Today, with 12,000 kms on the odometer, I swapped my first set of Continental TKC 80 tyres on my BMW G310 GS with a second set. I think I am now in a position to offer a informed review of the Continental TKC 80.
Road Performance: 5/5
Due to its soft rubber, the TKC 80 hugs the tarmac just like a road tyre would. I’m not a very aggresive rider when it comes to cornering. But I didn’t have to change my riding style to stay upright while using this tyre. FYI, I’ve been using proper knobbies on my Hero Impulse for the past 16,000 kms and I have had to change the way I corner on that motorcycle due to the knobbies. No need to do any such thing on the TKC 80’s. For all practical purposes, if you aren’t into MotoGP kind of stuff, this tyre will behave exactly like how a street tyre would. This is the number one question I’ve been asked about this tyre. One look at the tread pattern of this tyre tells you that it willbe good off-road. Everyone wants to know whether they risk crashing out on tarmac. The answer is no.
Off-Road Performance: 5/5
Being a 50-50 tyre the TKC 80 offers excellent traction in the dirt. The gap between the blocks is large enough to grip stuff below the tyre. The gap is also large enough for the tread to clean itself in wet mud. Towards the end of the life of the tyre, the central band of the tread pattern had worn out quite a bit and I started sliding around on slippery surfaces, but the knobs on the side did well to stop me from sliding into ruts as I negotiated in and out of them. This is why I really like this big block tread pattern. Its not enough to get good traction on the central strip of the tread. You also need the side of the tyre to cling onto sloping surfaces and prevent you from sliding down. In that sense this tyre acts like a knobby tyre.
Frankly, I didn’t expect to get 12,000 kms out of this set. But I think that is due to the low weight of my BMW G310 GS. For a heavy adventure motorcyle, I would expect you would get around 8,000 kms or so.
I never quite understood why people make such a noise about noise from a tyre. I mean, the howling sound of the wind is far more disturbing than the noise that a deep and wide tread would make when rolling on tarmac. Also I’ve noticed that the people complaining about tyre noise are also the ones who want louder sound from their exhaust. Anyway, I didn’t notice any sound from the tyres loud enough to disturb me. So I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.
These tyres are very expensive. I recently paid INR 18,000 for one rear tyre. Yeah, you read that right. 18K for one tyre, not a set of two. And now my regular supplier tells me that all imports of tyres have been banned in India. So now I need to figure out how I’m going to source these tyres in India.