Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
I have tested the Protection version of the 2.4 Continental Mountain King tires over the last several months on my Ibis Mojo. I have been able to cross compare them against several other tires in all sorts of variable terrain, and I must say they are primo! Long Live the Mountain King.
In a land caught between
Time and space
Where the books of life lay
This castle of stone
The mountain king roams
Tire History 101
Continental has been developing and manufacturing bicycle tires since 1892, back when tires for a bike were leather or iron bands. Iron bands were heated red hot, put around a spoked wooden wheel, quenched, contracting the band tightly on the wheel, and tying the wheels spokes together, hence the term ‘tire’. The pneumatics of those days has evolved into a highly technical, scientific, and the much more functional modern tire (thank goodness).
Tires consist of 3 basic components, the bead (Kevlar or steel), the fabric and the rubber. The rubber consists of many materials and additives; crude rubber is the essential base material, and is mixed with carbon black, sulfur, accelerators, antioxidants, silicas, dyes, waxes and oils. Binding materials such as the nylon casing, and reinforcing materials such as Kevlar or steel, are baked under heat, and pressure, with the rubber materials during the vulcanization process, to form the finished tire. What is rubber like if it isn’t vulcanized? It is brittle when cold and melts when hot, and it is not durable, think of a pencil eraser as the best example. Vulcanization, which is basically adding sulfur to rubber and then heating, was advanced around the 1840’s by Charles Goodyear (he died broke) and was patented by the Englishman Thomas Hancock, although it appears the Mesoamericans were doing it in 1600’s. In 1888, John Dunlop invented the pneumatic bike tires (cool, we were first!), and in 1895 André Michelin made tries for autos, albeit unsuccessfully, tires have progressed and evolved since then to the modern tire.