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
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.