Stories of Zane riding his Mountain Bike in New Zealand

Rubber Queen Review – 1 month in

So a month ago I mounted a couple of Rubber Queens (2.4 Black Chilli, non-UST being run tubeless with goo on DT Swiss 5.1D rims) and now that I have had the tyres out on a few trails I though I would give you a quick run down on what I thought of them. Back on my blog here are some photos etc from when I first mounted them https://mountainbikingzane.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/a-right-pair-of-queens/

I have run a number of Continental Tyres on my bikes before as well as a range of Specialized, Shwalbe, Intense and Maxxis tyres. The first things you notice about the RQ’s is that they are big. Continental tyres have generally been a lot smaller than their stated volume, but these RQ’s are big for their stated 2.4 inch size. They are also a very tall tyre. The photos on the original blog post show that in comparison to a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5, they are about the same width, but are a bit taller.

I have found running the tyres at about 22 to 25 psi to be optimal for traction, without worrying that I am going to pinch the tyre on the rim, or roll the tall tyre off the rim. At about 70kg I can get away with less pressure than a lot of people. The “Apex” technology that Continental have used in the sidewalls appears to add some stiffness to the sidewall. I have been riding the tyres on my 2005 Turner 5 Spot, which is set up as an all day, all mountain rig.

5 Spot with 2.4 Rubber Queens

So the big question – What are they like to ride?

The large volume of the tyre combined with the ability to run at a reasonably low pressure means that they are very good at absorbing rocky and rooty trails. The tyre appears to deform around trail obstacles nicely which makes for a smooth ride, and for good traction. The sidewall of the tyre appears to be stiff enough that the tyre does not roll on the rim when pushed hard through corners, even with it being a tall tyre being run at low pressures. As I have not been riding on the purpose built DH tracks here in Christchurch in the last month I have not pushed these tyres to their limit on some of the fast, bermed g-force inducing turns. This sort of corner usually shows up if a tyre is going to squirm, and so will be interested to try this over the next couple of months.

In the loamy beech forest trails that I really love riding these tyres seem to perform exceptionally well for a trail tyre. The tyre casing is large and round with a good coverage of reasonably spaced knobs that appear to hook up well in the soft soil conditions, but are also quite happy hanging onto rocks and hard packed corners. Cornering in looser conditions the RQ also felt very good, with a predictable drifting feel as you got to the end of the traction. Flowing down a swooping trail these tyres rail very nicely.

In the dry most tyres stick ok, so it is when there is some moisture on the track that I start to find out whether a tyre is really working well or not.  When wet I found the RQ’s to be quite slippery on exposed beech roots. Mud and gloop however seemed to be no problem. Compared with the Maxxis Minion super tacky DHF 2.5 2 ply tyres that I sometimes ride, there is no where near as much grip on the slippery roots in the wet, but then the RQ’s weigh about half as much and roll a lot easier than the Maxxis DH tyre!

I have one trail in mind that I have yet to really test the tyres out on. The first couple of times I tried the trail out I was on some Specialized Eskars, and I did not have enough traction on the super steep trail to stay in control. A run down the same trail with Maxxis Minion Super Tacky DH tyres made the ride seem easier, and I was able to ride a number of challenging sections that had previously beaten me. A run down that track with the RQ’s will be an interesting test for them.

Some other observations

I do not know how well these tyres will wear as I have not ridden them far enough.

The rubber compound used does appear to be stickier than the normal Specialized/Maxxis/Intense/Shwalbe trail tyre compounds, but it is not up to the grippiness of a super tacky DH tyre.

The RQ is a reasonably heavy trail tyre, but the rolling resistance is acceptable for the amount of grip the tyre gives.

The tyre is so big that some bikes may have problems with clearance on the 2.4 RQ.

With RQ tyres costing almost twice the price of some of the other brands, you would want this to be a tyre that performs well. I think it is a great tyre for people who want to be able to ride to the top of the mountain, and then take the most interesting trail back down again. The tyre is not as fast rolling as an XC tyre, but it has oodles of grip for climbing and descending. The traction stays with you whether you are braking in straight lines or cornering, and the large tyre volume gives a very smooth ride.

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9 responses

  1. Great write up. I’ve found the same as you- they roll well for their weight off road. Road commutes to the trails are painfully slow though and they wear pretty fast too when on the hard pack.

    As for grip and traction- they are amazing! Infact- it is like i’m cheating when riding the wet and slippy roots and beechy stuff.

    I’m not sure about the super steep stuff- but so far on stretches of this kind of trail- i’ve been quite happy. Which reminds me- i have to go back to sintered pads on teh rear as i’ve been running semi sintered and they just don;t like to stop these beasts!

    They are that good that I have to be careful not to over cook stuff….or i might break something 😉

    Damn these tyres are fine! And I’d even consider the 2.2 on a bike too.

    January 22, 2010 at 9:13 am

  2. Pingback: I love rubber… | Paul Petch

  3. 12 + months in and these are still on my bike. Transferred from one to another too. STUNNING in wet or dry.

    Heavy? yes. Fun? helllll yes. Best AM tyre eva.

    More @ http://www.robotoranges.com

    January 29, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    • mountainbikingzane

      Did a wet descent into Barrytown on Saturday. 1200 vertical meters of steep, rooty, slippery, rocky, challenging fun. Was super glad I hauled the heavy and slow super tacky minions up the hill as the RQ’s would not have held onto the slippery descent anywhere near as well!! RQ’s are very good trail riding tyres and what I use 90% of the time, but some rides call for something a bit more!!

      January 31, 2011 at 9:06 am

  4. Grant SLADE

    Hi Zane. Very interesting reading your views on tyres.

    I’ve only been mountain biking for about 3 years and am looking for the Nirvana in tyres. I want a one tyre does it all, for different surfaces summer & winter cos I cant afford or be bothered changing tyres for different venues / rides.

    I ride a variety of trails Woodhill, Whitford, Riverhead & Hunua in Auckland, Rotorua 3 or 4 times a year the odd other ride Tauranga, Craters of the Moon, W2K etc and some adventure type rides 42 Traverse, Whirinaki. None of these seem to have the dreaded sidewall cutting shale or volcanic rock.

    So far I have tried Hutchenson, Cross marks and for the last couple of years I’ve run Nobby Nics which are not the tubeless variety but I run them tubeless without any problems. They seem to be a good compromise for weight, grip (wet & dry), rolling resistance etc.

    I note that you have tried Schwalbe in your mix and I wondered what you thought of theme compared to others for the one tyre does everything role. Would appreciate your comments.

    Thanks Grant

    January 31, 2011 at 10:04 am

    • mountainbikingzane

      Hi Grant.
      Yes I have tried the Nobby Nics. I found them ok, but running a non-tubeless tyre tubeless I found I had to run the pressure quite high or they would burp easily (2.4 Nobby Nic with Exo sidewall, standard rubber compound on DT 5.1s). I find the Rubber Queens a nicer all round tyre. They are a bit heavier than the Nobby Nic, but I think they roll nicer, and I find the grip better. The RQ can be run at lower pressures and still does not burp. This is probably because of the apex sidewall technology and that they fit tighter onto the rim. The one thing with the RQ is that the knobs on the tyre are not particularly tall, and so they do not do so well in really muddy type conditions. Almost everywhere else they are very good as an all around tyre. Better than most standard trail tyres on rocks and roots and on rough trails because of the volume and the slightly softer Black Chilli compound. The 2.2 RQ is quite big and would be similar to a lot of 2.3 tyres out there. The 2.4 RQ is huge, but has really good grip!

      I have also tried a 2.4 Big Betty from Schwalbe. It was their tacky compound (Gooey Gluey?). I found these ok, but heavy and slow compared to a Rubber Queen. The grip did not seem to be much better, but I probably did not try them in many testing conditions. The tread wore out really quickly on the Big Betty. The Rubber Queens seem to have a reasonably balance of grip from the rubber compound to how quickly the tyre wears. It seems to be the best compromise for 1 tyre to rule them all that I have found.

      January 31, 2011 at 11:03 am

  5. Grant SLADE

    Hi Zane.
    thanks for the reply. Currently I’m running 2.2 Nobby Nics (they actually measure 2.1!!!!) which are a couple of years old on Stans Olympic rims at about 20 – 22 psi with no probs. The rear is getting a bit worn so am thinking of replacing the front and putting the front onto the back. I’m keen to try something new, not because I’m unhappy with the NN’s, but just to try something different for comparison.

    A guy I ride with occasionally has just gone to a 2.2 RQ up front and he likes it. Also it seems to clear a bit better than the NN when things get a bit claggy.

    By all accounts the 2.2 RQ is big so question 1 is; I am 63kg and would they work at those low pressures on the Stans Olympic rims without feeling mushy and without burping??

    Q2. There seems to be some uncertainty about whether the 2.2 is available in black chilli / apex. Any thoughts??

    Thanks Grant

    February 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    • mountainbikingzane

      Hi Grant. I would think the 2.2 RQ would work well at low pressure. My 2.4s are often running low 20’s and I weigh about 70kg. They do not feel mushy and I have yet to burp them.

      I think the 2.2 is available in Black Chilli and Apex from Continental as they talk about both here http://www.conti-online.com/generator/www/de/en/continental/bicycle/themes/mtb/AllMountain/rubberqueeneng/rubber_queen_en.html as to whether your bike shop or the online shops have the 2.2 Black Chilli Apex available or not might be a different thing.

      I think if you got the 2.2 RQ in without the Apex sidewall then the tendency to burp will be on par with the NN you currently run. With the Apex I think it will burp even less.

      If you get the standard compound then I think grip in the dry will be similar to the Black Chilli. It is when things get wet and interesting that the softer compound starts to really show.

      February 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

  6. Grant SLADE

    Thanks Zane – I appreciate your time in replying. Cheers Grant

    February 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

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