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"but just could not get it right for the latest generation of fast bikes"
Have to disagree, other than a shorter casing life (600-700 km) as a rear tyre under a 98 kg rider on a 160 mm travel bike (in Whistler), the Der Baron Projekt Protection APEX has been my go to tyre for the last three years. Once Conti got their casing sizing under control in 2018 they have been amazing. Better stick and rebound than 3C MaxxGripp and better rolling resistance and wear than MaxxTerrifying compound and predictable handling in all terrain and soil types.
Their Trail King II Protection APEX is a fantastic all conditions trail tyre for the 120-140 mm trail bike that generally gets used in less gnar environments.
I think that there are to too many variations of casing and compound and it is a back wards step. They used to keep it so simple:
Protection APEX = made in Germany, awesome grip, excellent wear and low rolling resistance.
Protection DH = made in Germany, insane grip, pretty good wear, lowish rolling resistance with a DH/ bike park worthy casing.
No "Protection APEX" rating = made somewhere else and not worth buying.
I have been perplexed at the Maxxis fan boi-dom that dominates in the Sea to Sky when there are so many better and better priced options available for many years.
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