THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSION
We were lucky to put a few days of riding on board an Atherton Bikes A150 at Dyfi Bike Park and the surrounding gnarly, natural enduro trails a couple weeks back(stay tuned for the first ride report and Dyfi Bike Park spot check coming to the site soon). The A150 was equipped with Continental’s new Kryptotal Fr and Re, with the Downhill Casing and SuperSoft compound on both ends. Aired up to 25psi out front and 27psi in the rear, it was to be a testing few days of full-bore enduro and bikepark attack that would put my life in the hands of the Conti rubber.
Over the course of the three days of riding, the tires were faced with nearly every terrain type and condition imaginable, with thick layers of loose over hard; hardpack groomed bikepark berms; natural sharp rock; and even some rich and loamy damp dirt to contend with. It was fitting that we were to test the all-rounder Kryptotal front and rear combination that’s deemed best for “mixed terrain”, as this was about as mixed as you could get.
Out the gate the weight of the burly downhill carcass and relatively sticky rubber was evident, as the Kryptotal-equipped A150 wasn’t overly eager to get up to speed. Once up to pace though, rolling speeds were acceptable and the Kryptotals avoided the dreaded hyper-tacky, over damped and somewhat “numb” feeling that can prevail from the stickiest rubbers. Though conditions were dry, the moisture on the ground that remained from the wet and wild British Winter produced some slick rock and root edges to navigate, and much like the rolling was not exceptionally slow, the climbing grip did not feel exceptionally high and Velcro-like.
On the way down, grip was not a concern save for the most polished off camber roots and rocks. Braking traction was stellar, with a quick push through the feet while on the anchors allowing for speed to be scrubbed off as quick and surefootedly as the best of them. Pushing the bike hard through the countless berms in the bikepark, there was a reassuring lack of knob or casing flex that ensured there was no doubt about what was happening on the ground. The open zone in the transition from center to sideknobs on the Kryptotal Re allowed for the rear end to be snapped into a turn, with grip being caught with a quick lean over to engage the side knobs. On the front, the absence of such channel kept things predictable and hooking up regardless of the lean angle, with a particularly reassuring feeling on the off-camber high-lines on the entry to corners, where you’re often quite upright as you wait to initiate the turn into the approaching corner.
All said, on an unfamiliar bike and riding unfamiliar trails, there was a lot to take in and no time to test swap out to competitive rubber to confirm the initial impressions. But through three days of punishment I was left with nothing but feelings of reassurance and predictability, and save for some cross-hatching on the sidewalls that confirms that they were pushed suitably hard, there’s little wear or damage to show for it. I’m excited to get a set fitted onto a long-term test rig to assess the Kryptotal pairing across more trail conditions and assess their wear rate properly, so stay tuned for that in the coming months.
PC: Dan Griffiths | @moonhead_media