By Tim Granshaw
Review of the Continental CycloXKing cyclocross clincher tyre
The CycloXKing is Continental’s intermediate cyclocross tyre. Like the MountainKing, it uses the impressive Black Chilli compound and, like its mudder brother, it’s also constructed on a 60 TPI casing, which did not impress last time we rode it. Can wonders of Black Chilli overwhelm the stiff casing on this mixed condition clincher? Read on to find out.
Pavement (4 out of 5): The CycloXKing is a fast, grippy tyre on the pavement. The centre tread includes closely spaced alternating knobs. These knobs are slightly displaced to the left and right to provide both a fast rolling tyre, and provide additional side bite in fast conditions. The casing is quite round, so the more aggressive side knobs are not engaged in a straight line. We found the Black Chili compound exceptionally grippy and fast.
Hardpack and dry grass (4 out of 5): The tyre is quite light, so it accelerates well out of the corners. We also found the relatively low-profile centre knobs kept the tyre rolling well in fast conditions. When it got a little loose, the side bite was good courtesy of the aggressive side tread. Although the casing is quite round, the depth of the side knobs helps them engage relatively early with confidence in hard pack or loose conditions. We do wish the Conti’s casing was a little more supple; like other tyres in the range, the 60 tpi casing lets the tyre down a little.
Wet grass (4 out of 5): Still a solid tyre. We believe the Black Chili compound really helps the tyre here. Where other similar tread designs start to slip, the CycloXKing continues to hold on tenaciously. The side knobs continue to do their job here as well. Whether cornering, braking, or accelerating we found the Continentals confident.
Sodden grass and light mud (3 out of 5): The tyres do start to pack up in these conditions. The emphasis on closely spaced knobs in the centre tread does not encourage rapid cleaning. That said, if the mud & grass was really tacky we found these tyres were better than their Mountain King brethren for cleaning and overall performance. In wetter conditions, they were consistent, but lacked side bite compared to the Mountain King, probably due to their rounder profile.
Mud (1 out of 5): Not a recommended tyre in really tacky conditions. The tread isn’t conducive to confident riding in really sloppy conditions.
The CycloXKing is one of the better mixed condition cyclocross tyres of the 2013/2014 season. Though not quite as fast as a file tread in dry conditions or as grippy as a mudder in the slop, the breadth of conditions handled by these Contis was impressive. We were a little disappointed by the casing suppleness, but the grippy, long lasting rubber compound is one of the best available on any cyclocross tyre.
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