The Argotal is the wet and mixed conditions option in Continental's gravity lineup, with a spaced-out aggressive tread that sits between the do-it-all Kryptotal and the spikiest Hydrotal
This Argotal is one of Continental’s latest range aiming to bring the brand back to the top of the gravity tyre game. After a period of not having quite the right products (by its own admission), the brand has spent three years developing and refining rubber blends, casing lay ups and tread patterns with sponsored riders including the Atherton family and Bernard Kerr.
The Argotal is the wet and mixed conditions option, with a spaced-out aggressive tread that sits between the do-it-all Kryptotal and the spikiest Hydrotal (that looks too much for all but the most horrendous mud baths). The tread isn’t leagues apart from the older Der Baron, but uses all-new rubber blends and construction methods and more squared off tread blocks, especially on the shoulders.
If you want Conti’s stickiest Supersoft rubber, you’ll need to go with the full 6-ply DH casing, so enduro riders craving maximum grip, but not weight, don’t have as many options as some brands. This was also a concern with the Krytotal last year sharing increasingly harder rubber going down in casing thicknesses.
Roughly in the same ballpark as a cut-down mud spike, the Argotal’s blocky motocross style tread has sucker-like lugs and shoulder knobs with a stepped profile and smaller tips on a broader base. This Enduro version has a single 110tpi ply casing and three layers underneath, as well as Apex protection at the lower sidewall to resist sidewall cuts and pinch flats.
In terms of durometer and grip, Soft is more comparable to Maxx Terra than Maxx Grip, but still feels pretty squidgy to touch. Whether it’s the tread pattern, the casing not being stiff enough or the rubber itself though, the Argotal isn’t quite a match for either of its direct rivals, the Specialized Hillbilly or the Shorty. In the toughest conditions they grip harder and steer accurately in deep slop and in ruts, where the Argotal can occasionally turn a bit weird; we had some issues with understeer in deep mud built up in berms and a few moments that didn’t quite feel as assured as expected.
Outside of deep mud, the Argotal lays down a decent amount of rubber and is comfy and assured at speed smashing over wet roots and rocks. And, considering the damped feel and how serious the Argotal tread is, rolling speed isn’t too bad either and definitely not super sluggish in terms of friction and drag on fireroads and tarmac.
On polished berms, features and hardpack at Dyfi bike park (where these tyres were developed and tuned in the first place) the Argotal occasionally lost traction at steeper lean angles and felt a bit vague. On the same day, Maxxis Maxx Terra rubber felt significantly stickier, more secure and grippier, pointing to it being a more versatile all-round compound.
We’ve been seriously impressed by Conti’s new tyres in the DH casing and Supersoft compounds, but less so by all the other versions. Seeing as the weight penalty and rolling speed isn’t horrendous in the chunkiest versions, we’d just go for those for enduro and all-mountain riding too and then look to other brands if you’re after a more lightweight option.