Friday, 12 October 2012

Continental Mountain King 2 29 Protection Black Chili tyres

I ordered a 2013 Cannondale Trail SL 29ER 3 SS the other day (say that quickly!) and even when I ordered it I took the chance to get some early upgrades in. Mainly Thomson parts. In fact, all Thomson parts.

But, before I've even got the bike I'm looking at other potential upgrades.

Continental Mountain King 2 29 Protection Black Chili

I'll admit up front that I'm a bit of a brand nut. I know what I like and I know what I trust. Continental tyres are used on all my bikes and whilst there may be better out there, they are great for what I do. But I don't skimp, cheap tyres are cheap for a reason.

If you're getting Continental tyres and there's at least some chance you'll be riding in the rain with roots or rocks in your path, then pay the extra and get not only the Black Chili compound, but if you're not worried about weight, get the Protection versions too.

Of course the folding versions will still do a good job, but if you have the cash, tyres are a very important part to how a bike feels on the trail so spend what you can.

But I digress. For my new bike I'm going for the Continental Mountain King 2 29 Protection Black Chili model (in 2.2). I'm asking whether they will get them in stock any time soon, but otherwise a quick Google product search reveals there are other retailers around. But again, I stick with what I know and trust.

And as per my guidance below, I'll also be replacing the tyres and rim tape with continental items, replacing the grips with some ODI's and picking up a set of frankly brilliant Shimano XT SPD pedals. I bet I hate riding a 29er!

What do you need to change on a new bike?

I used to work in a bike shop for a good few years. I grew up loving them and having the opportunity to spend my whole day selling, fixing and talking about them was a boys dream. It taught me a lot about bikes, how to ride and what tricks of the trade are employed to get bikes to a certain price point. It's the same with cars really - do you think they are after market Pirelli's on your new car?

Here's a few things I always like to change on a bike

  • Tyres, tubes and rim tape - they will be the worst tyres you ever buy. I like matching tyres, tubes and tapes (so geeky)
  • Grips - I have my favs (ODI Rogue for rough stuff, ODI Ruffian for XC)
  • Saddle - I have made mine like a sofa, it's coming with me
  • Bottom bracket - they're always crap. Get a good one in there
  • Headset - Again, like the bottom bracket, whatever you can't see is generally not worth seeing
  • Pedals - Get a pair of XT SPDs and you're done (or your own fav brands equivalent)

When you buy a new bike, or at least when I buy a new bike

I have to make a new bike personalised to me as soon as I take delivery, even above and beyond the parts above. Before I even ride it the bike parts are coming off and new shiny bits are being bolted on.

I did this when I bought my Giant Anthem X3 a few years back. Within weeks the only parts that were left the same was the rear wheel and the brakes. And when I talk about replacing everything, I mean everything. When did anyone replace the rim tapes on a brand new £2k machine before really riding it? Barmy!