The rain is torrential, the light at 4:30PM absent and traffic apocalyptic, as if one of the four horsemen, plague most likely, had become a herd of mindless lemmings. Despite the lashings of rain and the abuse of horns, I decide to lane-split my way onto the Lions Gate Bridge, a bottleneck that is to civic engineering what special class is to MENSA, with confidence. How? Tires, specifically the Continental Attack Escape Endurance. They kiss the white line as we nip through the downpour with nary a slip.
I’ve been riding the Continental Road Attack for approximately 13,000kms and have found them inspired. Skepticism at a tread pattern seemingly created by the marketing department, with its “C” shaped cutouts recalling the company’s name, evaporated the moment the Attacks touched the wet. The water evacuation is phenomenal and for the average rider, there is no need to back off more than 10% in the wet.
In the dry the Conti’s prove as good as any other sport-touring tire we’ve run on our long-term VFR, easily surpassing the Bridgestone BT-014 in confidence. The Attacks are quick to warm up, and grip tenaciously from the start. In a comparative run with the Michelin Pilot Sports on a cold day (8C) on comparable bikes, the Conti’s arrived at the destination warm to the touch even as they neared the end of their life, the Pilots merely tepid by comparison. If you’re daring and push your riding closer to the freezing mark, the Conti’s become skittish and slippery by 4C; not something most riders would count at a major mark against a set of rubber.
Under more conventional riding conditions, the Road Attacks offer a supreme sense of hold combined with a smooth, supple roll-in and good road feedback. That in part might be due to the tires’ relatively low profile and high sidewall, a gentle arc of continuous contact is inscribed by this design until the tires’ edge. The initial turn-in is light, replaced with a growing feel of stability and slowing of the turn-in as the lean angles increase. That should limit straight-line stability, but it doesn’t and the Conti’s prove well behaved at high speeds in direct A-to-B type rips.
It’s only at the outer limits of performance, riding at about 90% of the VFR’s envelope, that the Attacks become taxed and trained. At this outer edge you feel a bit of slip, but the feedback is such that you know precisely what is about to happen and how much more you can push. The hold and stability is exceptional throughout the tires’ range, and a warm day sees our Conti-shod VFR holding it’s own with the likes of GSX-R 750’s on much sportier rubber.
The performance available is exceptional for a long wearing tire, and the Conti Road Attack should amply meet the needs of any of the sport-touring class’s all-stars; the Honda VFR, Triumph ST, Ducati ST3 or BMW R1200ST. If other test tires were not forthcoming for review, then the VFR would surely be shod in the Continental Road Attack for yet another season, an excellent tire and possibly a watershed tire for Continental in the sport-touring niche.
Web: Continental Tire