Ever since he accidentally had a pair fitted to his RSV1000, bike journalist Simon Bowen has been a fan of versatile, modern day sport touring rubber.
Writing for biking publications in both the UK & New Zealand, Simon was one of those who recently attended the official launch of our most versatile sport touring tyre to date, the new ContiRoadAttack 3.
With more than 200 kilometres of road snaking through Mallorca’s Tramuntara Mountain’s ahead of him, Simon first jumped on BMW’s fantastic S1000XR, before moving on to an R1200RT and MT-09 to round out the day’s riding.
Writing for Bike Social, Simon explained his thoughts on the new tyres:
“On minor bumpy roads leading from our hotel to the nearest two lane highway, the XR felt balanced and composed over irritating ripples and tar lines, without wandering from whatever line I decided we were taking. A few badly cambered roundabouts provided the first opportunity to agitate the rear. A good handful of throttle, just before straightening up for my exit, only resulted in compressing the shock and launching me on to the next straight. While not exactly earth shattering news, it’s none the less fairly impressive that the traction control could not be roused on cold, well worn tarmac, and goes some way to instilling confidence early in the day.
Nothing much to report at a steady 120mph with a fair crosswind either. The ride is comfortable and quiet with no negative reaction to me swerving from the painted rumble strip next to the hard shoulder to grooves left by trucks in the nearside lane, and back again.
With the straight section complete the interesting climb from Pollenca to Coll Dels Reis up in the mountains begins allowing some rhythm to build up as the temperature begins to drop again. At a quick, appropriate pace the XR would roll repeatedly from one shoulder of the tyre to the other with ease. The cold wind returned at higher altitude and on two or three occasions I had to grab the front brake mid-corner. Twice because of an unexpected increasing radius and once to avoid rear-ending a panicked journalist, which did trigger the ABS and a minor cardiac, but left the RA3s totally unflustered. The faster the pace, the more the front end dug in through the corners and no amount of line changes could upset the Contis.”
“Our mid-morning coffee stop arrived suddenly at the top of the mountains and by this time I was genuinely impressed as it was still cold, yet I was already so confident in the tyres that the chicken strips on the rear tyre were long gone. The heat had left the stationary tyres within a few short minutes, a reminder that the air temperature was still low.
I hopped on an unattended BMW R1200RT and set off for a more leisurely comparison, but with the tyres now shouldering over 350kg and plenty of switchbacks to go before lunch down on the coast, they would inevitably be in for a bit of a workout. The balance and neutrality of the bike is more pronounced and defies logic with its inflated girth and heftiness. It remains surprisingly nimble and able to turn relatively quickly through the snaking and undulating downhill stretches between the bends. No big quirts of throttle but very hard late braking and plenty of trailing brake through the corners kept the RT planted and stable – a testament to a sorted bike mated to competent rubber.
It was down to Yamaha’s revised MT-09 to provide the naked experience and round off the last 80km of the test loop. Air temperature is now at the maximum 20degrees for the day and the sun has been warming the tarmac for a few hours, so I disabled traction control and set off. When you have good tyres without negative characteristics, it’s quite difficult to concentrate on them for very long, particularly in the case of the MT-09, because you have a fun bike and enough trust in the tyres to do their job without attracting attention to themselves.
Admittedly this is not a high horsepower engine but the MT is ideal for highlighting the capabilities of the RA3s. Powering out of roundabouts and throwing the bike hard into turns feels fantastic. Holding a tight line, then digging in harder when the curve tightens, before yanking the throttle open all happens with the minimum effort and generally without a twitch. On two occasions I did feel the rear just about lose traction, just enough to complain and squirm, rather than step out, which just served as a reminder to calm down a bit. Also noticeable now is just how much information I can get from the road surface fluctuations. By the end of the day, the Yamaha had been punished by several enthusiastic testers but the rear was showing no particular signs of fatigue.
This is only half a test of course and I wish we could have tried some wet roads or even a dry race track for perspective. Having sampled the tyres on a naked lunatic, faux adventurer and rotund tourer I can safely say that as far as dry grip and overall manners are concerned, the RA3 is an excellent road tyre.”
You can read Simon’s full article on the Bike Social website.
With further sizes now available in the UK, you can find out more about the new ContiRoadAttack 3 here.