I’ve been really impressed with Continental’s Trail King, the German company’s go-to choice for trail/all-mountain/enduro/call-it-what-you-want riding. For year-round British riding, from natural trails to trail centres, it’s a superb tyre.
The Continental Trail King isn’t all that new; it used to be called the Rubber Queen in this country, but they’ve abandoned that and decided to use the same name the rest of the world was using. Name change aside, the tread pattern is the same as that found on the old Rubber Queen, a highly regarded tyre, so if you had any time on that tyre you’ll know what to expect.
The tread pattern is familiar Continental fare, there’s a family resemble here. Angular central blocks in alternating rows, with fairly tightly packed wavy shoulder knobs in alternating sizes and orientation. The knobs are siped (a slight cut/slit across the top), to allow the tread to deform and find better traction.
Where this tyre really excels is in straight-line acceleration and, particularly, braking. Those central blocks form rows of paddles that find stacks of traction when you’re piling into a corner: line it up straight, scrub of speed, then make your turn. The transition from the central blocks to the shoulder tread is smooth and progressive, with plenty of feel and feedback. This helps you really wring the tyre hard on a range of trail conditions as you can push and pull as you feel the traction rising and falling. Once you’re leaning on those shoulder blocks there’s plenty of bite, and when the tyre breaks traction it is easy to haul them into line.