Since the maxxis ardents wound up being a flop for me in the long run. I do admit I had a feeling that I would hate them, when I originally got them they were not my first choice. My original choice was a set of 26x2.4 continental mountain kings in the protection options, but when ordered they were sold out, so I decided to take a chance on the Ardents. Obviously that chance went sour. So when I had the opportunity to get a set of 2.2 Mountain Kings in the supersonic setup, I jumped on it since I had to swap tires anyways, my dmr will only fit a 26x2.3 tire in the back and even then it's a tight fit a 2.2 fits comfortably though.
Review: Continental Mountain Kings
Sizes: 26x2.0 26x2.2(Size in use.) 26x2.4 29x2.2 29x2.4
Bead: folding or wired. Using folding.
Options:Regular, Supersonic, Protection, UST. Supersonic, Protection, UST use the black chili compound. Using the supersonics.
Type of tire: XC, All Mountain. Using it for XC/All Mountain/Slalom/4x
Actually got to try them in a bunch of different terrains and conditions. Had conditions that mimicked winter conditions, the dust covered hardpack of summer, and spring/fall conditions.
Installation of the tires are like other tires, easy on some rims, a royal pain on some other rims. It's a nightmare on my front wheel, but was a really easy install on the rear wheel. Needed a tire lever for the front both ways, only need it on the back when unseating the bead on the rear wheel. Even with that it is nowhere as bad as some of the prior tires that I have used. Once installed and inflated, the mountain kings has a really good profile to it. Claimed tire size is fairly accurate to real tire size depending on rim. Up front with the wider rim, I'm getting 2.21 On the back with a narrower rim, it's 2.198.
The bulk of the time was on bone dry conditions, so I will start off there. In hardpack conditions, good grip was provided, but with offcamber turns and sweeping turns, expect to go into a bit of a drift, nothing major that will cause you to panic per say, you probably won't even notice it any. They roll good. When in the dry conditions where I felt these tires held their own was on loose rocks. No, not gravel, honest to goodness rocks. To me, the 2.2 mountain kings felt like they were a larger size than what they were. The grip was good when cornering a bermed turn, previous set of conti's I had (Gravity's) were really sketchy when it came to bermed corners, so these provided a definite improvement from last time for me. They handle roots fairly well, you just have to make sure to hit them good and square.
With non bone dry conditions, these tires grip at their best, I have had a few tires that gripped as well, if not better(ExCavators as well, Minion DHF's better) than the mountain kings. However with these three, the mountain kings are lighter and have less rolling resistance. Performance in the rough stuff is the same.
When using them in wet conditions, didn't have any issues at all with the tires clogging up, they shed mud fairly well. Grip is good for a non wet condition tire, a wet specific tire will always do better in wet conditions, but will also royally suck in dry conditions. Roots and rocks are an absolute adventure with the mountain kings in wet conditions if you don't hit them at a square edge. Cornering is on and off when it's wet, it just depends on the type of corner. The performance on offcamber turns actually improve with this tire when it's wet out.
With the little bit of time I had with them riding on snow, they provide decent grip. Have to take it easy cornering in a flat turn though.
Wear/durability, so far the mountain kings are wearing really well, there is some signs of wear, but not as much as other softer compound tires do. No torn off knobs to date. Durability wise, I've only had 2 flats in the month and a half period of time. One was due to a pinch flat from a hard landing, the other happened yesterday and wound up pulling a thorn that was literally 1.5" long out of the tire and tube.
Overall, the mountain kings are treating me really well. They handle everything well, they clearly are not the greatest at one thing compared to the other tires I have used in the past two years, but they can easily handle everything that I threw their way. Previous to the mountain kings, my favorite continental tires that I have used were the Verticals. Between those two, I feel the mountain kings have surpassed the Verticals.