The Good: Light, uhh....durable?
The Bad: Super porous sidewalls, horrible wet root/rock traction, doesn't hold a seal, seems smaller than advertised size(2.2)
Well, since WTB discontinued my favorite rolling rear tire, the Exiwolf, I had to move on and accept the loss. Change happens. We get used to it. We adapt. We move on. We are humans after all. I had seen many a positive review on the Mountain King II(MKII) version 2. The first version garnered tremendous hate due to poor quality control that resulted in knobs ripping off randomly. So, I purchased the ProTection version of the MKII to set up tubeless. Still to this day the bead holds fine but the sidewalls are the consistency of cheesecloth. While this makes them nice and supple(120TPI) it does nothing for their ability to hold air even with sealant. So...keeping them aired is a daily chore. I was hoping that a couple rides would help snuff all that out but no. At least they wear slowly. That counts for something, right? Unfortunately, it means I'll be stuck with these in my garage for a long time.
So, the ride. That's what we all care about isn't it? For a blocky tire they roll pretty darn well. Unlike my Vigilante on my other bike they roll surprisingly fast. When you're on packed dirt they are a good tire. With their surprising rolling speed and tall side knobs they corner well and keep things moving. The transition from center to side knobs is very trustworthy and there's no loss of traction in that exchange. Where they don't do well is under braking. They give way almost immediately and break loose far too quickly. They also don't do well on roots. They chatter and skip on rocks going downhill but nothing too bad. They pick up traction right away once the brakes are released. In the wet they shed the mud well but if you're looking for grip you better look elsewhere. Most times when I laid down the power they were slipping and sliding all over. And braking is akin to feeling like Garrett Buehler on some loose shale ridge only without being him and without riding a big mountain ridge. This tire is definitely NOT a winter tire even with the Black Chili compound.
Would I recommend this to someone who rides only XC or races on buff trails? Sure. Maybe. Would I recommend it to anyone else who is seeking an all around tire? No. No I wouldn't. There's other choices that are going to be better suited for you.