Continental “X King” 29″er Tires: On Test: by Grannygear

Timing is everything, and when you are furiously turning wrenches in waning daylight in order to make the night ride on time, having the UPS truck stop in front of your house can throw a wrench in the schedule! It might mean a new shiny thing has arrived and will require immediate use!


And, it did. Fresh from the mould direct to the West Coast offices of were a pair of brand new, Continental X-King 2.2 29″er tires, all shiny black and smelling like a new car. Mmmm…smells good. Looks good too. So, naturally the tires I had just mounted up on the Breezer Cloud 9 Pro test bike had to come back off and these went on in their place, but not before I weighed them and poked at them a bit.

This is what Conti has to say about the X-Kings from the website:

The allround genius!

Its developers say it can do anything! Its riders say, “That’s my tyre!”
Super fast, but nevertheless with a good grip, the X-King was developed with the Topeak Ergon mountain bike professional team. Despite pronounced studs, the X-King rolls off smoothly and very quietly. No matter if you are on your own or in a team, with Race and Mountain King, the super-light X-King easily covers many uses, ranging from cross country/race to Alpcross. The X-King simply leaves its competitors behind. Its Black Chili Compound offers a solid grip and is self-cleaning. The shoulder lugs provide absolute stability in curves negotiated at high speeds.

Note: Image from Continental’s website showing the 26″er mosel.

They immediately struck me as similar to the recently reviewed Schwalbe Rocket Rons, having multiple rows of offset, smallish knobs all the way over to the side wall. The center knobs form a center row of tread that looked like it would sit up and roll well. There is a slight chevron design in the rows of knobs with one knob linking to the next, but not actually touching, etc. Kinda’ like ducks in a flying ‘V’. I snapped some quick pics in the fading light of day and went riding.


Specs so far: Weights were 693g and 699g, very consistent. I measured them right after installation (w/tubes) on the 27mm (external width) WTB Laser Disc Trail rims on the Breezer Cloud 9 Pro. They were right at 2.04”/52mm wide at the sidewall bulge. There is no ProTection or RS carcass yet for the 29″er versions…bummer, so that will wait a bit. Maybe 2012? Most likely.

They have a slightly peaky profile and just bristle with those small knobs. I bet they will be a very good hard pack tire. I set a well worn but still useful Rocket Ron next to the X-King just to compare. Both are at the same pressure and with tubes on the WTB rims.


Rolling out into the night on the city streets toward our gathering spot for the night ride, they felt very smooth rolling and I could not feel or hear much of any whine or buzz from the knobs. More riding to come, of course, but the normal loop on the mix of fire road, sandy wash crossings, fast single track and rocky creek bed gave the initial impression of a fast rolling, confident steering tire on the dryer hard pack conditions that winter’s waning has left us to play on.

Much more to come as the miles and smiles continue, and we will see if the first impressions hold true. I remember thinking, when I saw them at Interbike last year, that the X-Kings would be the tire for me out of all the new Continental tire offerings for 2011. So far, so good.

Note: Continental Tires submitted these tires to Twenty Nine Inches for test/review at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.