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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When my friend Joe asked me to demo some new tires, I was little bit skeptical.
Tires are such a personal choice, and there’s an almost superstition surrounding what tires to use on the track. Now I’ve run Dunlop’s, and Pirellis, and back to Dunlop’s, going with the current fad. But in 20 some years of track day riding and racing, I’ve never even considered any other brand.
My response to a set of free trial tires was, as you would guess, “Hell yeah!
I had only done a few track days since moving from the moto-mecca of Portland in the great Pacific Northwest to California, land of sunshine, lane splitting and avocado’s.
In fact this would only be my third day at T-Hill east. Thunderhill raceway is a lovely flowing three mile, 15-turn track in rural northern California. And, it is only about one hour from my home in Sacramento.
The pressure was on to demo the Conti’s and gets some real solid feedback. Who can pass up free tires?! Today, that guniea pig was me. Nightmares of high-side induced crashes haunted me all week. Tires are big deal, and most of riding fast is mental too. I mean, even if I crashed for some other reason, the tires would always be the reason. So I had better not crash.

This was also my first Track day with Cali Track days and their $100 special targeted at new track riders. Bill Schaeffer runs Cali Track days and offers $100 days. Its geared mostly for those new to the track, and his marshals are very friendly and knowledgeable.
The day started out cold and windy, about 55* but warming quickly. I hurried to get registered teched and get the bike on warmers. I wanted to be able to hit the first session up to temp. I went with the recommended PSI specs from Continentals website, strangely enough, the exact same pressures as the Dunlop slicks...hmmmm. Too easy.
I set the Conti Slicks initially at 21 and 23, PSI, but after an hour they were nowhere near the 31 and 33 recommendations. I added a few pounds and kept checking them.
At the 5 minute call for the first A session (they call it B+) I was a pound or two below recommendations. Took it a little easy the first session, but the tires felt fantastic. Still bedding in new rotors after all. But from the Conti’s, no squirm, no wiggle. Controllable under braking, etc. They felt really good. There is a seam in the pavement in Turn 7 that the Q4s struggled with. It was always very evident and sucked the confidence right out of me. On the Conti Slicks, however, there was no issue, I didn’t even feel it.
As the day warmed up, the tires warmed up a little, and I ended up letting a pound out later on, to keep them at 31/33. I checked them after every session, and again at the end of lunch, and they remained consistent.
I was not nice to the tires. I ride the BMW exclusively in “slick mode” with ABS “on”. I purposefully entered corners hot, ham fisted out of them, etc. I tried to get the Traction Control to flicker. It wasn’t until the last session that I started to get some TC and ABS action. Riding the big BMW is fun but challenging.
T-Hill on the BMW is essentially a 3rd gear track. Out of hot pits, its click, click, click into 5th and left for T1 exiting T1 at about 8k rpm. (I really should be in 4th gear I think.) Then its T2-T4 in 5th, (or 4th,) downshift into 3rd at the top of the hill for T5. Then its 3rd down the hill, around T6, and wide open through T7 and T8 up to redline usually and about 140mph, (sometimes knee down in T8) up across the seam aiming for cones, up the hill into T9, cresting the hill in 3rd managing the wheel lift, down the hill turning hard left into T10. T11 is IMHO the most technical corner, a sharp left before a semi-chicane of T12, and then T13 onto the back straight. Out of T13, its WFO in third, as the front wheel begins to leave the pavement at about 135, I roll off and set up for the long right hand T14 and T15 (which if done right is just one long corner), exiting onto the front in third gear…and do it all again, reaching over 155 in 5th gear before braking for T1 all over again.
Until the last session of the day, the Conti’s showed no wear at all. A little balling of rubber on the edges, but no significant wear. The last session, there was a crash just as the track was to go green, so we ended up sitting on the grid for a god 10 minutes. Tires cooling with each minute. When we did get out, I got the chance to chase one of the top AFM 300cc race kids around. I settled in behind him to match his lines to see if I could learn anything. I shadowed him for two laps before squeezing the big BMWs power tap and leaving him in the dust. I did stay right with him in the corners though, which I felt was something, considering my bike weighs about double his!
At the end of the last session the Rear Continental had some cold tearing. Likely a result of the hard charge after sitting on the grid. I had a little TC flicker in T13 and some ABS entering T1. Otherwise, the Continentals worked fabulously.
If these were available, Id likely run them. They felt really good. They didn’t seem to compress under acceleration like a stiff carcass Pirelli, and didn’t tear like I often see with Dunlop’s. I think they are a very solid tire choice for anyone’s track day experience. Time will tell how long they last, but even with the brutal big horsepower of the BMW, they held up phenomenally well.
Special thanks to Corey and Toni from Some F’ Shop, Bill Schaeffer of Cali Track Days.
Ride and setup:
2014 BMW S1000RR. Stock analog suspension. HP Forged wheels, Brembo SS rotors, Vesrah SRJL pads, Rizoma rearsets, GB racing case covers, MotoHolders fairing Stay. Paint by –myself. Akro slip-on. (yes Im running a 2015 stock pipe with integral catalytic converter, flapper valves et al.) Stock gearing. Race Bodywork. No tune. Continental Contitrack 120/70/17 soft front and 190/60/17 medium rear.
 

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Thanks for posting. It'll be interesting to see availability and pricing. I've been running Michelin Power RS tires for several years now just because they are so damn cheap and I don't need full on slicks for trackdays. The RS tires are a nice trackday oriented tire with great feel and durability. I'd definitely try the Conti's if they aren't as much as some other slick options.
 

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Interesting....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Follow up.

Spent a third day in A group on the Continentals. First day as noted above on the BMW. Another day at Thill on the ZX10RR, and a third day on the ZX10RR (after the 204 hp upgrade) at Buttonwillow.

Tires look fantastic, very little obvious wear. No cold tearing. PSI was 21 and 23 off the warmers. The Ninja does have an Ohlins TTX otherwise suspension is stock. (BMW is all stock non DDC).

Really like these tires. Too bad there is no race tire dealer on the west coast.


Also as a quick comparison, the Conti's are a little shorter than a comparable Dunlop. and more closely match the Dunlop 200/55.
Continental has discontinued the 190/60 and now offers a 200/60 tire.


Continental 190/60 : 655mm diameter
Dunlop 190/60 Netc: 658mm

Dunlop 200/55 Q4: 657mm
Dunlop 200/55 Slick: 656 mm
 

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Do the continentals have different compounds?

I pay roughly $430 for a set of Pirelli Diablo Superbike slicks at the track mounted. What would the Continentals be?

Have you compared lap times between the Conti and say Dunlops?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Do the continentals have different compounds?

I pay roughly $430 for a set of Pirelli Diablo Superbike slicks at the track mounted. What would the Continentals be?

Have you compared lap times between the Conti and say Dunlops?
I think retail for the Conti's was about $400.
They do have two different compounds. You can do a google search and find their brochure online.

My next set in the wings are Dunlops. Once these are toast Ill do a comparison.
Ill have a camera next round too for lap time comparisons.


When I switched from Pirellis to Dunlops, I went a second quicker.

D
 

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I tested some Continental slicks back in the late 80s early 90s and they where pretty good. I also did some testing with Avon slicks. Strange both where very competitive however they never kept up with the effort and faded away while Dunlop and Michelin ruled the paddock

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dunlop and Pirelli are king on the west coast.
I have to believe its just marketing and such, as the Continentals are just as good.

Continental doesnt seem to put effort into the track riders as much as street tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Final Continental Slick update. Tires are good for 4.5 trackdays....didn't survive the 5th day. Had to stop riding mid-day after they got so loose I couldn't hold a line. Tried turning the TC up every session, but just wasn't helping.

Now I know!

Next up, Ill be spooning on some Dunlop Slicks.

D
 

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Jeez, thats good. 2 days on a dunlop Med+ rear is about average.
What shock?
Interested inseeing how they compare on your setup!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ohlins TTX rear shock, stock OEM forks. I expect the Dunlops and the Contis to be very similar in performance. Size and sidewall stiffness feel about identical.
 
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