Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Product Review: Continental Race King
I've been riding Continental Race King's (29x2.2) for about a month now, and here's what I've found.
They are fast. Scaryfast.
Because they roll so fast you need to pay attention, or they'll be telling you "Look fat boy, we're working here, stop daydreaming and keep your head in the game or we'll throw you on your ass".
Their rolling resistance is such that I found myself carrying way more speed into corners than I anticipated. At first this might cause a bobble or dab, but once I was used to how they continued to carry speed when I let off the gas, I adjusted.
At speed traction is excellent, but be warned this tire is meant to go fast. If you are looking for a tire to play Han Rey with, picking a line through a rock garden look else where. Slow speed stuff in slippery rocks is a weakness.
Now if you hit the rock garden with speed and rode the crests and spines of the rocks, or if the rocks aren't all slimy from record rainfall, the Race Kings will perform excellent.
The sidewalls are pretty stiff, so I can run them down to as low as 20 psi without bottoming them out. The sidewall stiffness is in part due to a puncture protection layer, which is a nice reassurance in rocky New England.
I raced them in the mud of the Putney West Hill race. They did pack up a bit (after I washed my bike off they were holding 1 pound of dirt), but on the course the continued to provide traction (no unplanned dismounts if you know what I mean).
I chose not to race them at Domnarski, or Pats Peak, but in retrospect, they would have worked as well as the combo I did choose.
My pair weighs in at 640 grams a piece, not lightweights, but not bad for a 29" tire, and 10 grams less than Conti's claim. With the piece of mind of sidewall protection, I'll take a few extra grams instead of the walk of shame any day.
Also the easiest tire I've ever set up tubeless; sealed without sealant. A first for me.