Greetings from Germany! Continental is holding the press introduction of its new ContiRoad Attack 2 tires on its home turf. Today we rode a variety of bikes shod with Continental’s “hypersport touring” tires at the Contidrom, the company’s proving grounds located about 35km from Hanover.
Continental has been around since 1871 and it made its first motorcycle tires in 1907. Although it earned eight world championships in motorcycle racing, mostly in the 1950s, Continental faded to the background later in the century. When motorcycle radials were offered by other tire manufacturers in the 1980s, Continental decided not to compete in this market and instead focused on the car and truck side of its business. In the early aughts, however, Continental got back into the high-performance motorcycle tire business and made major investments in R&D.
Since the ContiRoad Attack sport-touring tire was introduced in 2005, motorcycles have gotten more powerful and placing greater demands on tires. Continental claims the Attack 2 is better than its predecessor in all areas that are important to sport-touring riders: wet grip, dry grip, braking, acceleration, handling and mileage. Several technologies underlay these improvements.
Continuous Compound is an alternative to dual or triple compound tires. Rather than have abrupt differences in grip between different parts of the tire, Continental applies varying levels of heat to the rubber during vulcanization to achieve a smooth transition between the softer, high-grip shoulder and the firmer, high-mileage center.
Black Chili is Continental’s proprietary blend of resins, silica and carbon black to provide good grip in wet and dry conditions, better acceleration, shorter braking distances and improved dynamic stiffness regardless of the tire’s operating temperature.
Traction Skin is Continental’s newest innovation and one that will contribute to safer operation during the Attack 2’s initial break-in. A special molding process eliminates the use of mold release, a lubricant that makes new tires look and feel greasy. Also, instead of being glossy smooth, the surface of the tire is “pre-scrubbed” which allows the tire to grip well immediately.
On motorcycles ranging from the Kawasaki Versys to Honda VFR1200F and BMW R 1200 RT (starting in 2011, the ContiRoad Attack 2 will be original equipment on the RT and the R 1200 R), we spent a full day evaluating the new tires on the Contidrom’s dry handling course, wet handling course and high-speed oval. My initial impressions are very positive—dry and wet grip were excellent, turn-in and handling were intuitive and high-speed stability was spot-on.
The high-speed oval, which has high-banked curves at each end, was a total mind-bender.
At speeds over 160kph (100mph), centrifugal force pushes the bike against the banking and squats down the suspension. The bike stays perpendicular to the road surface even though the banking reaches a maximum of 58 degrees from the horizon. I saw an indicated 261kph (162mph) on the VFR’s speedo, and I did multiple laps on the BMW R 1200 RT and GS with the throttle pinned in top gear all the way around the 2.8-km oval. Going into a corner with the throttle WFO and relying on the high banking rather than leaning to get around the curve is a strange experience!
Look for a full review of the ContiRoad Attack 2 hypersport-touring in the December issue of Rider.
ContiRoad Attack 2 on the Contidrom’s high-speed oval.