Hiding in plain site at the World Cup over the weekend, we spotted a new Continental Race King tire on the Focus bike of Swiss rider (and podium finisher) Linda Indergand. That’s certainly interesting, because while Conti’s rubber compounds have progressed the layout of the Race King is essentially unchanged since a review we did of the tire way back in 2009. Essentially labeled like a normal set of Race Kings, Indergand’s tires get a slightly revised lug shape along the center, more complex lug shaping throughout, and a lot more open space. Take a closer look after the break…
The most noticeably difference in the added room in between the center and side knobs. This results from taking the paired center knobs that were previously 5-sided and trimming one corner off (think cutting the bottom tip off of home plate). Then the next two rows of transition knobs keep their shape, but get ever so slightly smaller.
Indergand’s mechanic tells us this was done not only to clear material that would otherwise get stuck between blocks, but also to give the big shoulder blocks more bite, earlier in turns. Looking at the new and old side-by-side, you can also se that the tread blocks get a little more profiling overall. While the existing tire only has the raised edges on the transition and shoulder blocks, here on the new tire (left), every tire gets the raised edges for even more grip.
It seems like the Black Chili rubber compound and Protection casing are unchanged, as is the 2.2″ only width for the tire currently offered in 29″, 27.5″ & 26″ diameters for XC. (Enduro & CX versions out there could also see the update in the future.) No word on when the tread redesign will be making it out to consumers.