As the adventure market continues to grow, so does the search for the “one” tire that does it all. Continental first introduced the TKC80 almost 30 years ago, and it has remained a favorite of GS riders since then.
However, there’s a downside with the TKC80s—as bikes have increased in displacement and torque, the life expectancy of the rear tire has diminished. Fast forward to 2014. Continental has been hard at work developing the new TKC70.
Although the concept of this tire began a couple years ago, it was put on hold until Continental was convinced to bring it back. Continental’s Greg Reich stated, “My U.S. sales reps were constantly seeing TKC80 fronts mated with Heidenau K60 rears.” So, after a little convincing, Continental decided it was time.
The new TKC70 is constructed on the DNA of its father—the TKC80, and mother—the Trail Attack 2. Continental uses a core consisting of a radial carcass with “Multi-Grip” technology, and a center contact strip that uses an abrasion-resistant surface for higher mileage. The shoulders are made of a softer compound that ensures maximum grip when leaning through corners. The different levels of grip/compound are achieved using a single component, cured throughout the production process in a temperature-controlled environment.
The “Rain Grip” technology is the result of using higher silica content and balanced carbon black, providing a shorter warm-up phase. And, the tread design is reminiscent of the TKC80, but with tighter blocks. The front tire takes on a more aggressive look than the rear because it does not need the mileage strip.
What better place than North Wales to introduce this highly anticipated tire from the King of Adventure Tires. About 25 journalists from France, Finland, Spain, Italy, U.K. and the U.S. gathered at Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa for three days of putting the new Continental through its paces on various types of terrain in the beautiful countryside.
Day One consisted of all road riding to demonstrate the grip characteristics of the softer edge compound. Heading out from Lake Vyrnwy, the scenery was breathtaking as we meandered through narrow, twisty roads to our first stop at the RYG Outdoor Education Centre. First thoughts on the tire are positive—they roll smooth, are extremely quiet and the wet grip is confidence-inspiring.
After a brief stop for photos, we headed off through the countryside. Within minutes of leaving, two sheep darted out in front of me! I instantly thought, “Cool, I get to test the breaking grip, and not on purpose.” The tires maintained their composure and safely reduced my speed to avoid hitting what we were having for dinner that night.
As we continued our journey through the picturesque villages and small roads barely big enough to fit a car, we rolled into the village of Harlech, home of the Harlech Castle built by King Edward I between 1282 and 1289, and still in remarkable condition. Then, more miles along the lush Irish Sea. We traveled a total of 190 miles that day, and the TKC70s performed extremely well in all situations.
Day Two had more of what I was awaiting—off-road testing. Not knowing the off-road prowess of each rider, the course was mainly loose gravel and heavily rained-on jeep roads. One of the unusual things I noticed was that I was taking long sweeping turns at speed on loose gravel, and didn’t even have to think about it.
Although it will be marketed as a 70/30 tire, I was truly impressed at how well it performed on the sloppy roads. As with any tire’s performance, rider skill is key to making any tire work in various situations. Riders coming from an off-road background will feel more confident when things get muddy. Although the TKC70 will likely see most of its life on pavement, I was pleased with the performance on the type of terrain where 90 percent of adventure riders will use it.
The TKC70 will be available in all the popular adventure bike sizes. Contact your local Continental dealer to reserve your set. ContinentalTire.com
This article first appeared on ADVMoto. Written by Dan DiMaio.