Using the aggressive language popular in motorsports marketing, Continental high-performance radials go by the name “Attack,” the idea being that a set of these tires is the perfect black-rubber weapon to lay siege to the racetrack, road or trail. Its latest offering is the Road Attack 2, which Continental calls a “hypersport-touring” tire.
Today’s sport-touring motorcycles, with powerful engines, strong brakes and curb weights over 600 pounds, are hard on tires. Continental uses several technologies to keep up. Instead of dual or triple compounds, it uses Continuous Compound Technology, a variable heating process during vulcanization that results in a smooth transition from the soft, high-grip shoulder to the firm, high-mileage center. Black Chili is Continental’s proprietary blend of resins, silica and carbon black designed for good grip in wet and dry conditions and improved dynamic stiffness regardless of the tire’s operating temperature. Traction Skin is Continental’s newest innovation and will contribute to safer operation during initial break-in. A special molding process eliminates the use of slippery mold release and results in a tactile, “pre-scrubbed” surface that grips well immediately. Dynamic Ride Technology combines Continental’s patented steel-belt construction with a new, rounder profile for better handling. Also, angled rain grooves resist deformation upon acceleration and braking.
We were invited to test the Road Attack 2 at the Contidrome Proving Grounds, Continental’s test facility near Hannover in northern Germany. On motorcycles ranging from the Kawasaki Versys to Honda VFR1200F and BMW R 1200 RT (in 2011 the Road Attack 2 will be original equipment on the RT and R 1200 R), we spent a full day riding on the Contidrome’s road course, wet handling track and high-speed oval with 58-degree banking. Traction Skin provided confident feel right away, and the tires warmed up quickly on the cold, damp road course. Thanks to the Road Attack 2’s round profile, turn-in was smooth and predictable. Most impressive was the level of grip on the Contidrome’s tight, winding wet course, which has slippery pavement constantly drenched with sprinklers. I went faster, leaned over farther and braked shorter than I’m accustomed to on wet roads. And flat out on the high-speed oval for many laps on several bikes (up to an indicated 261 kph/162 mph on the Honda VFR1200F), stability was excellent.
Continental has positioned the Road Attack 2 more toward the sport end of the sport-touring continuum, and it will cost a bit more than the Road Attack (which will still be sold in the United States). Whether more grip and performance comes at the expense of durability remains to be seen. Available in various sizes for 17- to 19-inch front wheels and 17- and 18-inch rears. Prices range from $135 front to $185 rear, and the tires should be available in January 2011.
For more information: See your Continental dealer