Specialized The Captain vs. Continental Mountain King II

All you mountain bikers out there know that before absolutely everything else you need to have good quality tyres. That’s why I’ve made these honest bike tyre reviews

Without them the rest of your bike is redundant, you’ll be slipping and sliding and repairing punctures more than you’ll be hammering the berms and flying down the trails.

Like most of you I’ve tried out my fair share of tyres – my last bike was a Kona Stuff 2004 which I initially ran with the standard Nokian Tyres which, in my opinion, were a great tyre! Excellent build, thick walls, lots of grip – ideal, however after a lot of street riding the tread wore out and I replaced them with Maxxis High Rollers, similar qualities as the Nokian and a tyre that I would happily recommend to my friends.


My current MTB came equipped with Specialized’s own “The Captain” which I found was awesome only in name.

For a brief summary of my 2 months running these tyres let me explain it like this: Went on a XC ride – had a puncture. Did some AM – had a puncture. Went to the shops – no problems. Tried some DH – had a puncture, tyre had no grip around corners. Did another XC ride – had a puncture. Went on a casual ride following a bike trail – had a puncture. Did some local trails – two punctures and a torn tyre wall.

Bike tyre review summary: prone to punctures, very weak side walls, horrible grip in the corners and highly unpredictable in the wet – control my arse!

Currently rated: 3 stars

After spending roughly £20 on inner tubes and wasting countless amounts of time replacing the tubes, fixing punctures and generally being pissed off with how rubbish the tyres were I decided I was going to get some new ones.

After a bit of searching around looking for what is regarded good all round, all mountain tyres I decided to give the Continental Mountain King II a go.Bike Radar rated them quite highly which was the swaying point for me along with the price – I managed to get a set of tyres for under £40!

On my first two or three times out with them, in serious mud I might add, they held up great! The tread was amazing the grip was superb and I wasn’t having any problems. After a month or so of riding with these on I started to get punctures almost every time I go out riding. On occasion I could get away with going on several rides without suffering from a flat which made me think it wasn’t so much of a problem.

This weekend I took my bike out with my brother and thrashed around all of Clyne’s trails and did a couple of the jumps – we were out from 10am to around 1pm with no technical issues. We both, swapped bikes no problems anywhere and they were really taking a beating. Then it happened. We were flying down the road heading back to my car and we took a sharp corner on the road, and my tyre completely folded over! My mind was going through how painful this crash was going to be as my body was quickly adjusting to the change of speed, motion and direction of the bike. Luckily I reined it in and managed to get off the road to avoid getting run over. I then checked my tyre and found that the sidewall had ripped causing it to completely buckle. Another one bites the dust.

Bike tyre review summary: good grip, handle well in muddy, wet conditions, rubbish for punctures and a weak sidewall ruining what could have been a brilliant tyre. 

Currently rated: 5 stars

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