I’ve worn out my fair share of Continental’s popular TKC 80 street-legal knobs over the years, much of the rubber left behind on long pavement runs to the back roads I want to explore. In choosing a tire that would carry me 900 miles from Southern California to ride the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route and bring me home with rubber to spare, I looked elsewhere for suitable tread. Not far mind you, just to the newest set of multi-purpose tires in Continental’s dual-sport product line—the TKC 70s.
The 70s represent a middle ground in adventure rubber, with a tread pattern that provides sporty handling on the tarmac while gripping rocks, dirt and gravel tightly enough for spirited off-pavement riding. But unlike DOT-legal knobbies, they don’t wear out quickly. My new rear TKC 70 started with 9mm of tread; 6.5mm remained after 2,900 miles of mostly pavement riding. Of four motorcycles on the trip, only mine didn’t wear knobbies, and I know the other riders were thinking my smoother tires would be a handicap in the inevitable mud. But monsoon rains kept things so wet that even the knobs weren’t gripping the Colorado muck, and we all thought it wise to detour around the slipperiest parts of the route. In the slick stuff we did encounter, like a memorable downhill switchback slathered in greasy mud (pucker factor 8+), the Contis soldiered through without drama. Going up would have been another story.
Continental uses their MultiGrip technology to balance mileage and traction in the TKC 70s. Varying the curing temperature across the tread creates a gradient from a harder center to softer, grippier rubber at the edges. And its high-silica RainGrip rubber formulation achieves the excellent wet road performance that I enjoyed on countless miles of rain-soaked pavement across four states. Wet or dry, whether paved with asphalt, loose rock chips or rounded river rock held fast in the dirt, there was never a worry about traction on modern or primitive roads.
My BMW F 800 GS wears a 90/90-21 bias ply up front ($113.95), good for 467 pounds at 39 psi; it’s made in Korea. Handmade in Germany, the rear TKC 70 is a steel-belted 150/70-R17 radial rated for 716 pounds at 42 psi ($233.95). Both are tubeless type, though my 800’s wheels require tubes. Loaded for camping, I ran the long pavement stretches at 36-38 psi, airing down to a conservative 32 psi for off-pavement work. Despite the harsh, rocky conditions, dozens of pothole impacts and a faster-is-smoother approach to the rough stuff, no tubes were pinched or rims dented. In my experience, the TKC 70s are robust tires that take punishment in stride while delivering a stable, predictable ride wherever you point them. They’re hard to beat for long adventures or a mix of weekday commuting and weekends exploring the back roads.
For more information: See your dealer or visit continental-tires.com/motorcycle.
A compromise tire is just that, a compromise. Looks like these would be just that. Would be curious to see how many actual miles, dirt vs. getting there, people who actually buy these tires would put on them. Would the average rider be comfortable in the dirt and be able to make the necessary adjustments to riding as opposed to dirt specific tires to get the same results this tester got.
Stephen, I can’t think of an ADV/dual-sport tire that isn’t a compromise. Full knobs won’t take much freeway abuse, and street tires are slippery in the dirt. The perfect ADV tire doesn’t exist, that’s why it’s important to test how the various compromises work in the all-around. Getting the same results I did isn’t hard: just start slow and see where your comfort level takes you. It took me to southern Colorado, north to Wyoming, and home again. And they’re still going, taking me over 100 flyin’ freeway miles a day. With 7,000 miles on them, there’s still 4 mm of center tread left.
The Heidenau k60 scouts are the original and the best in my opinion for this type or riding. I’ve had as many as 18,000 km’s out of them. Certainly not every time I fit them but very good mileage always. The other up and comer I’ve noticed compared to the aforementioned TKC 80 is shinko tyres 804/805 which I’m lead to believe is produced by shinko tyres in the same factory that shinko produce the TKC 80 for continental in Sth Korea.
Jackson, I don’t disagree that the Scouts are good tires, I said so myself here: http://ridermag.wpengine.com/2014/05/07/heidenau-k60-scout-motorcycle-tires-review/. And I thought the mileage was good, for the way I rode. But mileage is a personal thing. I spun the Scouts whenever I could in Patagonian gravel, so my rear Scout looked about half gone after 1800 miles.
As for Shinko 805 vs. TKC 80, I haven’t tested the 805s. And without a test, or at a minimum knowing more about the Shinko’s construction, belt material, tread compound and curing process, it would be impossible to judge that they are comparable based only on the factory they’re made in.
I’ve had conti 70s fitted for about 3000 kilometres now and highway use is absolutely brilliant
Off road is also brilliant except soft wet grass or mud where a knobbly would grip the 70 slides across the top top of slippery surfaces
I do mainly highway and packed gravel so these tyres are the best compromise I’ve found to date