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.
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.