe Shiggy’s really busy? Not sure. Haven’t been lurking on the forums for a looooooong time!

  • Paul says:

    These tyres are great in the loose and totally hurt like heck on climbs and flats due to their aggressive tread. For gravity work they are awesome.

  • Chris says:

    Hey Brian,
    Great review. They are decent tires but after 10 rides I ripped the sidewall on the rear with the protection version (26×2.0). Granted I too am in Colorado Springs so I know how rocky things get here. It held up fine in the 3 rides at Red Gate (Pueblo) but at Palmer Park I heard the dreaded failure in the back. I had an inch wide gash that no Stans can seal. In the search for a new rear tire I found out about Specialized tires. I guess if you buy a tire and whatever reason you are not satisfied with it you can return it to get a new tire or different tire (it even applies if you rip the sidewall or just plain wear the tire out!). Don’t know if this is a Specialized thing or a Bicycle Village thing. I’ve been ridding a Captain 2.0 Armadillo on the back of a Canfield One and it’s held up so far.

    chris

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Sorry to hear about the tears. 26×2.0? The Protection version only comes in 26×2.2 and 26×2.4. I too have abused the tires in Palmer Park (Templeton), in Pueblo South (Hooters, Lower Dog, etc), and in Monument (Stoopid and Burn Zone) and fortunately have had no issues. I also have used the normal version in those places on my 29er and did have some minor abrasion pin pricks, which Stans did seal up. Never had any substantial tears on any version of the , and I pretty much live in the Rock Gardens and Goat trails. The only tire of late that I have destroyed the sidewalls on has been the Maxxis Advantage.

  • Bob Carlson says:

    I started using the MK 2.4 UST recently and it is the best tire I have ever had. On loose and rocky terrain it grips like no other. It also seems to float through the sand well. I also have friends who are riding these in the mud and say they do well. All in all, a pretty amazing tire. Well worth the extra money in my opinion.

  • Matt says:

    They are only $45 on ChainReaction

    MT Kings are the best tires i have ridden on my local trails here in Southern New Hampshire. Two thumbs way up!

  • Adam says:

    To each his own because I own a pair of these and they suck for my style. I can see these being good for those who roll corners versus carving them or have packed or slightly loose dry trails. The side knobs just aren’t aggresive enough for me and they don’t hold a line in loamy dirt very well. The 2.4 sizing is way off like others have pionted out. The rolling resistance is way too high as well for such a small tire. It’s funny because to this day my all time favorite tire is the Conti Vertical with Protection but these MT Kings are way off the mark for me.

  • datalogger says:

    My MK 2.4 pro’s weighed in @ 646 amd 660. Not sure how/why mine are lighter, they are definitely the Protections though.

  • Johnny says:

    I have been using these for the last 6 months, and they’re great for avg. Nor Cal riding (not in the mud, though). They are about as light as Nevagal 2.1′s, and, size-wise, they are in between the Nev 2.1′s and the 2.35′s. They’re perfect for my riding style– XC/AM. I run them at about 30 psi w/ tubes and have had only one pinch flat at the bottom of a very rocky chute. That’s it. So the review seems pretty consistent with my experience.

  • pastajet says:

    Here is a video of a place (Pueblo South Shore) where the Mtn King’s really shined http://www.vimeo.com/2799001 and http://www.vimeo.com/2684650

  • JOEMTBR COLORADO says:

    Brian,
    I have to agree with you about the Maxis Advantage, love the tread but can not use them in this area, side wall failure has been a the norm with that tire for me. Just incase someone care I have tried running a new set 3 times and had the same result every time.
    By the way I had a good laugh about tire sizing, you would think they could find an industry standard, maybe the bike companies need to push the issue as they build to specific tolerances.
    And you write a pretty good review for someone who rides on groomer trails only

  • Bullcrew says:

    the knobs are too radical and all over to keep a significat bite and mud, snow, ice forget about it! they lack a solid pattern to hold its just a bunck of triangles all over!

  • Brad says:

    Tyre width is measured with calipers across the widest point of the tyre. if that happens to be the tread blocks then that is the figure used.

    Some tyres are high volume, others are low volume.
    High volume usually makes a heavier tyre with thin walls which puncture easily because they need to keep the weigh under control.\
    A lower volume tyre can have a thicker side wall and more stiffness in the casing because of this.

    Horses for courses.

    I run the Mountain King 2.2 Tubeless on my Scalpel. I find them to be a superb all rounder. High grip, excellent traction thanks to the deep tread blocks, low noise thanks to their shape and teh rubber seems to last well.

  • John says:

    So after reading all of this it appears conti made an xc/lite duty trailbike tire with the tread design that could use less rolling resistance. Triangle knobs are flexy in the corners. I believe that they are using that for grip. In my opinion this hampers rolling resistance. I would like to see an xc rider/racer take 1 or 2 of these and custom cut the knobs down to bring the speed up. I am currently running maxxiss crossmark 2.1 ust lust folder. It holds air well rolls fast [i live in socal, no mud, lots of dg where i ride] Edge grip is slightly less than I wish for. This helps skill levels or is just more challenging. I have hit a rock hard enough to hear the Mavic 823 dh rim and no issues [6 inch rear wheel travel] I like conti for the casings and rubber content. I am just hoping they get on the ramped knob shuttlebus. My next tires will prob. be the m.k 2.4 For the front of the custom 69r project.

  • Best mud tire I ever used.
    Climbing traction,nothing else can compare.

  • Will T Smith says:

    Good tire with a real “stickem” attitude. They clear almost instantly.

    These are staying on until the end of spring when everything dries out.

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