The term ‘Plus” has a pretty wide meaning these days. For some companies it can mean 3.0″ tires or bigger. For others, like Continental, 2.6″ is enough for the designation. That’s the case with Continental’s new Der Baron 2.6 Projekt – just one of five new tires in the King series for 2018.
Offered only in 27.5 x 2.6″, the Der Baron 2.6 Projekt is impressively light at 890g on our scale. And if it runs true to size like the other Continentals we’ve tried recently (or bigger), that is crazy light for such a big tire. Available only in the ProTection Apex casing, the tire uses a four ply, 240tpi carcass with a tubeless ready folding bead and BlackChilli rubber compound. At some point in the near future, the Trail King, Mountain King, and Cross King will also be offered in 27.5 x 2.6″ sizes for the coming year.
Going into the new year, the Trail King gets an updated profile and improved sidewall like all of the King line up for a better ride and increased grip and tire feel. All of the Trail King tires run the ProTection Apex casing, and tires are available in 26, 27.5, and 29″ wheel sizes, all in both 2.2 and 2.4″ widths. Again, our sample came in well under the claimed 890g at 836g for the four ply, 240tpi folding, tubeless ready tire.
First rides lead us to believe that this is their best Trail King yet with a surprisingly supportive ride from a light weight tire. Likely due to the Apex reinforcing layer from the bead to the tire shoulder, you can run lower pressures than you’d expect from a tire this light and get crazy grip out of the BlackChilli compound. Mounted to the RaceFace Next R carbon rims, the tires measure a full 2.5″ wide, so they’re not cutting corners with width to get the weight down.
The Mountain King gets the same profile and sidewall updates as the Trail King, along with an all new tread pattern. Skewed more towards the wet and muddy side than the Trail King, the Mountain King is available in 26, 27.5, and 29 x 2.3″ sizes with ProTection casing, 4/240tpi construction, and BlackChilli compound. Weighing in at 753g, the 29 x 2.3″ Mountain King was just over the 745g claimed weight.
Continuing down the line, the Cross King is again updated with a new profile and sidewall construction, and is available in a ton of options. Offered in all three wheel sizes, tire widths are limited to 2.2 and 2.3″, while casings are offered in both ProTection and RaceSport which ditches the additional sidewall protection for a lighter weight casing. Both are available in 3/180 or 4/240 tpi construction with BlackChilli rubber, though only the 4/240 tpi tires are Tubeless ready. Once again, the 29 x 2.3″ Cross King ProTection came in under claimed weight at 733g.
Finally, the Race King fills in the need for an XC/Marathon race specific tire with both 2.2 and 2.0″ widths. As with the other new King tires, the Race King has an improved sidewall, new profile better suited for wider rims, and ProTection or RaceSport builds with 4/240 or 3/180 tpi construction that is tubeless read for the higher thread count. This 29 x 2.2″ Race King ProTection weighed in at 574g with a claimed weight of 605g.