The Xynotal is Continental’s best MTB trail tyre and is suited for harder terrain. It rolls reasonably well and is surprisingly versatile, but lateral traction, and grip under braking is somewhat lacking over hard surfaces.
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Continental Xynotal 2.4in Endurance Trail tyre - Specifications
Continental says the Xynotal is ‘the specialist for harder terrain’ and, at first glance, it looks strikingly similar to something from Maxxis’ line-up, but with much larger knobs and a tighter tread. Though, as tightly packed as that tread is, it’s rather low profile and heavily ramped which should reduce the tyre’s rolling resistance nicely.
On test, we had the Xynotal with an endurance compound and trail casing which promises maximum longevity, paired with the lightest weight in Conti’s casing range. The brand claims it is 1,040g, but on my scales, it came in at 1,084g.
Blown up onto a 29-inch wheel with a 30mm internal width, it sits at a good midpoint between round and square. It rolls on its centre tread, making the tyre roll faster, but this means the shoulder knobs should engage quickly in corners.
Continental Xynotal 2.4in Endurance Trail tyre - Performance
The tyre does roll reasonably well, helped by the firm rubber compound on this model, though it’s not exactly class-leading. Pedalling is comfortable but there are certainly quicker trail/enduro tyres on the market.
During testing, the Xynotal was put through all kinds of conditions from proper wet to as dry as it gets and, for a tyre that’s designed for hardpack and used primarily on the rear, it’s surprisingly effective over a range of surfaces. It's when the knobs have something to dig into where it grips the best, making it an impressively versatile tyre that can be used year-round.
Over proper hardpack, it’s quick to break traction, whether that’s under braking or through heavier lateral forces when pushing the rear end into corners. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but when performance is key, it’s not always that predictable.
Dropping the pressure by a couple of psi didn’t really help either. Instead, it made the problem worse. The combination of a flexible sidewall and hard compound rubber encourages the tyre to slide, rather than helping the tread bite. Though, if you were to buy the Xynotal with a firmer casing and softer rubber, that will likely solve this issue.
As for durability, that's where the hard rubber compound really shines. Having ridden the tyre over a couple of months on the rear and not being precious with it, it's held up incredibly well. There are few signs of wear, though there's some scoring on the rearward braking edges where I've locked the wheel under braking - something that happens reasonably frequently due to the firm rubber and packed tread pattern.
Continental Xynotal 2.4in Endurance Trail tyre - Verdict
The Xynotal is pretty average when it comes to performance but the £50 pricepoint makes it a fairly appealing proposition. A tyre with a somewhat similar tread that I’m very fond of is the Maxxis Dissector. It rolls faster and I’ve found it to grip reliably in a range of conditions, but it will set you back £75 with an EXO+ casing and Maxx Terra compound.
For £10 more you can get the WTB Trail Boss with a fast rubber compound and SG2 puncture protection. This tyre sits much squarer on the rim though, and it’s draggier than the Xynotal thanks to an increased surface area.
Though the Xynotal in this particular compound has its weaknesses, if you're looking for all out durability, they're completely forgiven. It rolls reasonably well and grips acceptably in a range of conditions, but under heavy lateral loads, grip dwindles thanks to the hard rubber.