MTB Tire Test: Continental X-King RaceSport

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  • Continental X-King RaceSport
Performance compared to all other MTB tires
(100% is best)
Pro Members get 9-point radar charts

Continental X-King RaceSport road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

NOTE: We have a test available of a newer version of this tire: Continental Cross King Protection 29x2.2 2020

The X-King is Continentals version of an all-purpose mountain bike tire. The X-King fills the gap between the Continental Race King and Continental Mountain King. I've been using an X-King RaceSport on the front wheel of my MTB for almost two years and have been happy with the grip and feedback it provides. I chose the X-King because I assumed rolling resistance would be very close to the Race King RaceSport.

The Continental X-King is very similar to the Schwalbe Rocket Ron (review). Both tires have slightly wider spaced knobs when compared to a Continental Race King or Schwalbe Racing Ralph. After testing the Rocket Ron, it's clear wider spaced knobs doesn't always mean rolling resistance will be higher. Also, after testing a lot of tires, casing construction and the rubber compound seem to be the dominant factors that influence rolling resistance.

One of the things that's obvious when you compare the Continental Speed King II (review), Race King(review) and X-King side by side is that the Speed King and Race King use the same casing construction. The Speed King and Race King measure very close to the advertised size. The X-King on the other hand, while having the same 2.2 rating, is much smaller and clearly has a different construction. This is also obvious when unfolding the tires: The Speed King and Race King collapse under their own weight while the X-King is able to support itself and looks like a wire bead tire.

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Specs
Brand Continental
Model X-King RaceSport
Year 2015
Supplied By Bought in store
New or Used New
Mileage 0 km
Price Range High
Buy At
Manufacturer part number 0100531
TPI 3/180
Compound Black Chili
Bead Folding
ETRTO 55-622
Size Inch 29"
Width Inch 2.20
Specified Weight 555 grams
Max Air Pressure (psi) 65
Made In Members Only
Available Sizes 29x2.40

Continental X-King RaceSport Test Results

Continental X-King RaceSport  mountain bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements
Specified Weight 555 grams
Measured Weight 564 grams
Measured Width Carcass 53 mm (un-round)
Measured Width Tread 52 mm
Measured Height 51 mm (un-round)
Measured Knob Height Center 2.5 mm
Measured Knob Height Edge 4.0 mm
Measured Total Thickness Center (excluding knobs) 1.8 mm
Measured Total Thickness Sidewall Members Only
All size measurements are taken at an air pressure of 35 psi / 2.4 bars on a 17.8 mm inner width rim.

The X-King used for this test has a weight of 564 grams, which is slightly more than the advertised weight of 555 grams. I already mentioned the X-King is small for a 2.2 sized tire. The measured width of the casing is 53 mm, the maximum width of the knobs is 52 mm, the height of the tire is 51 mm.

Knob height at the center of the tread is 2.5 mm (same as Race King and Rocket Ron). The knobs at the edge of the tire have a height of 4 mm, which is higher than the Race King (2.5 mm), but slightly lower than the Rocket Ron (4.4 mm)

Rolling Resistance Test Results

Rolling Resistance Test Results
Inner Tube Conti MTB 29 (225 gr butyl)
Rolling Resistance
55 PSI / 3.8 Bar
Members Only
Rolling Resistance
45 PSI / 3.1 Bar
Members Only
Rolling Resistance
35 PSI / 2.4 Bar
22.8 Watts
CRR: 0.00683
Rolling Resistance
25 PSI / 1.7 Bar
25.9 Watts
CRR: 0.00776
All numbers are for a single tire at a speed of 29 km/h / 18 mph and a load of 42.5 kg / 94 lbs.

Use the formula: RR (Watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load.

After a comment on the Vittoria AKA review, I tested the X-King before and after removing the mold hairs. The X-King is one of the hairiest tires I've had in my hands. Cutting the mold hairs resulted in ~1 watt less rolling resistance. All data in this review is with the mold hairs removed.

Rolling resistance is higher than I expected - most Continental bike tires have a very low rolling resistance. I expected the X-King to be close to the Race King and Rocket Ron, but in reality, rolling resistance is higher than both those tires. At an air pressure of 55 psi, the X-King has a 2.1 watts higher rolling resistance when compared to the Race King and 0.4 watts higher when compared to the Rocket Ron. At 25 psi, this disadvantage grows to 3.5 and 3.2 watts respectively.

While both the X-King, Race King, and Speed King are specified as having a 3/180 casing, it seems the smaller X-King carcass doesn't have the same low rolling resistance as the casing used on the Race King and Speed King. After comparing and observing both tires, I suspect the X-King and possibly the Mountain King are built to a more heavy-duty spec.

Puncture Resistance Test Results

Continental X-King RaceSport  mountain bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine
Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)
Total Puncture Score Tread 40 Points
Total Puncture Score Sidewall Members Only
Tread Puncture Force Sharp Needle 10 Points
Tread Puncture Force Blunt Needle No Data
Tread Total Tire Thickness 1.8 mm
Sidewall Puncture Force Sharp Needle Members Only
Sidewall Puncture Force Blunt Needle No Data
Sidewall Total Tire Thickness Members Only

The results of the puncture tests again indicate that the X-King casing is stronger than the Race King casing. The X-King scores 10 points in the tread puncture resistance test and 6 points in the sidewall puncture test. This is a bit higher than the Race King and Speed King, which both scored 7 points in the tread test and 4 points in the sidewall test.

Hard Surface Static Grip Test Results

Static Grip Test Results
Wet Grip Average No Data
Wet Grip Center No Data
Wet Grip Edge No Data
Measured Knob Height Center 2.5 mm
Measured Knob Height Edge 4.0 mm
Grip in points = coefficient of friction * 100
Wet Grip Test and Off-Road Tires (info)


  • Continental X-King RaceSport
Performance compared to all other MTB tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - highest - strongest)

Pro Members get 11-point radar charts

I expected the Race King (review) and X-King to be very close in the rolling resistance and puncture resistance tests as both have a 3/180 casing and the same compound. I also based this on the Schwalbe Racing Ralph (review) and Schwalbe Rocket Ron (review) tests -both those tires have a very similar rolling resistance. In reality, there are more differences between the X-King and Race King than just the tread pattern. The X-King has a 2-3 watts higher rolling resistance, but at the same time scores much better in the puncture tests.

Two years ago, I made the hard choice between the Continental X-King and Rocket Ron as a front tire. I opted for the X-King because I already knew the Race King had a very low rolling resistance and assumed the X-King to be very close to the Race King. I've been very happy with the X-King, didn't have any problems using it and wear is very low, but I will try a Rocket Ron when it wears out. I'll give it a rating of 4 / 5 because I do like it and it has served me 2 years without problems.

RATING: 4.0 / 5