It has always surprised me that while Dunlop is a huge player in the US motorcycle tire market, the American brand hasn’t really latched onto one of its domestic market’s biggest trends on two wheels: adventure-touring.
I am sure that if you asked the tire gurus at Dunlop if they had an ADV tire in their arsenal, they would reply with several models to choose from. The graphic near the bottom of this story seems to support this notion.
But, diving deeper into Dunlop’s lineup shows really a strong showing of DOT-legal dirt bikes tire, but with plenty of white space on the board when it comes to the sizes and expectations common with today’s big ADV bikes.
Well, that needle is moving a bit today, with Dunlop’s latest news in the adventure-touring space. This is because Dunlop has two big announcement for its ADV tire offerings.
Trailmax Mission Adventure
First, there is a new tire, the Trailmax Mission Adventure. Dunlop is hailing this tire as a 50/50 option for adventure riders, though we would call it more of an 80/20 option (70/30? – we’ll let you debate this down in the comments).
However you classify it, the Trailmax Mission Adventure tire comes from Dunlop’s (re)acquisition of the Sumitomo brand, which started out as a joint-venture between Dunlop and Goodyear.
From Sumitomo came the Falken brand of tires for cars, trucks, SUVs, etc, which is where Dunlop found engineers for its Trailmax Mission Adventure tire. The company says the Trailmax Mission shares chromosomes with the Falken Wildpeak A/T3W truck tire. Interesting.
While the pitch behind the Trailmax Mission Adventure tire’s off-road prowess is less than convincing to our eyes, the claimed 8,000-mile lifespan certainly has our attention.
If the tire is as good off-road as the marketing materials claim, and it can meet those kind of mileage demands, then Dunlop has a sure-fire winner on its hands. Pricing starts at $131.21 and goes to $285.23 MSRP, with sizing for 19″ and 21″ front wheels, and up to 170mm in the rear on 17″ wheels (18″ also available).
New Sizes for the Dunlop D908RR Rear Tire
The second of Dunlop’s announcements is that it will be bringing a new rear dual-sport tire to market, with an eye on ADV riders.
Dunlop’s off-road tires are some of the best in the business, but their downside for ADV riders has always been the sizing available for bigger bikes. That is about to change with the popular DOT-legal D908RR knobby rear, however.
Dunlop is doing away with its 140/80-18 sized rear, with a 150/70-18 model being added to the lineup to accommodate bikes like the Honda Africa Twin and KTM 1290 Super Adventure.
For an added bonus, Dunlop is also decreasing the cost of the D908RR rear tire.
Today’s news marks a strong step forward for Dunlop, when it comes to the ADV market, but the American brand still has a bit of catching up to do against its European and Japanese competitors, who offer a wider range of ADV tires, as well as those tires in more sizes.
Considering the popularity in the space, it is surprising to see Dunlop making moves so late in the game, especially ones that still leave riders wanting more from the brand.
Take for example Bridgestone’s recent offering of a true 50/50 ADV tire, the Adventurecross AX41, which offers sizes for both 19″ and 21″ front wheels, and rears in 17″ and 18″ – as wide as 170mm.
Dunlop still has nothing in its arsenal to compete against this, and other tires in the space, which is still surprising to us.
With its 150 offering on the D908RR, there will certainly be now more riders who can consider Dunlops when it comes time to shod new soles, but there are still others with bigger bikes who are left without an American option.
Hopefully, this is just the first step of several more from Dunlop in this space. We like where they’re headed.