Continental presented their latest Argotal and Kryptotal tires in April 2022 along with their entire gravity lineup . In addition to trying to keep up with remembering the names, we spent a lot of time trying the new tires from the German brand, completely different from the ones we have enjoyed in the past.
This in particular is of the Argotal and the Kryptotal Re, where Re is the abbreviation for Rear. Both in a tubeless configuration at 29″ and 2.4″ width, the two tires are different in terms of tread but have the same trail level casing and the same low wear compound. If you wonder why we chose the harder compound, the the answer lies in their weight. This set of tires was mounted on the Canyon Spectral CFR, a bike that sees lots of time riding uphill.
To clarify, here is the Continental table outlining their offerings.
The claimed weights are very close to what we recorded ourselves. The Argotal tipped the scales at 1054 grams, the Kryptotal Re at 1031 grams.
Argotal is defined by Continental as “Ideal tire for loose terrain, with cornering stability and increased side-grip. The open tread pattern allows for self-cleaning so you can push your riding limits through dust and loam. “
The Kryptotal instead “Optimized for rear wheel, this all round tire balances stability of grip, traction for braking and rolling resistance. Ideal for mixed terrain conditions for you to push your limits in trail, enduro or downhill gravity riding. “
Although the tread width is identical on paper, in practice these differ slightly. In all probability, however, the greater width of the rear is due to use.
On the trail
I hardly feel so confident with a new tire, but if you ask me what I think of the Argotal on the front, my first answer would be “brutally precise“. Without overdoing the width, the Germans have created a tire that feels like it can be placed exactly where you want it.
The working pressure is 1.5 bar at the front and 1.6 bar at the rear, on DT Swiss XMC 1200 carbon rims with 30mm internal width. The shape of the tire is perfect: neither too squared nor too rounded, which allows a very precise and predictable cornering management.
If you turned up your nose when you read that the compound would be the endurance one, that is the hardest of the Continental gravity range, know that it is not in the least comparable to an XC compound. The side knobs are soft and deform to accommodate the terrain and above all offer plenty of grip.
As you can see, the Argotal side knobs are very massive and tall. The whole tread is characterized by traction and less by rolling speed, given the distance between each row of center knobs. In fact, on hard surfaces the grip is not the best, because there is too much space between one knob and the other. However, where the Argotal shines is on the loose, that is, on practically all alpine terrain, apart from some rock slabs that are occasionally found on those trails. Not only that, even in the wet it is a tyre that gives a lot of safety: it cleans mud very quickly and the compound does its job well.
The Kryptotal Re is less extreme from this point of view, precisely because it must guarantee a certain low rolling resistance at the rear. I must say that I have ridden these tires even for several thousand meters of altitude without problems and without the impression of being bogged down in some way.
Like the Argotal, the Kryptotal Re also has excellent cornering grip thanks to the well-pronounced side knobs, and the same can be said of the braking power.
One of the points I always want to emphasize when I try tires is how the casing behaves in terms of reliability and elastic response. If the Trail casing is certainly not the most shock-absorbing of the Continental range (we also have Enduro casings here in the editorial office, the test will follow), on the other hand it proved to be perfect for resistance to pinching on rocky terrain – Monte Tamaro style. Zero punctures on two sets of tires, with the same rims and with two riders of similar weight.
On the other hand, a less “hard” casing usually involves a little more weight, and in fact you can see from the table above that we would add about 100 grams per tire with the enduro casing.
As for the wear of the tires, above you can see the Kryptotal Re after a month of use mainly with pedal powered ascents and some help in the form of a cable car, but without days in the bike park. The knobs are all in place and have no cracks that could lead to tearing. The wear is fairly regular in all parts of the rubber.
I’ve found my new favorite tires. I was already a great admirer of Der Kaiser and Der Baron, but these new Kryptotal and Argotal raise the bar for those who ride all mountain and are looking for reliable tires, with excellent traction and weight that makes them pedalable. I wrote an article about the ideal weight for an alpine tire: it almost seems that Continental read it before introducing the new range.
Seriously, the Germans have hit the mark and, considering that both tires are available online for about 55 € ( Kryptotal too ), I’d encourage you to try them and pass on your feedback here in the comment section.