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Conti Classic Attacks


Having discussed the use of the 100/90-19 front and rear fitment of these with the UK importer and the fitting onto the WM2 standard rim it was soon cleared up that these would fit as they have been used for racing in this configuration. Even the Roadrider does not specify fitting to the WM2 rim so nothing new there.  

These are the latest zero steel belt technology, so unfair to compare them with the Roadriders directly, they are also more expensive, but can be found for similar prices to the Dunlop K81. 

When fitted, and they are far tougher to fit than the Roadriders that can be nearly pushed on all bar the last bit by hand. Michelin style levers and tyre fitting gel helped massively. The concentric band around the tyre is not that 'concentric' but with a new tyre in hand you will see that adjacent to the bead are some moulding tails - use these to ensure the tyre is on the rim squarely and not lop sided. 

Are they better than Roadriders - yes, massively so, but it is not comparing like for like, the Roadrider is a bias ply universal fitment. The whole bike steers in quicker and with less effort, feels lighter, more like a push bike, no tracking, but then that affects most tyres when worn. Even the low speed handling is improved, and this is on lardy MK3. On a 750, I predict these would be even better. 

Despite this, the fellow members at the Solent branch were not convinced due to the widths, despite being 100/90 they don't quite make this width when fitted and look a little skinny, but the tyre has a massive rating 149mph / 230Kgs, so this is not a concern for me. Hopefully the miles will stack up on them and outlast the Roadriders, should do as they are not universal fitment but dedicated fitments. 

Are these better, yes but early days, and then there is the cost, but this seems to be coming down in recent times, look to pay about £105 front and £125 rear.  


Would be interested to hear what you think of them as they wear, and especially the wear rate at the rear compared to Roadriders.


I have these on WM2 front & WM3 rear - great grip but they are skinny width & height - was running lower pressures which blew me about in the wind & wore the back tyre out after 2.5k miles - now running 34 psi front & 38 rear - what pressures are you running  Ashley?

I am using Conti Attacks on a Fastback WM2 front and WM3 rear.  A 2.5k trip to Italy via Alps return showed negligible front wear and about 1/3 wear rear using pressures a few pounds down on Conti recommendations as I am less than 10 stone. 

Steering is light and precise together with good stability in a variety of weather conditions including a light snow covering and heavy rain.  I will happily refit Attacks when the time comes.

Regarding sizing, we have become accustomed to seeing fat tyres on modern bikes and are inclined to forget that a 400 was the largest available.  We used to race 750s and Seeleys on 325 front and 350 rear using compounds much less grippy than currently fitted.   


Great to hear that it is not just me using them.

The tyre pressures recommended were 31 Front, 28 rear, but these seemed a little too low for the heavy MK3 and a 90Kg rider so I use 32 front, 34 rear. Both wheels are WM2.

The reasons for switching to them was many, but one was to get better mileage and being dedicated fitments, this should be possible. My last Roadrider on the rear was half worn after 1700 miles, increasing the pressure on a recommend from Avon massively increased the remaining life of the tyre. 

I have also noticed the cross wind more, but that is just it - noticed. It is not an inconvenience or troublesome, so no real bother.  


Ashley - can you explain a bit more please what the advice was that Avon gave you to increase tyre life on your Roadriders? I have these fitted on my Guzzi and am about to fit them on my rotary too. 


Just about to take the plunge on AM26 Road riders after many years of K81 tyres lasting not much more than 2000 miles on the back. I dont believe my riding justifies the Conti Attacks - but would like to check my understandin g of the Roadriders:

  1. I would be fitting 100/90 front and rear, just like the K81 (4.10 x 19).
  2. Comments on tyre pressures are interesting as I am over 16 stone, but spread out over a 6'5" frame.
  3. I am expecting the Road riders to be better all round than the K81, both in grip and longevity due to it being a "modern" tyre.
  4. Lower purchase cost

Would anyone take violent issue with my simple assumptions?


You will need to email Avon to get the detail from them, It would not be ideal to promulgate something they asked me to test. The advice they gave me would have only been for the 100/90-19 universal. However, if you look at the spec of the tyre, look at the weight of the bike with a rider and you will see which way you may need to go with your tyre pressures. 

The Roadrider was originally designed for middleweight bikes, the Commando does not fall into that category these days. Once you consider a porky MK3 with full tank of fuel, luggage and a pillion then the tyre rating, it soon becomes evident that tyres will be near the top of their rating. The old Roadrunner has the better load rating. A MK3 has a gross rating weight of 399Kg, so you can see it would not take long to utilise the spare capacity in weight. 

For most this is not an issue, but if you carry a pillion and luggage, then it is something to have in mind when choosing tyres. The Roadrunner and Roadrider will meet most owners needs, cheaply, not quite a modern tyre as it is now over 10 years old, though has been updated through its life. 

Hopefully the dedicated front and rear fitting conti tyres will last longer, time will tell. 

Ashley - it is normal to use a higher tyre pressure at the rear than the front. 

I recently fitted RoadRiders to my '55 Dominator, and was recommended by an Avon rep to use 28 psi front and 33 psi rear.   Mileage is too low so far to make a useful comment on them.  I used to have TT100s (K81) on 30 / 34 psi.



Sorry to hijack this thread about Conti attacks - but I cannot believe 30/34 on K81 tyres! It was too long ago for me to remember who originally told me - maybe the dealer a long time ago, but I still have a note on the garage wall which says 23/25psi!


Sorry if my note appeared a little abrupt yesterday Paul, but I was genuinely surprised to hear the higher pressures being used on K81's - is this why I'm getting such miserable mileage out of mine?

I did actually check last night and found 22/24 stated in the Haynes manual - so I didn't make it up! I can't wait to experiment with another 6 or 8 pounds!


The name of the tyre maybe the same but modern tyres have less stiffness is the side walls, hence the higher pressures needed. 


I can distinctly remember my tyre man (Sones in Croydon who was also to be found with a van at Brands Hatch) recommending considerably higher pressures for the K81 as far back as the mid-1980s...I ran them (and now run Roadriders) on 27/30 or 29/32 if fully laden.

I use similar pressures in the 100% aspect ratio tyres on the 16H too but I'm not fussy about a pound or two on that..If it's above 25 at the rear then it doesn't squirm.


Using 28/32 on my Norton Mercury, as recommended in a  phone call to Avon technical support. Handling is very good, but may go up a few psi to see how it feels. To be fair, they don't seem too fussy about pressures.

As John Holmes remarked, forget what the old Manuals say.

Ashley' s comments on the Metzelers being skinny is interesting as the Roadriders are a very tight fit on my Mercury. Will give them a try when new tyre are required. 

About 2000 miles on the Avons thus far, with plenty of tread left.

Best regards,



A quick note to say I emailed Avon's customer support via their website and they got back to me the same day with their recommended pressures for both my rotary and the Guzzi. Top marks to them. 



I have heard mention of a 90/90-19 front and 100/90-19 rear combination for AM26s. Does anyone have experience of this?

What benefits might there be in having a smaller profile front tire - I see it done quite frequently on different machines?

I am trying to decide what best to do when I get my MK1 on the road. I have used AM26s on my Ariels and am really pleased with them.

Thanks and BR,

Keith Owen


I run a 90/90 on a WM2 front and 100/90 on a WM3 rear on my Mk3...The recommendation to do it goes back to the days of 3.60 K81s on the front....Certainly with the Roadriders, the 90/90 is closer to the recommended sizing on the WM2.

It is said to quicken-up the steering, but the Roadriders are such an improvement in both stability and the ability to change direction quickly when compared with anything else I've used on a Commando that it's difficult to say how much of the benefit is from the narrower front.

Resistance to white-lining or any type of longitudinal grooves is first-rate too..I'm very happy and to be honest won't be experimenting further with tyres all the time that they remain available.



Thank you for your reply. It has put my mind at rest, since I have already bought the tyres.

Concerning Road Riders, I entirely agree with you. I have fitted them to my rigid Ariel 500 single and run 28 psi rear 26 psi front and they are excellent; True I have a 192 rim on the front, not the original 20, but the move from ribbed front o block tread rear is impressive!

Could you tell me what pressures you run on your Commando? I know the MK3 is a bit hevier than a Mk1, but it will certainly give me a very good starting point.


thanks and BR,



Solo, I run 27 / 30 which I did on the Super Venoms before and the Metzelers and Michelins prior to that...I certainly wouldn't drop below those figures.

The only minus point for me with the 90/90 front is that it does look a little lost under the large 850 front guard intended for a 4.10. I can't see it when I'm riding though :-)


I use WM2 front and WM3 rear, normally with Avon Roadrider 90/90 and 100/90 fitted (pressure 29/32). I have just finished testing a ContiClassic on the rear together with a 90/90 Roadrider front. Regarding handling (road use, dry conditions) I did not find any significant difference between Roadrider and ContiClassic. The previous Roadrider were worn out (down to indicator marks) after 5300 miles and the Conti after 3700miles. So I will stick to the Roadriders.


Richard is running a WM3 with a 100 / 90.

Does anyone have experience of running a 100/90 with a WM2?

Also, is a 4.10 in fact pushing it with a WM2 (even though Norton did it)?

I am getting my wheels re-built so just want to be sure before I press the button!



I run a 100/90 rear roadrider with WM2 rim, no issues at all other than it needs replacing now as there is not much tread left. 

In reply to by keith_owen



if you are getting your wheels rebuilt with alloy rims it would be a good idea to fit the Conti recommended 2.50" width rather than stick to the WM2 1.85" or WM3 2.15. They support the sidewalls better and will perform as designed under steering, cornering and braking while hopefully enhancing mileage and looking much better under the standard mudguards. See Conti data in attachment image below

If you are sticking to chrome steel rims WM3 would be first choice unless you can find a suitable 19" in the 2.50" width.


I saw that and being in the trade contacted the Continental UK importer who we have a good relationship. It was on their advice that the 100/90 - 19 would fit a WM2 rim and be fit for purpose. Of note, the Avon 100/90 - 19 according to their data sheets also says it should be fitted to a wider rim than the WM2, but the tyre selection facility shows it as a suitable fitment. 

Though I'm finding the Conti's a step up over the Roadriders, the capability of both tyres exceeds most owners on the road, so the extra cost of the Conti's at the moment makes the Roadrider the best option. To test tyres, in pairs is the best method, bias front / steel belt rear will not tell you much. 

It is quite evident that no matter what tyre you use, the Commando and the heavier versions like the MK3 can easily punish the tyres, I could get the Roadrider rear to break traction using the standard cam when dropping a gear at over 70mph - (usually when overtaking Pete D - only Joking!) The Roadrider was originally a 'middleweight' tyre, so it has done well.  

Now It Is out there for all the world too see I must admit to being Captain slow (Ask Jem) Ha Ha!!


I emailed Conti Technischer Produkt Service in Hannover, Germany, this week about what Conti could advice for standard steel WM2 1.85" rims on a 1973 Mk2 850 Commando for regular road use. 

The answer was clear: none. The 1.85" rim width is the limiting factor for Conti. It is too narrow.

The attached Conti data sheet nr. 099 dated 11 June 2013 I received for ContiClassicAttack model 100/90 R19 M/C 57V TL  mentions 2.50*19 as the nominal rim size, and 2.15*19 till 2.75*19 as allowable rim sizes.



Thanks for this I shall enquire. What I have found is that very few motorcycle tyres that would suit  a Commando actually have a recommendation for the WM2.this includes Avon Roadrider, but we have used it for years. 

I suspect that the manufacturers make classic tyres, just seem to realise that the WM2 is used these days.   


The Avon Fitment Guide of 2014, issued 3/2014 by Avon Motorcycle Tyres North America, still featured the original Commando models from the seventies. The recommendation for the 1972 onwards 750s and 1973 onwards 850 reads (see attachment):

4.10-19 61H TT Universal AM9 (also 100/90-19 57V Roadrider)

The Avon Fitment Guide of 2019 (issued by Cooper?) no longer mentions the original Commando models, only the 961s (see attachment). Same actually goes for the classic Triumph models, they are also no longer listed.

The information on this specific Roadrider (AM26 Universal, Eur. Code 2289013) is the same in both guides: recommended rim width is 2.50, allowable rim widths between 2.15 and 2.75.



The Avon fitment guide has stated this since 2009 when the Roadrider appeared, so nothing new. If you actually look at the actual tyre spec for the Roadrider Universal,as you have done, it also can't be fitted to the WM2, though it does not specifically say that just like the Conti technical spec, it also does not state the tyre ''cannot be fitted to a WM2 rim''

The Avon website is undergoing some change it seems at the moment, two weeks ago I could only load the US web version, no doubt they will have it all working correctly soon. 

The Commando is a strange beast for tyres, narrow rims, and a heavy bike that essentially uses a middleweight tyre. I have asked if the Roadrider was tested on a Commando, it has not, nor were they aware it had been tested on a bike wearing WM2 rims of the weight of a Commando. 

I have asked Avon that in any future development of Classic bike fitting tyres, that they include the Commando and WM2 rims and that a dedicated front and rear be supplied, and not a compromise universal. Whether we get any or not, we will have to wait and see. 

In the past I believe that the Commando and a suitable tyre has not been deliberately missed, just that all manufacturers do not honestly realise that a WM2 rim was still in such great use on the Commando.  

If we do not tell them exactly what we want, they will carry on supplying what they think we need and can fit - As above, not always they case. Ahh, but they work well, is what I can hear already, however, why not have even better. 


I have some Avon documents dating back to the early 1990s. By that time, the Commando had disappeared from the listings, but the Roadrunner Universal was still in the range and it was photographed in what looks like a 4.10 size on the front of a Commando for their brochure back in the 1970s. The 1990s brochure is quite clear that even though it is wider than preferred for a WM2, the widest acceptable fitment is a 3.60 or 90/90.

The original green blob Commando brochure referred to a 4.00 rear tyre on a WM3 rim - Were any Commandos actually built and sold with a WM3 on the back ? It certainly seems that the WM2 was too narrow for the 4.10s and that Norton's odd decision to skimp and use two WM2s was never really correct, even if they wanted to use the same size back and front.

I changed to a WM3 rear rim back in the 1980s and I don't really see any reason to persevere with a WM2 if a 100/90 tyre is to be fitted.


Yes, even the Thruxton race notes for the race bikes said the rear wheel was WM3 on the racers, but seems to have been overlooked and never ended up on the road bikes.

The Conti guidance is based on the ETRTO system both Avon and Conti are members, which itself in its own guidance says ''use the tyre size specified by the vehicle manufacturer'' The tyre in question is also regarded as a metric MM 90 equivalent tyre, and thus should accept a WM2 rim, though that is the bottom end of the rim width scale 

Approval away from the ETRTO system can be approved by them, but it costs and is complicated process for the manufacturers to use. 

I agree with Richard on the fact that the WM3 should have been the rim of choice, I believe Vincents use the WM2 front / WM3 rear combination - that does make sense. 


I approached Avon in Germany, asking them to warrant the fitting of the 100/90-19 Roadrider on my 1973 Commando with standard steel WM2 1.85 rims for normal road use.

See the attached statement I received.

It is in German. The line:

"Zulassige Felgenbreite: 2.15" - 2.75" Montage auf 1,85" möglich"

translates as:

"Allowable Rim Width": 2.15" - 2.75" Fitting on 1,85" possible. 


It makes sense, recently dated but no reference to ETRTO as well. Come on Conti - catch up or lose out on sales.  


Called as expected the MKII, dedicated front and rear fitment it seems. X ply construction and they will not fit a WM2 like the old Roadrider universal. Listed as a performance upgrade for the Commando, not an alternative fitment. If you fit them be careful, the insurance company may query them and, and the rim change to WM3 will be away from standard, so they could query it on both accounts. 


Just fitted replacement on the rear as the last Conti lasted 3300 or so miles plus or minus the old speedo inaccuracy.  The condition of the used Conti is better than when I use a Roadrider MK1, which gives me more confidence in them. I will be using lower pressures this time, 29F 30R.

These tyres, the newly fitted and the old will be inspected for a technical report.

As for recommendation, I can't do that yet, but I will continue to use them. The only tyres I recommend are Dunlop K81, and Avon Roadrunner, the Roadrider MK2 is now classed as a performance upgrade. I have been advised that I can only recommend the tyres in the manual as they are still available. 

In reply to by ashley_cutler


Hi Ashley, I find it interesting the life/mileage of your rear tyre, I am running a pair of Conti Classic Attacks on my 72 Roadster (18" WM3 rear wheel, std front) the pair of tyres have now done over 5,500 miles, the rear has not got much life left but would still pass an MOT. I don't consider I've ridden the bike gently either!

Regards, Alan


Hi Alan - I think the 18" rim with the 120 section tyre provides a much larger contact patch so getting better wear. I'm on my third rear tyre (100/90 on WM3 rim) having done 2600 and 3000 miles on the previous ones. I find I am getting better mileage and certainly better stability with higher pressures so now run 34psi front & 38psi rear.

Hi Alan, My rear tyre is 110/90R18, not as wide as a 120 but yes still wider than the 100/90R19 I'm using on the front. I've liked these tyres but still can't decide if they're worth the extra cost.


If they get approved to fit WM2, then I think they will be the choice of tyre to use. The mileages above are pretty good in my opinion, I can smash through a Roadrider on the road in 2500 miles, so I expect with the lower pressure in the new Conti on the rear now the life will be nearer 4,000 miles, which would suit me and seems to be about the mileage that most owners get from a Roadrider.

The Conti I have fitted now is different to the last one despite being a classic attack, the worn out version is different construction - given away by the fact the TWI markers are different. The tyre on now is an yr18 construction, the worn out one was not so old. 

One thing in common with the above, the handling is excellent with the Conti radials, if you thought the Roadrider was good, these are on another level and as Neil says above, not only at high speeds, maybe why the Roadrider MK2 was introduced. 

Not all the Conti's are the same, even if radial, some Conti road tyres can be used on the track and will happily allow tyre warmers to be used, the classic attack is one of them, that is why there is not a track version of it. Maybe why the Classic attack mileage life is lower. 

Now they are getting cheaper, the tyre life is not so important for me, the performance and the condition the used tyre was in when I removed it convinced me, no sidewall degradation, no peeling,no splitting in the bottom of the tyre groves, unlike the Roadrider that looked at the end of its life in other places than tyre wear alone. 

If you fit a steel radial of any type to other bikes be aware that the rim needs to be correct design as well as width, some of the newer tyres coming onto the market will only fit certain rims styles, though the ones I have seen so far are for the top end HP bikes and heavy cruisers.  


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