Sea Otter 2022: Tread tales
New tire options from XC to DH at Laguna Seca Speedway
There are few components more important to mountain biking than tires. The thin patterns of rubber remain (ideally) the only contact between you, your bike and the trail. At Sea Otter this year, new tires were front and center, especially with the festival’s presenting sponsor, Continental, completely redesigning its gravity and trail tire line.
Continental's started from scratch with its tire line.
The range runs from trail riding to downhill racing.
We had a quick chance to test out the tires in Sea Otter, and the first indications are good. But no where near the time needed to form a first impression.
The Kryptotal is the most general use of the range, and comes in a front and rear tread.
The tires have a distinct patterning along the sidewalls. It is a biproduct of the construction process that helps release air bubbles from the tire during curing. It also happens to look quite neat.
Contental's new naming convention is printed right on the tires.
Xynotal is for hard pack, fast trails
Argotal steps up the tread depth over the Kryptotal for more aggressive riding on softer, deeper trail material
Hydrotal is a full-on downhill race tire
Layers of rubber give the Hydrotal height to dig into mud and a soft rubber for grip, with harder compounds underneath so the lugs don't fold uder cornering
The new packaging clearly indicates casing and compound options
Continental wants to make it easier for riders to choose tires.
Continental Tires starts from scratch
After four years of development, German tire brand Continental completely redesigned its entire line of gravity and trail tires. There are five new treads, three compounds and three casings. All with a clear (albeit somewhat German and sciency) naming convention that makes the line easier for riders to get what they need. The range runs from hardpack, fast tires to full-on race-specific mud spikes, in everyday trail to race-specific casing and compound options. After a very brief test ride in California, the tires are a promising fresh start from the Germans. We’re looking forward to more time on the treads soon.
RELATED: Continental rewrites its entire gravity tire line
Pirelli teased new very aggressive tires at Sea Otter
The Italian brand had other new tires on display, too
From gravity to XC, there's new treads and casings
Pirelli digs into dirt
Italian brand Pirelli is most famous for its vaunted status in motorsports. Lately, the brand’s been applying that experience to human (and electric) powered bikes with great success. Its tubeless road tires won Paris-Roubaix in 2021. Its mountain bike line expands for 2022, adding more treads and sidewall casings, including the eMTB-specific Hyperwall. The line now covers everything from XC/trail race to mud tires, and more gravity-focused Scorpion Enduro tires, including options for black or tan sidewalls.
Pirelli also had another secret tread, in prototype phase at Sea Otter, set to carry the brand further into the world of enduro and downhill racing.
Karma2 Pro uses a combo of solid, for xc, centre knobs and substantial side lugs.
It also comes in an amazing "coffee" sidewall option which uses the same rubber compound as the black, just dyed.
Spaced for speed and traction.
Rush is more aggressive than Kenda's all-rounder XC tire, the Booster
There's still side knobs for corner traction, but it's a fast tire.
The Rush is all about speed on hard-pack trails
With the Karma2 and Rush, Kenda fills in the gaps in its XC race and light trail line.
Kenda adds XC options
Celebrating its 60th anniversary, American tire brand Kenda has two new treads out for 2022. The Karma2 is a mixed-use trail tire, confident in a wide range of conditions including loose and wet trails, but with a quick line of center tread for speed.
The Rush Pro is a faster-rolling version of the already-quick Booser cross country tire. This fills in gaps in the brand’s line, while still keeping the range manageable. Kenda recently opened its own testing facility in Akron, Ohio. that lets the brand quickly develop and change prototypes, too, so these roll out the gate ready to go.