Originally published in Motorcyclist Magazine, 2016
Sporty street tires must balance the durability and predictability needed for road use while also meeting the voracious demands of the occasional racetrack outing. This is no easy task, but Continental thinks they’ve got it right with the Sport Attack 3.
And I agree. After spending a day dragging knees on two test tracks at the Continental Proving Grounds, I came away impressed with the competence of the new generation Sport Attack. We sampled the Sport Attack 3 on several 600 and 1000cc sportbikes from three different manufacturers and in every case the tires managed to handle everything we could throw at them.
Our test day did not include a street ride, but the short jaunt on the access roads leading to the test area showed that the tires transmit the right amount of feedback but without being harsh over bumps. Straight-line stability is solid, cornering behavior is predictable and demeanor is confidence inspiring; all important traits of a good street tire.
On the racetrack the tires warmed up quickly. Knee pucks were dragging after only a lap and a half. I kept wicking up the pace, expecting to reach the limits of grip but it was not to be. The tires simply stuck even when pushed to near (amateur) race pace. I was able to accelerate hard, trailbrake deep and reach boot-dragging lean angles with no drama. No, they don’t have the telepathic feel or meteoric levels of grip of dedicated race rubber, but the tires performed admirably considering they are designed primarily for street dwellers.
For those who corner hard, Conti developed the compound and carcass to create Grip Limit Feedback, which is designed to alert the rider about imminent traction loss during extreme cornering. This technology also prevents side forces from abruptly kicking the tire outward, allowing time for the rider to manage remaining grip.
Instead of using multiple compounds, Continental employs their Multi Grip Technology where a single compound is cured using different temperatures to provide a harder center for durability and softer sides for corner grip. This method of using a single compound delivers better mileage, consistent grip and good feel.
I did detect a bit of numbness coming from the front tire at full lean, but nothing that stopped me from getting on with business. The front tire cannot be faulted for stability however, remaining composed under hard straight-line braking and even when trailbraking deep over bumps.
Corner transitions are not ultra-snappy, but I had no trouble flicking each bike through the track’s tight chicanes. Once at full lean, the tires held the preferred line and responded easily to mid-corner corrections. Certain bikes (but not all) had a tendency to stand up just a little when the front brake is applied mid-corner, but nothing problematic.
We were treated to a dry, sunny day so wet testing was not to be. However, Conti claims a 20% increase in wet weather grip. This is due to the new big block pattern that features variably-angled lateral grooves that significantly improve drainage. Changes in silica further enhance wet surface traction and contribute to fast warm up.
Five racetrack sessions aren’t enough to measure real-world mileage, but Conti promises that street mileage will improve markedly over the outgoing Attack 2. On the racetrack these tires held up quite well with the rear tires showed little significant wear, although the front tires suffered some tearing from extreme cornering loads. The average track day rider won’t push the Sport Attack 3 as hard as we did, so I would expect several track days out of a set with plenty of life left to destroy favorite twisty roads over several weekends. Your results may vary.
Continental really stepped up their game with the Sport Attack 3. It may not have the ultimate grip of more race-bred rubber, but I have a hard time faulting the balance and performance of the Sport Attack 3s. If you’re looking for a hypersport tire, I recommend you put these on your short list.
Standard sizing is available. Pricing has yet to be announced, but Continental says that the Sport Attack 3 will be priced below the competition. Check out the Continental Moto site for more details.