Continental TKC80 – Tyre review

Overland tyres are necessarily a compromise. ‘Knobblies’ on the road aren’t ideal by their very nature, as the blocks of rubber that bite so easily into the earth, offer reduced grip on smooth hard tarmac, with their small footprint and the tendency to flex, giving the bike a somewhat unattached feel. This movement and the higher speeds we use on the road, leads to heat build up and the subsequent rapid demise of the knobbles. But a road tyre is utterly useless when rain turns an unsealed earthen surface into a quagmire, so what do you do?

tkc80webContinental’s TKC80 is an aging design and certainly looks like a knobbly, but is actually quite accomplished all round rubber, the reason no doubt, that it’s still in production after quite a few years on the market.

Handling is definitely transformed by fitting TKCs, the most pronounced change being the sensation that the headstock bearings are worn and the steering wants to stay straight ahead. It’s initially disturbing, but it doesn’t take long to adapt. The tread pattern and rounded profile (for a rough-grip) permit surprisingly big lean angles once you’ve coaxed your bike off the straight and narrow, and the wear life is definitely in excess of some other revered dirt tyres, like Michelin’s Sahara.

There is a minor increase in vibration too, but that just encourages a reduction in cruising speed, in turn saving fuel, lengthening tyre life and leading to more looking around!

Fitted to my fully laden 650 Aprilia and Andy’s 1150GS on our recent trip to Iceland, the rear achieved a comfortable 7000 miles but really came into its own when on the island, where only the circumference Highway 1 is tarmac’d (and not even all of it!). The planted feel in mud, shale and to a lesser extent on snow, meant that progress was easy in all but the most extreme conditions. The way in which turn in, braking and drive were made possible on the loose, far outweighed any inconvenience on the main highway.

Truly dual purpose, it’s a tyre I’d choose when I know for definite that I’m going to traverse rough surfaces, but not if the bulk of a trip was going to be on the blacktop, even if they look timelessly righteous!


Full size range (with new 1190 Adventure and R1200GS tyres highlighted):

Front: 120/70 B17 58Q Tubeless

100/90 -19 57S Tube Type

110/80 B19 59Q Tubeless

120/70 B19 60Q Tubeless

2.50 -21 48S Tube Type

2.75 -21 52S Tube Type

3.00 -21 51S Tube Type

80/90 -21 48Q Tube Type

90/90 -21 54S Tube Type

90/90 -21 54T Tubeless

Rear: 120/90 -17 64S Tube Type

130/80 -17 65S Tube Type

130/80 -17 65T Tubeless

140/80 -17 69Q Tubeless

150/70 B17 69Q Tubeless

170/60 B17 72Q Tubeless

180/55 B17 73Q Tubeless

3.50 -18 62S Tube Type

4.10 -18 66P Tube Type

4.00 -18 64R Tube Type

110/80 -18 58Q Tube Type

120/90 -18 65R Tube Type

140/80 -18 70R Tube Type

150/70 B18 70Q Tube Type


TKC80 tyres designated Tubeless can be fitted with an appropriately sized inner tube when used on tube type wheel rims.