Continental's new tyre range boasts the difficult to pronounce Xynotal. How does it fare on the trails?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Continental Xynotal Downhill Soft tyre


  • Rubber gives a well-damped ride.


  • Doesn't feel much faster than the Krypotal, but there's a lot less grip.


Continental Xynotal Downhill Soft tyre review


Price as reviewed:


This Xynotal is another one of  the brand new Continental tyres to have emerged from a lengthy development process that’s taken in dozens of prototypes and revisions. Like its sister tyre (the Kryptotal), Contis list price is high, but we’ve already seen these online for up to £25 off the RRP, which makes them considerably better value.

Slightly less chunky than the Kryptotal, there’s a very dense tread with really ramped centre lugs for improved rolling speed (the middle comes over more like a revised Kaiser). The overall appearance and shape is more in line with rival brands though; even if the shoulder blocks sit tightly to the central strip and it’s a tad less squared-off on the outside edge compared to popular tyres like the Maxxis Minion DHR II, Schwalbe Magic Mary and Specialized Butcher.

Continental Xynotal tyre

Continental Xynotal tyre

Xynotal is designed for dry and hard-packed ground and uses less spaced-out blocks than the other new Conti gravity models, so there’s less negative tread space. Like many modern tyres, each tread block has sipes contained within, rather than slicing through them. It’s available in trail, enduro and downhill casings with corresponding extra toughness and weight.

With a folding aramid bead and dual ply construction with two 110tpi plies, Conti’s DH casing actually has a total of six layers of material including all the cut and snakebite protection. Most rival DH tyres use a double ply layer of coarse fabric with fewer threads per inch (typically around 60tpi). This might help explain why Contis are slightly lighter than some (actually 80g lighter than fellow automotive competitor Goodyear’s enduro-rated Newton MTF), even with Apex bead protection and a fabric belt in the sidewall.

Continental Xynotal tyre

Continental Xynotal tyre

The Germans have moved on from the old Black Chili compound that’s been its signature high-end MTB blend for over a decade, and the three new replacement rubber mixes are now logically called Super Soft, Soft and Endurance.

The Xynotal blows up taller and skinnier than the Kryptotal and is designed to connect loads of rubber to the ground, rather than ride on individual spikier blocks (that can better cut through loose surfaces). The aggressively ramped central strip rolls over faster, but we didn’t notice a huge boost in speed over the Kryptotal (which doesn’t bobble too much anyway).

There’s a dull, damped ride and a super planted feel on the ground here, but on the front end especially, the shape is a bit tall and thin. Not having much of a grip channel and taller, rather than broader, knobs means it’s not as nailed down as a Maxxis Assegai or E*thirteen Grappler at aggressive lean angles, and also wants to pivot more (which will be a plus or minus depending on how agile you like your front tyre).


Conti’s squarer, fatter Krytotal has more edge bite and is way more versatile in mixed conditions. It would be our preference over this model, because once you get into the realms of seriously aggressive tyres like this, grip and versatility has to be the major priority, rather than rolling speed.


Sizes:27.5/29 x 2.4in