Continental TKC 80 tire test

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A test on the road, in the paths and especially in the mud of the Conti off / road enduro tire

Original equipment from the BMW R1200 GS Adventure, the F 800 GS Adventure, the KTM 1190 Adventure R and the Husqvarna 701 Enduro

We can divide trail owners into two categories: those who do not off-road and those who do.. The Continental TKC 80 are then part of the privileged mounts of the second category: an off road and enduro tire, the original tire of the BMW R1200 GS Adventure, the F 800 GS Adventure, the KTM 1190 Adventure R and the Husqvarna. 701 Enduro.

Looks like nothing, it’s been 30 years since Continental presented this tire with its characteristic profile; in 1985 to be precise. Of course, if the German manufacturer has kept the name, he has constantly made it evolve and benefit from the latest technologies and new dimensions to accompany the release of the latest generations of machines. He even developed a tubeless version. For information, it will be recalled that the TKC 80 was first released with the only dimensions of 80/90 x 21 at the front and 120/70 x 17 at the rear. Today, we go as far as 120/90 x 17 for the front and 180/90 x 17 at the rear, for maxi-super-mega trails that make 160 horsepower! And so it is available in 17 ", 18", 19 "and 21".

The fact remains that this tire is presented by Continental as the best possible compromise between road and off-road. For those who only want to practice off-road in a less sustained way, Continental also has the TKC 70 in its range..

Continental TKC 80 tires

The TKC 80 today equips many motorcycles at the same time (it is original equipment at BMW, KTM and Husqvarna, while it has just been approved on the latest Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, for example) due to its look and just as much for its performance in a hostile environment.

The tire has evolved according to the evolution of the weight and speed of motorcycles. The sizes available have also followed the evolution of the machines and the tire is mounted on 17, 19 and 21 inch rims..

After 30 years, what are these tires worth in the mixed exercise of asphalt and road, knowing that in the end, everything depends on the quality of the studs and the excellence of the carcass? ?

A test in real conditions

For this test, we did not do things by halves! We registered for the March Moto Madness 2018 edition and we went by road like the brave (going in the rain and back in the sun, it’s important). The tires were run in on 200 short kilometers of asphalt. You have to talk about it because the tire tends to "engage" when it is new. Indeed, the structure of the studs and their shape mean that the tire has a "staircase" effect when setting the angle and the bike gives the impression of wanting to fall. I chose to run it in on the way to work and focusing on the city, which allows the tire to be leveled quickly and erased this "staircase" effect. The bike, a proud 2004 Yamaha XTR 660, isn’t the best braking machine in the world, but gets the job done. It was previously equipped with tires made only for the road. Despite everything, we note a small increase in braking distances and we will obviously avoid braking on the angle and on wet white bands (a little savvy is not incompatible with the biker spirit).

It is on a Yamaha XT660 that we mounted the TKC 80

On the road !

To test on the road, we did a Versailles – Dreux on small roads in light rain, but continued with a good low 6 ° C, which means a nice accumulation of conditions that this type of tire generally does not like. Overall the tires were predictable. It is important a tire that warns. This is even what we ask him first. The TKC80, after ad hoc break-in, quickly finds its bearings on the road. It no longer engages and allows a reassuring bet on the angle. The feedback on the state of the grip is quite good and the carcass works well under braking at the front to give feedback. However, the rear tire quickly shows its limits in the rear and locks easily under braking, which makes me think that pulling the lever harder in front would not be a good idea. On an old one, we will therefore keep in mind that the braking, it is measured and that these tires should encourage you to give up a bit compared to a more road riding. Nothing illogical compared to the positioning of this TKC 80, in short.

Before taking them on the roads, the TKC 80 were tested on the road

On a motorcycle with modern braking, we will therefore trust the ABS, while keeping in mind that this system cannot work miracles either and that longer braking distances can also be involved..

On the angle, the tire is rather stable. From there we must still keep in mind that factually and with an equivalent diameter, we have less rubber than a road tire. When we said that, we said to ourselves that the tire would not be completely comfortable in more demanding dynamic conditions. In the subject road, one point seems important to me: the transition from the path to the road is going well. The spacing of the studs allows the tire to quickly empty itself of the dirt and mud that it has accumulated and to regain its grip and its specific asphalt feedback. In technical terms, this is called "pecking" and Continental states that the TKC 80 has good self-cleaning properties. We checked it out.

The spacing between the studs allows good transitions from the paths to the road

On the paths

The TKC 80 is no funny tire; it’s a funny tire. Let me explain: the feedback is good in all cases, which means that we quickly start playing with the bike. The traction qualities being one of the strengths of this tire, which nobody disputes, the fun side comes from its progressive and predictive reactions.

TKC 80s provide good traction

Where it gets funny is once again on the tire’s ability to feed back information: when going around on the tracks, the tire makes predictable and progressive drifts, allowing the pilot to avoid it. give to your heart’s content. The grip recovery is in tune and avoids any racket hit. Tested in the (very) fat, the tire got out of it if not with the honors in a fairly honest way, sometimes allowing to start again from an unfortunate posture, tanked between two bumps. The tire, without being as biting as a full offroad, helps to feel comfortable in the exercise.

Tires also provide good feedback

Even when throttling straight out of a corner, the rear tire sweeps the track without putting the driver in default or under stress..

The same goes for braking, where feedback easily provides information on the locking point of the tire..

Globally

This tire will never be at the on-road level of a full road tire, nor at the level of a 100% offroad tire off the road. However, it allows you to approach the discipline with serenity, ensuring that the connections from one path to another will take place in the best conditions. Placed more offroad than the TKC70, it only outperforms it in this area, leaving the TKC more comfortable on dry or wet asphalt, with more agility and leaving it more longevity. However in the (very) fat, the TKC 80 will show its superiority. We will therefore say that the TKC80 is intended for those who want a tire to make the connection and not tourism. The profile, the vibrations and the contact surface with the ground make the TKC80 more efficient on the road than on the road where its limited grip in the wet will slow down your ardor..

Continental TKC 80 tire test

Compared to the TKC70, the TKC 80 offers much better provisions for off-road and enduro. On the other hand, what he gains in all terrain, he loses on the road in all the other aspects of handling, grip and mileage. So, it all depends on your usage. If you mainly use your motorbike on the road, and just need to take a small path to reach your house at the top of the hill, take the ContiTrailAttack2. On the other hand, if you like to take the roads in all seasons, with an essentially off-road use, in which case, the TKC80 will reveal its true face and all its superior possibilities to get you out of the ruts. And if you’re a bit in between, the TKC 70 is a good alternative.

Strong points

  • Traction in the fat
  • The tire that warns
  • The very distinctive profile
  • The mythical side (buy a pair, ride it on a GSX-R 1100 and go to Wheels & Waves where you will be received with open arms!)
  • Good mileage durability compared to its competitors

Weak points

  • Lack of grip on wet asphalt
  • The "staircase" sculpture which surprises at the beginning
  • Rolling noise
  • Approved for 160 km / h maximum

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: a few thousand kilometers on trail rides and participation in the March Moto Madness
  • Problem encountered: some falls in TT, but falls in TT, that doesn’t count

The dimensions of the Continental TKC 80:

In the front :

  • 120/70 x 17
  • 100/90 x 19
  • 110/80 x 19
  • 120/70 x 19
  • 80/90 x 21
  • 90/90 x 21

In back :

  • 120/90 x 17
  • 130/80 x 17
  • 140/80 x 17
  • 150/70 x 17
  • 170/60 x 17
  • 180/55 x 17
  • 110/80 x 18
  • 120/90 x 18
  • 140/80 x 18
  • 150/70 x 18

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