German tyre giant Continental was founded in 1871. Many of its bike models are made at the company’s technology and development centre in Korbach near Hanover, and there are also production facilities outside of Germany. Its range of mountain bike tyres features models for downhill/freeride, all-mountain and XC/marathon use, and there is also a ‘classic’ and ‘specialists’ range.
Continental is responsible for a number of new technologies in the field of tyre development, such as the Black Chili compound, which uses a mix of synthetic and natural rubbers and nanometric carbon soot particles resulting in less rolling resistance, better grip and more mileage. Another innovation is the Vectran Breaker anti-puncture system, which employs a thread that has five times higher tensile strength than steel.
Many of the company’s downhill models, including the World Cup-competing Der Kaiser, use Apex, a rubber profile between the carcass layers which ensures stability and reinforces the sides of the tyre. Der Kaiser, designed for use on rocky and rooty terrain, is ridden by members of GT Factory Racing, including Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton.
Continental tyres are used by a number of the world’s other leading mountain bike teams, including Madison Saracen Factory, MTBcut and Topeak Ergon Racing. Individual riders who ride on Continentals include trials stars Danny MacAskill and Kenny Belaey, dirt jumper Martin Soderstrom, freeride godfather Richie Schley, and XC riders Julie Bresset and Irina Kalentieva.