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Motorcycle Tire Review – Continental Trail Attack VS Michelin Anakee 2 (with a summary of Bridgestone Battle Wing Tires)

October 25, 2010

I recently replaced the worn but trusty Bridgestone Battle Wing tires on my 2002 Aprilia Caponord.  I liked the Battle Wings and rode them through a huge variety of road and weather conditions.  But after many thousand miles the rear was flat as a pancake and way through the center wear bars.  The front was toasted also.  I can’t estimate how many miles in total I got from this pair as they were on the bike when I purchased it.  Like I said they were solid, dependable tires.  They only gave me pause once during a massive rain storm in December riding north from Memphis, TN.  The road itself was broken pavement and heavily traveled with 18 wheel trucks, bumper to bumper in torrential rain.  I’d been on the road for a long time and wanted to get home for Christmas.  I was riding aggressively and passing whenever I could see past the truck spray.  A few times under acceleration, I could feel the traction begin to go away.  Considering I was surrounded on all sides by 18 wheelers, it made me nervous…… Not sure any tire would have shined in those conditions.

Bridgestone Battle-Wing 501 and 502 Tires:

 

I recently tested a 2010 BMW Gs1200 Adventure.  It’s the gold standard in real-deal adventure motorcycles.  On the way out of the dealership I remember turning to look and see what tires were on the bike I just rode – Continental Trail Attack.  I did a bit of research on ADV Rider and the internet and believed I had found  a perfect 80% on road 20% off-road tire.  Compared to  the Battle wings – they are NOT CHEAP.  I ordered a set from Jake Wilson (jakewilson.com).  Jake Wilson pushes these tiny ceramic beads called “dynabeads”.  These dynabeads are supposed to balance the tire “dynamically”.   When moving, the beads move to the areas of the tire that need balancing and will continue to balance the tire through the life of the tire.  Dynabeads claim is that they increase the life of the tire by as much as 20% as they constantly re-balance the tire as opposed to conventional stick on balancing weights that either come off (unstuck) 0r are gradually useless as the tire wears and the balancing demands change. 

It sounded too good to be true.  Internet research was inconclusive at best.  Forums were equally divided into “it works” and “It’s snake oil” camps.  I figured for $15.00 it would be worth a shot.  NOT BY A LONG SHOT. 

Continental Trail Attack Tires:

I removed the old tires and installed the correct amount of dynabeads in the new tires.  1.0z in the front tire and 2.0z in the rear.  I also removed the old stick on weights.  The Trail Attack’s look great and I immediately left on a 1000 mile round-trip ride.  Almost immediately I noticed a wobble in the front end of the bike.  From 20-50 MPH there was a distinct wobble.  With my hands off the bars it was REALLY noticeable.  From 60-90 MPH the bars vibrated and there was a noticable buzz in the bars.  After a hundred miles my hands were numb and the mirrors were useless.  I decided that maybe the front tire was a little light at 1.0 OZ of dynabeads and pulled over and added 1.0 OZ more.  This involved removing the valve stem, completely deflating the tire and re-inflating the tire.  It’s good I had some time.  Back on the road there was no noticable difference.   Cursing into my helmet, I vowed to have the freaking dynabeads removed at the first opportunity.  Too bad it would come almost two days and 500 miles later.  I can say with confidence that the Trail Attack tires have tremendous GRIP on the road.  I was able to confidently ride very, very aggressively through every corner I could find at almost sport bike speeds. 

At my destination, we removed the front and back tires and drove over to Cycle Gear to have the tires conventionally balanced and re-mounted.  The mechanic said that every customer who tried dynabeads almost immediately had them removed.  Do dynabeads suck?  I’m not sure.  

With the tires conventionally balanced, I went for a test ride.  The wobble was reduced by about 1/2 but still there and at speed my hands again went numb.  I was irritated to say the least.  I rode another 500 miles home and called customer service at Jake Wilson.   They suggested that I warranty the tire and order another.  There was a possiblity that it was out of round or a bad production tire, etc.   I had to pay for the replacement tire and then send the defective tire back.  A week went by waiting for the tire (this is an issue as in Vermont, we are running out of riding time!).  I rode over to Land Air in Williston, VT and had the tire removed and the new tire installed.  I also had the ENTIRE front end checked over for issues (head bearings, wheel true, etc).  The inspection revealed nothing wrong with the bike.  I went for another test ride.  By this point the tires had been mounted 2x and the front 3x!.  The wobble was still there.   This was confirmed by another 600 mile ride.   Time for a change. 

 

Michelin Anakee 2 Tires:

Long story longer, the end result was having the tires installed three times on the rear and four times on the front!  We are talking about serious $$$ in mounting fees. Jake Wilson says they would cover the mounting fees but I have not heard anything yet with regard to when and how much I’ll be getting in return.  

Quite simply, the Anakee 2’s don’t wobble.  They don’t wobble even a little bit.  They don’t seem to offer the grip of the Trail Attack’s but I can live with that.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank Gorshin permalink
    October 26, 2010 12:29 am

    Bummer

  2. May 25, 2012 3:36 pm

    I forgot to mention that Jake Wilson did a first rate job on replacing the tires AND as promised, covered the mounting fees for having to have the tires mounted and re-mounted so many times. If you need ANYTHING – http://www.jakewilson.com is THE place to buy it. Thanks again Jake Wilson!

Trackbacks

  1. Continental Motorcycle Tires Review
  2. GEAR REVIEW–Continental Road Attack Long term test | Singlesided Swingarm

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