MTB Tire Test: Continental Speed King II RaceSport

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Test Summary

Conclusion: 5 / 5 Highly Recommended
Weight: 467 grams
Rolling Resistance: 19.1 watts
Puncture Resistance: 7 / 4

Continental Speed King II RaceSport road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

The Continental Speed King II RaceSport 29 x 2.2 is Continentals fastest mountain bike tire. Although the Speed King II is a newer version of the original Speed King, it's an entirely different tire, and the only thing they have in common is the name. While the original Speed King did have some decent knobs, the Speed King II is pretty much a semi-slick with a knob height of 0.5 mm at the center of the tire and 1.5 mm at the edge of the tire.

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While most other Continental mountain bike tires are available as Protection, RaceSport, Performance, and Sport versions, the Speed King is only available as a RaceSport version. The RaceSport versions are the fastest and lightest tires produced by Continental. The RaceSport version comes with an 180 TPI casing, Black Chili Compound and is handmade in Germany. Being only available as a RaceSport version further indicates this tire is designed with only one thing in mind: Speed.

I wouldn't dare use this tire as a front tire but would consider it as a rear tire in dry conditions. It could also be a good fit when riding over very soft sand or as an asphalt tire. If you're expecting even a single drop of rain, grab something else. This is the first semi-slick mountain bike tire I'm testing so this should give some interesting data about how much big knobs slow you down.

Manufacturer Specs
Brand Continental
Model Speed King II RaceSport
Year 2015
Supplied By Bought in store
New or Used New
Mileage 0 km
Price Range High
Buy At (advertisement)
Manufacturer part number 0100933
TPI 3/180
Compound Black Chili
Bead Folding
ETRTO 55-622
Size Inch 29"
Width Inch 2.20
Specified Weight 465 grams
Max Pressure 65
Made In Germany
Available Sizes 29 x 2.20
27.5 x 2.20
26 x 2.20

Continental Speed King II RaceSport Test Results

Continental Speed King II RaceSport  mountain bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

Size and Weight Measurements

Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622-17C, Pressure: 35 psi / 2.4 bar)
Specified Weight 465 grams
Measured Weight 467 grams
Measured Width Carcass 54 mm
Measured Width Tread 49 mm
Measured Height 53 mm
Measured Knob Height Center 0.5 mm
Measured Knob Height Edge 1.5 mm
Measured Total Thickness Sidewall 0.45 mm
Measured Total Thickness Center (excluding knobs) 1.70 mm

I've measured this sample of the Speed King 29 x 2.2 at 467 grams while the specified weight by Continental is 465 grams. Width and height of the casing are 54 and 53 mm respectively. As noted previously, "knob" height at the center of the tire is 0.5 mm, which is virtually non-existent. The small knobs at the edge of the tire have a height of 1.5 mm.

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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 14.5Watts
CRR: 0.00435
Rolling Resistance 45 psi / 3,1 Bar 15.1 Watts
CRR: 0.00453
Rolling Resistance 35 psi / 2,4 Bar 16.6 Watts
CRR: 0.00498
Rolling Resistance 25 psi / 1,7 Bar 19.1 Watts
CRR: 0.00573
Use the formula: RR (watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load

Yes! Rolling resistance is very very low. Much lower than all other mountain bike tires tested to date. At an air pressure of 25 psi, rolling resistance is 19.1 watts. This is 3.2 watts less than the Schwalbe Thunder Burt (read review) which was the previous record holder. Compared to the Continental Race King (read review), rolling resistance is 3.3 watts lower. At higher pressures, the advantage increases to 3.5 - 4.0 watts. This tire will fly on asphalt.

What's interesting is that if you use the Speed King in a tubeless configuration (read tubeless comparison), rolling resistance at 55 psi will be close to 12.0 watts. 12.0 watts means it would have less rolling resistance than a Continental Grand Prix 4000S II road bike tire (read review) at 120 psi.

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Puncture Resistance Test Results

Puncture Resistance Test Result (higher is better)
Puncture Resistance Tread 7 Points
Puncture Resistance Sidewall 4 Points

In the puncture resistance test, the Speed King scores an average score of 7 points. This is just as good (or bad) as the Race King and slightly worse than the Thunder Burt.

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Continental Speed King II RaceSport  mountain bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

I can't conclude anything else than that the Continental Speed King II is a very very fast semi-slick mountain bike tire. Of course, it doesn't give you a lot of grip, but if the conditions suit this tire, you should be flying. It might be best to use the Speed King as a rear tire with a Race King (read review) or X-King (or any other tire) on the front, but this should be totally dependent on the conditions.

Highly recommended as a dry weather rear tire or maybe even as a front tire if conditions allow. I'm almost 100% certain you won't find a faster mountain bike sized tire anywhere. If you think otherwise, please let me know.

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RATING: 5 / 5
Highly Recommended


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