Tested : Pete’s Continental Argotal Downhill Tyre Review.

The second spikiest tyre in the refreshed Continental gravity range, the Argotal is designed for when things get particularly loose.

A few summer months with a Continental Argotal Downhill Soft front and rear on various bikes has given Pete a good idea of what the Teutonic rubber can do.

Photos by Pete Scullion.

Key features:

  • Six-ply construction under tread
  • Four-ply sidewall construction
  • Apex bead reinforcement
  • Folding Aramid bead
  • Cross-woven chafer bead protector
  • Three casing options (Downhill tested)
  • Three compound options (Soft tested)
  • £74.95 RRP
  • Conti-Tyres.co.uk

The Continental Argotal outright replaces the long-lived Der Baron Projekt as part of the new four-tyre line up from the German brand. Like the Baron it is designed for when things get loose, and like other Continental rubber, is designed and made in Germany.

Three casings essentially fit the intended use of the tyres, with the Downhill Double Casing Apex, with Enduro Single Casing and Trail Single Casing available. Downhills are available in Super Soft and Soft, Enduro in Soft and Train in Endurance compound. Options are 27.5 or 29″ in either 2.4 or 2.6″.

The tyres tested here are the Downhill Double Casing, Soft, 29 x 2.4″, that feature a 6-ply, 660tpi casing complete with an Apex bead reinforcement, four ply-sidewalls, six-ply under the tread and the soft rubber.

Despite being a downhill tyre and featuring some serious reinforcement, heavy the Argotals are not. At 1290g they in the ballpark with a Maxxis Shorty DH casing or a Magic Mary in Super Gravity casing.

Fitting them is a different story. I cursed these tyres when I first tried to get them onto a set of wheels, such was the amount of effort required to get them mounted. That said, they inflated tubeless without sealant just with a hand pump.

After a few wheel swaps between test bikes, they did become a little less of an ordeal to fit but without losing the ability to inflate with a rim seat pop that could wake the dead. The tubeless seal is tight against the rim as you could wish for.

Arguably the only thing they weren’t heavier than when fitted was the High Roller II Double Down that came with the Vitus Sommet, so the bike felt heavier every time they went on but I’d soon find out that was a penalty worth paying.

On the climbs, for such a gravity-inspired tread and carcass, they really don’t hold you back all that much. When the climb steepens and gets loose or technical, or both, they provide a measure of grip that only starts to go on bedrock. There’s just not enough rubber in contact with the deck.

Turn them down the hill and boy do they start to sing. The less grip there should be, the more grip the Argotals deliver. Everything from wet grass to loose gravel can be attacked with confidence and Continental have kept the mystical powers their tyres possess to grip wet roots.

Lean them into a turn and there is a sublime feeling of grip that transfers very nicely into a slide when traction finally gets to the limit. You really have to go looking for it though…

The carcass holds up well to some serious hits, with more than a few square edged rocks hit hard in Norway without the wheel even having to wince. Neither the tyres nor the rims showed any sign of the rough treatment they’d endured.

For a top of the line hand-made tyre, they’re really not all that expensive either, competitive with a lot of the mass produced Far Eastern offerings.

What do we think?

The Continental Argotal had big boots to fill with its predecessor and it would appear that the Germans have come out swinging with the new gravity range. The Argotals give you some serious confidence to charge hard into gripless, square-edged nonsense.

We love:

  • Pure mechanical grip
  • Confidence-inspiring carcass
  • Sensible weight
  • Price isn’t outrageous

Could do better:

  • Absolute slag to fit first go

You can check out the all-new Continental gravity tyre range on their website here.