Continental Motorcycle Tires appears to be on a roll. For 2017 the company based in Korbach, Germany, has rolled out four new tire models—the ContiTour, ContiLegend, ContiRoadAttack 3 and ContiCity, all engineered to fit specific ranges of motorcycles.
No doubt, the “lead” models for the U.S. market are the ContiTour, ContiLegend and ContiRoadAttack 3, which were developed for long-distance riding that many American riders favor. The Tour and Legend specifically fit heavyweight touring and cruising models (e.g. Harley-Davidson and Indian), while the RoadAttack 3 is the next evolution of Continental’s sport-touring RoadAttack 2 EVO.
Continental revealed the new tires at a special presentation on the island of Mallorca, located off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. A small fleet of bikes (ranging from Harleys to European brands to various Japanese models) provided by Edelweiss Bike Travel were equipped with the new Contis, and following a tech briefing we headed off through Mallorca’s tight, narrow streets and twisty mountain roads to experience the tires firsthand.
At first glance, the ContiTour and ContiLegend appear to be similar, the only difference being their sidewalls; the Legend wears whitewalls, the Tour comes in black. Both tires are intended to handle heavy loads, a must for touring, and, according to Continental, their multi-groove tread patterns allow for rapid water disbursement during wet-weather riding (although Mallorca’s brilliant sunshine kept us from testing it).
There are, however, slight differences between the Tour and Legend. Foremost, the Tour has a continuous center tread band that, without grooves, offers increased mileage and firm directional stability, especially when carrying extremely heavy loads. Both tires benefit from Continental’s special compound, what it calls MileagePlus technology, for extended wear and cornering grip, and they share similar profiles for responsive turn-in while cornering.
The ContiRoadAttack 3 is a 0-degree radial design that brings its own technology—EasyHandling in Continental’s lexicon—to the game. A single compound is used throughout to provide what Continental describes as “homogenous grip” at all lean angles. Ironically, the corporate term for this is MultiGrip, but regardless of how it’s termed, the goal is to offer seamless cornering feedback and feel to the rider from full lean to straight-up riding conditions. Continental touts the RoadAttack 3 as suitable for sport touring and everyday riding, so in addition to sportbikes our stable included standard models such as BMW’s R nineT and Yamaha’s highly touted FZ-09.
When it was time to ride I jumped into the deep end, selecting a Harley Electra Glide. There was noticeable grip at the front tire, and after initial turn-in the big bike tracked well through corners, usually a sign that front and rear profiles are well matched. Sadly, Mallorca doesn’t offer the wide-open spaces associated with America’s roadways, so I couldn’t experience high-speed feel. Considering Continental’s reputation for straight-line stability from previous tire models, though, I’d venture to say the ContiTour should be a suitable replacement tire when it’s time to re-shoe Ol’ Blue.
Next, I chose a Road King shod with ContiLegends. Turn-in for corners and smooth grip under braking told me the whitewall tire was well suited to the bagger. I managed to scrape the floorboards during full lean in some of Mallorca’s mountain hairpin turns, testimony to the tire’s advertised grip.
The remainder of my day was spent on a BMW R nineT and Ducati Multistrada 1200, allowing the hooligan inside me to create a little mischief through the tight hairpin turns and switchbacks during our ride. The RoadAttack 3 felt forgiving enough; if I entered a turn a little too fast, following some initial trail braking on my part, the tires responded so I could hold my line with little fanfare. It’s not the kind of riding I endorse all the time, but we were there to test the tires…right?
The new Contis come in sizes to fit most of today’s popular bikes. Once they’re mounted the only thing you have to bring to the party is the fun factor. Now let’s roll!