Continental have relaunched their gravity range with a full redesign and Pete has been putting the Argotals through their paces.
Designed as a loose conditions tyre, the Argotal is, in layman’s terms, a replacement for the long-lived Baron. It’s not quite that simple though as the tyre has been designed from the ground up rather than being a heavily tweaked Baron.
Continental’s previous gravity line had been around for a while, and though the Baron Projekt had a mid-life update, it’s been several years since the line got a refresh. That has now changed with four distinct lines with multiple casing and compound options now on offer.
The Argotal sits above the Kryptotal and below the Hydrotal in terms of tread, being in the mix with a Maxxis Shorty and a Schwalbe Magic Mary in terms of tread pattern. This should mean that it might well become a year round favourite as most of the time, the wet trails we enjoy through the winter become loose in the summer.
The new Argotals, in the downhill casing seen here sports a six-ply casing under the tread and a four ply on the sidewall with an Aramid bead and Apex bead reinforcement. A cross-woven chafer strip is designed to protect the bead and rim, so there’s some hefty protection going on, despite that, they come in lighter than the Specialized Butcher Gravity numbers they’re replacing on the Stumpy Evo.
Fitting the Argotals was… interesting. They are tight so that they don’t blow off the rim but they were far harder to mount than any tyre I have fitted of late. Continental’s mould releasing fluid also meant that the harder I tried to mount one end of the bead, it would just pull the other side off. The flipside of this is that they inflated tubeless without sealant.
Despite the tall, well-spread out tread blocks, the Argotals don’t roll all that slow on the fire roads and on the climbs to my usual trails. Outright grip is key in the woods behind my house, so they’re a good measure of how well a tyre can offer up pure, mechanical grip without actually going for a proper downhill run.
Running the Argotals tubeless meant I could run them soft enough to get the grip while still rolling well and not dinging when things got a little more square-edged. The latter I did definitely make sure to test and the tyres shrugged them off with little issue.
One thing I always loved about the outgoing Contis was their ability to grip wet roots. They seemed to be the only tyre to do this of all the tyres I have tried and I am happy to report that they were hooking up well despite the serious deluge that accompanied my maiden outing. They shed all the mud they were pointed at and barely looked like they’d met any on a trail that usually has the back tyre clogging up. Impressive stuff.
While I might not pick a downhill casing tyre for my usual riding, the Argotals don’t feel like overkill and once the trails aren’t in monsoon conditions I’m sure they’ll start do see off the bigger hits with the similar apathy.
You can check out the all-new Continental gravity tyre range on their website here.