If you enjoy sport touring as much as we do, then you’re probably as demanding as we are when it comes to tires. We want sportbike levels of grip on twisty roads, long tread life to satisfy our appetite for racking up miles and confident, agile handling on roads both dry and wet. Luckily for all of us, as motorcycles get more and more powerful and are equipped with evermore sophisticated electronics, tire technology continues to evolve at a steady pace.
During development of the third generation of its Sportmax Roadsmart tires, Dunlop pursued two goals. First, it wanted to create a tire that delivers consistent performance over its lifespan. Many tires feel great when new but they may “go off” after a few thousand miles, diminishing grip and sapping confidence. Dunlop’s competitive benchmark for the Roadsmart III was Michelin’s Pilot Road 4 GT. During blind, internal testing on a BMW R 1200 RT at Dunlop’s Huntsville Proving Grounds, on tires with 3,000 miles on them, Dunlop says its Roadsmart IIIs out-performed Pilot Road 4 GTs in terms of grip, cornering and compliance in dry and wet conditions.
Second, Dunlop wanted the Roadsmart III to set new standards for mileage, achieved through a combination of new front and rear compounds and Dunlop’s Multi-Tread design, which binds a harder, long-lasting compound in the center to a softer, higher-grip compound on the shoulders. With as little as 5 degrees of lean angle the contact patch begins to incorporate some of the grippy side compound, and more of the high-adhesion compound is used as lean angle increases. During independent, third party testing on a BMW R 1200 RT, Roadsmart IIIs showed significantly less wear than Pilot Road 4 GTs after 5,000 miles.
In addition to new compounds and Multi-Tread design, Roadsmart IIIs have a new cross-groove tread pattern, optimized carcass and sidewall construction, an advanced resin formula and a new rear tire profile, all of which contribute to higher mileage, improved wet and dry grip, better bump absorption and more precise handling. We mounted a set of Roadsmart IIIs onto our KTM 1290 Super Duke GT test bike, and they were impressive right out of the gate. Sending 150 horsepower to the rear wheel and equipped with semi-active suspension, traction control and cornering ABS, the KTM is a powerful, sophisticated machine. On dry, occasionally dirty back roads and highways with pavement ranging from baby’s-bottom-smooth to rough-as-a-cob, the Roadsmart IIIs felt glued to the road. They handled the KTM’s tire-lofting torque and freeze-frame braking power without complaint, and they rolled through turns with effortless grace. But where the Roadsmart IIIs really shine is on wet roads, providing confident grip over a wide range of speeds and lean angles. We had to return the Super Duke GT to KTM before we could evaluate Dunlop’s mileage claims; if we’re able to install Roadsmart IIIs on a long-term test bike, we’ll provide an update in a future installment of Long-Term Rides.
Dunlop Roadsmart III tires are available in 17- and 18-inch sizes for many sportbikes, sport tourers and adventure tourers, with MSRPs ranging from $171.30-$254.20.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
See your dealer or visit dunlopmotorcycletires.com