Stories of Zane riding his Mountain Bike in New Zealand

A right pair of Queens

Tyres! Oh so many to choose from and every person you talk to has a different opinion on them! Every mountain bike forum I know of has a “What tyres for” thread running! After a bit of research and many recommendations from other people I decided to try out a pair of the Continental Rubber Queens in 2.4 folding.  With each tyre being almost twice the price of what I can pick up a Maxxis tyre for, they had better be good!!

Good tyre with a silly name?

A few months back I was getting sick of my Specialized Eskar 2.35 2Bliss tyres as they were constantly getting cuts in the sidewalls from riding on the Port Hills tracks. Running them tubeless with goo means I was usually able to get home on the tyre, but with all the flexing of the sidewall the plug of goo would often dislodge and so I would end up with slowly leaking tyres and would eventually run out of goo to seal them up!

Sidewall cut in an Eskar, plugged with goo

I then tried out some Intense 909 DC EX Lites back here

The tall knobs certainly grip on a wide variety of surfaces, especially when conditions are a bit soft or loose. However coming into Summer on the Port Hills tracks means the track surface is setting up a bit like concrete in many places, and I was finding the tall knobs rather squirmy when pushed hard through fast bermed corners on the hardpack. Also, the tyres were not new when i got them, and the sidewalls had stayed constantly wet since I had mounted them up. This is probably due to tyres being well used and the sidewalls being a bit worn out. Anyway this meant that the goo inside the tyre soon all dissappeared. To be honest I did not find these tyres to be anything special on the beech forest tracks that I often ride. The harder compound center knobs were very slippery on the wet roots. The softer compound side knobs stuck better when I had the bike leaned over in corners, but I need grip in straight lines as well!

For a couple of the carry up, ride down missions I had an Eskar on the back and a Super Tacky 2.5 Maxxis Minion DHF on the front. The difference in grip between these 2 tyres is incredible. The DHF stuck to absolutely everything including the wet slippery roots, where as the Eskar was skating all over the show. If the Super Tacky Minions rolled faster and did not weigh so much I would be tempted to use them everywhere… but they are super slow and super heavy to get up a hill!

From reports the Black Chilli compound of the Rubber Queens should be almost as sticky as the DHF super tacky, and yet should roll like the Eskar (Tui ad anyone??). I have yet to be convinced. I mounted the tyres onto my bike on the weekend, and have not yet taken them for a proper test ride as I was busy coaching a Mountain Bike Skills Clinic

I will reserve my judgement of how the tyres perform until I have had them out on some of my favorite (and most challenging) beech forest trails. There are a couple of trails out there that I was unable to ride using trail tyres like the Eskars due to not having enough traction, but was able to ride using tyres like the Maxxis DHF super tackies. From the little bit of riding I did in Victoria Park while coaching on Sunday I have to say that the tyres do feel good so far, although they seem to like picking up stones and throwing them up into my face.

I have set both tyres up tubeless using the DT 5.1 specific rim strips and using the tubeless goo recipe from this previous post.

I decided to experiment with whether I needed the rim strip to get my tyres to set up tubeless. There has been a bit of discussion of using just the yellow Stans rim tape to set tyres up tubeless. I have other friends who are running the Rubber Queens on the DT 5.1D rims that I have. My friends had been telling me that they were tight and hard to fit onto the tubeless rim strip, so I thought it would be a good chance to try setting the tyre up without the rim strip.

I cleaned up the rims and put a layer of duct tape across the spoke holes first, as I did not think that the PVC sealing tape would be strong enough to hold over the spoke holes on its own. I then completely covered the duct tape with PVC sealing tape (electrical tape).

With the tyres being new and foldable, I mounted and inflated the tyre on a spare rim for a couple of days to make sure that the beads would be sitting nice and straight for when I tried to set it up tubeless. The tyre fitted onto the rim sealed with sticky tape quite easily by hand, and with the normal amount of tyre goo and plenty of soapy water I tried to get them to inflate using a track pump… but no go. I probably could have got them to set up if I used an air compressor, but I decided I would rather put the tubeless conversion kit rim strips back in. I think the main reason for this is that I had heard it was easier to burp a tyre if there was no rim strip present, and I would rather stay away from tyre burpage!

With some double sided tape applied inside the rim (over the sealing tape) I put the tubeless rim strips back in and tried mounting the tyre again. A bit harder to fit, but I could still mostly get them on by hand. Again I filled them with the goo and applied the soapy water. This time the tyre was easily inflated using the track pump.

Cleaning the rims and rim strips and reapplying the double sided tape probably helped. It seems that after a while of running the rim strips with goo that the goo works its way in between the rim strip and the double sided tape, letting the rim strip slip out of the center. If you try and set the tyre up with the rim strip out of wack, then the tyre bead will not sit where it should in the rim and you end up with big wobbles in the tyre when spinning the wheel.

Rim strip well off-center

Initial impressions. The 2.4 RQ’s appear to be a very tall tyre on the rim. I have taken a couple of photos that compare the sidewall heights.

Rubber Queen and Eskar sidewall comparison

Rubber Queen Minion DHF Super Tacky comparison

However, looking at the width of the tyres, the 2.4 Rubber Queen is just slightly larger than the 2.3 Eskar, which is just slightly larger than a 2.5 Minion DHF.

Rubber Queen top, Minion DHF middle, Eskar bottom

As with many other Continental tyres (I used to run Explorers in 2.3 and Gravity’s in 2.3) the profile of the tyre is very rounded and there appears to be little to no large gaps between rows of knobs meaning there should not be any ‘transition” points when leaning the bike over to corner. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing!

I will post up my thoughts once I have spent some time on these tyres in a variety of conditions… Which means I will have to go ride my bike plenty!! Happy trails people!

My bike with the new rubber, all ready to go ride!


4 responses

  1. Hi Zane

    keen to hear how they run on beech.

    I have the same issue with stones on my mountain kings :O)

    December 16, 2009 at 11:22 am

  2. So far i’m loving my 2.4 rubber queens. For such a big tyre and weighing in at 1050g they roll really well.

    If anyone can thrash a tyre – it’s you zane- so i’m keen to see how you rate these suckers.

    As for slippy beach forest- these will EAT it fro breakfast……

    December 17, 2009 at 9:03 am

  3. Bloody he’ll zane that is some write up! Good work!

    January 13, 2010 at 2:33 am

  4. Pingback: Rubber Queen Review – 1 month in « Mountain Biking Zane's Blog

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