The Mountain King II is a good, durable tyre for trail and XC riders, but less at home on gnarlier, aggressive terrain.
The Continental Mountain King II Protection is a versatile trail tyre that can handle drenched trails and some mud well, but you need to buy the Black Chilli version tested here for maximum performance.
This is made in Germany so is more expensive, but tread wear is excellent. The 4-ply design has a UST bead, so can be run tubeless, and the ProTection sidewalls defend well against the cuts and rips that can kill tyres in rocky areas.
Squeezing the blocks and chevrons, the rubber feels harder than we’d expect considering the security and hold it delivers tracking wet and polished surfaces. Mud clearing is decent, and even in the Lakes, on notoriously soapy limestone, the compound never feels too nervy.
Watch Dan Atheron’s Pro Bike Check
The next perception-buster is how fast it rolls. With a beefy 2.4in front (and a thinner 2.2in rear that’s better at cutting through deep mud), it’s deceiving how easily the tyre turns over at trail centres and on firmer bridleways. This makes it a great option for anyone wanting to get the miles in while retaining enough grip, climbing and braking traction in reserve for the occasional steep and loose sketchy section.
Aggressive riders on gnarly, natural DH trails might find the Conti is not the best for hard cornering at speed — the edge blocks sit a fair way from the rounded crown so, transitioning to the shoulder zone, the grip gives way when leant over hard — both in wet earth, loamy berms and in ruts.
Another gripe is that this tyre was a struggle to mount tubeless using only a track pump. The Mountain King II is a good, durable tyre for trail and XC riders, but less at home on gnarlier, aggressive terrain.