The Continental Race King Protection 29 x 2.2 is the toughest member of the Continental Race King family. I've already reviewed the RaceSport, Performance and Sport versions of the Race King. The Protection version uses a stronger 4/240 TPI carcass and the same BlackChili compound that's used on the fast RaceSport version. Continental claims improved side-wall and tread puncture resistance with the Protection series. This review has been partly funded by donations. Thank you supporters!
The Protection series of mountain bike tires are the only tires specified by Continental to be Tubeless-Ready. Although I use RaceSport tires without inner tubes myself, those aren't that easy to seal. It can take a couple of days before the RaceSport tires hold air. Comparing the Race King Protection to the RaceSport side by side, it should be easy to set up tubeless as the side-walls are much thicker and stronger.
Most other Continental cross-country mountain bike tires are available as Sport, Performance, RaceSport and Protection versions just like the Race King. With this last review of the Race King Protection, It should be easier to decide which version fits your exact needs. These differences should be pretty similar for other Continental mountain bike tires like the Mountain King and X-King. Now, let's see how the Race King Protection performs in our tests.
|Model||Race King Protection|
|Supplied By||Bought in store|
|New or Used||New|
|Specified Weight||645 grams|
29 x 2.20
27.5 x 2.20
26 x 2.20
Size and Weight Measurements
|Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622-17C, Pressure: 35 psi / 2.4 bar)|
|Specified Weight||645 grams|
|Measured Weight||629 grams|
|Measured Width Carcass||55 mm|
|Measured Width Tread||51 mm|
|Measured Height||54 mm|
|Measured Knob Height Center||2.5 mm|
|Measured Knob Height Edge||2.5 mm|
|Measured Total Thickness Sidewall||0.80 mm|
|Measured Total Thickness Center (excluding knobs)||1.75 mm|
The specified weight of the Race King Protection 29 x 2.2 is 645 grams. Our tire comes in at 629 grams. On average, the Protection series adds a bit more than 100 grams of weight. Once again: you always pay for protection. Just like the other Race Kings, the size of the Protection is huge. The width of the carcass is 55 mm while the tread is only 51 mm wide. Height is 54 mm which is quite big as well.
Rolling Resistance Test Results
|Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph / 8 m/s, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)|
|Inner Tube||Conti MTB 29 (225 gr butyl)|
|Rolling Resistance 55 psi / 3,8 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 45 psi / 3,1 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 35 psi / 2,4 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 25 psi / 1,7 Bar||
|Use the formula: RR (watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load|
Big surprise! Rolling resistance of the Race King Protection is only slightly higher than the very fast Race King RaceSport. At an air pressure of 25 psi, rolling resistance is 23.3 watts as compared to 22.4 watts for the RaceSport version. At higher air pressures, rolling resistance is 1.1 - 1.3 watts higher than the RaceSport version, which really isn't that much for the added protection and weight.
I'm really surprised by this great performance in the rolling resistance test. I was expecting the Protection version to come in closer to the 25-26 watts range. This really shows that with the right design and materials, protection doesn't have to cost all that much in terms of performance.
Puncture Resistance Test Results
|Puncture Resistance Test Result (higher is better)|
|Puncture Resistance Tread||12|
|Puncture Resistance Sidewall||7|
Just like the rolling resistance test, the performance of the Race King Protection in the puncture resistance test is great. It scores a PR score of 12, which is much higher than the PR score of 7 the RaceSport version got. With a score of 12, the Protection also beats the Performance version which got a score of 11.
I must admit, I didn't expect the Race King Protection to have such a low rolling resistance. I expected it to perform close to the cheaper Performance version in both the rolling resistance and puncture resistance tests. Compared to the RaceSport version which has the same price, rolling resistance is only 1 watt higher while you gain a lot of puncture resistance. Also, using the Protection tire in a tubeless set up should be much easier as well.
I definitely recommend the Continental Protection tires. The biggest disadvantage over the RaceSport tires will be the added weight of 110 grams per tire. Race performance = RaceSport, all other use = Protection.
VERDICT: Highly Recommended