I really wanted to like these tires, but I'm pretty disappointed. I've been running Conti 4000s for years on my road bike-a great tire that has only gotten better with the introduction of the Black Chili compound-as well as Cyclo X-Kings on my around-town cross bike wheels, so I'm already a big fan of the brand. I figured I'd get the same level of quality in the MK 2.4 on my mountain bike, but this has not been the case.
First, the good I really like the tread pattern and the BC compound. It hooks up beautifully in PNW slop, and rides especially well at lower tubeless pressures on a 30mm ID rim. While it does run a bit narrow (as most Conti MTB tires do), the 2.4 has a large volume casing that enables a wide footprint, excellent cornering and climbing traction, and a vertically compliant ride with fewer instances of bottoming the rim. Also, after about 40 hours of riding, there's very little wear on the center tread blocks. I'm definitely impressed with that aspect of the tire's durability.
Which brings me to the sidewalls. I am baffled as to how the tread can be so robust, but the Protection sidewall (on both tires) looks very worn, even though it has not technically been abraded by any actual contact with a rough surface. It looks a bit threadbare, and is seeping many tiny drops of sealant all the way around the sidewalls of both tires. It took about thirty or so hours of riding (in both wet and dry conditions) for this problem to emerge. Again, the rest of the tire is in very good condition, with almost no wear to the tread pattern itself. It seems odd that the different parts of the tire are wearing at such uneven rates.
I'm not sure what the purpose of a reinforced sidewall is if it's still this flimsy. Also, as to the tubeless-ready designation, I was not able to get these to seat without a compressor, but that's a minor nitpick, as some tires just don't immediately get along with some rims (Easton ARC 30s in this case).
I'm bummed, as I thought I'd found my new favorite tires, and that I'd be able to keep running Contis on all of the different types of bikes in my stable, but it doesn't look like I'll be using these again.
I use these tires on a variety of NW trails-buffed out single track, technical rocky trails, rooty, gravel double track/logging roads. Mountain Kings give me all the cornering, traction on wet rocky/rooty climbs, and durability I could hope for while rolling efficiently to make long climbs manageable. I have only used 4 different tires in my short MTN biking life (6 years) but I haven't thought about trying any others since I switched to the MTN Kings.
After logging over 1,500 miles on my first set with tubes, I mounted a new pair tubeless and found the switch fairly easy (given my new compressor). The blocks on the old pair are a bit ragged, but the casings are still pristine and I may run them on my commuter bike this winter.
Excellent grip in just about all conditions. Sheds mud with ease and the Black Chili compound is as good as advertised.
I am constantly climbing rocks and tree roots and though I've fallen many times -) it's not due to the tire ever washing out on me. My only complaints would be the weight (2.2's with ProTection come in at 740g) and the general slowness due to the aggressive tread pattern. I knew the tire was relatively heavy going in but was willing to sacrifice the weight for strength. IMHO they are pretty slow and sometimes I feel like I'm pedaling a Honda CR-250 instead of an XC MTB race bike.
I actually superficially sliced the sidewalls of both the front and back tire on my very first ride but the tire has proven to be one tuff mother and has not degraded any further despite a lot of riding!
This is good stuff. I have used many 29er tires and this is now my favorite front tire. Hooks up great and rolls on. Yeah it is not the lightest tire out there but then what good is a light tire if you can't keep those micro sized nobs hooked up in the dirt? It runs small like all conti tires. on my 28mm rims it measures a 2.1.
Seals up well but the initial bead seating is a bit tough and may take some time to get right.
Love it and will keep getting them. I never get to use a tire until it wears out. The rocks, stumps, and random pieces of barbed wire here are just a bit much for that. But these tires so far have handled great
I use this one up front on my 29'r. I ride in a variety of conditions, including sand, mud, roots, rock and occasional dirt roads. I didn't want a (likely) faster, but more delicate tire, as a flat really slows you down. This ties strikes a nice balance between all of those. I'm running it with a tube now (21 psi, i'm 170) , but plan to switch to tubeless.
A bit more aggressive the the x-king I had before in the front but more hook up. I sliced my x-king front up in four places all in the same ride so it needed to be replaced. I liked it but I thought I would try a bit more aggressive. It really hooks up well. There is a small bit of loss on the hard fast stuff and a bit more noise on pavement and a little more weight than the x-king but really worth the extra grip on the trail turns. Grips nice on the brakes too. Makes a great front to the x-king rear.
Was hard to seal to the rim. Of the 10 tires I have made tubeless in the last 1 1/2 years this was by far the hardest to make air tight at the rim interface. That and there was small hole in the sidewall. not a weep or a leak but a small hole you could hear the air coming out. sealant took care of it but thought it was strange. Ended up having to cheat and pop one bead at a time and pour stans sealant right on the bead all the way around with the rim horizontal. then seat the bead and have it squirt everywhere while pumping up to 60psi. Did both sides one at a time and then it was airtight.
Single track. Some time loaded up on the great divide trail.
Initially, I thought this tire was overkill, and riding pavement to the trails at low pressure made the bike somewhat squirmy, but the control and confidence I enjoyed while descending off-road gravel and mud on a fully loaded, 85-pound rig at 45 mph and 30 psi made me really happy about my choice in tires. Go get some.