The Continental RaceKing is an out-and-out XC race tyre that’s aimed at racers and trail riders whose priorities are speed but also reliability.
The RaceKing has been around for a fair few seasons now and is the tyre of choice of plenty of World Cup teams and racers.
The tyres come in a few casing options, but the ProTection model is perhaps the most versatile.
ProTection is Continental’s puncture-proofing technology, where the casing and most notably the sidewalls are beefed up to minimise cuts and pinches.
You can clearly see the added protection on the sidewalls, which provide most of the increased security.
They do a great job when the tyres glance rocks and other sharp objects on the trail compared to the lighter-weight casings on the market.
The tread on the RaceKing is a uni-directional, low-profile triangular design, where there’s notably very little height difference between the outer and middle tread.
This results in a tyre that’s extremely quick in a straight line and in the dry, but that doesn’t offer huge amounts of grip when cornering in more challenging conditions.
Whilst it corners predictably, it’s not a tyre you can lean right over and expect to bite.
Likewise, in muddier conditions, the close spacing of the knobs and their flat profile won’t clear mud particularly quickly.
That being said, there are much worse tyres in the mud that aren’t significantly faster in their preferred dry conditions.
At 2.2” in width, the RaceKings are a perfect width for adequate volume and trail dampening.
They do a solid job of reducing trail buzz and bigger hits like deep roots and rocks for a tyre this size.
Continental’s X-King tyre is a better choice as an all-rounder or for those intermediate trail conditions where there’s both muddy and drier sections to deal with.
At 600g for the 27.5” version, the RaceKing ProTection sits in the “acceptable” weight range for an XC race tyre.
They’re neither too light that they need to be nursed through a race, nor too heavy that you’ll be giving away time with lots of rotational weight.
An added benefit of both the structural security of the RaceKing is that they’re easy to setup tubeless, and mount onto both tubeless-ready and tubeless converted rims very easily.
It’s a consideration that many racers won’t factor into their tyre choice, but a feature that’s actually a significant benefit.
For a 2.2” tyre, they feel surprisingly voluminous and so can be run at lower pressures than similar xc race tyres.
This can help to compensate for the lack of grip offered by the low profile knobs in intermediate conditions.
The RaceKing’s excel in dry, fast XC race conditions and are reliable tyres for rougher courses and trails when it comes to puncture resistance too.
They’re not all-condition tyres and might not appeal to those who want to ride the lightest of wheel setups, but offer one of the best compromises between security and weight you can find.