‘Dangerous’ Brod Wilson has already had plenty of experiencing using Continental’s latest race tyres, as can be seen above heading over The Mountain at Cadwell Park.
However, this month he’s been giving our latest fast road tyre, the all-new ContiSportAttack 3, a workout at Donington Park for Fast Bikes on his ZX-6R race machine.
In their October 2016 issue, Brod writes:
“Considering these are intended for street use, they really did themselves proud on track. Within a lap of Donington I found the high levels of carbon black meant they didn’t just warm up really quickly, but offered impressive grip before they were even up to full temperature – made all the better by their ‘Traction Skin Technology’ outer, which meant there was no scrubbing-in required. The front end was always stuck to the surface and the rear did a good job of holdin on too, though under hard acceleration it was possible to get the tyre moving. But everything was progressive, so I never felt caught out by any unexpected slides.
These are by no means race tyres, but they were impressively stable whilst on test, never faltering even when pushed hard through the undulating and rapid Craner Curves section of the track. On occasion, hard driving out of corners would make the tyres run a little wider than I’d have liked, as the 0-degree steel belt carcass compressed under the forces sent to it, but that was an extreme scenario. In more constant-throttle bends the tyres always stayed true, and I also liked the way you could really load the informative front tyre with trail braking deep into bends. The rubber felt supported and that gave me loads of confidence where it mattered.
I was running a 120/70-profile front tyre with a 180/55 rear. I’m used to running more race focused products, so I was a little surprised at how much effort was needed to get the Attacks to start pitching into a bend, but once they get going, they roll nicely – and quickly – to their maximum lean. The slower handling was exaggerated by trail braking into sections like the left-right flick through Foggy Esses, where you go from one extreme of lean to the other. It was perfectly bearable, but notable all the same, and, of course, for road use they would feel much more balanced, where you don’t force a bike to switch direction so aggressively.
Knowing what a tyre’s doing beneath you is so important. Thankfully, the Contis are really talkative. The ‘Grip Limit Feedback’ tech sounded a bit of a gimmick, but it worked as it was meant to; the rubber would progressively weave long before I started to experience slides. It meant I was always in control and I knew how hard I could push the rubber without risking a crash. But even when i wasn’t fully cranked and not making the most of the rubber’s 51-degree of lean angle, the info being fired back through the bike’s frame and suspension was good, so I had plenty of faith and could push harder when the track was wet, safe in the knowledge that the bike wasn’t just going to disappear from beneath without any warning. These tyres feature a single compound produced with a temperature-controlled curing process during manufacture to become progressively stickier as you edge towards the shoulder of the rubber, so there’s no transition as you roll from the harder centre to the grippier sides.
At the end of the test we got a bit of rain – while most people were switching from dry tyres to wets, I had no qualms about going out on the Attack 3s. The volume of tread of these tyres meant surface water was easy to disperse without any drama. Grip levels, owing to the high silica content in the compound, were really good, and within a few laps I was happy with the rubber and surprised at how hard I could push. Eventually, I started to find the limits and had a few slides out of the slower hairpins, but there was no real cause for concern. The tyres did a great job of telling me what was going on, and I was particularly impressed by how hard they’d allow me to brake without losing any front-end grip.
After six 20-minute sessions of abuse, the rubber still looked impressively sharp with the only obvious signs of wear being to the rear of the tread patterns where the rubber had begun to step slightly. It seemed to wear consistently across the tyre, lacking a blatant driving band on the shoulder.
There was no sign whatsoever of any wear in the middle section of the rubber and after a day of hard riding, the Contis looked good to do several more track-days and, of course, to do plenty more miles on the road.”
The new ContiSportAttack 3 is the official tyre choice of California Superbike School UK, who use it on their fleet of Ducati machines for both coaches and students.
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