An ideal day of winter riding: sunny, crisp and clear.
Bike: Salsa Mamasita
Wheel: Mavic Open Pro Rims laced to Chris King Hubs
Tires: Continental Mountain King 29 x 2.2 Folding
Tire Weight: 662g and 665 grams respectively
Tires were run directionally according to front and rear wheel.
Trail conditions: Slate Rock with sporadic Sandy-Mud, Loose over Hardpack, Hilly XC.
Two days after rainfall.
My first impression was that these tires are a perfect match for Open Pro rims. There is no squirm or roll on the rim, unlike Ignitors 2.1" which are very loose in comparison. The bead is snug, and I was confident there would be little if no chance of roll off, as I've experienced with the larger Rampages. As it has be pointed out before, the Mountain King 2.2" measures 2.0" which is what I got.
Now for the ride.
In the dry sandy sections, a mix of dry washes and flat loose rock, the tire was agile and predictable. Traction was superb, though I was wanting a little more on the steepest inclines, with that said, these tires are fast, and made quick work of loose on hardpack, as well as slate rock inclines. Pedaling through sandy washes felt about average, in comparison with other higher volume tires.
Now the mud; sandy-mud is wet and dries quickly, so it doesn't shed until you exit to some harder surfaces. However, I never felt bogged down in this mud, even if the photos aren't so pretty. I did however notice that the rear tire tended to shed mud more than the front, and as I mentioned, the rear was ran directionally opposite to the front. In anycase, I never felt a lack for control in these conditions.
Riding on choppy Fireroads was more of an experience as the volume isn't what you'd want from a 2.2" tire, but it ain't bad for a 2.0" Mountain King either. The tire feels like it's got good volume, but I suspect it's the tread that keeps you moving so fluidly that flying over rougher roads is quickly forgotten.
Speaking of speed, in comparison to Rampages and Ignitors the Mountain King feels as though I was back on 700c x 32 Small Block 8s. They are quick, having very little rolling resistance, and sprinting home on pavement was beautiful.
So, would I recommend this tire? Yes, especially if you're running a narrower rim. Though, if I had the option of running a larger front tire, I'd go with the 2.4" or perhaps have a Rampage up front and the Conti in the rear. As it is, Mavic Open Pro rims with Continental Mountain King 29 x 2.2" tires are a perfect match.
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