Continental ContiSport Attacks on the BMW K1200R

Why the Contis?

I decided to try the ContiSport Attack tyres on my BMW K1200R for a few reasons. First of all several persons have raved about the new generation of the Continental tyres. Second reason is that Caz has got them on her GSX-R600, and she likes the tyres more than the Bridgestone BT-014s that the bike came with. Third reason was the price, at £180 fitted ride-in-ride-out this was a very good price. Comparing to the Metzeler Tourances for the R1200GS at £150ish, £30 more isn't bad at all. Said and done, once my OEM fitted Metzeler SportecM1s were worn out, on goes the ContiSport Attack tyres.

Initial impressions

I do know that new tyres are slippery, but I rode out of the tyre dealer and the rear immediately span up, pretty much without any provocation. This is a bit disconcerting and definitely doesn't add to the confidence.
After scrubbing the tyres in a bit, I noticed that they steer well and are nice and stable at higher speeds. Sadly I didn't get that super confidence in the corners, maybe they were a bit too new. Time will tell.

Motorways

I guess riding to Nürburgring would qualify as a decent motorway test. I made it to the 'Ring in 8 hours door-to-door, from Oxfordshire. Not too bad going. The ride was very relaxed and at reasonable speed. The tyres were performing well and were very stable and not very prone to grooves in the road. No complaints at all.

The ContiSport Attacks The Nürburgring Nordschleife

This is where the tyres were going to show their true colour (you know they dye tires black, as they would otherwise be this dull computer-grey!?). I did quite a few laps without thinking about the tyres, and I had a great time. Obviously this was a new bike for me and I didn't really know what to expect. This means that I can't really pinpoint what exactly is the bike and that's the tyres. However, having ridden quite a few bikes in the last few years, I have learnt one thing; If the bike you're riding doesn't display any strange behaviour then your tyres are just fine. Unfortunately this wasn't really the case with the ContiSport Attacks. After I clocked a few laps I noticed that I wasn't actually on pace at all. in fact, I was some 40 seconds off pace compared to my GSX-R several years earlier. Maybe a slightly unfair comparison, but 40 seconds is definitely an indication that I wasn't getting all the performance from the bike.

ContiSport Attack circa 500 miles down the line (rear), Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

This picture is probably taken around 500 miles from new. 8h on the motorways and a few laps around the Nurburgring. They're wearing quite well at this time.

ContiSport Attack circa 500 miles down the line (front), Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The front tyre at around 500 miles from new.

Back on the roads

The rest of their life the tyres spent riding around B roads just for kicks. I have no real complaints about the tyres, but I just can’t put a good feel to them. The bike is stable and doesn’t wobble or anything like that, but still I could not put my finger on why I didn’t feel totally happy with them. When I cornered, they did well, but tipping the bike in, one didn’t get a feeling that said “come on, don’t worry, we’re sugar free”, more like… “Deep breath, focus, turn, nothing wrong, we made it just fine”, and that’s not really what I want. I want the tyres to “just be there” and I want them to be transparent to my riding. The ContiSport Attacks were not much like that. They just didn’t feel supple.
On the other hand, I should mention that at one point I was going around a roundabout at fairly good speed, when I hit some bumps just in my path. The bike juddered and I could feel that the wheels weren’t really in touch with Mother Nature, but still the ContiSports just simply took me around that roundabout without any particular drama. Well done.
Another part that I don’t have anything really good or positive to say about the tyres is their wet capabilities. They seem to cope quite well. Not the best grip in the world, but there were no real bad surprises either.

ContiSport Attack rear tyre on a K1200R at about 1,500 miles., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

At this picture the tyre has probably done around 1,500 miles. The wear pattern is quite nice, but you can see that there's plenty of power in this bike to tear the tyre apart.

The End

The ContiSport Attack rear tyre is now over and done with at about 2,400 miles., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The end of the line - The tyre has now done in the region of 2,400 miles. I could feel a signifficant degradation in grip (especially from cold). The tyre could probably have mustered a few more miles, but I didn't like the feel of it and I was quite glad to see it go.

Caz's ContiSport Attack rear tyre is looking almost brand new after about 2,500 miles.Meanwhile the ContiSport Attack tyre on Caz's GSX-R600 looks to be in very good shape. This tyre has done similar mileage; ca 2,500 miles., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Meanwhile the ContiSport Attack tyre on Caz's GSX-R600 looks to be in very good shape. This tyre has done similar mileage; ca 2,500 miles.

The more miles I put on the tyres, the more slippery they got (natural thing really). One of the more fun part that I did with them when they were a bit cold was to spin the rear up in first gear with only the throttle. I got quite good at it and was able to do quite long black lines at a few times. The tyre wasn’t benefiting anything from it. At the end I managed some 2,400 miles or so (I can’t really remember as I didn’t make a note about the miles, so don’t take that number as an absolute number!). That is not very good mileage. Not at all. I could probably have managed another 100 – 200 miles but then the tyre would definitely have been illegal.
On the GSX-R I used to get around 4,000 miles out of a Bridgestone BT-010, even up to 5,000 miles. Sure the K1200R is a heavier and more powerful bike, but still, there are many trips to the chip shop in the odd 1,600 miles that are “missing”.
I’ve now switched to Metzeler Sportec M3 tyres and so far I love them. I didn’t like the Sportec M1 very much, but these M3s are a much newer tyre and I can feel it when I’m riding. But more about that a few miles down the road (literally).
To conclude, I can’t really recommend the Continental ContiSport Attack tyres on the BMW K1200R. The reason is quite simple; I just don’t think this tyre works on this particular bike. Caz is still happy with her bike, and she’s still got plenty of mileage left in the tyres. Unlike on the K1200R, the GSX-R600 seems to wear the tyres in a completely different way.