Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Review

Trying something new is always fun. Leaving the zone of known quantities leads to discovery of good and bad. As I alluded in my last post... I'm trying out new tires. I've mounted up Continental Race King 2.2's front and back. I've been using Kenda SmallBlock 8's for almost two years as my all purpose tire. Only going to Kenda Nevagals in rainy or muddy conditions. Why Conti Race Kings?

I desired a more open tread pattern. But I didn't want to go to large lugs.

... they fit this criteria perfectly. As always... smaller lugs = better rollers!I like the small lugs over rocks because they tend not to get bounced around as much. My theory is small lugs drift more predicatably at the cost of the maximum amount of grip. I always tend to more predictable wash over maximum grip. Just my perference, but looking to challange habits.

Here's a side-by-side with the a worn SmallBlock 8 2.1.

... the Conti 2.2 size is about the same as the SB8 2.1. Maybe a bit smaller. They run small. The 2.0 size must be really small, so select it carefully. Larger lugs, but not chunkier. They are about the same "height" as the SB8 lugs. My thought when mounting is they sould be fast rollers.

Mounting, was totally easy. Easiest tubeless tire I've ever mounted. They fit onto my NoTubes Olympic rims with no problems, and the bead poped onto the rim right off the bat with the first blast of air from the compressor. Piece of cake.

I took the tires for a flogging at Pace Bend...

The verdict is *drumroll*... I have a new favorite tire! Keep in mind that I'm comparing NEW Race Kings against OLD SmallBlock 8s.... but my back-to-back comparison found these tire to have more ultimate grip, predictable drifting, and really damped over loose rocks. They hold their lines well over breaks. They didn't balloon and bounce like a basketball in the rock gardens as I was used to. Neat phenomenon. They really shine in breaking power over the SB8s. Enough to force me to readjust my braking points, and nearly pitch-pole me a few times on descents. The RaceKings don't have as much predictability as the SB8s, but it's still quite good.

They are super-fast rollers.

I'd have no problem going back to SB8s when it's time to retire these tires, but for now I'm totally satisfied with what I've got. Pretty much a toss up. Curious to see how these hold up over the long-term....