Conti mud testing

After thrashing these tires in cactus and rock infested West Texas I have brought them home to some good ol’ Mid Western dirt. I think a bit of backround information may help you understand this report a bit better, so bear with me.

Here in Iowa, we have black dirt. That means a lot more than just the color, which is truly a dark, dark color. It means sticky when wet. Real sticky! Especially river silted black dirt, which is a fine hourglass sand type of dirt that when wet, sticks to everything like glue. It’s why John Deere invented the mould board plow, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story…..

We usually end up on this dirt when dry, for obvious reasons, and it drys out to a pavement like hardness. However, coming out of winter, we are in the wet season and the trails are pretty sensitive now. I chose a river bottom trail that commonly floods over, so riding on it when it is wet isn’t the major no-no that it is on other of our trails. This is when I test to find which tires deal with mud the best, because if they can shed this silted black dirt, then they can deal with about any kind of mud.

So far my “champion” is the Michelin XC AT, which gathered Top Ten 29″er Product status for 2007 for this quality. I went out to see how the Continental Mountain King would stack up against the old favorite. I will say that the Michelin is a 2.00″ tire versus this 2.3″er. Usually a wider tire doesn’t fare as well in the mud, so keeping that in mind, let’s see what I found out.

The trail was just recovering from a spring flood- perfect! There were dry parts where I could build up speed and the Mountain King showed great trail gripping abilities here. I had the pressures at about 33 rear/30 front for this test. Going into the mud, the Mountain Kings got a little filled up, but not totally. There still were knobs sticking out to use after the mud was passed through.

Mountain King in the mud

I hit up another muddy stretch, but this time it was just a little too much for the Mountain Kings to deal with. They “balled up”, as we like to say here. That basically means that the tire is impacted with mud and is collecting more, like a snow ball rolling down a mountain side. This isn’t bad, it is typical here. The Mountain King held off for longer than a lot of tires in this type of dirt/mud. I’d give it an above average grade for muddy situations.

After this section, I bailed off into some higher ground that was all dry. The Mountain Kings sloughed off the mud build up fairly quickly. This is a good sign as far as I’m concerned. It tells me that if I get into a muddy situation I can count on the tire clearing out the tread fairly quickly for the rest of my ride. Some tires will not do this very well. I give the Mountain King an excellent rating for mud clearing abilities. (Just make sure you have some eye protection on!)

In further updates, I will be testing the Mountain Kings on some other varied terrain types, so look for that.

The Tubeless Question: I always ask about any tires we get being used tubeless. I did the same with these Continentals. The answer I got was this:

Regarding whether we condone the use of sealant, our stance is actually very straightforward. Since we do not offer our own Conti-branded product we cannot market or speak to the use and validity of such products. However we certainly can say that many have and do use them, and with excellent results. Therefore as a consumer option, it is the choice of the end-user. Additionally we have no stipulations under our warranty concerning the use of sealants

So, that was a bit unique amongst the responses I have gotten. I will say also that I am using these Mountain Kings tubeless on Stan’s Flow rims with Stan’s sealant. So far throughout the test, there have been no negative results from doing so. Your mileage may vary though…….

Stay tuned for more Continental tire news soon…………….