Continental TrailAttack 3 Tires | Gear Review

Continental TrailAttack 3 Tires
Most people go to the Greek Isles for sun-drenched beaches and blue skies, but we were there to try Continental’s new TrailAttack 3 tires, and Crete obliged with some wet, cold weather perfect for tire testing.

For most adventure bike riders, choosing the right tires
boils down to a thoughtful assessment of the types of riding you actually do
versus the extremes of which your bike is capable. If that assessment includes
some off-road riding, among Continental’s lineup for example, there’s the
well-known TKC 80 knobby for 50/50 on- and off-road riding, the ContiEscape for
a 70/30 mix and the TKC 70 for roughly 80/20 paved/dirt. I’ve had experience
with all three, and though they sacrifice varying amounts of on-road
performance in order to work to some degree off-road, most riders won’t miss it
at all, even in the rain.

Continental TrailAttack 3 Tires
A new compound and construction help the Continental TrailAttack 3 tires meet the needs of large adventure touring bikes with lots of power and electronic intervention systems.

On the other hand, if that self-assessment reveals that you
love your adventure bike but care very little for riding it in the dirt and
want the most wet/dry on-road performance you can get, the best choice for its
shoes would be a 90/10 tire like Continental’s new TrailAttack 3. Although a
skilled rider can dance on them in the dirt fairly well (assuming there aren’t
steep hills, or lots of mud and sand), tires like these primarily have
increased “chip resistance” and self-cleaning ability as their 10-percent off-road
component. This lets you take them on a graveled or mildly rocky road without
damage or collecting a quarry’s worth of pebbles and mud in the tread. The flip
side is that 90-percent of their design is devoted to on-road wet/dry grip,
agility, comfort, stability, a quick warm-up and maintaining handling over
time/wear, important properties for both touring and sport riding on the

Continental TrailAttack 3 Tires
Conti’s MultiGrip tread curing process seamlessly creates a longer-wearing center area and grippier tire shoulders for cornering.

Handmade in Germany, TrailAttack 3s start with a radial
carcass wrapped in a zero-degree belt for high-speed stability. A new compound
offers 8-percent more wet grip than the TrailAttack 2 and still uses Conti’s
MultiGrip curing process that results in longer wear in the center and more
grip on the shoulders of the tire. “One-hundred-percent trust in the tire from
the start” was a big design goal this time around—in addition to Conti’s
Traction Skin, a micro-rough tread surface that eliminates the need for
mold-release agents or break-in, the new compound is said to achieve full
warm-up in less than a mile. The TrailAttack 3’s carcass construction, tread
pattern and MultiGrip design also help them maintain consistent performance
even after thousands of miles, which means your bike will corner just as well
after 3,500 miles as it did when the tires were new. In addition to all of the
usual testing for wear, agility, grip, comfort, bump absorption and so on,
today tire companies also have to contend with electronic intervention systems
on modern motorcycles like traction control, ABS, MSC and their cornering
components that put huge loads on tires.

Continental TrailAttack 3 Tires
Extra chip resistance and good self-cleaning ability are two strong points of a 90/10 on-/off-road tire.

I got to witness firsthand how the TrailAttack 3’s deal with
such interventions—and rain, mud, gravel, high speeds and hard
cornering—several times during our daylong test ride on the mountainous Greek
island of Crete. We were greeted with perfect Mediterranean weather upon
arrival, but the next day Zeus opened the floodgates, dumping several inches of
rain on the test route. No one in the large group complained, though, because
the conditions were perfect for tire testing. Continental had teamed up with
Edelweiss Bike Travel to provide a fleet of BMW R 1250 GS models for the ride,
a good representative choice as it’s a big, powerful ADV bike with large load
capacity expectations and different riding modes, traction control and
cornering ABS. Coincidentally I had just finished a U.S. road test of the bike,
so I knew what its stock tires felt like.

Crete had been lashed by several powerful storms prior to our arrival, and many of the mountain roads were damaged by slides and lined with snow in places, and we frequently had to ride across swaths of mud and rocks. These bikes were not equipped with Dynamic ESA, which could make tires carved from stone feel compliant and comfortable, so I got to experience their bump absorption and comfort straight up and in corners without any interference. Both on the wet pavement and in the slippery mud the TrailAttack 3s did their job without fault, giving me the confidence to ride a little faster and more aggressively as the day wore on. Their grip “from the start” is indeed excellent, a good thing since the cool wet weather and frequent stops meant several starts on cold tires. Pushing into each corner and braking a little harder each time, they stuck fast and gave excellent feedback, and I felt the front in particular is more agile than the BMW’s stock tire. Although we still need to try a pair on some dry, clean roads and corners to fully gauge their grip and wear, overall I’d say that Continental’s TrailAttack 3s are a perfect match for the demands of today’s large and powerful adventure tourers that are primarily ridden on the road. See the website for available sizes.

For more information see your dealer or visit Continental’s website


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