CONTI-NUAL GREAT­NESS

Sports-tour­ing, or the art of go­ing some­where very far away at a fairly rapid pace, is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar. So pop­u­lar in fact that most ma­jor tyre man­u­fac­tur­ers are in­vest­ing mega bucks into the de­vel­op­ment of suit­ably spec­tac­u­lar rub­ber; of­fer

Fast Bikes - - LAUNCH - WORDS: CARL‘ PRETTY BOY’ STEVENS IMAGES: CON­TI­NEN­TAL

Old vs new

Fly­ing straight to the launch from thrash­ing around Carta­gena on-board a GSX-R750 with cut slicks, it’s fair to say I wasn’t ex­pect­ing much at all in terms of feel from a tyre made for longevity and wet weather rid­ing. But it turns out I was in for a pleas­ant sur­prise, be­cause Conti have put a shed load of work into de­vel­op­ing the lat­est in­car­na­tion of their pop­u­lar Road­At­tack rub­ber.

The third gen tyre’s been bet­tered all round, with an op­ti­mised tread de­sign for im­proved grip in the wet, while han­dling has been en­hanced through Con­ti­nen­tal’s own EasyHan­dling tech­nol­ogy. This works along­side the multi-com­pound tech to make the edges nice and soft, while the mid­dle is still hard enough to cope with as many miles as you can throw at them.

Even the sta­bil­ity’s been taken care of with the new ZeroDe­gree belt sys­tem, which is de­signed to of­fer de­pend­able sup­port at all speeds. Com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor, the warm-up time and han­dling ef­fi­ciency have in­creased by 5%, mileage has risen by 10%, and wet grip is up a mas­sive 15%.

Get­ting to grips

Gifted a whole day’s rid­ing and across a tan­ta­lis­ing va­ri­ety of great roads, the hard­est thing was choos­ing which bike to ride first. Du­cati’s Mul­tistrada 1200 soon quelled my in­de­ci­sion, kick­ing things off with a steady jaunt through towns and lo­cal back roads. The pace was pretty chilled, but the tyres had no prob­lems deal­ing with the tight bends, cob­bled roads and bucket loads of bumpy tar­mac we were trav­el­ling. The han­dling was pre­dictable and grip was never an is­sue. But it begged the ques­tion, how­would they fare when the pace got hot­ter? Sur­pris­ingly ad­e­quate, is the an­swer to that one.

Con­sid­er­ing the longevity you get from the Con­tiRoad­At­tack 3s, they give heaps more feel­ing then you’d ex­pect and bucket-loads of warn­ing when things get a lit­tle sketchy, which is the most im­pres­sive aspect of these sporty lit­tle hoops. As the speed in­creased, I man­aged to nab my­self a Yamaha MT-09 for a few miles, causally get­ting my knee down at ev­ery given op­por­tu­nity.

These roads were far from per­fect, and greasier than a used car sales­man, but the Con­tis took it all in their stride and kept me sunny side up with­out any mo­ments.

But the real test of per­for­mance came later that af­ter­noon, when me and an­other geezer sloped off to crank up the pace and go in search of the lim­its of the rub­ber. BMW’s lethal S1000R seemed the per­fect tool for the job and, with the trac­tion con­trol switched right down, I gave it the berries. Sure enough, I did find the tyre’s lim­its, but I was im­pressed with how much you could ask of the tyres be­fore they started break­ing trac­tion. Ex­it­ing first and sec­ond gear cor­ners with a hand­ful of throt­tle proved to be the Conti’s neme­sis, but the heaps of feed­back on tap meant I was never in dan­ger and could re­act to get the slides un­der con­trol. They didn’t feel like a tyre made for longevity at all. You could re­ally push on the front into the turns and squat the back down on the way out, with­out en­coun­ter­ing poor sta­bil­ity or lardy han­dling. I was re­ally im­pressed.

Time to At­tack

At the end of the day, these Con­tiRoad­At­tack 3s do what they say on the tin; let you at­tack the road. They don’t pur­port to be track rub­ber, but I reckon they’re more than good enough for the typ­i­cal street rider, re­gard­less of what bike they’re rid­ing. And, if the longevity and wet weather qual­i­ties are as good as what Conti are sug­gest­ing them to be, there’s no doubt these tyres are go­ing to be a win­ner in 2017. They’re avail­able in 10 dif­fer­ent sizes for the front and 14 for the rear, mean­ing you can fit them on pretty much any­thing you fancy, with prices start­ing from roughly £270 a pair (for a typ­i­cal 120/180 combo). For more info check out www.conti-bike.co.uk.

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