Review: Continental TrailAttack II

When I bought my bike, it had some Metzeler Tourances on them. Not the NXT version, but the older one.
It showed some cracks, but shouldn’t be a problem because it’s a tubed tire (because of spoked wheels).

But after slipping and sliding around in the rain, I knew it was time to replace them to improve some handling and get a little more comfort out of them.

Motives:
From what I know, the Continental TrailAttacks were the best for me, because they use a technology called “TractionSkin”.

What it means is that the tire has a very short run-in time, which was handy because I don’t like the feel of riding with slippery tires.

This diagram shows the difference between the Conti TKC80, TKC70 and TA2.

spider-diagramm-enduro-segment

I wanted something that has a lot of handling in wet and dry weather, and is also durable.
The Continental TrailAttack II is the most street oriented tire in this diagram, but it also has relativly good grip on gravel.

They were a noticably better tire than the old Metzelers I had.
I’ve also looked at the TKC70 and the TKC80, but the TKC80 was too much of an offroad oriented tire to run everyday on the pavement.
My next tires’ll be the TKC70’s. They have a bit more of an agressive thread and should do better offroad.

Experience:
My experience with the tires is really good. I’ve done some kind of offroading on them (riding around on roadworks), and they handled very well.
When I first took them for a ride, it felt strange to have rounded tires (well yeah, the other ones were squared off).

It took some time to get used to the new grippy tires, but now I can take some twisties without the rear end breaking loose.

Price:
I paid about €160,20 for the set without mounting, which is not that expensive for some quality tires. Mounting costed about 20€ when going to the local tire shop. They were more than happy to mount them for me 🙂

Mileage:
I’ve mounted the tires when I had 37121km on my odometer, and now I’ve got 43330km’s on it. So I’ve only ridden it for 6209km’s.
The tires are still rounded, but I still have some chickenstrips on them.
The thread is still deep so they can hold out for a very long time, wear is about 10-15% at the moment.

Riding style:
I’m mostly riding in a straight line, because it’s a commute, but in the weekends I try to get some more experience in riding twisties, which helped a little bit.
In the city it’s mostly hard on the throttle and hard on the brakes.
Normally the tires are hot when I’m back home and they stick like glue, so I’m happy with them.

Other tires I’d take a look at:
I have some tires that I still want to try out to look at their performance.
These are the following:
– Continental TKC70, because they are better offroad than the TA2.
– Heidenau K60 Scout, because they look so cool and they also have great reviews.
– Pirelli Scorpion Trail (I and II), just to try them out if they are as good as the TA2.

Verdict:
I like the TA2’s, they are very grippy in hot and cold weather, but it’s sketchy to ride on white lines when accellerating. They loose grip easily when you are on a wet slippery surface. It is also a bit frightening when you loose grip on dry, but dusty asphalt.
But all in all, it’s a great tire that doesn’t require a long break-in period.

 

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Maintaining your bike

When I bought my bike, I didn’t see that it didn’t have enough maintenance.
The seller brought it to my doorstep (which was very friendly, because I didn’t want to spend money on a rental truck), but he had shown some paperwork that the front forks and carbs were cleaned and rebuilt.

When inspecting it after he left, there was an awful lot of gunk on the rear wheel and sprocket, everything was blackened by oil and roadgrime.

After some cleaning I inspected the chain and sprockets, which were in an “almost junk” condition, but I’ve still gotten about a 2000km’s out of ’em.
Maintenance if fairly cheap, If you do it yourself.
To replace the chain, I’ve asked my mechanic (well he isn’t my friend, but I know him) to change out the worn sprocket and chain, and that costed me about 20€.

He then also checked the bike for other worn parts, and saw that my rear brake pads were totally worn out, the front ones were almost at the end of their life.
The day after, I bought a set for the front and rear. The costed about 58€ for the set.
Installing went fairly easy, but it took some time to understand how the calipers worked.
Then it was time to replace the brake fluid that was darkened a lot. It was so dark you could swear it was motor oil.

All went well till I found a big oil spot on the ground, coming from the cam chain tensioner. It’s known that the DR650, XF650 and CCM R30 have leaking gaskets around the engine, but I didn’t want to wait to replace it. So I went on and cut a gasket out of an old milk carton I found in the trash, and it worked perfectly!
It was a tedious job because I never got the holes right, but with some help of the internet, everything is possible.
I used the milk carton gasket on my orange chinese moped to close off the valve cover, and it never leaked.

Now after a full maintenance (chain, tires, brakes, oil,…) the bike still runs like a dream, except when the battery died on me because the fog lights pull a lot more power than I expected.

Anyways: Never skip maintenance on your bike, because small jobs become big jobs in the future, just like keeping your chain adequatlely lubed.

As always, ride safe!