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Continental Speed King Review – best semi-slicks money can buy

In this article I’m going to give you my Continental Speed King review. It’s featured in my list of the best 26 inch slick mountain bike tires, so if you’re looking for alternatives you might want to check out that article as well.

The full name of the Speed King is actually the Continental Speed King 2.2 RaceSport. The 2.2 refers to the tire width in inches and RaceSport to its construction, which includes their BlackChili compound.

Buying Options

The following table contains the products mentioned in this article.

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Buy at Amazon
Buy at Ebay
Continental Speed King Racesport II
26×2.20
55-559
410
Black
Black
Continental Speed King Racesport II
27.5×2.20
55-584
430
Black
Black
Continental Speed King Racesport II
29×2.20
55-622
455
Black
Black

Video Review

Continental Speed King intended use

26 inch slick mountain bike tires

Let’s first take a quick pause and contemplate why you would want the Continental Speed King in the first place.

Just as with the other tire I reviewed recently, which was the Humptulips Ridge, the Continental Speed King’s slick profile prefers you to move the bike in a straight line.

accident
The Speed King does not corner well which resulted in a wipe out

Trust me when I say this is not a tire you want to have sitting on the rims of a bike you take out on the trail. You’ll regret it as I have. I admit, I’m no Tom Pidcock, but there are tires better suited for trail riding.

So I would argue that for the ordinary person the tire can be used for road, gravel, and light XC riding.

cannondale killer v

I’ve put the Continental Speed King tires on my Cannondale Killer V. I’ve turned this old hardtail into a gravel/road bike I use predominantly on pavement.

I had a number of requirements, with the core focus being speed. So it was only natural that I looked at the lightest slick tires for 26″ rims.

Tread pattern

continental speed king tread pattern

The tire has a nice round profile and looks great. There’s hardly any tread pattern to speak of. The center pattern looks like a snake skin, and is almost just as smooth, with very small raised knobbies on the side for cornering in hardpack conditions.

That means you have little to no cornering grip. When you do go hard into a corner on tarmac, the tire starts to sound markedly different because of the more raised side knobbies. Somehow this felt quite alarming.

Casing

The Speed King comes in a single casing, which is Continental’s RaceSport with BlackChili compound. It’s always difficult to say anything about different compounds because each manufacturer has their own magic formula.

What I can say is that I’ve done a number of stops where I completely locked up the wheel. The resulting skid across the pavement of a couple of meters didn’t do much damage to the shallow treading, which is confidence-inspiring. I’ve done around 1000 kilometers (620 miles) and so far the tires don’t show any significant wear.

Weight

The weight of this tire is absolutely incredible and sits at a mere 410 grams for a 26 x 2.1″ tire. I once rode Schwalbe Fat Franks and those tires are more than twice the weight with 975 grams per tire.

That type of weight is very noticeable. If you compare it to a 23mm. Vittoria Corsa road tire, which is 275 grams, you realize just how low of a weight 410 grams is for a mountain bike tire.

Price

I bought my tires for €75.20 a pair. That’s an average premium price for a set of tires. For that price you get a pair of tires that only come in black.

Continental Speed King Review concluding remarks

These tires made me fall in love with the Continental brand, because they are such distinctive tires that sit at an extreme spectrum of riding.

I wanted to have a fast mountain bike for road riding and these tires were the perfect solution. The low weight and accompanying tread pattern means they are blisteringly fast while still not detracting from the sturdy look of the MTB. That’s why I like them better than true slicks, like the WTB ThickSlick.

And on top of that they’ll probably last me a long time. Enough to ensure I’ll get my money’s worth for a price that wasn’t all that steep in the first place.

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