There are few better riding destinations in the world than the Alps, and there are few better machines to tackle the seemingly endless switchbacks than an adventure bike. Therefore, the Austrian Alps were a perfect place for Continental to showcase its new Trail Attack 2 tire. The highlight of the trip was an afternoon spent riding the Grossglockner High Alpine Road 100 kilometers south of Salzburg. This toll road (23 euros for motorcycles) is 30 miles in length and includes 36 marked hairpins with hundreds of curves in between. It ends at the Pasterze glacier, where you get to turn around and do it all over again in the opposite direction.
Before we could ride the Grossglockner, we had to get there. After spending the morning at the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany, our group mounted a variety of adventure bikes including the brand-new BMW R1200GS and KTM 1190 Adventure, plus the popular Triumph Tiger Explorer and Ducati Multistrada. For our 125-mile journey south into Austria, I chose a GS, as my time on this new liquid-cooled bike has been limited.
Continental’s Trail Attack 2 was designed specifically for heavyweight adventure-touring machines. As a matter of fact, Conti worked very closely with KTM during the development of the 1190 Adventure model; KTM had a unique set of requirements for an OE tire for the bike. In particular, the Austrian company wanted a ZR speed rating because the 1190’s maximum speed is over 149 mph. The Trail Attack 2 tires fitted to the KTM are specific to that bike, size 120/70ZR-19 in front and 170/60ZR-17 back. BMW’s new R1200GS has identically sized tires, but they have an R speed rating good for sustained operation up to 106 mph.
Unlike some competitors’ products, the Trail Attack 2 utilizes only a single rubber compound across the surface of the tire. Continental’s Continuous Compound-Technology is said to give the tires increased grip on the shoulders and a longer-wearing wearing center section. Conti achieves this by carefully controlling the temperature from edge to edge during the curing process, which makes the single compound take on the attributes of a multi-compound tire.
Other technologies built into the Trail Attack 2 include 0-degree belt construction for high-speed stability, plus Black Chili compound, which Conti uses to quicken warm up time, improves wet surface grip and reduces braking distances. The tire also has Traction Skin, a raw tread surface treatment that eliminates the need for tire-release agents from the mold and allows a new tire to be broken in very quickly.
My first day on the Trail Attack 2-equipped R1200GS included a lot of real-world riding. Heading out of Munich, we had some short stints on the Autobahn before connecting a bunch of small villages via two-lane country roads. Road surface conditions varied from perfect blacktop to mountain curves covered in morning dew. Our second day consisted of tackling the Glossglockner and its numerous hairpins in the morning aboard the same GS, then switching to a KTM 1190 Adventure prior to riding on the wet- and dry-handling courses of a tire test facility adjacent to our hotel.
Prior to this trip, I spent a day riding the KTM 1190 Adventure in the Canary Islands and was impressed with the OEM Trail Attack 2 tire. This go-around was no different. The Trail Attack 2 offers excellent grip in a wide variety of conditions, surfaces and temperatures. High-speed stability, handling and braking performance were very good on both machines I rode.
At the tire test facility, I was able to ride the KTM around a wet skidpad and also on a road course that had quite a bit of standing water in a high-speed braking zone. While following Conti’s long-time test rider Josef Jauernik around the wet skidpad, I was amazed by the amount of roost coming off his rear tire; the tread pattern seriously moves a lot of water. With the KTM set to its Rain mode, the traction was totally predictable on the drenched skidpad. The dry handling course, with asphalt intentionally varied from section to section, was a big challenge. Neverthelesss, I was impressed with the tire’s performance. Even with ABS off, the KTM had zero issues scrubbing speed in a controlled manner on the semi-wet road course. I smartly called it a day after realizing that I was going faster and faster and a crash felt eminent. After all, the test facility wasn’t meant to be ridden like a racetrack.
Our time in the Alps and on the test track proved that the new Continental Trail Attack 2 isn’t so much an ADV tire but a sport tire for ADV bikes. My one regret: I never got to sample the tire off-highway to see how it performed in the dirt. But for those riders who will spend the majority of their time on asphalt, the Trail Attack 2 is an excellent high-performance ADV tire for every conceivable road you may encounter.