Continental updates its sport touring line in 2017 with the new ContiRoad Attack 3, an all-rounder that carries a sophisticated collection of characteristics. It aims to improve on the popular ContiRoad Attack 2 EVO in a number of areas, including wet-condition performance, mileage and handling. Contributor Weston Hawkins reports from Mallorca, where he got the first crack on the new rubber during the brand’s product launch.
“For the Road Attack 3, a few things are new,” Hawkins explains. “The tread design is probably the first thing you notice. They went away from the shark fin look and now, in my opinion, I think it looks a little more aggressive. But their main goals with this tire were to improve rain grip and mileage.”
To achieve this Continental updated the compound of rubber along with the tread pattern. RainGrip is company moniker for the enhanced compound, which utilizes greater silica content to improve traction on slippery, rain-soaked roads. Continental asserts that the change does nothing to affect dry grip.
In addition to looking more aggressive, the tread also enhances the wet weather capabilities by improving drainage. Since our tester never faced a proper downpour during the ride, we’re unable to comment on whether the tires live up to Continental’s claims.
The same goes for longevity, since lifetime mileage is impossible to test in a day’s ride. Continental’s MultiGrip technology is employed to lend support to its durability assertion, however. MultiGrip is a temperature control process used during vulcanization that provides different hardness profiles from a single compound. Essentially this means that the central tread zone is harder, to provide longer life, whereas the sidewalls are softer to optimize cornering grip.
What was immediately apparent, though, is the effect of the new contour of the Road Attack 3.
“Already I’m feeling comfortable on these tires. We just barely hopped on the bike, we don’t have very many miles on them yet, but I’m feeling comfortable, I’m feeling confident.”
“It’s got a new contour, which immediately feels easier to handle and you get used to it a lot faster… I’ve been on two bikes up to this point, I started on the MT-09 (FZ-09 in the States) and now I’m on the BMW R nineT. I’ve got to say the tire is consistent. Yeah, it’s a different bike but I feel the same amount of confidence that I did on the MT-09 as far as trusting the tires, how far I can throw them in the turn and how fast I can take a turn. I think that goes to show that this tire can handle all the applications it was designed for. Confidence inspiring tires I think is the best description so far.”
Continental has a name for the contour enhancements employed, dubbing it “Easy Handling” technology. This promises a more linear, predictable feel on the bike when transitioning from upright to leaned position and back. The Zero-Degree steel belted construction aids in that stability, particularly at higher speeds, according to Continental.
That immediate confidence is also bolstered by the use of Continental’s TractionSkin technology, which is a micro-rough tread surface that dramatically reduces warm-up time. A new mold coating technique eliminates the need for a releasing agent, typically necessary to scrub off when breaking-in a new set of tires. This rougher surface is immediately apparent when you run your hand over a tire with TractionSkin.
The package as a whole definitely impressed Hawkins, who added this assessment toward the end of his ride.
“They’re not doing anything weird, they’re tracking straight, the handling has been phenomenal and I think overall it’s a success.”
“It’s going to be a go-to tier for anybody wanting to sport tour on their bike. And for a rider like me, I like to ride fast, I like to push it. This is a tire for my type of riding. It’s also good for riders like me that hate to change tires. Continental came out and improved on their already awesome platform.”
Continental is targeting a broad range of bikes from sport tourers like the BMW R1200GS and S1000XR to the streetfighter segment including Kawasaki’s Z650 and Yamana’s FZ series. As such, there are a wide range of sizes available in the 17, 18 and 19-inch range for the front and 17 and 18-inch options for the rear. Prices are roughly 10% higher than the Road Attack 2 EVO and range from $165 to $249.04 for the rear. The front prices from $154 up to $184, depending in size.