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.