My 2006 Triumph Bonneville T100 gets a good deal of use in the local area, putting on quite a few miles every month. And wearing out tires. The latest pair is from Continental, the ContiGO! series, which is advertised as an excellent all-around tire.
These are bias-ply tires, or cross-ply as they are sometimes called, a type of tire construction that has been around for the better part of a hundred years. The concept may be old-fashioned, but the ContiGO! is very modern, the company promoting the use of the latest in compounds, excellent handling, longevity, the good water-dispersal qualities of the tread design, etc.
Back in the 1980s the radial motorcycle tire came along, intended for high-performance bikes as it dissipates heat better, and some folk thought the bias-ply was finished. Not a chance. Far more motorcycles come out of the factory equipped with bias-ply tires than radials. A radial is more expensive to make, which shows up in the selling price. And a bias-ply is more comfortable in ordinary riding, handling irregularities like potholes and railroad tracks with aplomb, and having no objection to my going two-up. Go seriously fast? Get a radial. Around town and touring? I like the bias-ply.
I’ve put less than a thousand miles on the ContiGO! tires, so I am a long way from seeing how long they last. The tires are tubeless, but happy to carry an inner tube, necessary on my wire-wheeled Bonnie. These are H-rated for 130 mph, but the bike will never see anything close to that speed.
The first ContiGO! came out in 2009, and now there are some 30 sizes available, from a tall 90/90-21 to a fat 150/70-18. Mine are a modest 100/90-19 at the front, a 130/80-17 at the back, with maximum tire pressures (cold) of 42 psi. The tire pressures recommended by Triumph are 33 at the front, 38 at the back, and they suit me fine. The streets in the local towns tend to be under-maintained, and I like the feedback that the strong sidewalls provide. I also do a few miles every week on short bits of unpaved road, and have no qualms about that.
How are the sipes working in dispersing rainwater? I can’t really say, as we’ve had no rain since last May. Handling? The Bonnie was not intended to dominate the 13-corner chicane we have out by Calf Canyon, but I run up Rossi’s Driveway (a.k.a. State Route 229) a couple of times a week, a few miles of delightfully curvy one-and-a-half-lane pavement, and am perfectly content to be canted over at some serious degrees.
Continental has been in the rubber-manufacturing business since 1871, and is now the fourth largest in the tire-making world, turning out everything from bicycle to heavy truck tires in a dozen plants on five continents. The ContiGO! tires are made in South Korea, and the radials in Germany.
In short, my tires hold air and make me feel comfortable at middling tilt and bumping along poorly maintained urban roads. Run ContiGO! up on the computer, and a bunch of different prices will pop up, depending upon who is selling. My pair run about $200…not bad.