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Continental ContiRoadAttack 3 Sport Touring tires

Posted By Mark Hearon #209373, Saturday, February 10, 2018

In the last year, I've changed. I must confess I've become a Teutonophile. When exactly this happened I can't say. However, I'm pretty sure it happened sometime after I bought an R 1200 RS. Now, everything I care about in this world is German or on its way to becoming so (Italian wife gets a free pass!). Naturally, when the opportunity to test a German tire brand presented itself, I said, "Yes!" quicker than a Texas boy would jump at a chance for free chicken fried steak. The following represents a 1,500-mile, real-world, first-impressions review of the Continental ContiRoadAttack 3 tires. Before I do that, though, some housekeeping.

If we drink the Kool-Aid, this tire will do it all. It'll out-perform every competitor. You'll ride harder than that dudette who drags her knee on your local twisties, farther than Ewan and Charlie, and faster than a caffeinated squirrel mounted on an S 1000 RR. This tire's so great, even ostriches will take note (please watch Continental's demo video for these tires to get the joke). All this, with (virtually) no break-in, can be yours if you, too, buy this tire. Unsurprisingly (and perhaps thankfully), the truth-from my point of view-is a little more sedate. Let's be real: a sport touring tire is by its very nature a compromise. I still have difficulty defining just what the term "sport touring" means. The ContiRoadAttack 3 tires might have made that task a little easier, but not by living up to the superlative-laced marketing material we're likely to read from OEMs and motojournalists. These are my initial impressions.

Prior to mounting the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires to my R 1200 RS, I rode with the OE tire, Michelin's Pilot Road 4. It took mere moments with the Continental shoes to realize that the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires (comparatively) transmit quite a bit of feel to the rider. For the highway ride home, you might say I was "shaken up" a bit. I didn't know how to think of this at first because I'd never known anything other than the sure-footed, somewhat muted experience offered by the Michelins.

I now attribute much of that stirring experience to over-inflation. At 138 pounds fully fed, I don't normally run the recommended maximum cold tire pressures (36F/42R) and typically opt for something a little less bloated (34F/40R). Backing off the tire pressures did the trick. While the harshness was abated, the increased road feel remained.

I quickly became aware of how much I value this increased road feel compared to the PR4. With Dynamic ESA working to smooth out my ride constantly, I didn't realize how much of the sport experience I was missing while riding my local twisties. As Bill Wiegand will attest, having seen a video of me railing a corner (at perfectly legal speeds) with these tires, they do indeed inspire a degree of confidence.

Fully recognizing not everyone enjoys the sweeper-loving attributes of an R 1200 RS, I nevertheless must convey what a difference-maker these tires have been for my bike. Until the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires got slipped on, terms like "neutral" and "planted" didn't carry much meaning for me. The tires' press release mentions something about ensuring "…reliable stability at high speed and only a low kickback thanks to a 0° steel-belt construction." Yeah, I have no idea what that means. However, if I'm to believe that has anything to do with the experience I've had thus far, I might be willing to buy it. Whether traveling at 60 mph on the highway or 130 mph on an abandoned backroad, the tires feel the same.

With the increased stability the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires appear to provide, my corner entry speeds have increased. Not just because of the aforementioned road feel, but because the tip-in is easier for me to judge. I no longer feel like I have to scrub off as much speed to determine just what my tires are doing and how that'll influence my corner transit. Additionally, getting on the throttle earlier (and harder) is something I've found myself doing more frequently as I simply have had little reason to doubt the tire's ability to carry me through.

If you've made it this far in the review, first of all, thank you. Secondly, you should know I don't commute like the first two sections make it sound like I typically ride. Commuting duties are a different beast altogether. So, how do the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires stack up here? In two words, just fine. The two qualities mentioned above were specifically chosen because they've enhanced my understanding of my bike holistically. Further, they've made every part of my normal riding schema more enjoyable.

As far as performance in various weather conditions, north Texas is experiencing a warmer-than-average late summer (we don't have fall here). That means mysterious things like sky water (precipitation) and mouth steam (cold weather) aren't particularly prevalent. Basically, I've been riding mostly in the mid-low 50s Fahrenheit like a spoiled kid. That doesn't mean it's been all fun and games, though.

I purposefully waited for a Canadian front to pass through so that I could test cold-weather traction. I bargained for something between 38 and 42 Fahrenheit. Instead, Mother Nature served up a 24-degree morning…with a bit of frost. Game on!

Traction seems to not be an issue on cold pavement. The increased feel (I keep going back to that, don't I?) would indicate a tendency to foreshadow any squirrelly happenings with greater transparency. I felt no such tendency with these tires-score.

What about tread life on the tires' centers? Presently, the sporty characteristics of the ContiRoadAttack 3 tires have enabled me to spend a lot more time getting rid of my chicken strips than I ever expected to. What center tread wear I have noticed has been minimal. At 1,500 miles, the tire profile does not appear to be squaring off.

The questions that remain are those that a long trip and more time will answer. I'll report back on the touring credentials of these ostensibly sport-biased tires once a little more riding has taken place. Until then, ride safe!

  • Pros: Enhanced feel compared to another leading ST tire, quick turn-in/lively handling, emphasizes the "Sport" in sport touring
  • Cons: Questionable longevity (more research needed), questionable touring credentials (more research needed)

Tags:  continental  tires 

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