The centre tread of the Der Baron Projekt looks a little similar to the very well known High Roller II (maybe if it had a baby with the Minion DHF, one of the best handling tyres ever designed), and offers similar pace along the smoother, hard-packed trails. The main difference, though, is those large, well defined edge knobs, designed to increase bite when cranked over.
Continental claims that the Der Baron Projekt will excel in all conditions, and I have found this to be largely true. It is not a true mud tyre and the Trail King will roll faster on smooth trails and on loose over hard pack however nothing provides the reassuring grip at all angles that the Der Baron Project does.
The tread pattern is open and well spaced, so theoretically won’t clog. It does well to clear mud quickly in all but the stickiest of conditions.
Cornering traction is good at all angles and especially once it’s banked over and those side knobs are completely engaged.
My first set of tyres were installed five weeks before the 2016 Mavic Trans-Provence and the wear was pretty impressive. In nine weeks, I rode 1500 km on mainly black and double black trails, including 280 km and 24 special stages of the 2016 Mavic Trans-Provence. The rear tyre has lost the edge and almost half the height of its centre knobs, but the shoulder knobs were still as sharp as ever, with only a few starting to tear slightly at the base. The front tyre was slightly better off, with less noticeable wear on the centre and no tearing at the base of the side knobs.
The main reason they were replaced was due to side wall leakage having endured wild rose and hawthorn punctures and severe rocky trail side wall abrasion on the harsh trails of the Maritime Alpes.
I found that they have a fairly straight and supportive sidewall which allows one to run slightly lower tyre pressures. I have been running between 22-23.5 psi in the front tyre (on a 31mm inner width NOBL TR38 carbon rim) and between 24-26.5 psi in the rear tyre (also on a 31mm inner width NOBL TR38 carbon rim).
As an all-round, “Enduro” trail weapon the Der Baron Projekt Protection is currently ranked as my “Best Tyre Ever”. It has the incredible Continental Black Chilli levels of long wearing stickiness that still manages to roll quickly. It is predictable, it grips at all angles and speeds, it tracks well and braking traction is on another level. The tyre that comes closest to giving me the same all conditions confidence on a bicycle in its sister tyre the Der Kaiser Projekt. Not surprisingly both tyres were developed by the Athertons during their time with the GT Factory Team giving them a tyre that they could trust in race conditions at race speeds.
If you ride this tyre and like it and ever bump into Dan Atherton or Martin Maes remember to thank them.